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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 18, 2006

Letters to the Editor



Recently I read about the Israeli-Palestinian couple who are trapped by the enmity that exists in Israel and the West Bank. Jasmin Avissar and Osama Zatar fell in love and got married. As individuals, they have residency in their respective jurisdictions; as a married couple, they are stateless.

Their plight reminds me once again that love is not the purview of government. Never has been. Never will be.

I am also reminded of Jesse Ventura, the former Minnesota governor who was once an opponent of same-sex marriage. When queried by a reporter as to why he now is a supporter of gay-lesbian rights, he responded, "Changed my mind." Recently he made a public statement reflecting this viewpoint: "Love is bigger than government."

Love. It's hard for many of us to define it, but we know what it is when we see it.

Dave Takaki



I am compelled to respond to the May 15 commentary, "Keeping it country can mean keep out."

Twenty years ago, the decision-making government agencies focused on the plantation workers and the unions and ignored the input of the community at large. The latter, in a survey conducted five years earlier by SMS Research, clearly supported the preservation of the rural nature and lifestyle of the Ko'olauloa area.

The communities of Hau'ula, Punalu'u and Ka'a'awa as well as Keep the Country Country Inc., a citizens group for sensible growth, presented arguments warning of negative social and cultural impacts of large resort development on the North Shore of O'ahu.

They also cautioned that such development would have serious effects on the two-lane Kamehameha Highway from Kahuku to Kahalu'u and Kahuku to Hale'iwa. They were concerned about impacts on the water supply, on the shoreline and on educational, health, police, fire and emergency services. They were concerned not only for Kahuku but for all the communities from Kahalu'u through the North Shore.

Today, the lifestyle of not only our "new friends and neighbors" but of our families in Ko'olauloa who go back many generations is being threatened. The monetary value placed on real estate is making it more difficult for our people to remain here.

Other developments on Maui, Hawai'i and Kaua'i have been displacing the people of those lands. These areas have new communities with replacement populations.

We should not let this happen in Ko'olauloa.

Creighton Ualani Mattoon Sr.
President, Punalu'u Community Association



How disappointing, but not surprising, to learn that Sen. Akaka has already avoided a debate with Rep. Case. For those who remember his only real challenge some years ago, he ducked three debates with Pat Saiki, and we never did get to hear him.

Instead of running on incumbency and his famous name, let's hope Sen. Akaka will have the integrity to debate the issues with Rep. Case so we can make an informed electoral choice. But I won't be holding my breath we ever get to hear the Phantom Senator this election season.

Mark Stitham



The article giving voice to the many naysayers on the amount of money appropriated by the state Legislature to deal with the issues of homelessness and affordable housing seems premature.

We can never do enough, from government at all levels, to church groups and various social service organizations, to each of us individually, until the problem of homelessness has been completely resolved in our state.

There are many excellent programs in our community that have been serving the needs of those struggling. They all deserve our continued support and assistance. But, alone, they have not been enough to solve the problems we face.

We need more and we need new and innovative ways to cope with the problems of the homeless members of our community.

"The Next Step" shelter, established by the state on May 1, is one major and positive move in the right direction. The $15 million in grants awarded by the Legislature to homeless service providers, while not enough to solve the problems, is a major "next step" in the right direction. The groups receiving these grants need time to put their plans in place and make things happen. Then, we can properly evaluate their efforts.

Patrick J. Luby
Chairman, H-5 Board of Directors (Helping Hawai'i's Hungry Have Hope)



Councilman Charles Djou is on the right track regarding giving "taggers" a blank canvas to work on. I just feel we can do a lot more:

  • Taggers should automatically be fined $2,500, or the cost of liability insurance and supplies to have them (taggers) repaint the walls or buildings.

  • Make it mandatory that taggers work a full 40-hour week for a first offense to repaint the walls.

    With this scenario, the taxpayers wouldn't have to pay for the cleanup. The state and city wouldn't be using their manpower.

    This hard labor would make these people think twice about how it feels to be the person who would normally have to clean up their mess.

    Gail Danuser



    The senators who are trying to block the hearing of the Akaka bill know that once the bill gets to be heard on the Senate floor, a lot of information about Hawai'i's political history that has been hidden will be revealed. The bill will stir an international debate on American foreign policy.

    One thing is absolutely certain: The issue of the illegal annexation of Hawai'i via a joint resolution will surface.

    Patriotic fanatics like the senators who oppose the bill cannot think rationally because they are brainwashed by their government and expansionism. Like most Americans, they cannot accept the truth about the dark side of U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. broke its own treaties and overthrew the governments of Hawai'i, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines in the late 19th century.

