WILL PARTY DEFEND INDIVIDUAL LIBERTIES?
It has come to my attention that the Republican National Committee, and in turn its Conservative Caucus, is in our town this week for its national convention. As an independent voter, and a fellow supporter of individual liberty, I would like to ask this of our visitors:
This past week, the activist members of the U.S. Supreme Court established the most radical decision, arguably, in that institution's long history, determining in the case of Citizens United v. FEC that private corporations must be provided the same First Amendment rights as natural-born United States citizens.
My question for the GOP's proponents of personal freedom is whether you are prepared to support — and run your 2010 Congressional and Senate campaigns behind — a constitutional amendment stating that all rights and liberties established in the Constitution are provided exclusively to individual citizens, and are not provided to artificial human creations of mere economic purpose, including both for-profit and nonprofit corporations.
I am confident that a party that places its values and priorities squarely behind individual liberty will have a considerable advantage in the midterm elections. Will the GOP be that party?
R.I. WEIGEL | Honolulu
WE NEED TO FIND ALTERNATIVES TO CARS
Whenever I read another national study that says Oahu has some of the worst traffic congestion in the U.S. ("Stretch of H-1 is nation's 2nd-worst," Jan. 25), I have a "Lost" style flashforward. I picture our island in 10 years as a gridlocked mess. I see thousands of vehicles going nowhere fast on congested freeways, their idling engines spewing pollutants into the sky. I see buses and cars inching forward on surface streets, taking an hour to go 10 miles.
Like "Lost," I hope this imaginary future is just fiction. But if we don't get serious about fighting traffic and making it convenient to commute to work without a car, we could lose our island paradise to congestion.
We need to polish up ideas like bike paths and make them attractive to the business community. We need to stop fussing around with rail and start building it. After all, we voted for rail.
And we need leaders who recognize that, as fun as it is to drive a car, it's not the end-all and be-all of commuting. Otherwise, that flashforward will quickly become a grim reality.
DANIEL K. ANDERSON | Kailua
PRESERVING PEACE HAS OFTEN MEANT FIGHTING
Roman Leverenz (Letters, Dec. 9), based on President Obama's speech to commit another 30,000 troops to war in Afghanistan, stated, "Pretty soon we will have a new war slogan: 'War makes peace.' "
Welcome to U.S. History 101. The U.S. has gone to war many times to win back peace, not only for the U.S., but for many countries and millions of people in every continent and ocean.
After World War II, we learned that the only way to preserve peace in the world is to maintain a strong, credible armed force that would deter any attack on the U.S., our allies and our national interests around the world.
When adversaries miscalculated our national will and commitment for peace, the U.S. always went to war to reinstate the peace.
God bless the men and women of the U.S. armed forces for their commitment to accomplish their mission to maintain peace and to go to war for it when necessary.
RUSSEL NOGUCHI | Pearl City
VISUALS HAVE BEEN WIDELY PRESENTED
It is unfortunate that while the potential visual impacts of elevated rail have been widely debated, presented and available since 2006, Duane and Sarah Preble are only now paying attention to this issue. (Letters, Jan. 22).
The city has presented renderings of the elevated rail in our neighborhoods and they have been published in the alternatives analysis and draft environmental impact statement. These renderings have additionally appeared in local print and TV media for years.
We have produced and aired award-winning videos featuring elevated rail on network television and our monthly Ōlelo show. And we have held dozens of community meetings and workshops across the island featuring these renderings and videos.
I hope the Prebles respect the fact that the public has not been "left in the dark," as thousands of residents have participated in the process and are fully aware of the impacts and benefits of a fast, efficient elevated rail system. We have gotten excellent feedback from the community members who have seen our renderings and participated in the numerous station design workshops that we have held.
WAYNE Y. YOSHIOKA | Director, Department of Transportation Services
HOUSE MEMBERS NEED TO BE LEADERS
Speaker of the House Calvin Say, D-20th (St. Louis Heights, Pālolo Valley, Wilhelmina Rise), has indicated his reluctance to expose House members to political risk by holding a vote for civil unions even though the bill would clearly pass, because he thinks the governor might veto it. But there is no guarantee that she will veto civil unions just because she has behaved as a born-again Republican these past two or three years. She is, I believe, a compassionate individual and this is a compassionate law. Let her choose between her conscience and her political future.
As for the members of the House, please just do your job and take the vote. In better times, we would hope for good leadership. At times like these, just plain leadership will do.
JONATHAN K. OSORIO | Honolulu