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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, October 28, 2006

Letters to the Editor

CLEAN ELECTIONS

MOVIE MIRRORS REALITY OF LOBBYISTS' INFLUENCE

"Man of the Year" just came out. While the movie wasn't the greatest, I did enjoy the political aspects of the movie.

What Robin Williams' character (Dobbs) did was explain how things usually worked politically. Candidates get money for campaigns from lobbyists, and if elected, they owe favors to lobbyists, which affects their policymaking. This is true in the real world as much as it is in that movie.

Dobbs' points about education not improving, and quality of life being poor for some people, are because the people in office don't seem to care about social issues, because they're too busy taking care of the special interest groups who paid for their campaigns.

So what's the point? There needs to be change. People in office have to be accountable, and they have to be responsible for the welfare of their constituents.

So how does this change happen? There's a bill that's going to be introduced in the 2007 Legislative session called the "Clean Elections" bill. The idea is to take private money out of politics and to let the people in office work without any obligations to companies and lobbyists.

JOHN COLE | 'EWA BEACH

OLD BUS FLEET

COUNTRY BUS RIDERS DESERVE EQUAL SERVICES

The city Department of Transportation Services, with the approval of the Hannemann Administration and the city Transportation Commission, have been providing rural O'ahu bus riders with inferior and older buses.

When the city purchases new buses, they are immediately given to the Middle Street bus facility, and then the older buses there are given to the Pearl City facility.

Why are country bus riders given the hand-me-downs? We pay the same amount of taxes or more as the folks in Honolulu; why are we treated like second-class citizens?

It is time for the city administration to wake up and recognize that residents from all parts of O'ahu should be treated equally.

David Bohn
Wahiawa

SECULAR STATE NEEDED

SHIITE LEADERS CAN'T BRING STABILITY TO IRAQ

No matter how you prop up a straw man, he is still a straw man. The U.S. dependence on Maliki's Shiite government to bring peace to Iraq is like a hen sitting on a china egg, expecting it to hatch. He has neither the intent nor the ability to cut a deal with the Sunnis.

It is late, but not too late, for us to impose an American regent over the elected Iraq government to steer the course toward an accommodation with the Sunnis and the Kurds, creating a secular state, with a guarantee of religious freedom in the constitution.

If we had done this earlier, we would not be faced with armed opposition from Muqtada al Sadr's 20,000 man militia; but I'm sure that our troops can make quick work of him. At least they will know what they are fighting for.

This is how the mullahs who control Iran do it. It's time that we took a page out of the Quran to establish our presence. Keep the elected government, but establish a higher power by force of arms in order to achieve our desired end.

When Sen. Jay Rockefeller says publicly that the Iraqi people were better off under Saddam Hussein than they are as a result of our invasion, it's time for a drastic change of course for the U.S. of A.

Harry Boranian
Lihu'e, Kaua'i

MISLEADING

TAX CREDITS DEPICTED AS GIVEAWAY PROGRAM

I'm disappointed in the headline of the article Sean Hao wrote regarding Hawai'i tax credits for technology ("Tech tax credits could cost $1B," Oct. 24). Though the headline did grab the eye, I think it also inserted a significant bias into the article that hurt its credibility as good journalism.

Instead of drawing attention to the argument of transparency of the tax credits, the headline seemed to mostly imply that a billion-dollar giveaway was in progress.

With that kind of headline, it seems to me that this article should have been in the opinion section, rather than the business section and on the front page.

Robert Bruce Carleton
Honolulu

PROTECT ENVIRONMENT

MOVING STRYKERS WON'T BAR ARMY FROM ISLES

Both William Cole ("Strykers keep rolling," Oct. 12) and Rudy Yap (Letters, Oct. 20) miss the mark when they suggest the recent court ruling on the Stryker brigade is part of an effort to push the Army from the state.

The question was whether, to comply with the law, the Army had to consider stationing Strykers in other places, where the Army could still accomplish its national defense mission, but with less cultural and environmental damage.

The court ruled it did, welcome news to those concerned about protecting irreplaceable Native Hawaiian cultural sites, critically imperiled plants and animals, and fragile native ecosystems.

If the Army, after considering its options, decides to station Strykers elsewhere, that would not mean the Army would leave Hawai'i. Rather, the Army has made clear its soldiers would continue to train here as a light infantry brigade, as they have for decades.

Any decision to cut Army forces in Hawai'i would require a separate analysis, which would address Mr. Yap's economic concerns. Notably, in 1995, when the Army moved an entire brigade from Hawai'i to Fort Lewis, Wash., it concluded the impacts to our economy were insignificant.

You can't make rational decisions about what type of military presence is appropriate for Hawai'i unless you have all the relevant facts. The court's ruling makes sure we finally get that information. That's good news for everyone.

David Henkin
Staff attorney, Earthjustice

SIERRA CLUB

POLITICS TRUMPS ALL

Only one conclusion can be drawn from the Sierra Club's decision to endorse Dan Akaka (who voted to drill in ANWR) over Cynthia Thielen: The Sierra Club doesn't care about the environment, they only care about gaining political clout.

If you really care about the environment, quit supporting the Sierra Club send your donations to an organization with some credibility.

Jim Henshaw
Kailua