LET'S ELECT THOSE WHO WILL DO THE JOB
It's very frustrating that the state House majority essentially flip-flopped and hid behind a voice vote to "indefinitely postpone action" on the civil unions bill. It's interesting that, despite a worsening economy, the House didn't postpone action on voting itself a raise last session. Now we are paying our representatives handsomely to vote to not vote.
When election time comes, we citizens won't have the option to "indefinitely postpone action." It might be good if we did. If we didn't vote anyone into the House, perhaps a unicameral Senate could make decisions and get things done. And the money saved would easily end furlough Fridays with plenty left over to reduce the state deficit.
We don't always agree with how our representatives vote, but when an important, long-debated issue comes before them, we expect them to at least vote.
Ask your representative if he or she voted to "postpone action." Let's postpone reelecting those who are afraid to do their jobs, and replace them with someone who can form an opinion and vote accordingly.
BRUCE ELLINWOOD | Käneohe
LINGLE'S CRITICISM OF OBAMA UNJUSTIFIED
This is in response to the article "Lingle slams Obama on terror" (Jan. 29).
First, it is the actions of the Bush administration that have in large measure forced the Obama administration to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian criminal court. By dismissing the rule of law and the Geneva Conventions as an inconvenient obstacle, exploiting what it thought was a "law-free zone" and subjecting detainees to inhumane treatment and torture, Guantanamo is the best propaganda al-Qaida could ever have hoped for. To avoid handing al-Qaida another propaganda victory, the trial must be legitimate.
Second, the 9/11 attacks were an act of war and a heinous crime; the two are not mutually exclusive. And the perpetrators of 9/11 were criminals, not warriors — they killed 3,000 innocents. Both acts of terrorism and war crimes can be tried in civilian federal courts. Indeed the War Crimes Act provides jurisdiction in civilian courts for just such crimes. The rules of evidence in military and civilian courts are similar, ad hoc military commissions do provide greater leeway by allowing hearsay. However, putting someone to death on hearsay would raise serious constitutional questions in either venue.
DEBORAH A. LUCKETT | Honolulu
WE SHOULD DIRECT FUNDS TO DLNR
While I support legislative efforts to protect our endangered monk seals, obviously much work remains to be done. Laws, without adequate funding for implementation, are merely an empty gesture. I would suggest that the significant cuts to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources will do more harm to the seal population than any impending public education efforts. A fishing license of some sort levied with all the funds directed toward our conservation agency would be a hundred times more effective. Those who take from the sea rightly should share in its protection.
WILLIAM HAMBARO | Mäkaha
BUY AMERICAN TO HELP THE ECONOMY
It was reported that Ford has re-hired 1,200 people in its South Chicago plant. Here we go: our American car company, Ford, hiring people here in the U.S.A.
Why? Because people are buying Fords. Good cars, Fords. I have one. How easy is it to buy an American car? Pretty darn easy. Seems to me this is a simple way to spark job creation; buy products made here.
I wonder how many Tea Party members drive an American car while they are whining about everything the president is trying to do to fix the economy?
BARBARA LOVE | Kailua, Kona, Hawaii
HARVESTING IS HURTING OUR REEFS
The deaths of 610 reef fish subsequently dumped at Honokohau Harbor are a silent testimonial against the commercial taking of living reef fish (millions of them) from Hawaiian waters for the purpose of interior decorating in homes and offices around the world. Do Hawaii residents realize that this unsustainable harvesting is occurring?
This practice is detrimental to those who fish for food. Fish that the aquarium industry considers "ornamental" have critical roles to play on our reefs — among them reducing algal growth, promoting coral growth and providing food for larger predatory fish.
Where is the outcry from fishermen who have noticed a decline in the health of their fishing grounds? The tourism industry is crying out; why not fishermen?
Until Hawaii residents raise their voices and let our legislators and resource protectors know that we will not condone commercial harvesting of fish for ornamental reasons, this will go on every day on every island. And whether we find the fish in dumpsters or whether they are quietly shipped thousands of miles away, the results will continue to be evident on our reefs for all to see.
PAULINE FIENE | Kíhei, Maui