Letters to the Editor
'Bottle Bill' win-win for everybody; do it
After spending too much time picking up trash recently at Ala Moana Beach Park, my consciousness was again sparked by how very helpful an incentive-driven plastics-reclamation bill would be for our beaches, parks and islands.
Our citizens may not be ready for that comprehensive an approach, but we surely should be ready for the benefits of the "Bottle Bill." This bill would resolve the worst of our plastics problem.
It works everywhere else it has been tried, and our bill is a distinct win-win for everybody. Let's do it!
Cayetano, Democrats addicted to our money
As I finished reading Gov. Cayetano's commentary in Sunday's paper, I just shook my head in disbelief. Like a drug addict in search of something to steal in order to support his next fix, Cayetano just has to get his hands on the Hurricane Relief Fund, $213 million, or he won't be able to balance the budget.
Cayetano claims that "a $49 million subsidy (had to be) drawn from an assessment on insurance companies and mortgage recording fees." Who does he think paid that subsidy? The companies didn't take it out of their pockets; they increased premiums to pay for it. The state merely acted as the bank, collecting and disbursing money that didn't belong to it.
If the Democrats are successful in raiding the $100 million from the fund this year, since they are not making any long-term adjustments to their spending habits, it will be easy for them to get the leftover $113 million next year, and then what?
Like drug addicts, Hawai'i's Democratic-controlled Legislature and executive need to be weaned off their ever-growing need for their next fix. More money from the public is not the answer.
There's a good reason Cayetano changed mind
It is no secret that since December 2000, Gov. Cayetano changed his position on the use of the Hawai'i Hurricane Relief Fund.
After the governor was advised that the state had paid $385 million to provide for $1.2 billion in insurance coverage for policyholders, and that the premiums paid by those policyholders amounted to only $336 million requiring a $49 million subsidy from the state it became clear to the governor that a reimbursement is not justified.
Gov. Cayetano did what any reasonable, honest leader would do: He looked at the facts and changed his position. Rep. Joe Gomes and his Republican cohorts are very aware of these same facts. So what is their excuse for continuing to make former policyholders believe they are entitled to a refund?
Those who paid for hurricane coverage received it. The state stepped in to offer emergency hurricane insurance so that homeowners would not be left without protection at a time when private insurers abandoned Hawai'i.
Now that private carriers have re-entered the market, the fund has stopped writing new policies. As of December 2001, all policies expired.
The law that established the fund approved unanimously by Republicans and Democrats provides that upon termination of the HHRF, any leftover funds would be put into the state's General Fund.
Knowing all of this, Republican lawmakers continue to play politics by pushing reimbursements to former policyholders. If that were to occur, it would mean that all other taxpayers would have entirely subsidized the hurricane insurance premium costs of those homeowners during that time.
Press secretary for Gov. Cayetano
Mandatory voting isn't the answer to apathy
This is in response to Carl Frederick's March 12 letter on mandatory voting to fight voter apathy. He states, "The mandatory vote would be designed to save your freedom" and uses the quote, "Give me liberty or give me death!"
Apparently Carl doesn't realize that by taking away the voters' constitutional right of choice, to vote or not to vote, he would be robbing the voter of that very "freedom" and "liberty" of which he spoke.
The current voter apathy is not a "perplexing" problem, as Carl stated. It's quite simple, actually. Voters have no confidence in their government.
Voters seeing politicians receiving DUIs, running an illegal wedding business from his home, etc., and seeing nothing happen to them is what causes voters not to vote. Let me run a business from my home illegally, and see if I don't get shut down immediately.
Perhaps Carl would like to rethink his theory about mandatory voting?
Wahine were snubbed by NCAA committee
The NCAA Women's Basketball Committee should be ashamed. It could be their geographical bias or just the same political corruption that happens behind committee doors year after year.
How do you tell a Wahine basketball player from the University of Hawai'i that she did not earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament? There is no answer.
The team slapped Rice in the WAC tournament, and played La. Tech to the final shot, finishing the season 23-7, yet not "good enough" in the committee voting to make it to the field of 65 teams.
Shameful! The Olympic figure-skating committee was embarrassed by a voting scandal, but was smart enough to correct the injustice.
Shameful! I'm going to City Mill for a 3/16th drywall screw and sending it to the chair of the Women's NCAA Basketball Committee, The National Collegiate Athletic Association, 700 W. Washington Street, PO Box 6222, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-6222. Hopefully, it will let her know how I feel, without mincing too many words.
Adam C. Primas
UH athletics department is to be commended
The whole state of Hawai'i should take great pride in the fact that the University of Hawai'i athletics department was ranked in the Top 20 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.
