COACH WAS A CALM, INFLUENTIAL PRESENCE
Every once in a while a light goes out in the universe and we don't realize how much we needed and appreciated that light until it is gone.
Such is the passing of "Mr. Iolani," Eddie Hamada.
All of the great accolades will be written — and have been written — by the Iolani grads and those who played for him, including our mayor. The Advertiser's Wes Nakama did a wonderful story.
But these really don't capture the measure of the man, because when you were in the coach's presence, you felt special, appreciated, calm, comfortable, safe and understood — all rolled into one. He was always on your side. There was just something undefinable about him, some quality that said everything was OK when you were with him.
I felt that way and I didn't even go to Iolani!
I knew Mr. Hamada initially through the media and then as a friend and as I look around now, I know that the world has become a slightly darker place.
So long, Eddie. We will all miss you.
CHIP DAVEY | Honolulu
LINGLE FAILS TO SET SPENDING PRIORITIES
The legislators and our leading economists are correct in criticizing Gov. Lingle's across-the-board cuts (Advertiser, Jan. 6). Gov. Lingle has employed an ax rather than a scalpel in cutting the state budget.
Cutting education days for our school children has been shown to be a national disgrace, and all the while we spend precious resources regulating massage therapists, beauty instructors, naturopathic practitioners, pest control operators and a myriad of other nonessential government activities. Where are her priorities?
Worse yet she passes up a modest increase in our tax structure.
We are in a crisis situation, yet the governor continues chanting the now senseless Republican mantra, "no new taxes."
JOE GEDAN | Honolulu
NATURAL SITES SHOULD KEEP ORIGINAL NAMES
In response to naming Länai Lookout or other areas after President Barack Obama, should we not instead be remembering and using the Hawaiian names originally given to these places?
Many Hawaiian names have been lost or are not used today due to renaming by others.
In east Honolulu alone, there is Hawaii Kai(ser) for Maunalua, Portlock for Kawaihoa, Mariners Ridge for Kaluanui, and the list goes on. If people are uncomfortable with the Hawaiian names, maybe they can familiarize themselves with the Hawaiian language. Hälona, Kahauloa or other true Hawaiian name for this section of coastline just needs to be found and used again.
Hawaii is unique, and we should retain this uniqueness by using Hawaiian names.
Also, the ashes of many inspirational people have been laid to rest in the ocean. Consider maybe naming a building or some other man-made object after the president, but not Hawaii's natural features and locations.
KIMO FRANKLIN | Maunalua[0x0b]
PUBLIC OFFICIALS MUST TAKE ACTION
I applaud those courageous state legislators who want a total ban on fireworks, since the current system has proved a complete failure. But as much as I support it, I have doubts about the effectiveness of a total ban and hope that legislators and the general public will ask some hard questions.
Why has the Honolulu Police Department not vigorously enforced the laws that are already on the books, especially to curtail the amount of illegal fireworks by arresting suppliers? Given the scale, intensity and duration of the lawlessness, does anyone believe that the arrest of one person for fireworks violations constitute a serious law enforcement effort?
More importantly, why is Mayor Hanneman absent from public view and not taking ownership of this safety and quality of life issue? Our mayor's silence speaks volumes.
As we learned from New Year's Eve and the days, weeks and months leading up to it, laws are of little or no value if elected and appointed officials have neither the desire, imagination nor the resolve to use the tools at their disposal to enforce the law.
PHIL VALENTI | Käneohe
PRIVATE SHOWS SERVE PURPOSE, ENJOYED
Judging by all the letters, I may be one of the few that thoroughly enjoyed New Year's Eve. I never looked forward to fighting the crowd at the public fireworks shows.
Thanks to my neighbors, I didn't need to go farther than my driveway. The show this year was better and longer than ever before. Somewhat surprising, the kupuna visiting my house were extremely impressed with the unlawful pyrotechnics. They could be heard saying, "No need go Magic Island anymore!"
Yes, I get the nervous pet thing, I understand the asthma and the many other reasons some would like a ban on fireworks. In the future, I would urge the renegades to keep it to the 31st as the explosions in the days before and after New Year's Eve only help fuel the cry for an all-out ban.
Taking away fireworks is taking away a practice that serves many, a way to blow off steam. As witnessed a few days ago, there must be a lot of steam on this island.
MARK IDA | Salt Lake
DON'T RAISE TAXESTO SUPPORT UNIONS
Don't government workers and union leaders understand how dangerous it is to spend what you don't have?
Gov. Lingle is trying to keep us from becoming like California. The facts are there: We won't and don't have the revenue like we did.
The public wants and I hope demands that our leaders be responsible people by not spending what we don't have. We are going through some hard times. Please don't tax us any more to keep up your wages or lifestyle. We all have to give a little.
When the economy was good and you got your wage increases and budget increases, we didn't complain. Now that the economy is bad and the city and state don't have the money, take a cut in pay and work harder to provide the services that we need. Taking days off is not right, especially when it comes to education.
I don't see any government workers quitting to look for outside employment with better pay or benefits. There isn't any. Be thankful for your job and stop looking like people who don't care about the rest of the population who pay your wages and benefits.
ERNIE ITOGA | Honolulu