Hawaii Democrats need to clean house
In a March 12 article
, Hawaii Democratic Party treasurer Jane Sugimura is quoted as saying she was told by a Rhode Island Senate candidate's field director that if the Hawaii Democratic Party donated to the candidate's campaign, the Hawaii party would receive a donation in turn.
This defies ethics and common sense, and Hawaii Democrats deserve answers. The party has no business getting involved in a competitive primary in another state. Furthermore, any political official with the slimmest knowledge of campaign laws should know the transfer is questionable at best. Sugimura should resign for the sake of our party's future.
The move also raises questions about the priorities of state party Chairman Brickwood Galuteria. When he took the office in 2004, he said he wanted to revitalize the base in the wake of serious losses at the hands of Republicans. Not only has Galuteria failed to recruit a viable gubernatorial candidate, he's also apparently focusing on a place that's neither an island nor part of Hawaii: Rhode Island.
Politicians shouldn't design transit system
The City Council is looking at rail all wrong. They have placed too many stops along the line to ensure rapid efficient movement (Star-Bulletin, March 23
). A train is similar to ships or large motor vehicles. It takes a tremendous amount of power to begin moving. Once moving, the savings begin to materialize. However, if the stops are less than five miles apart, the costs will exceed any benefits gained through increased fuel usage and increased time wasted by too many stops.
A "hub and spoke" design with TheBus feeding the stations would be a much more efficient way to get the same job done. I'm sure previous administrations authorized lots of consultant studies on this issue, so why not utilize them and do it right? This is not the time to let the politicians decide what is best. We should let individuals with transit and engineering backgrounds decide this issue.
Surplus belongs to taxpayers -- return it
Somehow winning an election endows our elected officials with an infallible judgment as to what should be done to govern Hawaii. They and the daily newspapers are now engaged in a debate about what best to do with the surplus taxes that have accumulated in state coffers.
The answer is actually quite simple -- return it to the people who created it. All of it!
There should be no debate on one project or another. Surplus money happens because the state has excessively overtaxed its citizens.
When that happens, the state Constitution says it is to be returned. It does not say some of it should be refunded; it does not say you can divide it up for various projects -- it says it must be returned.
So stop playing politics and do the right thing -- return all of our money!
Editorial wrong about airline competition
Aloha Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Island Air are finally gaining altitude in the wake of 9/11 and sky-high fuel costs. We are seeing new investment, new jobs and even new airplanes coming on line. The last thing our airlines need is a radical proposal from the administration that would allow foreign entities, including foreign airlines, to control nearly all commercial aspects of a U.S. airline ("Lift barriers to foreign presence in U.S. airlines," Editorial, Star-Bulletin, March 12
Your assertion that the proposal would supply needed capital and competition isn't borne out by the facts. With a sound business plan, airlines as diverse as United, US Airways and Aloha have all found ample capital to fund their exit from bankruptcy. The fact that about 50 percent of the U.S. airline industry has been in bankruptcy since 9/11 dramatically demonstrates the fierce competition that exists. In Hawaii, the already keen competition for passengers will likely grow more intense in the future. ATA Airlines is increasing flights and adding destinations, and Mesa Airlines has announced plans for interisland service.
Moreover, the ill-conceived Department of Transportation proposal holds serious consequences for airline industry economics and jobs. It also could compromise the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, a key element of our national defense. Not only is the proposal not needed, it could be harmful.
With so much at stake, it is imperative that Congress assert its authority and fully debate and decide whether any change to the law is necessary. Sen. Daniel Inouye was right to introduce legislation to do just that.
Capt. David Bird
Chairman, Aloha Airlines Unit
Air Line Pilots Association
Capt. Kirk McBride
Chairman, Hawaiian Airlines Unit
Air Line Pilots Association
Capt. Jimmy Rabino
Chairman, Island Air Unit
Air Line Pilots Association
Fares prove 3 airlines are better than 2
Isn't this welcome news that Mesa Airlines (go!) has said that it will have an opening promotional one-way air fare of $39
? Even if this is only temporary, it tells you that there are affordable air fares if you have at least three carriers competing instead of two. I hope all these complainers support the new airline more than previous ones like Mahalo and Discovery. We need long-term, affordable interisland air fares. Both Aloha and Hawaiian said that they will match the prices, but we should help the one who has made this lower air fare possible. Human nature is to go with the airline you are comfortable with since Aloha and Hawaiian have been around so long. But support go! so that we have an affordable interisland air fare for many years!
Francis K. Ibara
Democrats follow GOP in flight from gas cap
Democrats in the House accused the Republicans of "taking care of their friends" in the oil business when they passed the gas cap law in 2004. Now the House Democrats are sitting next to the Republicans and holding hands with them. I guess the House Democrats are conceding that the Republicans are smarter, so we might as well vote "R" this coming election.
U.S. troops deserve respect and gratitude
It's disheartening reading the "Why did protesters ruin soldiers' evening?" (Star-Bulletin, Letters, March 23
These protesters may have the right to demonstrate against the Middle East conflict, but to verbally abuse the soldiers who risk their lives to protect this very freedom to demonstrate is a sad commentary.
