Letters to the Editor
LIFE ON EARTH
GIVE ME THAT NEWLY DISCOVERED PLANET
Astronomers using a telescope on the summit of Maui's Haleakala have discovered a planet, named XO-1b, that is almost as large as Jupiter and orbiting a star about 600 light-years from Earth.
Discoveries of planets orbiting stars is happening at an ever-increasing rate. I wonder if there are intelligent beings there, living in peace and harmony with each other? Are we the the only ones constantly fighting, blowing each other up, shooting each other to death, ripping each other off and otherwise permanently destroying our home planet?
This universe is so vast that our brains cannot even contemplate its true size. Furthermore, it boggles the mind that there are billions of human beings who truly believe that our universe, with the extreme likelihood of life existing virtually everywhere, was created simply for us.
This seems so very self-centered to me. I want to go live on XO-1b.Michael Lauck
NATIVE HAWAIIANS ARE SOVEREIGN PEOPLE
What is it about these people who keep regurgitating the same old spiel about the Akaka bill being discriminatory and race-based favoring the Native Hawaiians?
They claim the bill violates the Fifth, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution and that at the time of the overthrow in 1893, more than half of the people in the Hawaiian Islands were non-natives, and their exclusion, because of their national origin and race, is discriminatory.
They speak without regard for the history of these Islands. That history and the Native Hawaiian issue begins with the first people to settle and inhabit these Islands — the Native Hawaiians. This bestowed upon them the indigenous rights to the land, further bestowing upon them their undisputed sovereign status of independent, all-supreme power and authority in Hawai'i.
This is exactly akin to the Japanese first settling Japan and becoming indigenous and sovereign in Japan, the Chinese in China, the Swedes in Sweden, the Russians in Russia, etc.
During the overthrow of 1893, the queen acquiesced to save her people from inevitable bloodshed. A century later, the sovereign people of these Islands are now attempting to right the wrong of the overthrow of their sovereign nation.
Therefore, this is not a race-based discriminatory action but rather a political action to restore and make whole a sovereign people and their nation.
The Akaka bill, although not the total answer, is a start that will hopefully bring fairness, justice and closure for the Native Hawaiians.Hank McKeague
CHEVRON UNGRATEFUL FOR GAS CAP DEMISE
Well, Chevron, the lawmakers of Hawai'i have bent to appease you by eliminating that pesky gas cap. And to show us your gratitude, you have now suspended your asphalt-production capability.
My personal boycott of you began months ago, but I think you are giving good reason for many more to join me.
Thank you, Tesoro, for stepping up production capacity to fill the need. I like you so much I am going to buy all my gas from you.K. Sheffield
DAM SAFETY PROGRAM BUDGET WAS GUTTED
If the state had funded the Hawai'i Dam Safety Program with the money it has spent only on repairs for Kaloko-related damage to Kuhio Highway, all dams in the state could have been inspected and seven innocent people might not have died.
Instead, the budget of the program has been gutted, resulting in basically no dams in the state being inspected until after the disaster. Kaloko had not been inspected since the late 1980s.
While computer models may predict water levels, the only way to prevent this type of disaster is for the state to enforce the existing laws, which require the reservoir owner to maintain the dam, with records showing such, and for the state to inspect the dam and records every five years. This is the law.
The creation of new flood maps, while helpful in future land-use decisions, will have little to no affect on the safety of those who have already built below a reservoir above the "normal" flood line if the dam of that reservoir is not properly maintained by the owner and inspected by the state.
It is time for the agency officials responsible for inspecting dams and protecting the people of Hawai'i from man-made disasters such as the Kaloko Dam breach to get out of their offices and perform their law-mandated duty.Robert Wolaver and Michelle Carroll
Wailapa Stream, Kilauea, Kaua'i
TAKE CARE TO AVOID BACKING-UP MISHAPS
Lately, I have noticed a lot of slightly damaged vehicles. My new car is one of them. But what can we expect with the large number of cars on O'ahu?
Backing-up mishaps don't cause much damage, but do cause a lot of trouble — police reports, insurance claims, lost time and, if your luck is bad, a personal injury: a small child or an elderly person who may be hit or run over.
Backing-up accidents can happen anywhere, but often happen in the parking lots where large vehicles park close to one side of a space or park in spaces reserved for small cars. There is a shortage of parking spaces so, to some drivers, a space is a space and they chance parking there. Close quarters is where minor damage is likely to occur.
In such instances, be careful — get out of your vehicle and take a real good look before backing up.Le Roy J. Henry
SYMPHONY HAS PRICED US OUT OF ATTENDING
I'm happy that the Honolulu Symphony is going to receive support from the Legislature; it needs it. On the other hand, I am angry that the Symphony is willing to alienate people like me by pricing us out of the experience we have been enjoying for many years as season ticket-holders and as faithful contributors.
What used to cost my husband and me about $40 a performance will now cost about $120. We believe that music is best heard from the balcony, but now we will not be able to sit where we want, in seats we can easily afford. With the new pricing, what used to be the cheapest seats are now among the most expensive.
