Letters to the Editor
SAVE KAWELA BAY FROM DEVELOPMENT
The city needs to put its foot down on overdevelopment along our coastlines and promote public beach access, but more importantly, to preserve our island's beaches and its beauty.
Save Pupukea, Save Kaka'ako, Save Waimea Valley and now — Save Kawela Bay? What's next?
If future development should continue, what will our children, grandchildren and future kanaka maoli have? Nothing. These developers see only dollar signs.
Every winter surf season, contest directors of each professional surfing event must submit an application to the city Parks Department requesting contest holding period dates. On the application, you need to put a statement on how your event will adhere to traffic and safety issues on the North Shore. Well, isn't this development of 3,500 units that Turtle Bay is foreseeing and the city possibly allowing calling the kettle black?
Let's come to our senses and keep the country country.Mahina Chillingworth
Hui 'O He'e Nalu
ONE SENATOR STANDS AGAINST CAP REPEAL
It is truly amazing what our legislators will do when you're not watching. They just don't seem to care what anyone thinks unless it might be positioned for the next election.
With the House attempting to repeal the gas cap law, Sen. Ron Menor simply says he's not going to hear the bill. How can this be reasonable representation? How can so many representatives be wrong and one senator be right? Not to mention the many other senators supporting repeal.
So the House bill will die, and the gas cap will continue to pick your pocket.
At the same time, other legislators are quietly shoving through a bill that would give oil companies up to $75 million in tax credits to build fuel storage that is not needed and not economical and not even on O'ahu. All this piled on top of existing laws that prevent gas station owners from selling their stations, requires pointless alcohol to be mixed with gasoline and artificially controls gas station rents. When will this meddling with our gasoline supply end?
The Federal Trade Commission has said that Hawai'i's biggest gasoline problem is over-regulation. But some legislators still seem to think they can win the next election by passing laws that they can claim are in the best interests of consumers. The estimates for the cost of the gas cap law to Hawai'i drivers so far range from $20 million to $50 million. Now maybe we will fund tax credits of $75 million. And then millions in subsidies and tax credits for alcohol.
It all eventually comes out of our pockets. How dumb do they think we are?Brian Barbata
MERCHANT MARINE MUST BE PROTECTED
This is in response to April Ambard's March 6 letter suggesting we should do away with the Jones Act. Our Merchant Marine fleet has been and always will be of vital importance to the security of this country.
If April Ambard wants to sell out our country's Merchant Marine fleet to cheap and dangerously unreliable foreign flag ships, then perhaps she should move to Europe and use the money she saves on her "cruises" to buy herself a clue.Louis C. Scull II
KAMEHAMEHA SHOULD BE ON STATE QUARTER
Recently while sitting around our dining room table I started talking to my wife and my sister about the various discussions going on regarding the state quarter. My haole wife says to me, "Babe, there should be no discussion. The only person they should put on the state quarter is King Kamehameha the Great, just like the statue."
In other words, King Kamehameha the Great in full regalia. What better way to honor our ali'i than by putting him on a coin of the United States of America. It would be a crying shame if anything else but Kamehameha ended up on our state quarter.
In your Feb. 26 article "Hawai'i chipping in its two bits worth," Jonathan Johnson, chairman for the Hawai'i Commemorative Quarter Advisory Commission, said "the challenge is how to convey something unique about Hawai'i in this one-inch little spot." Hey, Mr. Johnson, Hawai'i is the only state in the Union that can claim a monarchy.
I implore all Hawaiians, Hawaiian civic clubs, Hawaiians at heart and citizens of Hawai'i nei to petition our governor to submit only King Kamehameha the Great — period. And, all of us should petition our Washington delegation to use its influence with the U.S. Mint to put our ali'i on our state quarter.Art Frank
PROPERTY TAX OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY
The city's budget is not related to the cost of a home on O'ahu. The city's irresponsible and misguided money grab is criminal.
Taxes should be based on either commercial or residential usable square footage. O'ahu residents and businesses should be charged on the area they occupy, not today's inflated market price.
It is time to make our tax system transparent. It is time for our backward system to right itself and make real progress. It is time to become engaged in our government and throw self-interested and out-of-touch city councilors to the curb.Ryan Thornton
COUNCIL REDEFINED THE TERM 'INCOME'
A recent article in The Advertiser on property tax relief passed by the City Council stated that residents earning less than $50,000 would receive a reduction in the amount owed. The term "income" is not defined in the bill.
Most would assume that Hawai'i income would be measured as line 20 in Hawai'i state tax form N11, "Hawai'i AGI." But apparently the council has created a new definition for the term "income," adding in everything that is not an outright gift from another party. Amounts such as earned income credit, Social Security, disability payments, veterans compensation, etc. are all included in the term "income."