This lack of class in how they promote their cause shows shallow and narrow-minded thinking. Instead of our troops are not being welcomed home, it's the other way around -- these abusive protesters are not welcomed in the islands.
We support our U.S. military and appreciate what they do to protect all of us.
Alumni help protect KS admissions policy
The Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association, Northern California Region, applauds the recent decision
by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear Doe v. Kamehameha.
It is not just about one teenager challenging the schools' admissions policy; at risk is the very fabric of what makes Kamehameha Schools so valuable an educational opportunity for Hawaiians.
As alumni, we appreciate and treasure Princess Pauahi's gift to us. Who we are today may not have been possible without the privilege of attending Kamehameha. We want and need future generations to have the chance to attend the schools and develop the talents and leadership that will help uplift the Hawaiian community.
We will be working with the Native Hawaiian Legal Defense and Education Fund to launch a Web site, kokua.supportkamehameha.org, where supporters will be able to join us in helping Kamehameha Schools prevail.
President, KSAA Northern California Region
San Francisco, Calif.
Will Dems fail again to fix workers comp?
Too many injured workers in Hawaii remain on disability longer because they do not receive the necessary treatment. Reforming the workers compensation system could change that.
Businesses in Hawaii pay the highest workers comp insurance rates. Reforming the workers compensation system could change that.
Why then does the Democratic-controlled Legislature time after time refuse to even consider such reforms? All they manage to do is to perpetuate Hawaii's anti-business reputation and ensure our cost of living remains one of the most expensive in the country. There is no excuse for our Legislature's failure to clean up our failing workers compensation system.
Gulch has become mountain of opala
Concerning the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill, it's not only about the broken promises or the decades enduring the sights and smells that are associated with a landfill in our community. What's equally as disappointing is that there are no real plans for alternative solutions. Why don't our leaders initiate the plans and contract the construction of more H-POWER plants? Burn trash for power? Brilliant!
What has been lost on most is the fact that Waimanalo Gulch Landfill is now "Mt. Opala." It isn't a landfill at all; it is now a man-made mountain. Mt. Opala has one of the highest peaks on the Leeward coast, and the views are breathtaking, as are the smells.
However, with the recent catastrophic failure of Ka Loko Reservoir on Kauai, we have another concern with Mt. Opala. Who is to ensure that this man-made mountain of garbage is stable, and that it will never slide down? Should some freak weather pattern suddenly drop several feet of rain on this area for an extended period, imagine the catastrophe that would be if Mt. Opala came sliding down.
Catching red-light runners is heroic work
I'll give a big hurrah for Rep. Joe Souki if he can push the bill through for using cameras to catch red-light runners. I am so tired of almost getting run over, watching cars still going across the intersection several seconds after the light has turned red.
San Leandro, Calif., has installed cameras on certain intersections, and I do not see any red-light runners there. I think the cameras are mounted on the stop lights, the pictures are taken of the cars, they send the tags to the owner of the car, regardless of who is driving.
If San Leandro can do it, why cannot Hawaii? I hope Souki is successful in getting this bill passed. If it doesn't pass, maybe all the legislators are as guilty of this as the average person.
Irene F. Lance
Creeping China crisis defies reason
Lurking beneath the surface and behind all our other current woes is the ever-present, potential "China-Taiwan" crisis. It has now resurfaced with Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's decision to scrap the Unification Council, established in 1990 to manage a dialogue between Taiwan and Mainland China. It appears that Chen is mainly doing this to bolster his drooping approval ratings at home, but it stands out in Chinese mainland eyes like a red flag and symbol of Chen's attempts to inch toward openly declaring independence from China.
Actually, the Unification Council can be scrapped and reestablished under some other name if deemed necessary -- it probably should never have been established in the first place. But, a more important part of the problem probably lies elsewhere.
We recognized China in 1979, but at the same time a majority in Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act, committing us to ensure Taiwan's ability to defend itself from China's potential use of force against it. Yet we say that solution of this issue is a matter between China and Taiwan and, in the meantime, we insist on favoring a "status quo" in the relationship. In other words, we insist on having our cake and eating it too, in the midst of obvious contradictions. We insist on putting on airs of "noninvolvement" yet are, in effect, keeping China at a distance, while treating Taiwan like an ally, albeit a very troublesome one as the Reunification Council imbroglio has revealed.
Perhaps the most dangerous aspect is that we insist on pointing to the fact that Taiwan is democratic, and thus we make it appear that our credibility requires us to favor Taiwan. This fits in well with historian Donald Kagan's three causes of war over the ages -- interests, fear and honor. Note that interests are more often perceived rather than real, and "reason" is not among the factors.
If we really stood up on this issue we might tell both China and Taiwan to quit the bickering, act like adults, accommodate each other, look at possibly forming a commonwealth and proudly move on into the 21st century in a cooperative manner. Is this a satisfactory solution? Only if reason becomes a factor.