Letters to the Editor
Abercrombie's logic comes back to bite him
When Bill Clinton was president, Neil Abercrombie always preached at election time that it was very important to have a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He said it was essential to have someone in the House and Senate on the same team as the president for the good of Hawai'i. He said Hawai'i would benefit more if this was the case.
I don't want to put words in his mouth, but one must assume from his prior speeches and pure logic that he would be in favor of a Republican winning the Jan. 4 special election to fill Patsy Mink's seat. It only makes sense. After all, the executive branch, Senate and House are all in the control of the Republicans ... and our new governor will be a Republican, as well. What could be better than that?
Voting Democratic will do the state absolutely no good whatsoever. I'm sure Neil would agree.
Quarantine is about wealth, not health
Great Britain's announcement this month that it will allow qualified dogs from the U.S. to skip quarantine is more bad news for Hawai'i: Our dogs are now better treated in foreign countries than they are in our home state.
Britain has long had the world's most strenuous quarantine system, but their Pet Passport system, which allows dogs to travel freely after meeting vaccination requirements, has proven so successful that England will now admit dogs from the U.S under that system, allowing them to come and go freely.
The Pet Passport requirements are little different from the state Department of Agriculture's rules to qualify for the 30-day quarantine system here. Why don't we have a passport system, then? As the Department of Agriculture admitted this summer, it's all about the money: The 30-day quarantine system doesn't provide a health benefit, but it does provide the quarantine station with a lot of its income.
If the state were really interested in helping the economy, it would take note of the proliferation of dog shows on TV. Dog shows are big business, and holding major national and international dog competitions here would be practical and a great boost for tourism and local industry. The Pet Passport system would open the doors to that.
David Allan Feller
University better off without regent Hartley
Multimillionaire businessman Richard Hartley resigned from the UH Board of Regents after just three months, leveling sharp criticisms at President Dobelle. But I don't believe that was the reason he threw in the towel so fast.
The way I see it, either he wasn't prepared to do the hard work of a regent in which case he never should have accepted the appointment in the first place or else he could not have his own way, so he just quit.
I think UH is better off without him.
Lunsford Dole Phillips
Waikiki Aquarium is already 'world class'
Regarding the Nov. 17 article published on two new proposals to build a "world class" aquarium on O'ahu: O'ahu already has a world-class aquarium, the Waikiki Aquarium. Replacing it with a multimillion-dollar aquarium would be a shame.
The Waikiki Aquarium has contributed immeasurably to aquariums all over the world, and its education programs have reached people internationally. Furthermore, there is historical significance to this aquarium that is important to preserve.
I am a volunteer at the Waikiki Aquarium, and it has a truly unique atmosphere. It is a place where many people volunteer to educate tourists and locals alike. It is a cozy place, a home. It is a place where people get married, a place parents depend on to educate their children, a stage for local musicians in the summer, and it is a part of local people's lives.
I would hate to think that this aquarium, with all of its scientific, historical and social attributes, would not be there for my children. I hope Gov.-elect Linda Lingle thinks twice before accepting any development proposals that would "replace" this aquarium. It cannot be replaced, only lost.
Rodrigues case has no tie-in to health fund act
After the conviction of UPW leader Gary Rodrigues, state Rep. Scott Saiki stated, "The verdict proves that the Legislature's action in 2000 that eliminated union-management plans for public employees was the right move." Rep. Saiki remarked that " ... one of the reasons we changed the system was due to the potential abuse."
I disagree. When the Legislature and Gov. Cayetano passed Act 88, the infamous Employee-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund bill, it was simply a way to balance the state's budget on the backs of public workers and retirees by attacking their health benefits.
If Rep. Saiki and the other 37 representatives and 13 senators of the 2001 Legislature believed that Act 88 was so righteous, why didn't they attend the signing ceremony at the governor's office when invited to by Gov. Caye-tano? Not one representative or senator responded to the invitation. House Speaker Calvin Say stated at the time that he didn't attend the signing ceremony because he did not want to "rub salt in the wound."
They knew it was wrong then and it's wrong now. The legal troubles of Gary Rodrigues are not a reflection on the credibility of public worker unions and their hard-working members just as the long list of local politicians in jail or now facing criminal investigations should not reflect on Rep. Saiki's integrity.
Interisland carriers failed their customers
Well, it is apparent that neither of our island carriers, Aloha and Hawaiian, gives a dang about those of us who live and work on the Neighbor Islands. Neither airline added flights to and from the Big Island for Thanksgiving this year.
My family from O'ahu tried to book a flight a month before Thanksgiving and found all flights sold out, with no hope for additional flights. Guess they're all too busy flying to Burbank or Vancouver to care about the interisland needs.
We had quite a few cancellations for our Kilauea Lodge rooms this Thanksgiving because people couldn't get transportation to and from the Big Island.
I wonder how many others got their Thanksgiving plans messed up by Aloha and Hawaiian.
Volcano, Big Island
Repealing Jones Act would benefit Hawai'i
I had the opportunity to read Matson's press release about the new terminal charge. Part of its justification is that this charge is imposed worldwide and often at higher rates than Matson is imposing. What the press release didn't mention was the luxurious rate already being enjoyed because of the Jones Act.
The worldwide shipping industry Matson refers to doesn't enjoy near the rates that Matson and CSX now receive. Undoubtedly, CSX will jump on the bandwagon as well. Even though these are competing organizations, their rate increases appear to be in lockstep, much like the competing refineries we have here.
It's time for these two carriers to be regulated or for the Jones Act to be repealed. Repealing the Jones Act would bring true competition, which would benefit both the Hawai'i and Alaska consumer.