If this was the intent of the council, then there is not much relief in this bill for those who need it most.Michael Dwyer
ARREST WARRANT MESS MUST BE CLEANED UP
What an eye-opening series on the failure of our criminal justice system here in Hawai'i. Staff writers Ken Kobayashi and Jim Dooley are to be commended for these shocking revelations on arrest warrants.
This appalling lack of follow-up by the Prosecutor's Office and the Sheriff's Department is absolutely outrageous and begs for a serious review by appropriate city and state agencies.
No wonder we see repeat offenders with 50 or more convictions pillaging our neighborhoods, openly peddling drugs on the streets and breaking into cars at scenic areas. No wonder the morale at the HPD is low. Our police officers are out on the streets trying to do their jobs, and the perps are out the next day continuing their careers, secure in the knowledge that they don't have to worry about warrants.
Our local politicians sure can talk a good story at election time, but they've sure dropped the ball on this issue. A three-strikes law for Hawai'i? You bet! And while we're at it, how about including more resources to get this warrant mess cleaned up?Robert Dusendschon
NOT SOUND SCIENCE
FISHERY MEASURES ARE A CATCH-22
Fishing is an important part of our cultural heritage and our island way of life. And as anyone who has spent time in Hawaiian waters knows, that way of life is seriously threatened, not by state regulation, but by a precipitous decline in Hawai'i's near-shore fisheries.
In fact, scientists estimate that our near-shore fisheries are merely one-quarter of what they were only 100 years ago.
Reversing this trend is in everyone's best interest. Yet two bills recently debated at the Legislature would take away the state's ability to create marine management areas to restore fish populations, thereby eliminating a proven tool for restoring our reefs and replenishing fish supplies.
On the surface, House Bills 2881 and 2587 appeared simply to require sound science before any management action is taken. However, the "scientific standards" required in these bills are not sound science at all, but would require such an unattainable level of assessment as to create artificial, insurmountable obstacles to effective management.
We are pleased that Chairman Ezra Kanoho and members of the House Water, Land and Ocean Resources Committee held House Bill 2881 and amended House Bill 2587 to reflect more accurately the need for reasonable scientific assessment, adequate enforcement and stakeholder collaboration in marine management.
Some in Hawai'i don't like marine reserves — areas that are set aside to replenish fish populations. But in 80 countries around the world, science has shown that these reserves increase the size and abundance of fish populations both inside and outside of the reserves.
Effective reserves must provide true refuges for fish that allow them to grow to full reproductive maturity and continually replenish the reef. Yet in Waikiki, while fish come back to the reserve on the years that it is closed to fishing, they are immediately fished out when it is reopened, before they are old enough or large enough to reproduce.
In those places where reserves have worked most effectively, their strongest advocates have been local communities of fishermen who have experienced the benefits of increased fish populations firsthand. We want Hawai'i's people to experience that, too.
Healthy reefs and fisheries have many economic, environmental and cultural benefits. We all have a stake in their future. We should not be divided by legislation, but united by our mutual interest in ensuring that Hawai'i's reefs can continue to provide us with fish — to catch, to eat, to watch and to thrive now and into the future.Suzanne Case
Hawai'i executive director, The Nature Conservancy
PROTEST RULES ARE TOO RIGID BUT MESSAGE IS IMPORTANT
Auwe! Auwe! Auwe! Yesterday as I was driving out of Nanakuli, I noticed a group of people wearing black T-shirts, holding signs and waving in protest against the proposed landfill on the Wai'anae Coast.
I couldn't help but feel that I should be there waving with them, so on the way back into Nanakuli, I stopped and asked if I could wave with them the next day.
The woman in charge of this group replied, "We don't have any more T-shirts."
I told her that I did not need a shirt and I still wanted to help.
She said, "Oh no, I am very particular about my group."
"So you are saying that I can't wave without a shirt like yours?" I asked.
"Yes, you have to have a shirt," she replied.
I told her I thought that if we had more people waving, the protest would be more effective.
"It's not about quantity, it's about quality," she responded.
I just shook my head, threw my hands in the air and left. As I reflect on that encounter, I question the logic behind this mentality. Was it because I look haole? Was it because she just had a control issue? I still do not understand why she would not welcome more support; however, I did come away feeling that false pride can be blinding and debilitating.
We need to get involved and fight for our rights as a community to put an end to the crippling cycle of oppression that has plagued this community for generations. We are just as worthy and deserving as people in Hawai'i Kai, Kailua or anywhere else, and we must fight for our rights.
We are not the dumping grounds for this island.
P.S. The next day, Feb. 28, I drove past the spot where they were waving and I noticed a Hawaiian man and a little boy who were not wearing the black uniform shirt. I guess it wasn't the shirt color that did not allow me to join the group, it was my skin color. Auwe!Leiali'i Nae'ole