The Nov. 19 issue of West Hawaii Today reported some residents of a Kona subdivision are objecting to sewer hook-up fees estimated at $19,000 in combined county plus contractor fees, plus monthly bills after connection. The Nov. 8 issue reported the county is having trouble collecting those bills, but is unable to suspend sewer service to delinquent customers. Previous articles and letters have reported widespread resistance to a proposed state policy that would require all property owners on cesspool to convert to septic upon sale of their properties.
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WASHINGTON — My hometown of St. Louis has given up its sad secrets. Journalists — like tourists taking in the sights of social dysfunction — have explored its courthouses, its speed traps, its racial tensions and its redlined housing history. Cable television has carried images of burning cars and tear gas, which better qualify as “breaking news” than clergy-led marches and civic dialogue. From the coverage, one would think a whole city walks on broken glass. Perhaps it does.
President Vladimir Putin has re-established dictatorship in Russia with a veneer of legality. The veneer doesn’t fool anyone who pays attention, nor is it really intended to do so; Putin prefers to rule through fear. But the pretense gives some cover to Putin’s apologists in the West and provides material for his increasingly surreal and aggressive propaganda campaign.
Most of us were immigrants
WASHINGTON — Before the tryptophan in the turkey induces somnolence, give thanks for living in such an entertaining country. This year, for example, we learned that California’s Legislature includes 93 individuals who seem never to have had sex. They enacted the “affirmative consent” law directing college administrators to tell students sexual consent cannot be silence but must be “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” and “ongoing throughout a sexual activity.” Claremont McKenna College requires “all” — not “both,” which would discriminate against groups — participants in a sexual engagement to understand withdrawal of consent can be any behavior conveying “that an individual is hesitant, confused, uncertain.”
Republicans and Democrats hardly agree on anything these days, with one exception: It’s a lot easier to hand out tax breaks to special interests when you don’t have to offset them with spending cuts or tax increases on someone else.
Wasting helicopter time on marijuana?
WASHINGTON — When Barack Obama looks in the mirror these days, he must see a terrifying visage staring back at him: that of George W. Bush.
If the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel augurs a move by President Barack Obama to shake up his national security team and reconsider his strategy in crisis areas such as Syria and Ukraine, then it will be welcomed. So far, there’s not much sign of it. Hagel has been a weak leader at the Pentagon who, at least in public, has been less of a force in policy discussions than some of the generals who report to him. But his thinly disguised dismissal came after reports he had raised sensible questions about Obama’s overly constrained approach to fighting the Islamic State.
Dark money, dark days
What should the world focus on for the next 15 years?
Republican fury over President Barack Obama’s drastic executive action on immigration distracts from the most obvious solution: the sensible compromise senators from both parties passed more than 500 days ago, only to have it bottled up by Speaker John Boehner in the House.
Everyone from giant Internet service providers to lone “Twilight” fan-fiction writers seems to love “net neutrality.” But few who genuflect toward the phrase can make real sense of the bureaucratic battle raging in and around the Federal Communications Commission and its frequently maligned chairman, Thomas Wheeler.
We have judges and the justice system to protect the public. We need protection both from people who steal property valued at $495,000, as well as from judges who cannot fulfill their responsibilities to protect the public from such theft. If judges cannot properly serve the public, then they are part of our problem by encouraging such criminal behavior.
When a carefully built, bipartisan energy bill failed in the Senate in May, it was one of the worst instances of unwarranted Washington gridlock. By the same token, precisely because it is so sensible and enjoyed such bipartisan support, it offers one of the most obvious ways for Congress’ new leaders to break Washington’s holding pattern on policy and to help the country.