Why is the Symphony doing this? Could it be that management finally realizes that the balcony is the best place to hear symphonic music and has adjusted the price accordingly? Or, could it be that it has decided to empty the balcony in order to fill the orchestra?
If the latter, shouldn't more effort be made to really fill the hall rather than just give the impression that the hall is full?
Along with other balcony dwellers with whom we have discussed this situation, we will be sitting out next season rather than sitting in the orchestra.Jean Toyama
HO'OKENA DELIVERED A GREAT PERFORMANCE
Friday evening at the Hawai'i Theatre was one of those rare occasions when everything came together. Ho'okena delivered a performance that was richly satisfying on multiple dimensions, "a performance that invited one to drink deeply and be sated."
Perhaps it was the transparent grace of all who came on stage. The curtains opened on the foursome against a spectacular backdrop of moonlight on water. But the steady light throughout the evening was clearly the light of musicians who had made music together for 20 years — who seemed to draw their songs from a life of intimate connectedness to those who came before them, to mentors and friends, and to each other.
The informed commentary of Manu Boyd was a mixture of good, sometimes self-deprecating humor, community lore and the confidence that comes from, among other things, having been nominated for a Grammy in 2005.
Boyd provided brief, welcome instruction at different points in the program to the many ways in which Hawaiians express their love of the land. He spoke of moonlight and water and of the many names for rain, each known by what it does to the land.
Like the rain, the hula dancers and in particular the fluidly elegant Nani Dudoit were an intermittent, modulating, visual feast: in color, in costume, in movement, in conveying the sense that there was nothing stagey or contrived about dances that clearly were the result of years of practice and devotion to their art.Dawn Morais Webster
REMEMBER HOW DEMS BLEW IT ON THE GAS CAP
The gas cap law was a bad law from start to finish. The Democrats forced it on us.
When prices went down a few cents, they bragged how the cap was working. When they went up, usually in double digits, they blamed it on the Public Utilities Commission, not understanding how it was supposed to work, or blamed Big Oil, or pointed a finger at whatever else they thought might convince consumers it was somehow a good idea.
But despite the public outcry and the facts in hand, Democrats did not have the courage to repeal the law. They instead voted to suspend it. And they abdicated all responsibility for their bad law by giving the final decision whether or not to reinstate the cap to the governor.
This blatant example of partisan politics is just business as usual for the Democrats. The Republicans do good for the people of Hawai'i, and we should have more of them in the Legislature. This is an election year. We should remember how the Democrats continue to work against the people of Hawai'i when we vote.Herman Robinson
GRAFFITI EDUCATION WOULD WORK
When the 'Ewa Elementary School fifth-grade class came to the Capitol this year on a field trip, and I asked the students, "What laws would you introduce if you were a legislator?" Their responses were mostly focused on ways to get rid of graffiti.
I am encouraged to read that two of their suggestions, an anti-graffiti camera and a graffiti bounty, were also being lauded by Councilman Charles Djou in his May 19 letter to The Advertiser.
The Advertiser's May 15 editorial covered efforts by the city of San Antonio to combat graffiti. To augment that effort here, I introduced House Concurrent Resolution 20 this past session that goes one step further.
Since the average age of the graffiti criminal is between 14 to 16, per HPD's statistics, I wanted to incorporate a message directly to that age group by urging the Department of Education to coordinate educational presentations to all students entering the ninth grade on the economic, environmental, criminal and social costs of graffiti.
I lobbied my colleagues to schedule the resolution for a hearing, but both the House and Senate leaders in education would not hear it. The 'Ewa Neighborhood Board voted unanimously to support the resolution, and favorable remarks came from the Waipahu Neighborhood Board as well.
The Department of Transportation estimates that it spends approximately $25,000 to paint over 150,000 square feet of graffiti each year. Per Act 187 from last year's legislative session, getting caught for the third time in a five-year period may result in a misdemeanor and a $2,000 fine. If the DOT expends more resources this year and the next to eradicate graffiti, it will substantiate that the deterrent of a $2,000 fine and a misdemeanor conviction is laughable.
These graffiti vandals should be taught that the dyes used in the paints, spray paints and markers used in defacing property represent an environmental pollutant, especially when the chemical products end up mixed into runoff water that finds its way into drains and waterways, thus creating a health hazard for Hawai'i's people.
These same students should be apprised that their own taxpaying parents will continue to pay taxes to combat illegal acts of graffiti until it stops.
My initiative for a graffiti-awareness program was to include presentations within the classroom from relevant groups and agencies on the negative consequences of committing a single act of graffiti. For the House and Senate Education Committee chairs to not hear the merits of the resolution is disheartening.
Even the fifth-grade students of 'Ewa Elementary School were looking forward to the instruction when they became of age. Many thought the educational aspect to deter graffiti would impress their peers to cease and desist.Rep. Rida Cabanilla
D-42nd (Waipahu, Honouliuli, 'Ewa)