Letters to the Editor

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Monday, June 20, 2005

Please, governor, sign the Legacy Lands Act

I'm writing to express my support for the Legacy Lands Act (House Bill 1308). Gov. Linda Lingle has only a few more days to decide to pass or veto this bill. This legislation represents an important step in preserving the state's natural resources and providing all people, regardless of income, access to the coastlines. In this era of unprecedented development and rampant land speculation, it is crucial that the state take an active role in protecting the natural environment. By supporting bills such as the Legacy Lands Act, we can establish a progressive model for future generations. The alternative -- unchecked urban sprawl and inaccessible coastlines -- is surely a recipe for dysfunctional communities.

Hawaii's parks and public spaces are what make it such a unique and beautiful place to live. Let's do our part to preserve and expand these for future generations.

Joseph Tremonti

Legacy act will fulfill Constitution's promise

This last session the Legislature passed probably the most important bill in recent memory: House Bill 1308, the Legacy Lands Act. Finally, through an increase in the state conveyance tax, a mechanism has been offered to fund the mandate set forth in our state Constitution to conserve and protect the natural benefits of our environment.

For years Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources and Natural Area Reserves have been underfunded. Yet the Hawaii Tourism Authority is allotted $60 million each legislative session to promote Hawaii's natural beauty. Meanwhile, our state parks, beaches, coral reef systems, streams, mountain water sheds and the conservation of our unique endemic species and ecosystems struggle for funding to enforce rules and fund restoration projects, trail systems and camping areas.

With the Legacy Lands Act, an estimated $3.6 million will be set aside to purchase special lands for conservation, and $9 million will fund preservation and protection in our Natural Area Reserves. Not only will our natural systems benefit but the state's Affordable Housing Fund will receive increased funding from this act. For every $5 million deposited into the fund, 300 units of affordable housing can be built and renovated by leveraging federal monies increasing the housing fund's spending power -- a win-win for everyone in Hawaii.

We still have one last hurdle and that is to persuade Gov. Linda Lingle to pass the act into law. Please call 243-5798 on Maui or 984-2400 at the state Capitol for instructions on how to reach the governor and respectfully ask her to sign this bill.

Lance Holter
Hawaii Sierra Club, Maui chapter

HB 1308 will raise cost of housing, business

I strongly oppose HB 1308. which authorizes increases in conveyance tax rates that in some cases more than doubles or triples the current rate. Increasing the conveyance tax will clearly increase the cost of housing and the cost of doing business in Hawaii.

Since the conveyance tax law contains no exemption for the sale of commercial, resort or agricultural property, any increase also will increase the cost of doing business and farming in Hawaii. Any increase will therefore have the effect of increasing the cost of home ownership and rentals in Hawaii.

Annie Lee
President/principal broker
Annie Lee Realty Inc.

Great, all we need are more creepy crawlers

Are you crazy? By putting that column about Madagascar roaches in the paper (Honolulu Lite, June 14), you just told everyone how to get those disgusting creatures in Hawaii. Some people now are undoubtedly going to try to buy them online and bring them here. You are just plain crazy!

Theresa S. Luke

Insurance shouldn't pay seat-belt scofflaws

I would like make a point regarding the accident that killed Princess Diana of England. There were three people killed in that car, none of whom were wearing their seat belts. One person lived. He was in what we used to call the "death seat," the front passenger seat. He lived simply because he had his seat belt on.

If people think they should have the option to wear or not wear a seat belt, then the insurance company should have the option to pay or not pay their medical or internment claims. If the insurance company must pay the claim then they just increase the premiums for everyone and perhaps increase the premiums a bit more for the one who was injured. So the rest of us pay more because someone thought he should have the option to wear or not wear.

This also applies to motorcyclists. If they sustain head injuries because they weren't wearing a helmet and the accident was the cyclist's fault, there should be no pay out by the insurance company. The problem is the rest of us will end up paying the bill because the hospital will still have to take care of that inconsiderate cyclist.

So I hope the police will enforce the seat-belt laws.

Gordon "Doc" Smith
Kapaa, Kauai

Isle congressmen voted with compassion

Mahalo to Hawaii's members of Congress Neil Abercrombie and Ed Case for voting "yes" on the bipartisan Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment. Their votes show compassion for the 2,600 sick and dying patients in Hawaii who rely on the medical benefits of marijuana to relieve pain and suffering, and understanding of the issues facing physicians in our state.

It's time for the rest of Congress to realize that marijuana is good medicine, as the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged recently. The court said it's up to Congress to guarantee protection to seriously ill patients in medical marijuana programs. While Hawaii's medical marijuana program continues as it has for the past five years, it's Congress' turn to extend a hand to the sick and dying and allow patients and doctors access to a safe and effective medicine free from fear and intimidation.

Pamela Lichty
President, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii

Anti-pot logic simply doesn't add up

The U.S. House of Representatives shoots down the proposal to legalize medical marijuana, marijuana that is prescribed by a physician to ease pain or other conditions of illness that it alleviates.

The reason: That would make it difficult to prosecute illegal use. So they would let innocent people suffer so as to catch marijuana smokers.

Whatever happened to their cherished principle that it is better to let a guilty person go free than risk having sent an innocent person to prison?

Ted Chernin

Rip Van Winkle in charge of schools

The lead editorial in the May 26 Star-Bulletin, "State taking risk with school-reform companies," was almost amusing. Among other remarks was this one: "The state Department of Education should have followed the advice of the state Legislature to require money-back guarantees from the providers instead of accepting terms that merely allow contract terminations."

When the Army assigned me to Hawaii in 1971, I was denied my request to go elsewhere. My request was centered on my children going into the dysfunctional Hawaii school system. Now, 34 years later, I recently talked to a colonel at Schofield who had an identical experience. It was a "Rip Van Winkle" event.

There has been no improvement. And in all this time never has the Legislature or the DOE required termination or a money-back guarantee of performance from administrators or teachers. But bring in a private contractor and the ideas spring right up as if by magic. Go figure. Perhaps we get what we deserve.

Richard O. Rowland
President, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

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