Hawaii can be a better place -- just get involved
Hawaii has a lot to be thankful for. It is an awesome place!
However, no one should ever hesitate to question those in political power who continue to fail to correct past wrongs or who seem blindly indifferent to the following:
» In Hawaii, we can experience pristine wilderness areas and historic agricultural lands being encroached upon by money-grabbing developments.
» Some of our beaches provide a convenient location for our sewage spills to drain into.
» Our government officials say exactly what we want to hear by cleverly manipulating their answers into interesting double-meanings.
» Lots of man-hours are saved by not worrying about enforcing old legislation, eventually ignoring new laws and not passing those that are truly vital.
» Excessively loud vehicle mufflers and bass-pounding stereos are a wonderful form of self-expression in quiet neighborhoods.
» Oahu smog from vehicle exhaust can just be brushed off as "vog" from the Big Island.
» As the nation's expert in pilfering a near-billion-dollar surplus this year from taxpayers, some legislators considered giving it all back, but then decided to offer a refund of pennies to a select few with their "aloha."
» Repeat offenders are set free to save the state money so the thugs can continue enjoying the tricks of their trades.
» Graffiti and improperly filled potholes are always available around the next corner for their viewing and vibration qualities.
» Pearl Harbor streams are cultivated with thick, non-native mangrove trees so they will someday restrict floodwater flows, giving homeowners and businesses a sense of future waterfront property.
» Dumped World War II bombs are proudly displayed on the ocean floor off shore, presenting beachcombers the opportunity to add these washed-up treasures to their collections.
» Discrimination and racial tensions continue to fester as a result of the bitterness and anger from the kingdom of Hawaii overthrow of 1893.
» Governmental mistakes and blunders can be made without retribution, since they know citizens will not question their "wisdom."
There's always room for improvement. Members of the community should speak up for themselves and stand up for what they believe in. They should hold local government accountable to correctly and cost-effectively perform their jobs within a reasonable amount of time, and without personal and selfish political and financial agendas.
How can you voice your opinions, concerns or complaints to the city, state and your community? How can you encourage others to join your specific mission? There are a number of ways.
Write letters and e-mails to your county, state and federal representatives. Make phone calls to city, state and federal departments. The numbers are in the front of the phone book. Start and follow through with petitions. Volunteer at graffiti paint-outs, environmental clean-ups and other community events. Write letters to the editor and op-ed columns for newspapers. Request that your cause be filmed on local TV news and Olelo community TV stations and radio talk shows.
Some of these methods are simple, while others might seem daunting at first. But the results, whether in the short or long term, are worth the effort and will make your city and island a better place. Your spirit and can-do attitude will spread and encourage others to follow your example in issues they might want to pursue.
John Burns arrived by ship at Pearl Harbor 11 years ago. Now retired from the Navy, he lives in Aiea. He has volunteered thousands of hours with environmental and community events across Hawaii.