Letters to the Editor
Business Roundtable against gambling here
The members of the Hawaii Business Roundtable CEOs of 47 of Hawai'i's largest businesses have adopted a position opposing the legalization of gambling in Hawai'i.
This action was taken after a thoughtful review of both sides of this important issue. In the end, the members were convinced that legalizing gambling would not be in the best interest of the people of Hawai'i, from both a social and a business perspective.
In the face of severe budget cuts, we strongly urge the members of the Legislature to avoid turning to gambling as an answer to our state's current economic woes. We believe that taking such a drastic step would be an unwise, short-term solution with negative long-range consequences.
We are especially concerned that this action would be taken during the waning days of the session when there is little opportunity for the public to provide input into the decision-making process.
Chairman, Hawaii Business Roundtable
Campaign reform isn't punishment
The budget still has to be balanced, so one way to get more bang for our buck is to initiate campaign finance reform.
I spoke to Sen. Cal Kawamoto about this issue, especially with reference to contractors and architects. His retort was, why should legislators be punished?
I am befuddled by this reasoning. You mean we owe incumbents a built-in slush fund to defeat their opponents? Shouldn't voters be able to assess the person with the best ideas, not the person with the most money?
No wonder we do not have people of vision to lead us out of our morass.
Legislators do not have to go out into the community to meet their constituents. All they have to do is raise money with the contractors and architects.
Hemp is not a drug but a key to our future
Hemp is not a drug. It has been grown for more than 10,000 years to meet the needs of our greatest civilizations.
It is so important for the development of a free and prosperous community that it was a required crop for the Jamestown Colony. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, and the early drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper.
Let us use hemp to forge our independence yet again. In Hawai'i, we are almost totally dependent on imported fuel and materials to provide the necessities of life. Hemp can be grown to produce alcohols that replace gasoline. These same alcohols can be burned in power plants or used in fuel cells to generate electricity.
Hemp can be used to create new building products (hemp is 10 times stronger than wood) that would lower our cost of housing. Mercedes-Benz is using hemp to make car door panels. Clothing, carpets, paper, health and body care items, food and thousands of other products can be made from hemp.
On Kaua'i, we intend to become a center for the research and development of this useful crop. Think how healthy our visitor industry will become when visitors come for business and training, not just for vacations.
With hemp we can put our idle farmland and agricultural workers back to work, improve opportunities in construction and lower costs, create jobs in new industries, reduce our dependence on imported oil and other materials, and keep the money in Hawai'i.
Right now Hawai'i has an edge over other states in the development of a modern hemp crop. To keep this advantage, please ask the governor to support HB 57.
Thomas Z. Hadwin
President, Kaua'i 21
State government being mismanaged
Ed Case is absolutely correct in noting our legislators' complete disregard for a first principle of accounting: matching expenses with revenues.
The criminality of Enron's false accountings simply pales to the sweeping, multimillion-dollar mis-accounting occurring in our state budgeting. The major difference is that our elected officials are exempt from any suit or liability.
Hawai'i's appalling voter apathy reflects the deep despair among our populace, mirroring the sentiments of the Filipinos just before Aquino's revolution. The status quo maintenance of an oversized government and over-regulated economy is the fundamental cause for our economy being the worst in the nation.
If there is no revolution in November, it will be due to the opposition not boldly stating the case of our situation as it really is.
Renaming H-3 tunnels another 'great idea'
I read the April 20 editorial and would like to get this straight: Our "esteemed" governor renamed the H-3 tunnels from Harano to Burns because he (Gov. Ben) did not think Mr. Harano did such a good job when he was with the Department of Transportation.
I can hardly wait to see what other "great ideas" our lame-duck governor comes up with. Now I understand what they mean when they say he's a "legend in his own mind."
Kobayashi's budget proposals responsible
Three cheers for Ann Kobayashi. As chairwoman of the City Council's Budget Committee, newly elected council member Kobayashi has returned some sanity to city finances.
The mayor's public statement that Kobayashi's budget proposals are irresponsible is like the pot calling the kettle black. Is it responsible to build swimming pools and soccer facilities that are closed because there was no real plan to maintain them?
Sure, folks like Brunch on the Beach and free movies. But is it responsible to finance these things while core city services like roads and sewers are neglected?
Kobayashi deserves praise for taking on the awesome responsibility of cleaning up the budgetary mess created by the mayor and the rubber-stamp City Council.
