High minimum wage doesn't hurt economy
When you read that Hawaii workers get 4 percent higher pay than the mainland average (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 30
), remember that the cost of living in Hawaii is 25 percent higher.
When you read national news about increased jobs, remember that we have actually done poorly under the Republicans, who always generate fewer jobs than Democrats. (Look it up.) When President Bush boasts about an occasional quarter with 220,000 new jobs, remember that with Clinton we averaged 718,750 new jobs every quarter for eight years.
When you read about economic growth, remember that most of the increase has been at the top, which also received most of Bush's tax cuts. Median family income has decreased since Bush took over in 2001, and poverty has increased.
There is one bright spot. The Republican Congress refused to raise the national minimum wage, but Hawaii Democrats raised the state minimum wage. Republicans predicted high unemployment, but we have the lowest unemployment in the country, a growing economy and increased government revenues.
Nice rig -- now, please learn to drive it
Hey, here's a resolution for anyone buying a new vehicle bigger than say a Nissan Pathfinder for the New Year: Make sure you can handle your machine.
Instead of taking a test drive up and down H1 and checking out the acceleration, try to navigate the blind spots and learn how to merge in an appropriate manner. Then take the test drive to Chinatown and pull off three successful parallel parking jobs in a row. Then go somewhere like Stuart Anderson's parking lot in Waimalu and pull into five different parking spaces.
If you can do so without backing up to re-calibrate your angle of attack or making anyone else wait while you figure out what the heck you're doing, buy the new vehicle -- you're qualified. Otherwise, do the rest of us motorists a favor and buy a car that you can handle.
Mayor can't count on high property values
While some property investors have made sizeable profits recently, most homeowners have reaped zero benefits from the runaway real estate market
. We are counting on our elected officials to amend the property tax laws enacted years ago so that the laws make equitable distinctions between investors and homeowners today.
It is troubling that Mayor Hannemann cites "fiscal health" as a justification to tax people out of their homes. The perceived rise in property values likely will evaporate as soon as the interest rates go up. When the bubble bursts, how will the mayor balance the budget?
This leads me to suspect that Hannemann is seeking the surplus taxes mainly for his "rainy day fund." Should the government tap into private nest eggs to increase a public emergency fund tenfold?
City must learn to live within its means
Have our supposedly wise city fathers and mothers gone out of their minds? Have they indulged themselves too heavily in fermented liquid holiday spirits?
Instead of reducing the previous year's absurd property tax increase of about 50 percent, they want to raise it again. What possesses them to believe people can afford that? Back to square one. You adjust your expenses to your income, not the other way around! There are very few people who can arbitrarily raise their incomes. I don't know any.
City fathers and mothers, learn to live within your means. This is a good year to start. No tax increase at all, and next year a tax reduction. If you cannot handle it, perhaps you should resign.
Gerhard C. Hamm
Hawaiians, beware the crusading jailers
To all kanakas: incarceration or colonization. Be advised that any Hawaiian caught protecting Hawaiian burials, sacred items or iwi kupuna -- be it through spiritual conviction, na'au intuition or otherwise -- will be put in jail by the illegal American colonizing crusader.
You have been warned!
Sheehan being used to undermine U.S.
Cindy Sheehan's interview on a local news station contained a regurgitation of old clichés and worn-out personal attacks on President Bush ("Anti-war activist cheered," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 5
). "He killed my son. He refused to go to Vietnam. Illegal and immoral war." She memorized her press talking points very well.
Now she is going to Italy and Venezuela to promote peace. While she might not realize it, she is being used. Whoever is backing her knows of the United States' strained relations with Venezuela and that both of those governments are socialist-leaning. She is being used to undermine and bring down the government of the United States.
Grieving mother, yes. Patriot, no way.
Keep liberal drivel out of the funnies
Cliff Coleman's Jan. 4 letter
, "Get politics off of the comics pages," was right on the mark. I'm only dismayed because he beat me to it! If the younger generation reads the comics -- and I certainly hope they do -- they would be better served by honest comics than liberal drivel.
Please put the "fun" back in funnies and get rid of "Zippy" (zap it), "Candorville" (deceitful) and "La Cucaracha" (borderline?). And Gary Trudeau (tiredo) could retire without being missed. Even "Agnes" could be trashed due to insane repetitiveness of plot.
Let street performers do it for free
There's a simple solution to the street performer issue
facing our community and government. Let's all agree, locals and visitors alike, not to donate to these performers. I guarantee you they will be gone the following week.
And to those same performers who hide behind the First Amendment: Show your true colors (no pun intended). If your intentions are merely that of self-expression, since you don't seem to vocalize any beliefs, message or ideas, then place a sign in front of you that reads, "Donations not allowed -- I'm here merely to express myself."
If you're still willing to do this without any financial motivation, then more power to you.
Recycling needs state oversight and control
The other day I drove my bottles and cans over to the recycling center at Aikahi Park shopping center and got in a line 12 deep just to sit there while the recycling trailers were switched out. At the same time, Safeway delivery trucks were passing me on the right in the same alleyway. I found it very unsafe, so I left without completing my recycling.
Control measures need to be put in place concerning the recycling locations and how recycling companies are doing business. The Department of Health has the responsibility; this is not healthy, with people, kids and workers all sharing the same environment. I went to Star Market and redeemed a $3 voucher for my recyclables. Two weeks later, I took the voucher into the store, the clerk told me it expired, and I had to go back outside, stand on line, get a new voucher, then go back inside, all for $3.
Without oversight, no program works. The state needs to take control over the program and implement curbside recycling.
We must consider impeachment for Bush
Isn't it time we and our congressional leaders considered the "I-word" for President Bush? I'm sure no one wants to take on this challenge, but really, shouldn't one of our senators or congressmen put their necks on the line right about now?
First, the man misused intelligence to create a justification to take our nation and its military men and women to war. Next, he squandered a financial surplus to make tax breaks for his corporate friends (and recently asked Congress to raise the borrowing cap for the fourth time in his presidency). Now he's put the National Security Agency in the awkward position of having to spy on our own nation's citizens. How much more can a people bear before they rise up in disgust and demand some accountability?
As we know from our past president, impeachment doesn't mean resignation, but it certainly brings the dissatisfaction of the people to the forefront and shines a bright light into closets heretofore kept locked from view. We Americans should unquestionably love our country, but not be so beholden to our elected leaders that we fear to ask them what they are doing when it is so obviously wrong. The time has come to ask.
Stabbing victim a good person, wonderful son
My son Lee Kanani Maunupau was the New Year's Eve stabbing victim in Pearl City (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 2
). Recent news reports have stated that my son was a drug user. Admittedly, Kanani had a drug problem that he was struggling to overcome. In spite of this, Kanani was a good person who was loved by everyone he knew. He was working, had an apartment and did his best to take care of his two children. Anyone who knew him will tell you that he didn't have much in the way of material goods but would give the shirt off his back if asked.
The week after Christmas, he checked in on his cousins whose mother was away. He phoned them and brought them food. On New Year's Eve, he contacted me to wish me Happy New Year and to say "love you, Mom." He was planning his daughter's baptism. These are not the actions of a drug-crazed addict.
Kanani was protector of his family and friends, a hard worker who never looked for trouble. Please consider the other side of the coin when hearing stories about my boy. He was a good person and a wonderful son.