Letters to the Editor
PLEASE URGE LINGLE TO VETO HUMUHUMU BILL
I would like to urge people who care about Hawaiian culture to write Gov. Lingle and ask her to veto the humuhumunukunukuapua'a state fish bill. The humu is cute, but the only reason people really pay attention to it is that one song, written in 1933 for the Mainland market, became popular.
The 'o'opu has been an important part of Hawaiian culture since ancient times. It is for us like the salmon to the Native American, like the koi to the Japanese.
The little 'o'opu is industrious and struggles for survival against the strongest waves that wash downriver. It climbs huge rocks to overcome obstacles and reach the top of the highest waterfall. What a fine symbol for us!
The governor signs or vetoes the bill soon, so please act quickly. Do you want to be represented by a fish whose distinguishing characteristic is the ability to grunt? Or one that is an example of perseverance and strength?Leilehua Yuen
DEVELOPMENT MUST BE DISCOURAGED ON O'AHU
Lately I have been pestering both Mayor Hannemann and Gov. Lingle to begin taking serious measures to try to slow down (or better yet, stop altogether) the insane pace of overdevelopment that is being allowed or encouraged on O'ahu.
As disgusting as it is to see the proliferation of traffic gridlock, tracts of suburban housing and the Mainland-style shopping malls on our 'aina, I had always at least assumed that our beautiful ocean would remain a safe refuge. Now the sewage spill threatens even our pristine waters.
This should serve as a real wake-up call to Hawai'i. There is no reason we should blindly follow the Mainland dogma that growth is good or even inevitable.
I feel it's only fair to give Hannemann the credit he deserves when he forthrightly explains to constituents that he foresaw the potential of this sort of sewage spill coming and was planning to do his best to try to repair our sewers before it was to late. This is not just some excuse he is making up belatedly. I vividly remember him telling me a year ago that his focus as mayor would have to be far less glamorous than his predecessor.
We don't need any more developers, cars, subdivisions or shopping malls on O'ahu. Frankly, we don't even need any more people or their attendant sewage. What we really need to do is to hold on to our "old-style Hawaiiana" lifestyle (and to what's left of our 'aina and our oceans) before it is too late.Bradley A. Coates
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BILL NEEDS SIGNATURE
Prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression is an honorable goal and one that is supported by a vast majority of Hawai'i legislators.
Most people agree that discrimination is wrong and it has no place in civil society.
Gov. Lingle, we need you to affirm that Hawai'i stands in support of equality for all of its citizens, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. Please sign House Bill 1233 to prohibit discrimination in public accommodations.Eduardo Hernandez
Executive director, Gay & Lesbian Community Center
'ILLEGAL WORKER' BY DEFINITION IS A CRIME
Finally someone (Victor Davis Hanson, April 13) has identified the phrase "guest worker" for the euphemism it is, a substitute, political correctness aside, for "illegal worker." Illegal behavior, flagrantly ignoring established law, is by its nature criminal.
Yes, we are a nation founded and nurtured by immigrants. No thinking person feels anything but gratitude for their efforts. But no country can permit itself to be overrun by people who defy the law in one respect, knowing that the same defiance may well be directed at all laws.
There are procedures to be followed in pursuing legal immigration into this country. Admittedly the system is flawed, but with genuine compassionate effort, it can be improved.
As Mr. Hanson wrote, this is a legal and not a racial issue. It should be recognized, labeled and treated as such.Marie Boles
NONPROFIT INTERESTED IN KUKUI GARDENS
An editorial about Kukui Gardens in the April 20 paper states in part that "with more time, a nonprofit could be formed to finance a purchase that could benefit all concerned."
EAH Inc., a nonprofit public benefit corporation that develops, manages and advocates for affordable housing, has been involved with trying to preserve this property since the day the sales advertisement was placed.
We are still working toward that end and now hope that the state will take the necessary action to help us make that a reality.Kevin R. Carney
Vice president, Hawai'i, EAH Inc.
STATE NEEDS TO GET ITS ACT TOGETHER ON FINES
Recently, I got a moving violation ticket. Getting the ticket was the easy part. Paying the ticket was the frustrating part.
I diligently sent in the payment of my fine and my admission of guilt to the state. Four weeks later, I received a notice that due to my lack of response, I was in default and owed the fine within 30 days. I was surprised District Court had not received my payment. I figured it was lost in the mail.