Don't blame students for all the problems
While I've read with concern letters from teachers relating to higher pay and retaining the elected school board, I'm also perplexed.
Teachers are underpaid, but who isn't? Teachers work hard, but who doesn't? We should keep the elected school board, but it has been and is ineffective.
Keith Kamisugi's April 20 letter implied that teachers couldn't concentrate on teaching because students don't have a proper home life. But I've talked to high school students who refused to go to particular classrooms because they lacked respect for their teacher's knowledge and ability to teach.
Our kids in the disadvantaged areas are having a difficult time in learning. The major reason is the teachers. There are too many probationary, inexperienced teachers and teachers without credentials.
While we have many good teachers in the public schools who deserve higher pay, we have others who do not.
Makakilo development ignoring the children
Pam Lee Smith and the 'Ewa Neighborhood Board were right to pass a moratorium on construction on April 4. While their concerns are slowly but surely being addressed, the problem of continued construction without regard for the keiki continues in Makakilo.
The Palehua Community Association submitted a similar request for a moratorium on construction but was ignored in any plans by the state or city. Already, children are bused to Barbers Point because the neighborhood schools have burst at the seams.
Schuler's timetable for building another 662 units in Makakilo is looking at completion by mid-2003. That means, on a conservative estimate, that another 1,200 children will soon reside on the hillside.
That is another 1,200 students whom no one is planning for.
There are no plans for any new neighborhood schools anywhere in the near or distant future. I hope the developers are making sure to let home buyers know this reality when they advertise their new "family" homes in the area.
We can make new transit system work
I can already see it: tons of complaints about the proposed mass-transit system due to the possible closure of some "car-only" lanes and another excuse for more taxes.
Sure the construction process will be a nuisance, but it's long overdue. May I suggest a couple of solutions to help contribute to the funding of the project and encourage people to utilize the system once built?
First, the state should consider installing toll booths at both ends of the H1, H2 and H3 freeways. The monies collected would help pay for the construction of the system, create new jobs and consequently convince people to ride the new hybrid buses.
My second suggestion is to close certain on-ramps during peak a.m. and p.m. traffic hours. This would help eliminate the constant stop-and-go caused by merging cars.
There will always be those who prefer to drive to work in their own vehicles, but for those who depend on public transportation, and those who may find the mass-transit system an alternative to sitting in hair-pulling traffic, this system could lessen the amount of time on the highways and relieve our minds of yet another tardy on our time-card.
Slowing down better
How did Gov. Ben Cayetano come to the conclusion that increasing the speed limit on the H-3 Freeway is appropriate when the constantly wet-road conditions and the sign in the tunnels reminds us to reduce speed when wet?
Too much speed already
The governor should not raise the speed limits anywhere. People already exceed the posted speed limits, and with the lack of money in the government, who is going to pay for the new signs and labor to change them? It's a no-brainer.
Animal-rescue funds must go to just that
Though David Shapiro, in an April 17 commentary, may not support our rescue attempt of 2-year-old Forgea, judging by the outpouring of support and donations received for this rescue mission, the vast majority of people in the state, on the Mainland and around the world obviously do.
Emergency animal rescues are something we do every day. Last year alone, we performed 675 such rescues on O'ahu. Rescues are not inexpensive, but they are important, and it is essential for an animal welfare organization such as the Hawaiian Humane Society to undertake them.
Mr. Shapiro may believe that this is a case of "lost priorities," but as an organization dedicated to helping animals, our priorities are very clear. And, though our actions may have been debated by people who didn't understand the rescue, we and our supporters know that the outcry would have been much louder if we knew a dog needed our help, yet ignored the situation.
We have followed Mr. Shapiro's column and his stories of "Bingo" over the years, and it is difficult for us to believe he would argue over price, should he ever need our help if Bingo were in trouble.
The funds used for Forgea's rescue will not take away from the many programs and services the Humane Society provides our community. They were initially taken from reserves held especially for situations such as this and have almost completely been replaced by new donations designated for the rescue.
Mr. Shapiro also says that the money could have been "put to better use." To the Hawaiian Humane Society and its supporters, there could not be any more justified use of funds than rescuing an animal in need. Though there are obviously homeless families in need of help, I wonder how the people donating to an animal welfare organization would react if they were told that their donation was not being spent to fulfill the organization's mission, but rather for something else entirely.
We believe one of our donors said it best: "To all those who said 'How could you?' I say 'How could you not?' try to rescue that poor dog."
President and CEO, Hawaiian Humane Society