CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Al Hood was the first to drive down the new road paid for by Kapolei Property Development LLC that offers an alternative to the traffic crunch in front of the Kapolei Shopping Center.
That little bub-bump must be a birthmark
Judging by the photo of the first driver to cruise on down the new Kapolei road (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 15
), I concluded that, yes, it must be a new road as it currently has only one pothole.
If some areas are free of prostitution, then ...
It's reported that the City Council is considering establishing no-prostitution zones in downtown and Chinatown. I actually thought the entire state was a no-prostitution zone. Silly me.
So, if the Council identifies the zones where prostitution is not to be allowed, does that then mean that it's allowable everywhere else?
Schatz would guard Americans' privacy
Your Aug. 7 article
"Congress hopefuls take aim at spying" did not clarify that Rep. Brian Schatz (D, Makiki-Tantalus) has been at the head of the pack in expressing concern and suggesting substantive actions concerning this issue. He has been expressing his concerns at meetings throughout our state, has called on the Legislature to hold investigative hearings into the extent of the National Security Agency program in Hawaii, and said he would push for congressional hearings if elected.
Schatz would be the most effective member of Congress in bringing this issue to the House floor.
Schatz understands that the current situation is a throwback to the Nixon years. The Bush administration agenda is controlled by Nixon-era aides, Vice President Richard Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who have worked feverishly to sideline moderate fellow Republicans such as Colin Powell and Christine Todd Whitman.
Only investigations such as Schatz has proposed will reveal whether information gathered through the domestic spying program is being used to undermine the political activities of Democrats and moderate Republicans.
Hawaii needs a congressperson who is not afraid to take personal risks to preserve our freedoms. I agree with Schatz, who has stated that "The first step for Congress is to re-assert itself not as a lapdog for the president, but as a separate and equal branch of government."
Health insurance bill was flawed on purpose
The Star-Bulletin's Aug. 17 editorial
("Customers, businesses need oversight on insurance rates") implies that the bill was accidentally killed: "Legislators fumbled the bill in the waning days of this year's session, allowing an incorrect effective date to remain in the measure's final draft. Fixing the problem would have forced extending the session and the bill was allowed to die."
Anyone who has endured the bureaucratic, slow-motion wickedness of conference committees should know that this was no accident. Someone deliberately inserted the effective date on the bill -- it certainly wasn't a typo by a harried clerk -- and you can bet that the half-dozen or so legislators on the conference committee who met time and again to discuss the bill were well aware of that "defective date," and chose to leave it in.
The health insurance price-control bill died because it didn't have the necessary support -- because enough of the legislators were gun-shy about price controls after the hue and cry raised by their constituents over the gas cap fiasco. Conference committee is the ideal place to kill a bill without having to vote on it, thus allowing plausible deniability -- everyone can claim they supported the bill, and doggonit, it's a shame the other guy let it die.
Accident my okole.
Regulation is needed for parking stall sizes
Parking stalls provided by owners of shopping centers, restaurants, schools, hospitals, recreation centers and government establishments are getting ridiculous.
Nearly all parking stalls are designed for compact cars. Oversized parking stalls are scarce, while car makers are building bigger cars for safety and cheaper insurance coverage. If there are numerous valid insurance claims, like big dents and paint jobs caused by very limited-size parking stalls, can the insurance company take corrective measures to prevent this kind of claim?
There must be an agency to regulate the size of parking stalls for each establishment regardless of the vehicle size. It would help not only the victim but all vehicle operators.
Felino B. Damo
No more excuses! Voting is a snap
Voter apathy in Hawaii is amazing. Many of the same people who say voting takes too much time or is too much trouble will camp overnight for concert tickets or stand in line for hours before a store opens to buy the latest fad toy.
Voting has never been easier. It takes just a few minutes to complete a mail-in absentee ballot. If you prefer to vote in person on or before election day, there are many convenient locations in residential shopping areas. In downtown Honolulu, it is a quick process in and out of Honolulu Hale at lunch time.
This year, voting has never been more important. The entire state House and half of the state Senate seats, plus the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, a U.S. Senate seat, and an opening in the U.S. House of Representatives are all on the ballot.
Yes, your vote does count. Yes, you can be part of changing things for the better. Rather than settling for "same old," we need to elect new legislators who will work with our governor to make things better for everyone.
Bush doing everything right in Mideast
Russell Hernandez' letter in the Aug. 17 Star-Bulletin
claims the Bush administration has failed to keep America safe following 9/11. He claims President Bush and Republicans failed in response to Hurricane Katrina. He claims the war in Iraq has inflamed the Middle East. I would like to submit some facts for Mr. Hernandez.
We have not had a single terrorist attack on American soil after 9/11 despite the best efforts of liberals to derail Bush's counter-terror programs.
