Zookeeper always had a way with animals
The Honolulu Zoo would do well to follow the recommendations of zookeeper Linda Vannatta regarding the fate of Rusti the orangutan. I grew up next door to Linda and her family's four dogs, 14-plus cats, turtles, parrots and other pets. No one is more focused and devoted to the welfare of animals than she.
Keep up the good work, Linda.
The Colony, Texas
Welfare keeps Molokai jobless rate up
In a May 24 article, "Job count holds up," the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported that Molokai's jobless rate has been increasing. The unemployment figures had actually begun declining, as able-bodied welfare recipients, anticipating termination of benefits, left Molokai to seek work.
Alas, Molokai recently received one of the nation's few waivers from the lifetime five-year limitation of benefits. The unintended consequence of this beneficence is that former residents -- and others -- now may return home to receive the dole. The increasing jobless rate is simply the result of misplaced incentives: People naturally follow the money.
Reporting is biased against Palestinians
I read your May 19 front page headline "Suicide attacks hinder Mideast peace" with interest. I don't recall ever having seen a headline along the lines of "Israeli defense force attacks hinder Mideast peace." From April 10 to May 9 the IDF killed 63 Palestinians in the occupied territories, while a single Israeli civilian was killed in a suicide attack in Israel during the same period. Occasionally, a killing by the IDF is reported on the inside pages, typically as "4 Palestinians die" or a similar phrase in the passive voice, as if it simply happened without anyone's interference.
Perhaps this is a case of "man bites dog," where Palestinians get killed so often that it isn't really news, while the death of an Israeli is rare enough to merit a headline. Perhaps you don't regard the firing of a missile into an apartment building or the shooting of a 15-year-old boy from a tank as an impediment to peace.
Whatever your reasons may be, I would like to invite those interested in the facts about the balance of terror between Israel and Palestine to visit btselem.org, where the latest statistics on the killing of both Israelis and Palestinians are collected, for a more balanced view of the situation.
Gen. Franks allowed live burials in Gulf War
A May 23 article, "2 military lawyers named for tribunals," told of President Bush naming Army Col. Frederic Borch III to lead the prosecutors.
The article said that in 2001, Borch "wrote a book about military lawyers that recounted then-Army Brig. Gen. Tommy Franks radioing a battlefield legal officer during the Persian Gulf War in 1991 to inquire whether having troops ... 'burying the enemy alive in his own trenches was permitted under the law of war.'
"Franks advised the military legal officer that his troops could halt the operation quickly against Iraqi forces. But the legal officer advised Franks that the operation met the requirements of the laws of war and advised Franks to have his troops mark the graves so that the Red Cross could later retrieve the bodies." No shame?
When my country is right I will fight to defend her, but when she is wrong, she is wrong. Let us humbly clean up our house first.
Yoshie Ishiguro Tanabe
War in Iraq nothing to be proud about
It is so sad to watch Americans trying so hard to glorify what is not glorious. For the past 30 years America has tried to glorify beating up on smaller, weaker, poorer nations.
When I was growing up in Kalihi and a bigger, stronger guy beat up on a smaller, weaker guy there was only one name for the big guy: Punk.
Plan to hike rental tax is discriminatory
Why are owner-occupants vs. absentee owners less economically valuable to Maui County ("Maui plan to hike tax on rentals is criticized," Star-Bulletin, May 10)? Don't rental units provide additional visitor capacity without resort development, and don't they also represent income and investment in Hawaii?
How myopic it would be for the Maui County Council to discriminate against owner-occupants and absentee ownership with its proposed tax rate increase. What would that do to future investors in condominium and environmentally friendly low-rise developments vs. the mega-resorts?
Clearly this proposal would result in tax increases to a segment of real estate investors. But what is more significant is that this would send a negative message to all potential investors in Maui County. The rental ownership pool of visitor units helps keep major developments within market need and enables small investors to own units and generate income while enjoying some long-term appreciation of that investment.
This appeal to locals is obviously discriminatory. Ownership and investment should not be political issues.
When will Hawaii's politicians learn enough to address the underlying issues? Education, infrastructure, health, cor- ruption, business regulations and, most of all, honesty and integrity.
Those airport lines could be much worse
Now, I am not one to knock our president or any of our security people, especially the one they got from the great pickle state of Pennsylvania. However, we have been watching the news showing the airport security lines -- long, longer, longest. And the reporters, to a man or woman, suggest that you wear slippers or open-toed shoes in order to move the line faster.
Thank heavens Richard Reid, the would-be airline saboteur who got caught trying to ignite bombs in his shoes, was not trying to light a suppository filled with explosives. Can you imagine the lines?
Democrats trashed good man from UH
Imagine my shock when I returned from a recent trip to discover that one of the kindest, most competent and most conscientious persons I know had been publicly burned at the Democratic stake because of his views that Hawaii needs change and that we need to work hard to bring it about.
Shelton Jim On should not have been rejected as a regent for the University of Hawaii. He is a good man, modest and loyal, with a fine family and a wonderful story of personal success -- achieved, I might add, through honest perseverance and due diligence.
I am indeed shocked and saddened for the state of Hawaii. I thought the Inquisition ended hundreds of years ago. Auwe!
