Fight for justice includes gay rights
As our nation mourns the passing of another mother of the civil rights movement, Coretta Scott King, it is appropriate to honor her legacy and that of her husband's -- the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. -- by recommitting ourselves to understanding the forces of discrimination and fighting against injustice. At the Gay & Lesbian Community Center in Honolulu, we are mindful that the struggle against racism has been a long, perilous and continuing journey. It is a struggle we know well, and it is one that Coretta Scott King called "a common struggle."
In a keynote speech to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force on Nov. 9, 2000, King said, "Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any democracy." And it was her husband who famously said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
In the coming year, the center will be recommitting itself to these ideals of the Kings, and we welcome the support of our brothers and sisters fighting for civil rights.
Gay & Lesbian Community Center
He shows compassion in so many ways
I feel compelled to take issue with the Feb. 7 front-page article implying President Bush is not the "compassionate conservative" he claimed to be during his first presidential campaign. He is indeed very compassionate about his political and economic priorities.
He's incredibly compassionate about his power to eavesdrop domestically, despite the law.
His compassion toward the pharmaceutical industry is undeniable.
He's compassionate about fetuses, his cuts in health care or other services for real children -- that is, post-fetus -- notwithstanding.
He's compassionate about drilling our way out of our foreign-oil dependence, however implausible, versus demanding more fuel-efficient cars or seriously investing in alternative energy sources.
But nothing demonstrates the president's compassion more than his unwavering support for the suffering millionaires and billionaires of our country. He'll support making their huge tax cuts permanent regardless of how large the deficit is or the burden it will impose on future generations. Paying for his war of choice in Iraq or having to make cuts in Medicare, student loans or other domestic issues will never sway his resolve.
Come to think of it, he's a virtual CEO of compassion!
Hong Kong has smart traffic-light system
Why can't our city planners learn from the traffic light system in Hong Kong? Its yellow light tells you to get out of the intersection before the red light because the other side is blinking red to let the other driver know to get ready to go. If anyone is caught in the intersection when it's red, they get a huge fine. In this system, drivers are warned both ways.
Honolulu planners are encouraging everyone to run the red lights because of the delayed green. I've seen too many cars, buses and trucks run the red lights when they shouldn't.
Position with city was mutually beneficial
Since your editorial yesterday
targeted my hire by Mayor Harris as a sign of questionable practices, I feel compelled to reply.
I was hired as the city energy and sustainability coordinator, a new position with no civil service equivalent. My knowledge and experience in city government was invaluable in moving forward quite a number of initiatives in the short time I held the position.
While a member of the City Council, I was chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy as the National Energy Champion in 2004 for my leadership in the energy field. I was president of the Rebuild Hawaii Consortium, a U.S. Department of Energy partnership promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives when Mayor Harris hired me. Prior to elective office, I was an energy analyst for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
The city Energy Code, which I introduced while on the City Council, is predicted by the federal government to save Honolulu more than $300 million.
While I was in the job your editorial questions, the city got numerous awards, including Hawaiian Electric's Project of the Year. Also, it should be noted that I went out and hustled federal matching funds for my position, so all in all, I was a remarkable bargain.
Perhaps the Star-Bulletin should be asking what the Hannemann administration has done to reduce the costs of energy to the taxpayers.
Port Ludlow, Wash.
Public funding opens doors for candidates
To all of us who feel powerless in the face of governmental corruption and a society gone horribly wrong: There is hope. "Clean" or "voter-owned" elections is the way to ensure that candidates like you and me, who have the good of the most at heart, can get elected ("Gathering Place," Feb. 12
). Please demand that your representatives support this legislation. It is the wave of the future, and those who do not surf it will wipe out!
Public funding might help Hawaiians
The Star-Bulletin's Feb. 12 "Gathering Place"
column, "Publicly funded elections put voters back in charge," is extremely interesting because of its implications to minorities, especially Hawaiians. The absence of Hawaiians at the state Capitol is not only obvious, but discouraging as well. Running for state office has become so expensive and ethically questionable that many respected Hawaiians refuse to participate.
Public funding might restore some faith in the political process and offer more Hawaiians a chance to effect positive change in their communities.
Higher-ed think tank flunked its own test
The Star-Bulletin reported last Friday
that the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems made major errors in its report claiming that the University of Hawaii ranked low nationally in terms of inefficiency. The center was forced to admit that it double-counted $100 million in fringe benefits and estimated Hawaii's cost of living as only 16 percent higher than the mainland's instead of 51 percent. Hawaii went from 49th in the nation to 33rd. Of course, we don't know what other unreported errors the center made, either for UH or for other universities.
I wonder how many businesses would survive if they overestimated fringes benefits by 100 percent or underestimated operating costs by 60 percent? The center and its report get a flunking grade for accuracy and credibility.
Professor, Botany Department
University of Hawaii-Manoa
Save yourself from this Ice Age
Ice will make you crazy
Your eyes start looking glazy
Cause your vision to get hazy
Eventually you'll be lazy.
In the beginning it was fun
Then your friends one by one
Learn that you are done
Now your friends, there are none.
Ice puts you in a funk
Has you selling all your junk
Even the best have all but sunk
Soon you will have your own bunk.
So get with it, you fools
Get rid of those mules
You know the rules
God gave you the tools.
Don't lose them
Don't abuse them
Just use them.
Federal Detention Center