    The Akaka bill is no different from the Pratt amendment, instigated by Congress during the McKinley administration, that gave Cubans permission to rule themselves as long as they allowed the U.S. to veto any decisions they made.

    Although I am totally against the Akaka bill, I would like the bill to be heard in the Senate and the House so the truth about the illegal annexation of Hawai'i will be revealed to the gullible, brainwashed American public.

    Eric Po'ohina



    Tim Hamilton is certainly Sen. Ron Menor's soul mate when it comes to the gas cap. In a long-winded piece for The Advertiser on Monday, Mr. Hamilton makes a series of false and misleading statements, trying vainly to defend Hawai'i's recently suspended gas cap like the old standby phrase, "Prices go up but never come down."

    On the same morning, NBC's "Today Show" reported the national average for gasoline was $2.93 (according to AAA). The photo in the Hamilton article shows a Shell station in Honolulu at $2.96 (Hawai'i gas taxes are about 20 cents higher than the national average).

    I was in San Francisco over the weekend, where I paid $3.67 for regular. On Monday, the AAA reported the San Francisco average as $3.36 and the California average as $3.38. Yet, Mr. Hamilton insists the loss of the gas cap is a disaster for Hawai'i consumers. Really?

    Mr. Hamilton also says there was a clear rationale for the "new formula" Sen. Menor tried unsuccessfully to push. As was the case throughout the legislative session, Sen. Menor and now Mr. Hamilton cannot provide a clear explanation for proposing to remove such obvious import costs as transportation.

    Instead, they try to deflect the debate to whether or not Singapore should have been included as a source.

    Even on that diversionary subject, Mr. Hamilton's reasoning is that Singapore was chosen because "it is the primary market used for index pricing of petroleum products in the Pacific." This, even though no gasoline has ever been imported to Hawai'i from Singapore, that the quality of Singapore gasoline would not even be usable in Hawai'i and that no retail gasoline price anywhere in the U.S. has ever been directly linked to Singapore.

    Mr. Hamilton is the only adviser Sen. Menor has ever mentioned to support this discredited "new formula." So, who is this guy? And where was he in 2003-2005 when the gas cap was being conceived and passed? Well, he is a former gas station dealer in Washington state who publishes a newsletter to dealers in that state and who comments and testifies on gas prices whenever and wherever he can. He does not live in Hawai'i and, as far as I can tell, has never had any business here.

    In fact, it appears he just comes down here to testify and communicates with Sen. Menor when needed.

    In other words, he is a convenient, distant supporter of the gas cap who cannot be questioned directly.

    I have no problem with that until such people start representing themselves as "expert consultants." Hawai'i's consumers deserve more than unsupported opinions in important lawmaking.

    Brian Barbata



    Regarding the May 13 letter from Sam Aiona, "GOP is grand old party for Native Hawaiians, too": I concur with the success that Micah Kane and Gov. Lingle have had in bringing more Hawaiians to participate in the Hawaiian Homes program.

    I welcome and commend Gov. Lingle for publicly supporting federal recognition of the political status of Native Hawaiians, as all major Hawai'i politicians have done. Her leadership and visibility are important.

    However, she publicly and conspicuously claimed during the election that her access to and affiliations with national Republican leaders would count in the effort to pass the Akaka bill. That claim was targeted to attract support from Hawaiians who relied on it to vote for her.

    That representation has simply not borne fruit. The position on this issue of a Republican governor has meant nothing to the Bush administration or to certain Republican members of the U.S. Senate (Kyl of Arizona, Alexander of Tennessee) who have led the opposition to the Akaka bill.

    The truth is that national Republican leaders lay at the heart of the opposition and haven't changed their positions, despite Gov. Lingle's prior claim of access to and affinity with President Bush and his administration.

    The truth is that it was his appointments to the formerly bipartisan U.S. Civil Rights Commission who recently brought the roof down on the Akaka bill. The truth is that the commission, without even the courtesy of prior consultation, disrespected its own Hawai'i advisory committee, which had reached the opposite conclusion and advised the commission to support federal recognition for Native Hawaiians in 2001.

    As a member of that committee for over 20 years, I was shocked by this unprecedented refusal to accept our recommendations. It has never happened to us before.

    Attempting to deflect attention from this national agenda of the Republican Party by pointing to actions of local Republican politicians, Mr. Aiona misses the crucial point: The buck stops with the Republican Party in Washington and President Bush in particular. Mr. Bush has never publicly supported the Akaka bill, despite Gov. Lingle's urging.

    Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr.
    Pukalani, Maui