Letters to the Editor
BLUE BINS DON'T HAVE ADEQUATE CAPACITY
Requiring residents to use their blue bins for yard waste is yet another step backward in the recycling program.
The blue bins are not large enough to accommodate all of the clippings from grass, shrubs, weeds and large palm fronds.
We use a similar-size trash can for yard waste and almost always have to place several large bundles of palm fronds next to the can because they will not fit inside with the other clippings. Under the new plan, what will we do with the extra palm fronds that won't fit in the blue bin?
We are avid recyclers, but even we won't stuff ant-infested palm fronds into the trunk of our small car in search of a green recycling center.
Let's not place volume restrictions on yard waste pickup. Let's use the blue bins as they were originally intended.Laura Black
HAWAIIAN SOVEREIGNTY HAS NEVER BEEN CEDED
Is it possible to make sound decisions in matters of great public importance based upon a mistaken understanding of history? I don't think so. H. Christopher Bartolomucci and Viet D. Dinh seem to (Island Voices, "Congress has jurisdiction on Hawaiians," Nov. 1).
If one internationally recognized state: (1) invades another internationally recognized state in violation of a treaty between the two states and in violation of international law; (2) deposes the lawful government of the invaded state; (3) installs a puppet government in the invaded state; and, (4) annexes the invaded state, then, applying international law, the invaded state is "occupied." Its citizens and subjects have not been turned into members of a tribe.
"Sovereignty" never simply "ceases." Governments can be altered through constitutional means, internal revolt or by foreign intervention, but "sovereignty" of a recognized state may only be affected through merger with another sovereign state (for example, the United States in 1787), or dismemberment (for example, Yugoslavia in the 1990s).
Applying international law to the historical facts, there was no merger of Hawaiian sovereignty to U.S. sovereignty. A unilateral annexation by Congress is not a bilateral "merger" of sovereignty. Hawaiian nationals are not in the same situation as "Native Americans" or "Native Alaskans." Hawaiians are subjects of a sovereign state that has been occupied.
Bartolomucci and Dinh flat-out misread the facts and that, inevitably, makes their legal opinion as weak as their history.Stephen Laudig
Editor, Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics
COST OF OIL
O'AHU'S ENERGY PLAN INCLUDES HIGHER PRICES
Your recent story on HECO's long-term energy plan covered the plan's diversity of solutions for meeting O'ahu's future energy needs. The plan, developed with the input of an advisory group with representatives from business, government, consumers, environmental interests and other stakeholders, does indeed envision getting more megawatts from energy efficiency, renewable energy and distributed generation over the next five years than from building a new central station power plant.
One point needs correction. The article quotes Jeff Mikulina of the Sierra Club as saying that HECO only looked at oil prices up to the level of $40 to $50 a barrel. In fact, the plan includes two higher-fuel-price scenarios, including one that has oil prices starting at $70 a barrel today and escalating to $119 a barrel in the future.
Even with these higher prices, the bottom line is that the plan would still rely on essentially the same resources.
O'ahu's energy plan is a flexible strategy that can adjust to accommodate developing renewable and other technologies as they become commercially available and affordable for customers.
It will take a joint effort, including residents and businesses committing to making energy conservation and efficiency a way of life, government policies that support alternative energy sources, and continued commitment by the utilities to ensure we achieve our preferred energy future.Jose Dizon
Hawaiian Electric Co.
GIVE SOME SEATS AWAY
Since UH does not have a shot at making the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl and there will be a problem to draw locals on Christmas Eve, let some of the ticket proceeds go to a local nonprofit organization like the Shriners, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc.
We can all afford to be generous at this time of year and enjoy ourselves at the same time.Tim Yuen
BUS STRIKE OFFERS US LESSON IN RAIL DEBATE
The 2003 bus strike revealed a lesson that should be remembered when a proposed mass transit system on O'ahu is discussed: Traffic without buses was surprisingly better instead of worse.
The strike did not create the ultimate chaos that was predicted, which in turn led to little public support for the strikers. Even with a modest increase of passenger vehicles on the highways during the strike, traffic was moving much more smoothly.