That means that UH was ranked ahead of almost all the schools in the Pac 10, Big 10, Big 12, Mountain West, etc., and those schools have athletic budgets that are millions of dollars larger than the UH budget.
Athletic Director Hugh Yoshida and the entire athletics department are to be commended. I am proud to know you.
UH can lead the way in getting involved
In changing the political climate of Hawai'i, the University of Hawai'i can play a major role.
Many of the people who live here (me included, sometimes) do not pay attention to politics because they do not know what is going on. Politics confuses us. Through its classes, the university can produce better-educated citizens who will make up a better-educated public, who will make better-educated decisions.
For example, classes requiring critical thinking should be emphasized or required. More importantly, the university needs to show residents that they can make a difference and their voices will be heard.
In actuality, the university is a great representation of politics at work. There are protests, demonstrations, petitions, etc., all over campus. If something is being overlooked or mishandled, there will be people who speak out about it. This is the example the state of Hawai'i needs to follow.
The people of Hawai'i need to take an interest and actually do something, instead of just overlooking problems or simply complaining about them.
If he walks, talks like a duck, he's a candidate
As a voting citizen, I agree with Circuit Judge Sabrina McKenna's ruling requiring an elected officeholder to resign his current position when he declares and runs for a new office, if his term of the present office and the new one overlap.
The delegates to our state's Constitutional Convention told the voters that their intent with the proposed change was to make an elected official who wants to run for another office quit before running for the office if the terms of office are not the same. Otherwise, the other candidates for a certain elected office would not have a level playing field.
The officeholder, such as the current mayor or lieutenant governor, would have an unfair advantage over the other candidates in soliciting money for their campaign fund because of their current political position.
When a person declares candidacy and acts and talks like a candidate, that person should be considered a candidate and comply with our state Constitution by resigning his present elected office.
Wilbert W.W. Wong
Harris should resign; he's being ineffective
Good news! Circuit Court Judge Sabrina McKenna just ruled against Mayor Harris. She determined that he should have resigned as mayor before he filed organizational papers for his campaign for governor on May 15 last year (just a few months after he took office for a four-year term as mayor).
On April 13 of last year, I wrote Harris and asked him to resign, return the mayoral salary he had taken to date and pay for a special election to be held immediately to replace him. Harris ignored the suggestion, of course. His paycheck is obviously of paramount importance to him, so it's unlikely he would voluntarily give it up.
Harris has certainly been less than effective as mayor for the past year as he has been campaigning for governor while on the city payroll, and is now franticly pushing a dubious plan to "lock up" ag lands, which he hopes will get him some good press, for a change.
My concern is that in view of all the bad press Harris is getting lately, which has dropped his chance of winning the race for governor (he thought he would be a shoe-in), the mayor might decide not to resign and Honolulu would be stuck with paying his salary for another two years. Auwe!
John Michael White
We are each doing the best we can
As a journalist of 22 years, I am responding to Pamela O'Shaughnessy's thoughtful March 12 commentary, "Questions that need answers."
The answer to each and every question brought up by O'Shaughnessy is the same one: "Every individual on the planet lives in a reality based on life experience and perception, and no two realities are quite the same."
I grew up in farming country under the heavy, dark shadows of three local writing giants, John Steinbeck, William Saroyan and Joan Didion. Their works challenged and taught me, and helped me understand how many twists and turns shape the mind and character of we humans, the incongruities that we struggle to reconcile as we try to find meaning and purpose in our short time here.
Because of the strength and courage of their writing, I could accept the world as it is, frail and seemingly, at first glance, tawdry and sometimes evil.
It is, I believe, a basic need to serve in some way, even in imperfection. We can strongly desire to save whales, bunnies and forest birds while still feasting on roast beast. Our reasons are as varied as the variety of species on this Earth, and interpretation may be fathomable only to the one who owns the reason.
Like many of my journalist friends, I am tinged with cynicism and tortured with a macabre sense of humor developed over years. Yet underneath I care about these questions asked by O'Shaughnessy and a million more I ask myself every day. But all in all, I find the world a good place. I have met too many honorable, kind people, with a deep sense of justice and integrity, to think differently.
Why do little girls wear bikinis at the beach? I understand the prurient thoughts behind the question, but the answer may be that was the only one on the rack that was sky blue and she had to have sky blue; a favorite auntie gave it to her; a bigger, adored sister handed it down; she wants to be naked, and this is as much a compromise as her frazzled parents can reach.
As for the many social and economic problems we face, many can be traced back to a noble start that, over time, has gone awry. We journalists report the facts of these problems. It is people like you, who question and then work at the grassroots level for change, who will make the difference.
In all my travels, and all I've seen and done, I have come to believe this: We are each, based on individual reality, doing the best we can.