Letters to the Editor
Republican Party has brought about change
In regard to Paula Helfrich's May 25 letter extolling the virtues of the Democrats, I say "Whoa, Paula!"
I have lived in and loved Hawai'i for 39 years. I actually thought I was a Democrat when we moved here. After watching the political oligarchy and its systematic destruction of our education system, mental health services, corrections system and economy and with the relentless growth of government but no improvement in services and absolutely no accountability, I gladly joined the Republican ranks.
The papers are right in recognizing what just a few more Republicans were able to achieve in making the legislative process more open and in forcing accountability. Imagine what a few more could accomplish.
A one-party rule for over 40 years has resulted in a quagmire of inefficiency and deception, and I think the voters are beginning to wake up to the fact that they have been "had."
Helfrich's letter ended with "you ain't seen nothin' yet," and she is indeed correct. I haven't seen anything for 39 years except taxing and spending, with nothing to show for it.
The Republicans have an inclusive agenda that will return resources and responsibility to Hawai'i's citizens. Party does make a difference. Welcome, e komo mai.
Tough gun laws work in Australia, Britain
I need to respond to Pablo Wegesend, who in his June 4 letter states that gun laws really don't have any effect on crime rates, citing that "Since passing gun laws, Australia's (and Britain's) crime rates have gone up."
First, Australia has always had extremely tough gun laws. Handguns have been strictly controlled for many years, and the same type of strict controls was applied on a national level to all other types of firearms some years ago, including (quite rightly) a total ban on the private ownership of any type of semiautomatic rifle.
Australia and Britain's murder rates are a fraction of the United States' (per capita) and since the introduction of even tougher gun laws, deaths (homicide, suicide and accidental) by firearm have fallen dramatically.
Of course, pro-gunners will always have their rationale for lax gun laws, but the bottom line is, had the perpetrator of, say, the Xerox massacre gone in armed with a baseball bat instead of a firearm, the outcome would have been very different.
Bible doesn't justify the attack on Kaua'i
In one story on the attack on the campers on Kaua'i, the following quote appears: "The Bible told me to kill all faggots and sodomizers."
As an ordained clergyman who has led countless Bible studies and taught courses on basic Christianity over the last 22 years here in Hawai'i, I am deeply saddened by this slanderous misinterpretation of the Bible.
One of my first Bible study rules is to insist people read the Bible for themselves as if everything they were told was incorrect.
If the attackers had actually read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19, they might see that they are the ones who perpetrated the "sin of Sodom" by their violence and lack of hospitality. For the threatening of strangers with rape and a complete lack of hospitality constitute "the sin of Sodom."
If the attackers thought they were acting as Christians, then I experience pain as well as sadness. The teaching of Jesus is about loving one's enemies, not judging others, turning the other cheek, going the second mile, welcoming the stranger, being a Good Samaritan, wedding love with justice, and giving compassion with hospitality.
Rev. Dr. John T. Norris
Hope United Methodist Church
Geothermal ventures illustrate our problem
The people and politicians of California are stewing over the soaring price of electricity. And they have legitimate concerns over rolling blackouts, which are wreaking havoc with business and traffic signals, as well as households.
Some are worried that businesses will start leaving the state and others are rejecting locating in California. Of particular concern are high-tech Internet and communications companies such as those in Silicon Valley.
Those are the very types of businesses we want to come here, yet we have in our state the highest electricity costs in the nation. Yes, higher than California. And our monopoly power company on O'ahu is not building any new capacity.
One of our power success stories here is geothermal energy, which now produces some 25 percent of Big Island electricity. But duplicating that success is impeded by one big problem: Under Hawai'i state law, property owners do not own mineral rights below their land. The geothermal company on the Big Island pays the state $600,000 to $700,000 per year. This means at least two things: The government is fleecing the Big Island public with higher utility costs than necessary, and any new geothermal ventures anywhere in Hawai'i are going to be severely constrained from investing in such plants. Why? Because their potential profit will be seized by Hawai'i's government.
Hawai'i's property law is Third Worldish. Therefore, we deserve the stagnation we are getting.
Richard O. Rowland
President, Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i