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Friday, January 21, 2000

Tapa


Public must understand state budget process

Kudos to Star-Bulletin reporters Helen Altonn and Gordon Pang for their Jan. 17 coverage of the state budget. And hats off to your newspaper for the "Legislative Q&A," which helps demystify the condition of the state budget.

The latter should be updated and run periodically, if the public wants to get involved and advocate for fiscal solvency, rather than scream about either too much fat or too many cuts.

Whether you call it a balance or a surplus, the state has one in the near future. But it won't last if the predicted rate of spending continues.

The best medicine is for the public, the unions and government leaders to identify methods to reduce costs that are lasting, as opposed to one-year fixes. This conjures up words like reform, efficiency and productivity.

Yup, it's hard, and sometimes painful, work. We can do it.

Chuck Freedman
Via the Internet

Speaker is clueless about priorities

I can't believe Rep. Calvin Say's statement that the new legislative session will be "very productive" since "we've got two big issues already -- fireworks and prisons."

Coming from the speaker himself, I guess we know what the House will be wasting its time on this session. How often do these knuckleheads have to be told? It's the economy and education, stupid!

Roy Frank Westlake

Legislature should adjourn immediately

As the 2000 legislative session convenes, perhaps the best thing legislators could do would be to adjourn. This would lessen the possibility that the state's economic recovery will be screwed up.

Tom Goggia
Makawao, Maui

Public must watch Legislature closely

Shortly before the opening of the Legislature, the House hosted a workshop for the community on the "Art of Effective Lobbying." It attracted about 200 people.

Featuring prominent legislators and experienced lobbyists, it provided a window on how things go on down there and how best to make oneself heard. More than this, it provided an opportunity for those who attended to speak freely about what the public expects from its legislators.

One expressed concern was the public's dismay at the devious route that bills take as they wind their way through the legislative process, and the deals made in committees openly and behind the scenes before a final bill emerges. All too frequently, last-minute changes produce a "horse of a different color."

This is a new centennial, a new legislative session and a chance for us to regain confidence in those we elected to office. A cynical but ever hopeful public is watching more closely than ever. What will we say come May 27?

Ruth Ellen Lindenberg

Tourism authority must be held accountable

Cartoonist Corky Trinidad has missed the point entirely with his ridiculous Jan. 13 cartoon of an "outraged" Sierra Club member demanding tourists clear a Waikiki beach.

By filing its lawsuit, the Sierra Club's message is that we follow the law and take preventative measures toward assessing the impact of additional visitors to the islands. This not only would identify which aspects of Hawaii's environment are at risk, but would help us ascertain necessary measures for ensuring adequate protection of our precious Hawaii.

The lawsuit is intended to safeguard the very features that attract tourists to Hawaii-- the beauty and purity of the islands. Laws are in place for a reason and the Hawaii Tourism Authority is not exempt.

Deborah Shultz
Kailua
Via the Internet

Don't single out Felix for wedding business

The neighbors of John Henry Felix should let him continue to hold wedding ceremonies at his house. It seems unfair to pick on him when others are doing the same thing all over the island.

If these neighbors have a legitimate gripe -- like limos blocking driveways or too much noise --then by all means, let him know. But if the city forces Felix to close his business because it is against the zoning code, then change the zoning laws or make a serious effort (how about a bounty system?) to close ALL similar operations in residential neighborhoods.

Libby Tomar
Kailua
Via the Internet

Golf tourney shouldn't be called Sony Open

The name Hawaiian Open has ceased to exist in the world of golf. Now the tournament is referred to as the Sony Open.

This is somewhat disrespectful to all those persons, both living and dead, who participated in the Hawaiian Open since its inception in 1965. Why can't it simply be called the Sony Hawaiian Open?

This is yet another example of outsiders coming to this land of aloha and dominating it. And they can do so, because we have weak leaders whose eyes are dazzled by the glitter of money.

Calling it the Sony Open may be gratifying to Sony executives, but they have lost the respect of many people in Hawaii.

Carlino Giampolo
Via the Internet

Espero was wise choice for representative

As an Ewa Beach resident for many years, I am surprised by the Jan. 18 letter to the editor by Joan Gumm, who conveyed discontent with the governor's decision to replace Rep. Paul Oshiro with Willie Espero.