HECO finally sees value in alternative energy
Your May 24 article "HECO Web site identifies areas for wind farms" showed significant progress of a program launched 24 years ago by Sen. T.C. Yim, chairman of the state Senate Energy Committee. He listened to researchers in wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric and conservation.
The result was the Hawaii Senate Energy Program. The costs of accelerating the replacement of imported oil were estimated, along with a concept paper to enable Hawaii to be energy self-sufficient as these technologies become economically viable. The House went along and $10 million was appropriated.
HECO personnel were included in the planning, and they often expressed concerns and doubts. Buying oil to generate electricity was more attractive to them.
So it is encouraging that HECO has come up with a $10 million plan to invest in these technologies. The Kahuku, Molokai, Maui and Kahua (Big Island) wind regimes could power the state 70 percent of the year.
It is good that HECO is moving forward, although a recent enclosure in its bill shows only 0.1 percent of energy statewide comes from wind power, and does not even list solar. Solar water-heating today is cheaper in Hawaii than oil and coal. Unfortunately, HECO has announced plans to expand its coal power electricity.
McCubbin gets away with princess' money
The princess' money (only $400,000) is being squandered again. It's being paid to Hamilton McCubbin to leave. He is the Kamehameha Schools CEO who signed on for three more years in February, yet now says he is compelled to resign "because his work is done."
If he did something to sully the trust, he shouldn't be paid the princess' money. If he did suddenly quit his job (as he maintains), he shouldn't be paid $400,000. Why are the trustees so silent -- isn't such behavior why we got rid of the previous trustees?
Taxpayers are subsidizing that $400,000 payment because of the trust's tax-exempt status. It is time to put a stop to this misuse of the princess' money. Where is the public's outrage?
Letter couldn't address insider dealing
I write to clarify comments made by the Star-Bulletin's Rob Perez in his May 25 column concerning the University of Hawaii's possible purchase of land for an astronomy site from UH regent Everett Dowling.
According to Perez, UH's Institute for Astronomy wished to acquire land for a Maui office and laboratory facility on Haleakala. Because the university took steps to purchase the land from Board of Regents member Dowling, Perez raised the issue of possible insider dealing.
Perez referred to an advisory letter Dowling requested and received from our office. Perez faulted this letter for not addressing insider dealing.
The letter to Dowling was an advisory letter. Its purpose was to outline the conflicts-of-interests law for Dowling with regard to his involvement in the transaction as a regent. The issue of whether there was "insider dealing" is not one that would be subject to an advisory letter. Such a matter would be subject to enforcement action by the State Ethics Commission.
As I informed Perez, our confidentiality laws prohibit us from discussing a possible breach of the State Ethics Code. Such matters become public when the commission determines there is probable cause and that a contested-case hearing is warranted.
If the transaction involved insider dealing, this would undoubtedly constitute a violation of other state law. It would be informative if Perez would follow up with a column discussing how the state's attorneys who advise the UH felt about possible insider dealing at the time.
Daniel J. Mollway
Hawaii State Ethics Commission
Televised awards show treated winners poorly
I agree with Star-Bulletin columnist John Berger that the Na Hoku Hanohano awards should focus more on the awards and awardees and less on the performances (May 29).
I, too, thought it was a shame that prestigious awards, such as John Keawe's Ki Ho'alu award, were shunted off to the pre-program portion of the show, denying him and others the opportunity to celebrate their awards on television.
I also agree that there are too many lifetime achievement awards, and consider it a shocking oversight that none of the awardees is shown accepting the award in person. Perhaps this is because the awards are given out at another time, but it is awkward and appears to contradict the alleged prestige of the award.
Cut back on the performances, as they make the evening run too long and detract from the focus, which should be the awards.
Pre-teen girls get leadership boost
Mahalo to Macy's Makalapua and Hokulia for supporting the Pre-Teen Professional project, sponsored by the Hawaii County Committee on the Status of Women and the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women.
This project gave tips for pre-teen girls as they go through changes and gave them confidence to become leaders in Hawaii.
The recent release of the 2003 Self-Sufficiency Study in Hawaii stated that a family of four in West Hawaii would have to earn more than $46,000. Yet only 25 percent of Konawaena High School graduates go to college. Pre-Teen Professional hopes to plant the seed in these girls about the necessity of a college education in order to live in Kona.
Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women
Captain Cook, Hawaii
Keep looking for that special logo
Having recently left Hawaii, it has been fun to watch the University of Hawaii logo search from a distance. I enjoyed viewing the logos submitted by readers.
What they speak of the loudest is that Hawaii loves its university; that is evident by the high level of involvement and emotions surrounding the logo search. You don't find that in Pittsburgh, where I now live.
As you continue your quest for an identity, please remember, most people on the mainland continue to regard Hawaii primarily as a resort. They do not expect a top-notch educational or college system that meets all the training needs of the islands, from airline mechanics to biotech researchers.
Do you give them what they expect or do you educate them about the university's excellence and the role you play in removing intercultural barriers and preserving the Hawaiian culture that has made the islands such a special place?
I wish you the best on your quest for a single identity that has to communicate so much.