Don't pave cane fields, use them for energy
With much talk of the need to diversify our energy resources, it is time to discuss bringing back sugar cane planting on Oahu for ethanol production. Modern automobiles are designed to run on E-10, a 10 percent ethanol mix; several makes run on E-85 fuel; and cane fields absorb heat and carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. It would improve our quality of life.
With ethanol, biodiesel, solar power, wind power, wave power, H-power and geothermal power, we have the potential to be the most energy self-sufficient state in the union -- unless "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot."
Paul M. Gundlach
Democrats have odd budget memories
It was amazing to hear the Democrats take credit for the budget surplus. They apparently forgot that when Governor Lingle took office there was in fact a budget deficit. Only through her administration's hard work -- and in spite of a Democrat-controlled Legislature that works against her at every turn -- the deficit has been turned into a record surplus.
The governor has proposed returning a large portion of the surplus to the taxpayers. Let's hope the Democrats do not suffer further memory loss, but remember to support the governor's tax relief proposals for the good of the people of Hawaii.
Bush has no good reason for flauting law
The Bush administration is on the offensive regarding its warrantless spying on American citizens. It claims that in the war on terror, it cannot afford to waste crucial time getting warrants. However, the law the president is breaking already allows him to wait up to three days AFTER starting a wiretap to follow the Constitution, demonstrate probable cause and get a warrant. Neither the president nor his apologists have explained how having 72 hours after the fact to give a secret court a good excuse for wiretapping American citizens could possibly hinder a legitimate investigation.
The president also claims that he was given the authority to conduct this operation by a congressional resolution adopted after the 9/11 attacks. But Bush's attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, admitted that the administration didn't seek explicit authority for it because Congress wouldn't have granted it. Given that, it's difficult to believe Congress intended implicitly to give him authority, and indeed, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service concluded it was unlikely any court would agree with the administration's interpretation.
For violating the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and then lying about it, the president should be impeached and removed from office immediately.
Children need more than bread and water
The millions of dollars that go to the Department of Education each year and KHON2 News reported (Thursday) that Fern Elementary School was serving "C" lunches (bread and milk or water) to students who fell behind in their lunch money? And then a DOE spokesman gets on TV and defends the practice.
The principal and whoever else is in charge of such things should be fired immediately. This is totally abhorrent and an awful injustice to be played upon children.
Robert "Rabbett" Abbett
Don't divert funds away from special ed
I agree that much of the projected state budget surplus should go toward Hawaii's public schools
. But I would like to protest emphatically Sen. Brian Taniguchi's statement that funds be diverted from special education for regular education (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 11). The federal oversight of special education was, contrary to myth in some quarters, not an unnecessary intrusion of outsiders into Hawaii's affairs. It was due to special education in Hawaii being even more neglected than regular education.
This is still true, as shown by the recent incident in which a school bus driver and his aide taped shut the mouth of a special education student as a behavior management technique. These personnel were obviously in way over their heads, and it's not totally their fault that financial constraints result in the hiring of such woefully unprepared staff who are then given insufficient training, if any at all.
But they will pay a higher price for this situation than their employer, who should have known better than to hire them and drop them into jobs they couldn't handle, or the civil servants responsible for issuing such a poorly overseen and inadequate busing contract.
Who will be forced to move for rail?
With all the talk about light rail, there is one question that needs to be answered: Who's going to be forced out of the way to make room for light rail infrastructure?
Freeways' green areas need maintenance
Why is it that with all the state surplus, much of it provided by visitors, the state does not maintain grassy areas along much of our freeways? People come to Hawaii to enjoy the sights and tropical vistas, but much of what they see is not that great.
Often times we hear or read some contractor had their contract cancelled and a new contract is being negotiated with another one. The surplus did not happen overnight. Let's give our visitors something to remember so they continue to return to paradise!
Roy M. Chee
Waimea Valley saved by united effort
Special thanks go out to the nine City Council members who, on Dec. 7, voted to reject a settlement proposal
that would have allowed private homes to be built in pristine Waimea Valley. The crucial vote paved the way for a new negotiated settlement between all interested parties that will eventually allow the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to take ownership of the valley.
Waimea Valley shows what can be accomplished if everyone works united towards a common goal. Those community members who testified before the City Council to save the valley should be proud of a job well done. As a Hawaiian, it fills my heart with joy that our state motto is alive and well. Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono.
The new $14.1 million settlement will be paid for by the U.S. Army ($3.5 million, negotiated by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land), OHA ($2.9 million), the Department of Land and Natural Resources ($1.6 million), the Audubon Society ($1 million, advanced by OHA), and the city ($5.1 million). Once the deal is approved by the City Council, Waimea Valley will finally be preserved in perpetuity. I am elated for the North Shore residents and environmental activists who brought this issue to OHA. None of this would have happened if it were not for their persistent efforts.
OHA will continue to be vigilant about former alii lands that are up for sale. Negotiations are currently taking place between all parties concerned to preserve Moanalua Valley. I have no doubt we will succeed if we can generate the same cooperation and support that saved Waimea Valley.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Symphony relies on efforts of many
I applaud the effort to highlight and publicize the recent positive changes at the Honolulu Symphony in Burl Burlingame's article "Fine-tuning the Symphony"
on Jan. 24.
The orchestra is a cornerstone of the arts community in Hawaii and should be widely supported by the city, the state and by the community at large.
It is important to remember that the symphony has enjoyed the unlimited support of many longtime benefactors, including Carolyn Berry, who have selflessly stepped forward to help the organization.
Without this generosity of spirit and volunteer commitment, the symphony would be in a much different position today!