Governor Cayetano picked the person in the community who received the most votes in the last Ewa Neighborhood Board No. 23 election. Espero has many accomplishments and has held many positions of leadership.

By far, the best choice was made. Any other appointment would have been subject to scrutiny.

Edlynn Taira
Ewa Beach
Via the Internet


Quotables

Tapa

"My dad is really the entertainer,
the one who everyone knows, who
has experienced all the joy and fun of
being successful. I was just the little
kid who sneaked on
stage with him."

Hoku Ho
19-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER OF DON HO
Who just signed a three-year, $300,000
recording contract with Geffen Records

Tapa

"It's really amazing.
I may have to ask her
for a loan."

Don Ho
LEGENDARY HAWAII ENTERTAINER
Reaction from a proud father


Senator redeems himself with fireworks stance

When Sen. Cal Kawamoto joined other members of the Legislature to remove Attorney General Margery Bronster from office, I vowed never to vote for him again. However, I've changed my mind since he, unlike other cowardly legislators, vows to vote for a complete ban of fireworks.

My husband has a severe respiratory problem and spends every New Year's Eve in his room with an oxygen tank, unable to join this joyous time with his friends and family. Before he meets his maker, I hope he can celebrate along with the rest of us.

Illegal fireworks are getting worse every year. Perhaps if a legislator's home burns down or if another legislator's family member dies, only then will they wake up. The irony is that, by then, it will already be too late.

All this talk about culture and not being able to enforce a ban holds no water. Maui County has a ban and it seems to work pretty well.

Ellen Kato
Pearl City

Ban wouldn't end use of fireworks

Whether you like it or not, setting off fireworks on New Year's Eve is a local tradition. It is not a Chinese, Japanese or mainland tradition, but a Hawaii one. So go ahead and ban them, but you won't stop local people from using them. All you will do is create a bigger black market and turn this island into a police state by having neighbors turn against neighbors. All for something we do only once a year.

By the way, those of us who love fireworks also vote. We might not be as vocal as fireworks opponents, but there are a lot of us.

David Moon
Via the Internet

Critic of sovereignty refuses to learn

Ken Conklin seems to have become the new poster boy of the anti-sovereignty movement (Letters, Jan. 15). He speaks from a position of fear and ignorance, despite having had every opportunity to be educated.

He has spent many hours with leaders of the sovereignty movement, who have attempted to educate him on the facts of the overthrow. He has attended many sovereignty events, listened to available information.

But he is still convinced that, with independence, Hawaii would suddenly become a racist, restrictive government that would shut him out. Would he like to share with us exactly where he is getting his information?

Fran Orian
Via the Internet

Hawaiians are too busy bickering

Our Hawaiian nation always had a king to lead us. He had the last say and no opposition was evident.

At the turn of the 20th century, after our queen was gone, everything went kapakahi. Everybody wants to put in his or her own opinion. Others are never satisfied, insisting on their way or nothing at all.

When will this bickering stop? How are we supposed to govern ourselves? Are we too proud a nation to seek advice? Or are we too proud to admit that we need help?

Solomon Pa

A cozy relationship between company, estate

Grove Farm Co. conducts a multimillion-dollar land deal with Kamehameha Schools. Grove Farm's chief operating officer is appointed to the committee to select Kamehameha Schools' permanent new trustees.

New era, indeed.

Jeffrey Shockey

Confederate flag should be lowered

My granddaughter is a high school senior in South Carolina. Via e-mail, she offered her opinion about the controversy over the Confederate flag.

"Personally, I think they should just take (it) down," she wrote. "If it's that historical, it belongs in a museum and not on the top of the state Capitol. Besides, the Confederacy lost. They shouldn't be too proud of that, right?"

Sounds good to me!

Gene Bridges
Via the Internet

If you love stray cats so much, take them home

People who feel compelled to care for stray cats should keep them safe within the confines of their homes and yards, pick up the feces, take them to a vet -- the whole nine yards.

Take 100 percent responsibility for these strays, don't just feed them in their public hangouts. Believe it or not, these animals don't stay at the parks and playgrounds but wander all over our neighborhoods, spreading germs, fleas and noise.

Mike Uyehara
Via the Internet



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