Think guns are bad? Better ban cars, too
The Honolulu police chief feels it is a great enough threat that a ban on .50-caliber rifles is needed in this city. There are 50 registered rifles on the books. Banning the rifles in essence makes the registered owner, who had to go through a criminal and psychological check before acquiring a permit, a criminal.
If that's the case, shouldn't we apply the same ban on vehicles? There have been more deaths from auto accidents than .50-caliber rifles in this state just this year alone. Let's make all licensed drivers and owners of registered vehicles criminals, and put them in their rightful place -- in jail!
The police chief should have better things to do than waste taxpayers' money on some trivial and quixotic quest to make lawful owners criminals for mere ownership of a registered rifle.
Ticket fiasco mocks rock singer's values
While Bono, lead singer of the rock group U2, has been a vital part of international movements for fair trade and development as part of a larger campaign to educate music fans and world leaders about unfair free-trade rules that intensify harm to developing nations, U2's Honolulu ticket sale can only be described as a model of a colonialist economic system.
How else could one describe the scene at Aloha Stadium last Saturday, when more than 30,000 tickets and all the precious field tickets were gone before even 100 fans made their way to the ticket window? The answer is that concert promoters allowed probably well over 90 percent of tickets to be purchased online by investors outside Hawaii, many of whom will re-sell them for many times face-value to wealthy world travelers.
This situation makes a mockery of all Bono speaks about regarding the need for economic justice and democracy. If we were talking about AIDS drugs rather than concert tickets, this would no doubt be an international scandal, but apparently it is acceptable if only the best-heeled beneficiaries of a free-trade system are able to hear the band in person. How's about some economic justice for Hawaii rock fans?
Maximize the public good at Kewalo
Regarding the proposed sale of Kewalo state land (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 9
), I continue to be appalled at the naivete of the state pushing the sale of land to pay for necessary public improvements. What this indicates is development fees are insufficient to meet demand and need to be raised dramatically.
When I review the resumes of the people associated with the state's decision-making power, I see developers, bankers and lawyers. There are no qualified land use planners or environmental or social or cultural caregivers who have a considered voice. The consultants who draft the plans are working for the interests of those who pay them, not the people of Hawaii. The decision-makers are looking to maximize profits today, rather than consider the greater public good.
While it might seem sacrilege to the powers that be (and many others), money is not sacred.
Entitlement (building permits) requires adequate exaction (fees). The land, sea and air, and those who respect same, provide what is real and righteous about this place. Do not sell it.
'Clean elections' help women, minorities
The ramifications of "clean elections" in Maine and Arizona demonstrate that reducing the influence of money in politics encourages more women and minorities to run for office. This is so exciting to contemplate.
Even though Hawaii's Legislature reflects diversity, there's still too much influence by large funding sources. Let's change the election process. Support "clean elections."
Airport gives visitors a bad impression
Our airport is the first thing a visitor sees and experiences, as well as the last. Talk about impressions! Experiencing airports in Japan and Malaysia really opened my eyes to our own facility when I returned home. What a stark contrast.
Our airport is not a friendly place for visitors. It is a curbside drop-off processing facility for travelers. When my in-laws from Malaysia visited my wife and me in December for the first time, I was embarrassed about our airport. The worst part was that my wife and I could not spend time with them at the airport when they left. All we could do was drop them off at the curb and say our goodbyes there. The airport lacks any kind of lounging facility outside of the gate area.
Honolulu is overdue for a world-class international airport. We depend on visitors from other countries. Let's give them a beautiful first impression of our Aloha State and a pleasant last impression when they return home.
Steven S. Fukunaga
Low taxes, diversity key to future success
With intensified attention on Hawaii's serious issues -- high taxes, challenged school system and 90 percent dependency on fossil fuel -- it's clear these problems weren't born and can't be solved overnight.
Hawaii's college kids still can't afford to return due to the escalating cost of living and limited career opportunities. The tax system restricts small business growth and hinders a free market economy that would keep consumer prices down. Hawaii's narrow focus on tourism as its golden egg compromises economic diversification.
Before we all move to Idaho or Las Vegas to save money, let's make a pact to improve Hawaii together. We must vote for leadership with long-term vision to create a smart and balanced Hawaii. Let's aim for a school system with 90 percent college-bound rates, 90 percent dependency on renewable energy technology and a tax system that supports an efficient laissez-faire government. Hawaii, let's get to it!