I took time out of my day to visit the traffic infraction payment desk downtown and began to write another check to the District Court. When I informed the clerk that I had already paid this fine, she said matter of factly, "We're behind, it's probably here and we haven't gotten to it yet."
That put me in a very tough position: write a duplicate check, or risk it and hope the state catches up in time before the 30 days was up.
Wanting to clean up my account with the state immediately, I chose to pay the fine and place a stop payment on my original check for a cost of $22, effectively increasing the cost of this infraction 22 percent due to the state's inefficiency.
It makes no sense to me as a taxpayer why it would be acceptable for a traffic fine to sit unopened or uncashed. Further exacerbating the situation is my disgust at having to aid the state with its problem by writing two checks for the same fine.Joshua Stinson
GAS PRICE FOCUS SHOULD BE ON RECORD PROFITS
Your April 18 issue featured a front-page article by Sean Hao on gas prices, noting that gas prices were to rise for the third week in a row — a 40-cent-per-gallon hike in just three weeks. The article then focused on Hawai'i's gas price cap and how the increases undermine the argument for a cap.
What is most disturbing about such coverage, not only by your paper but by the American media in general, is that it omits the huge glut of record profits the giant oil companies are making, and it never deals with the issue of our U.S. government's acquiescence in this enormous gouging of the American public by Big Oil.
Those are the real causes for our escalating price hikes at the gas pump.
I sicken when I ponder how working families must now stretch to cover their commuting costs or give up necessities.
Granted, the gas cap is no great solution — but it did apparently save commuters some money and kept gas prices down somewhat. This is something the so-called "free market" will not do since it is controlled by oil monopolies.
Why is the focus so narrow, focusing just on Hawai'i and our own stop-gap measure and not on what's happening to all the American people courtesy of the oil giants?John Witeck
RISING OIL PRICES
LEGISLATURE MUST ACT ON ENERGY
The April 16 Advertiser editorial, "Isles' energy future on the line at Legislature," was timely and on target. Bipartisan cooperation and an understanding that a progressive energy policy requires innovation and sacrifice from all parties are needed to assure we take advantage of the opportunity for far-reaching change.
To squander this opportunity — at a time when the cost of crude oil has topped $70 a barrel for the first time — would be unconscionable. The imperative for major change has never been greater.
The Hawai'i House and Senate is on the precipice of enacting bold and sweeping legislation that fundamentally alters our state's energy future. Everyone stands to gain from passage of the comprehensive energy bills now, especially Hawai'i's consumers.
Although energy touches virtually every aspect of our lives — from the ringing of an alarm clock in the morning to switching off lights at bedtime — the intricacies of energy markets are difficult to understand. What is not difficult to understand, however, is the impact of ever-increasing electricity and gasoline prices on the public and of fossil fuel emissions on the environment.
Clearly, the people of Hawai'i want their leaders to develop a secure, reliable and fair energy system based on the state's indigenous, renewable resources, including solar power and biofuels.
The strong leadership of Gov. Linda Lingle has moved us forward, as have legislators who advocate for reducing Hawai'i's overdependence on imported oil. These legislators include the energy, environment and consumer affairs chairs of the Legislature, Rep. Hermina Morita, Sen. Kalani English, Rep. Bob Herkes and Sen. Ron Menor, and other legislators, such as Rep. Cynthia Thielen, who have for many years tirelessly advocated a less oil-dependent energy future for Hawai'i.
The Advertiser correctly pointed out that investment in hydrogen and other advanced energy technologies will be crucial for success, as will restructuring of the Public Utilities Commission. Moreover, as supporters of a comprehensive energy package have observed, the state must allocate sufficient resources to implement these changes.
Specifically, we should hire two experts to assist the state in making its facilities more energy efficient, we should allocate $750,000 in new program funding to increase production of renewable electricity and biofuels, and we should invest $10 million to put Hawai'i on the map in terms of hydrogen research.
These are modest investments when the state's energy and economic security is at stake. Let's hope the 2006 legislative session will be seen as the time when senators and representatives went beyond good intentions and took action to ensure a sustainable energy future.
The House and Senate need to move quickly, however, because the Legislature's May 4 closing date is fast approaching.Theodore Liu
Director, state Department of Planning, Economic Development and Tourism