Letters to the Editor
Attacks on Lingle were unfounded
I have just a few words for Dave Endo regarding his March 1 letter attacking the governor for boosting the morale of our troops and attending the annual meeting of the National Governor's Association.
Regarding the D.C. trip: Just by a simple Internet search, one can find the Web page for this meeting (nga.org), where it accurately lists that all 50 governors were present, focusing discussion "on critical state issues that will be considered by Congress during the upcoming session, such as highway funding, welfare reform, Medicaid and education."
Healthcare and education are two of Lingle's top priorities should she reinvent the wheel, or is it possible she could share ideas with governors from other states who have been through similar processes?
As for the Baghdad trip: I only wish Mr. Endo were supporting our troops or our country in some significant way. Maybe he should join the military. Or, maybe he should just grow up and move to Baghdad!
John P. Lieber
Downtown doesn't need Third World problems
In your editorial on Rep. Ken Hiraki's bill (HB 1828), which would make it illegal to urinate or defecate in public, you compared Chinatown to a Third World country. The nearly 15,000 residents of the Downtown Neighborhood Board district and the many businesses that operate here are weary of the attitudes that have made this comparison plausible.
As long as we accept that urinating and defecating in the entrances to businesses and residences, on the grass in the parks, and all too often right on the sidewalks is appropriate, there are some who will keep doing it. There are those who have made the argument that HB 1828 is a cruel gesture aimed at the homeless and mentally ill. Let me make three points.
First, no one is more aware than the Downtown Neighborhood Board that our homeless shelters are bursting at the seams and that there are people wandering our streets with wholly untreated substance abuse problems and the delusions that often follow addiction. A multifaceted approach that addresses the underlying problems is needed, but that does mean we have to allow the streets of Chinatown to be treated like open sewers.
Second, it is not just the homeless and mentally ill who publicly urinate and defecate. I routinely see perfectly sane people urinating on the streets of Chinatown. People waiting for TheBus on Beretania just 'ewa of Nu'uanu, for example, foul the bushes right behind the stop on a daily basis. Going to the trouble of finding a restroom can be a nuisance, but it is not impossible.
Third, there are places to go to the restroom in Chinatown especially during the day. The best and safest is the police substation at the corner of Maunakea and Hotel. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And I have never seen a line to get in.
The 15,000 residents of this area did not create this problem and do not want to live in a Third World environment. Please do not judge our response to a difficult problem too harshly until you have lived in our neighborhood for a few months.
Downtown Neighborhood Board member
Why close road 4 hours?
A wind-whipped tree along the Pali Highway fell upon a passing van. Fortunately, none of the passengers were injured.
Why would a minor occurrence like this demand a closure of the highway for more than four hours? I would think that all the debris could be cleared within an hour and all pertinent facts could be recorded on film within a short time.
Act 221 tax credit is 'highly successful'
Regarding the article, "Act 221 tech credit largely missed mark," in Friday's Advertiser, I would like to make two points of clarification:
One of Act 221's intentions was to encourage capital to be invested into Hawai'i's emerging technology companies. Measured by this criterion, Act 221 was very successful. Our data show that for all the years prior to 2001, $20 million was invested in Hawai'i's technology companies.
Over the two-year period reported in the article, that investment number quintupled. Access by technology companies to investment capital is one of the critical determinants of whether Hawai'i will achieve its long-held dream of a diversified economy with innovation-intensive jobs.
Every company that qualified for the investment tax credit under Act 221 is a qualified high technology company, as defined under the act. I never said investments under the act went to "non-technology companies." The question has always been what types of technology companies.
There is no doubt that Act 221 has made a significant and positive contribution to supporting technology start-ups. It should be extended.
But the act also needs to be improved, based on data and information we now have. The collaborative effort now under way among the administration, legislature, technology and business community recognizes this, and the measures moving through the legislature achieve both goals.
Harmless acts must be national standard
In a March 1 letter to The Advertiser, James Roller of Mililani informs us that "The fundamental principle of our Constitution enjoins that the will of the majority shall prevail." He has placed this statement in quotation marks but has failed to cite the source, presumably embedded in the founding documents, but unknown to us. It is further to be noted that it is identified as "the" fundamental principle (singular).
One might have supposed that "the" fundamental principle would have been early designated in the Constitution or even in the amendments. In fact, the word "vote," as applied to the citizens, does not appear until well into the second section and then in a form we would today find utterly unacceptable. Women were excluded; certainly slaves and "free blacks" were excluded. The states were permitted to exclude those who did not or could not pay a poll tax.
Mr. Roller goes on to inform us that " ... activist judges have no concept of the Constitution that they are sworn to uphold, nor are they aware of the words spoken by the father of our country, George Washington." One is left to wonder which of the many words spoken are being referred to?
What was mentioned often in the Constitution and in virtually all of the founding documents was freedom, liberty and the protections of the rights of the citizens to live free of intrusive governments or religious sects poking into their private domestic arrangements. The default in our secular republic must be that the individual citizens are free to live their lives in any harmless way they see fit.
Interference by the government, meddlesome neighbors or clergy must not be permitted to interfere with "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Ward Stewart, George Vye
48 years together