The first responders to any natural disaster are state and local authorities. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is a secondary responder and only at the request of state and local authorities. The governor of Louisiana is a Democrat. The mayor of New Orleans is a Democrat.
The Middle East has been inflamed for decades, hence three planes flew into buildings in America killing thousands prior to the war in Iraq.
This president is doing everything right.
Iraq war violates U.N. charter, Constitution
In 1946, our country signed on to the United Nations Charter, which states: Article 25: "The Members of the U.N. agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council." This makes all the decisions -- treaties -- of the Security Council part of the U.S. Constitution.
Article 2, Sec. (Sec. 4) of the U.N. Charter: "All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the U.N."
Article 51 says, "Nothing in the present charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the U.N." When did Iraq attack us? We were told Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. A child supposedly asked, "Daddy, if Iraq had, how come they lost the war?"
The news is that Capt. Dan Kuecker, the Army prosecutor, said that the "legality of the war is not to be decided by a military court." Kuecker is right. The U.S. Constitution has already declared the war illegal. Therefore, it is wrong for the military to try 1st Lt. Ehren Watada.
If the supreme law of our land -- the Constitution -- says a war is illegal, are not the lower courts bound by that definition? No wonder after studying and studying and trying to be the best American I can be, I am so mixed up. How about you?
Policy in Middle East is an abject failure
President Bush's hero Winston Churchill rallied Great Britain during World War II by saying it would take "blood, sweat and tears" to win the war. Conversely,the president in a recent speech at the State Department promises his old refrain to "stay the course" without any sacrifice by the public. By "staying the course" there will be more violence, destruction and loss of life of Iraqis and troops on the ground.
Despite all the spin and constant change in rhetoric, not much progress has been made in the three years of occupation. The White House response to the situation is Dick Cheney launching another attack on the Democrats and Condoleezza Rice's declaration that we are seeing "a new Middle East," referring to the Lebanon cease-fire. More time and effort is expended manipulating events for political advantage instead of creating effective counter-insurgency tactics necessary to neutralize the insurgency and establish stability in Iraq.
Pile driving necessary for Beachwalk repairs
We're sorry that the pile driving for the Beachwalk wastewater emergency bypass project annoyed Waikiki resident Chip Davey (Letters, Aug.16
The emergency project is intended to provide a backup system to the Beachwalk force main that ruptured in March, forcing the diversion of 48 million gallons of sewage into the Ala Wai Canal. We want to complete this project by January, before the next rainy season, to ensure against another massive sewage diversion.
The project includes driving steel sheet piles into a site next to Ala Wai Elementary School. In order to minimize the disruption to the school and its 440 students, we allowed the contractor to do the pile driving on extended shifts and weekends. The pile driving began on Sunday, July 23, and was completed on Sunday, July 30.
Ala Wai Elementary began its school year on Thursday, July 27. The students and teachers put up with two days of pile driving next door. Every effort was made to do this work before the school year began, but the need to first install the bypass pipe in the canal precluded that.
We suggest Davey or anyone else who has questions visit the project Web site, www.beachwalkbypass.com
We do take seriously our obligation to minimize disruption to our neighbors while completing this vital project.
Deputy director, Department of Design and Construction
City and County of Honolulu
U.S. policy on Cuba hurts common people
It is time for the United States to stop and give up; it is not going to get or remove Fidel Castro. I think after all these generations of embargos and wet foot/dry foot immigration have failed. The only people hurt are the common people of Cuba.
The stifling economy, food shortages and people dying from the wet foot/dry foot immigration policy -- none of this would be happening if we would treat this sovereign nation like any other country.
It's about time we stop sticking our nose where it doesn't belong, then maybe we will begin to gain respect internationally with this first step. It is time to rethink all foreign policy and then perhaps instead of the "hammer" we can use peace and negotiation to bring good changes (not necessarily our change) to the world.
Aloha Airlines craft brightens Baghdad
I am Staff Sgt. Janel Kaui Taylor, an air traffic controller with the 447th Air Expeditionary Group in Baghdad. We operate the ATC tower side-by-side with Iraqi controllers in the true spirit of Iraqi freedom.
It's been an uplifting tour, but I must admit, with no ocean for miles, I've been homesick for the islands for a long time. My heart swelled yesterday when I noticed a familiar aircraft tail parked at Baghdad International Airport's passenger terminal: an old Aloha Airlines Boeing 737. I remembered spending weekends on Maui's Kanaha Beach, watching all the aircraft departing Kahului and making my dad name each one.
I hope this reminds all the ohana back home that Hawaii's sons and daughters are spreading the aloha spirit to every corner of the world in more ways than any of us could imagine. And that it's the love of the islands and her people that will bring us home soon.
Staff Sgt. Janel K Taylor
U.S. Air Force