NEW 'COVENANT' JUST PUBLIC RELATIONS ACT
I would like to congratulate the Army on its recent public relations effort. ("Pledging mutual respect," March 14).
It was very strategic to have favorable quotes from leaders of Native Hawaiian organizations. It gives the false appearance that the Mākua issue has been discussed and resolved.
It will make a nice attachment that Army leaders will send to Washington to "prove" that the Army is working well with Native Hawaiians to solve the Mākua problem. This is the public relations side of it.
Let me clear the record by stating that those of us who continue to be kept from sacred sites in Mākua, and the beneficiaries of flawed scientific marine and sub-surface archeological studies, were never asked to be on the "Advisory Council," nor were we asked to review the covenant.
At the very minimum "our" Native Hawaiian representatives should have been asked about our position on the statements in the covenant by our fellow Hawaiians before signing off. How can you sign an agreement after hearing only one side of the story?
Unless that was the objective in the first place.William J. Aila Jr.
RECOGNIZING DOCTORS WHO TREAT THE POOR
In celebration of National Doctor's Day today, I personally want to thank all the physicians who provide health care services to Hawai'i's low-income residents and other vulnerable members of society.
Although they are not required to care for this population, many doctors choose to do so because of their professionalism and a strong commitment to helping our communities.
These physicians form a critical part of Hawai'i's health care safety net, and they deserve our recognition and appreciation.Dr. Kenny Fink
Medicaid Administrator, Dept. of Human Services
CAN FLEEING WRECK ELIMINATE DUI RAP?
The recent trial of Siaosi Feleunga for a hit-and-run "accident" resulted in his conviction for second-degree negligent homicide ("Victim's relatives vent anger at driver in hit-run," March 23). Feleunga was sentenced to 10 years in prison and forced to pay compensation for the funeral and medical expenses.
Because Feleunga fled the scene of the accident, there was no way to run a blood-alcohol or drug content test. If he had been DUI, he could have faced manslaughter or first degree negligent homicide and received a sentence of 20 years.
Regardless if Feleunga actually was DUI, this is a major loophole. Something is seriously wrong with the system if, by fleeing the scene of the incident, you could cut your time in half.
What if one of your family members were killed in a hit-and-run? The criminal could get off with only 10 years.
Ask yourself: Is your family worth 10 years?Holt Sakai
BUILDING COSTS FALL; REVENUE IS STEADY
David Shapiro overlooked several key points about the finances of the Honolulu Rail Transit project ("Don't blame rail delays on Lingle," March 24).
As of January 2010 we had received $460 million from the General Excise and Use Tax surcharge, which was more than 99 percent of our expected local revenue. Peter Rogoff, the administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, has said, "because of the excise tax revenues the Honolulu project has more money already committed to this project than a great many other projects would dream of having at this stage."
While revenue has been steady, costs have been dropping because contractors are hungry for work. We saved $90 million on the contract to build the first phase of the rail system.
Our financial plan also has a cushion — the $1.3 billion contingency fund to cover unanticipated costs. It is more than 30 percent of the total construction budget.
Rogoff believes so strongly in the financial plan for Honolulu rail that in February he publicly stated the FTA expects to give $1.55 billion for rail construction starting in 2011. His announcement came even before the EIS has been released.
That is a tremendous vote of confidence, and Hawai'i's economy could surely use a $1.55 billion shot in the arm.Toru Hamayusu
Deputy Director, Dept. of Transportation Services, City & County of Honolulu
PALIN IS ACCESSORY TO ACTS OF VIOLENCE
On her Facebook page, Sarah Palin stated we need to "reload," and "take aim" at a list of Democrats after the health care bill was passed. Then she put cross hairs on Democratic candidates.
As a result, law enforcement authorities investigated the discovery of a cut propane gas line at the Virginia home of Rep. Tom Perriello's (D-Va.) brother.
A tea party organizer published what he thought was the freshman member's home address on a blog, in case any readers "want to drop by" and provide a "personal touch" to their views.
Republicans like Palin are becoming an accessory to the unlawful actions against Democrats.
An accessory charge is a for person who, though not present during the commission of a felony, is guilty of having aided and abetted another, who committed the felony.
If Sarah Palin didn't mean to encourage unlawful behavior then she would have come out and apologized for not being impeccable with her word — but she didn't.
Sarah Palin should be prosecuted on accessory charges to any crime directed toward the list of Democrats she laid out with cross hairs. This Republican strategy is deeply disturbing!Justin Hughley
HELPING THE POOR
CHURCHES SHOULD STAY OUT OF POLITICS
Since when should a church be preaching about a political agenda? ("Flee church that doesn't preach social justice,"March 22).
Glenn Beck said on his radio show that if your church preaches about social or economic justice that you should run as fast as you can, code words communism, Nazism.
The Rev. Jim Wallis responded that in the Bible there are more than 2,000 verses saying that we should help the poor. I agree with the Rev. Wallis on that issue, but I will ask, is there a verse in the Bible that says the government should redistribute wealth to help the poor? No, there isn't.
It is you, the family and the community, the "individual person" who should be helping the poor, not the government. That is what Glenn Beck has been saying for years, and what the Bible teaches, and what churches should be preaching. So to have a church preaching about social and economic justice and having a political agenda is very disturbing. A church should be preaching about having faith in God and not having faith in government to solve all your problems.Gavin Orbistondo