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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, January 23, 2005

Letters to the Editor

We'll need a tax hike to pay for programs

A lot of talk about transportation, drugs, homeless and education. How is all of this going to be financed?

Someone is not thinking, and we voted those someones into office.

Hint, Californians pay a 7.25 percent sales tax. Now let's think about this; wouldn't we be in a better position if we just raised ours 1 percent and made it 5 percent so that everyone in this state would pay?

It's time we get after our officials and get this going. Let's not wait another year as the politicians usually do.

Abraham K. Aiona

'Right to die' could be chilling prospect

Dr. Chet Nierenberg's description of his recommended treatment of terminally ill patients should scare everyone who reads it.

He contradicts himself by saying the Hippocratic Oath (the oath that he has sworn to uphold) says that a physician "will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked" and then says he supports the death-with-dignity proposal, in which he would be asked by patients to give them deadly medication.

By stating that physicians should use their own best judgment when treating their patients, he implies that if doctors feel their patients are suffering needlessly, then maybe the best thing for the patient should be a "deadly medication."

At that moment, the "right to die" could turn the corner into the "duty to die," a chilling prospect.

Dr. Nierenberg, your own best judgment does not give you the power of creation nor the right to determine when life should end.

James Roller

Lili'uokalani wasn't thinking of her people

Vicki Viotti's article on Jan. 17 quoted Mel Kalahiki as relating Queen Lili'uokalani's actions to those of Martin Luther King Jr.: " ... they both labored peacefully for the rights of their people."

There are apparently no bounds to rewriting history.

Even Queen Lil would have been embarrassed to have someone claim that she was working for the rights of her people as she went to the Supreme Court; for example, to gain personal title to the ceded lands or when she was proposing a new constitution that would have taken the vote for members of the upper house away from her people. She wanted the right to appoint that body.

Under Hawaiian monarchs, the good people of Hawai'i had few rights and little say in self-determination.

And by the way, the man who gave the queen her motto (mentioned by Kalahiki), "Onipa'a" ("steadfast"), was John Kaulukou, her longtime friend and publicly elected speaker of the House during the days of the republic. He was an outspoken advocate for annexation: " ... the best thing that could happen for Hawai'i, both for the native and foreign population ... I rejoice heartily that it has come," he said, not too long before the Hawaiian-dominated Legislature voted unanimously for statehood.

Thurston Twigg-Smith

Leaders aren't seeing homeless correctly

There is much press these days concerning homeless issues, and I, for one, am happy to see light being shed on this social plight.

As a long-term observer of homelessness, I feel it seems evident that our elected leaders might not be entirely in touch with this growing epidemic and might be grabbing for straws in their efforts to resolve it. The homeless condition varies from person to person and so do their needs, as nearly 50 percent of the homeless are mentally challenged, drug- or alcohol-addicted and so on, requiring restorative treatment and much one-on-one care before independent living can be achieved or considered.

While housing is desperately needed, not much is being offered in the governor's plan for free housing, rent controls, new shelters and, most importantly, transitional housing such as Safe Haven in downtown Honolulu, which is essential for the mentally ill among us to re-enter a productive life.

I call on Linda Lingle and Mufi Hannemann to consider all aspects of the homeless abyss and the complete package required to end homelessness in Hawai'i.

Timothy A. Cook

'Shibai' better belongs to majority leader

My colleague, House Majority Leader Marcus Oshiro, has attacked as "shibai" the governor's method for replacing resigned Democrat Rep. Sol Kaho'ohalahala (Letters, Jan. 14). Oshiro claims the governor "concocted" a multi-step panel process "touted" as bipartisan, and calls her bipartisan panels "bogus."

I'm surprised. The governor's careful effort to incorporate leading Democrats into her selection process is 180 degrees from the Democrats' highly political way of filling vacated Republican seats. In 1987, ex-Gov. Waihee appointed Republican state Rep. Donna Ikeda to replace Republican Sen. Buddy Soares. Then he picked nominal Republican Pat Ribellia to fill Ikeda's seat. No panel. No consultation. Just two of Waihee's favorite Republicans into jobs they owed to Waihee.

Not surprisingly, by the next election, both Ikeda and Ribellia were running as Democrats, not as Republicans. And the Democrats picked up both seats!

With this history, how dare Oshiro criticize Lingle's bipartisan panels?

Rep. Galen Fox
House minority leader

Mahi removal smacks of a political payoff

Rumors have been flying for weeks about Aaron Mahi, the bandmaster of the Royal Hawaiian Band. Is his removal a political payoff? Who is really behind these machinations?

Aaron Mahi is a living treasure whose talents have been enjoyed by our communities here as well as on the continent. His leadership has brought the band worldwide recognition. Germany awarded him an order of merit. Why is he being treated so shabbily and unfairly?

Aaron has impeccable credentials, having graduated from the University of Hartford, where he was known as a brilliant musician.

He has generously shared his knowledge of Hawaiiana and musicology with his audiences and with individuals who have asked for his help. Music is his life. He works hard: 300 performances a year that inspire the listeners. His love of music is so infectious.

Aaron Mahi perpetuates our Hawaiian culture and heritage. We should be at Honolulu Hale beating our drums to support Aaron Mahi.

'Auhea 'oe? Where are you?

Lela M. Hubbard

This bottle law isn't working out very well

Is anybody else getting overwhelmed by his collection of bottles and cans being saved for recycling?

Ironically, growing up on the Mainland, I found that recycling bottles for the deposit was one of those things kids did to raise money for their comic books, candy, whatever. Grocery stores accepted them and reimbursed the deposits. Parents, of course, would take an equal exchange when shopping, returning the empties when replacing them. It was no big deal and no problem. It was just something we did.

Why Hawai'i couldn't follow a tried-and-true path rather than create yet another debacle on something so long overdue remains a mystery. The fact that the 5-cent charges didn't coincide with the possibility of recycling them for the deposit is just another example of bureaucratic efficiency Hawai'i-style. Again, "Lucky we live Hawai'i."

Cynthia Lowe

Overall tax burden should be addressed

With the opening of the state Legislature Wednesday, I'm sure that one of the discussions that will be held is what to do about taxes. I'm not a tax expert, but I do have a suggestion of somewhere to look. Instead of focusing in small areas of the tax code, the overall local tax burden of Hawai'i residents and businesses should be considered.

According to the Tax Foundation, Hawai'i's state and local tax burden is the fourth highest in the nation. We are ranked No. 50 for our business tax climate. My feeling is that the existing tax base in Hawai'i is being strangled by the existing tax burden. The tax base cannot grow because of its expense to businesses and individuals. It won't grow until the overall tax burden is addressed.

Robert Bruce Carleton