Not all homeless want our help
There are some homeless who have no choice and, due to circumstances, have no place to go, but there are many mentally disturbed individuals, and other folks with drug problems who are homeless. I have met a few folks who love the fact of being homeless as it offers NO responsibilities, such as paying taxes. These folks monopolize public bathrooms, acting like it is their property, and don't allow people who need to use the facilities to use them.
I am definitely in favor of helping the homeless, but not all of them. You see folks downtown asking for a handout -- a dollar, they say, for food -- but when you tell them a dollar will not buy lunch, and offer to buy them lunch they get angry -- why is that?
We still need to use our water wisely
Although Hawaii recently had a long rain storm lasting a month, which provided much-needed water to fill our reservoirs, we still need to practice water conservation. With the weather being so unpredictable, who knows if we now will have an even longer duration without any rainfall? So use all the water you need -- just use it wisely.
Civic-mindedness used to be free commodity
About 18 years ago I was on a special committee to plan a line of stations and the route for a mass transit system for Honolulu. We were a group of businessmen and local architects who met every week for more than a year, volunteering with civic pride in mind. The plan was rejected by the pea-brained City Council members.
Now, I see in the papers that a consulting firm has been hired to draw up plans of the same nature with funds from the city. This is typical so certain groups can draw from the city coffers to feed their pockets. I lived for 67 years in Honolulu and should not be surprised that this is still been done.
If state ever needed 'rainy day' fund ...
Recent record rainfall has made painfully obvious the need to improve our aging sewers and wastewater disposal systems. Traditionally, this has been a county responsibility. But property owners (and renters) statewide are already feeling the pain of escalating property taxes -- the counties' primary revenue source. As a result, it may be necessary as well as fair to ask state government for more help.
This need might be greatest in Waikiki due to its importance to statewide economic health. Waikiki and nearby residents as well as visitors might be the primary victims of any future sewage spills and wastewater disposal problems in mauka communities from Punchbowl to Diamond Head.
So as debate continues on the best use of the state's budget surplus, one of the most important reasons that we need a "rainy day" fund might be for increased state funding for infrastructure improvements in and near Waikiki. As necessary as planned airport improvements might be (Star-Bulletin, March 25), I think the state could help protect Waikiki for substantially less cost -- with at least as much economic and even more environmental benefit.
Iraq must be secured by end of Bush's term
If the Iraqis cannot organize their government and provide adequate security throughout their country before the end of 2007, we should seriously consider pulling out all of our troops. We are caught in an impossible situation of trying to appease the different sectarian groups, yet pleasing none fully. Perhaps, we could get assistance from other Muslim countries that could help Iraqis rebuild their devastated country.
Our president needs to finish what he started; and that is, to bring all of our troops home before his term ends in 2009. To pass on that burden to the next president is too much!
Roy E. Shigemura
OHA enjoys what other state agencies don't
Why is the Office of Hawaiian Affairs
exempt from rules applicable other state agencies? For example, why can't a public school put 25 percent of its budget for the next 25 years in a tax-free trust? Then invest it to build its own endowment?
That would harm 25 years of students whom Hawaii's elected lawmakers intended to help, just as OHA did to accumulate hundreds of millions that should have been spent on its intended beneficiaries. But, as OHA demonstrated, there are benefits:
Like OHA, the school would have hundreds of millions that lawmakers could no longer control.
Like OHA, the school could hire million-dollar lobbyists to pursue even more money.
Like OHA, the school could buy full-page ads promoting bills to give it still more. It could even buy prime-time TV slots and contribute them to candidates who agreed to compete over which would promise the most in return.
Finally, like OHA, the school could begin buying land in Hawaii, which is the ultimate path to independent power in this small island state.
I thought no state agency was allowed to do that, because no rational citizenship would allow its tax dollars to build hundred-million-dollar trusts outside the control of elected lawmakers.
But OHA is a state agency. Why can it do what a public school cannot? I guess for the same reason the state doesn't collect income tax from the Bishop Estate.
George L. Berish