A rail transit system should reduce the need for the buses that clog up the roads and highways. The rail tax is an investment in our community that will benefit all commuters, whether they are riders or drivers.P. Buckley
GO GET 'EM
BEV HARBIN'S STYLE WILL SERVE POLITICS WELL
As a resident of the downtown area, let me be among the first to jump on the Bev Harbin bandwagon.
I met Bev at the Friends of Kewalo Basin Association's protest of the Kaka'ako waterfront project. In less than a minute of talking with her, she had won me over. She impressed me with her overall knowledge of the facts concerning the development and how it has been fast-tracked through the system.
I believe her fiery, in-your-face personality will do not only my district good, but should also shake up a political system that has led Hawai'i to be last in the nation concerning voter turnout.
It's time for change. You got my vote in 2006 — go get 'em, girl.John J. Arnold
CLEVELAND DECRIED 1893 OVERTHROW
Thurston Twigg-Smith continues his own revisionist history in his Nov. 3 letter, claiming that “Any student of Hawaiian history knows the revolution was instigated and carried out by a group of subjects of the kingdom, not the United States.”
Twigg-Smith is actually correct in pointing out that there are factual errors with the 1993 Apology resolution, but these have to do not with the U.S. role but with the apology being made exclusively to Native Hawaiians, when in fact the entire multiracial citizenry of the Hawaiian kingdom was affected by the United States’ unlawful intervention in their country.
Twigg-Smith has the temerity to cite President Cleveland to support his claim, but let’s look at what Cleveland actually said, in his Dec. 18, 1893, address to Congress, calling for the restoration of the legitimate government of Hawai‘i:
“The lawful government of Hawai‘i was overthrown without the drawing of a sword or the firing of a shot by a process every step of which, it may be safely asserted, is directly traceable to and dependent for its success upon the agency of the United States acting through its diplomatic and naval representatives.
“But for the notorious predilections of the United States minister for annexation, the Committee of Safety, which should be called the Committee of Annexation, would never have existed.
“But for the landing of the United States forces upon false pretexts respecting the danger to life and property, the committee would never have exposed themselves to the pains and penalties of treason by undertaking the subversion of the queen’s government.
“But for the presence of the United States forces in the immediate vicinity and in position to afford all needed protection and support, the committee would not have proclaimed the provisional government from the steps of the government building.
“And finally, but for the lawless occupation of Honolulu under false pretexts by the United States forces, and but for Minister Stevens’ recognition of the provisional government when the United States forces were its sole support and constituted its only military strength, the queen and her government would never have yielded to the provisional government, even for a time and for the sole purpose of submitting her case to the enlightened justice of the United States.
“By an act of war, committed with the participation of a diplomatic representative of the United States and without authority of Congress, the government of a feeble but friendly and confiding people has been overthrown. A substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair.”
DOE WOULDN’T LAST LONG IF IT WERE A PRIVATE COMPANY
Heather Harris, a public school teacher, describes classrooms that are in deplorable condition, particularly on the Leeward Coast (Island Voices, Oct. 28). She was recruited from the Mainland to teach in Hawai‘i for two years and plans to return after the current school year. It seems that teachers who intend to live in Hawai‘i on a long-term basis may be reluctant to criticize the school system for fear of retribution.
Harris says of her 'Ewa Beach classroom that the windows must be kept open, otherwise the temperature would rise above the usual 90 degrees. But as a result, the wind blows so much red dirt through the open windows that at the end of the day, she says, “I can roll the dirt off my skin.”
If any commercial business were the object of this kind of public criticism, a substantial response from management would be immediate. McDonald’s, for example, might announce that it would clean things up quickly, make the necessary improvements to the facility, and guarantee that customers would henceforth be pleased with the interior environment.
And if the criticism were baseless, McDonald’s might invite the public to see things for themselves.
By comparison, the response of the Department of Education has been meager. In fact, there has been no response at all.
The uncaring attitude of the DOE verges on arrogance. Although the
DOE is a public agency, it has little regard for the public.
If McDonald’s made the mistake of failing to respond to this type of problem, its customers would simply go to Jack In The Box or Burger King instead. Unfortunately, public education doesn’t provide the variety of choices available in the fast-food industry. The DOE is nearly a monopoly that doesn’t have to worry much about satisfying its customers in order to keep them.
The only competition that public education faces is that parents can send their children to private school. However, that alternative is not realistic for many of Hawai‘i’s families.