Tax is the only way to fund transit system
City Councilman Todd Apo came to the Ewa Neighborhood Board on Oct. 12 to provide his rationale for the rail. What everyone seemed to forget is that if the majority of legislators and the governor agreed with Rep. Kym Pine's vote on HB1309 HD2 SD2 CD1 (Act 247 Hawaii Session Laws 2005), there wouldn't have been a presentation to give in the first place. There would be no public transit alternatives for the City Council to decide upon and nothing would be on the table today to combat the H-1.
With no funding mechanism in place, transit alternatives to garner federal funding could not be explored. Results for Ewa Beach were that Rep. Rida Cabanilla and Sen. Will Espero voted in favor of the bill to fund rail, managed lanes and more buses while Pine voted against it. We are in a transportation crisis out here in West Oahu and we need to know how our elected officials voted on the biggest transportation bill to come down the pike in decades. Not knowing might wind up costing commuters more time in traffic in the future.
Bottom line is that if there were a mechanism to fund rail without raising taxes, it would have made the front page.
Legislative Committee chairman
Ewa Neighborhood Board
Akaka a better vote for long-term goals
At first glance, one might be inclined to agree with Jim Henshaw's criticism of the Sierra Club's endorsement of Dan Akaka over his Republican challenger, Cynthia Thielen (Letters, Oct. 26
). After all, the senator voted to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. As a Democrat who was appalled by Akaka's action, I myself might be tempted to vote for Thielen, particularly so because she has not only supported environmental programs, but also because she is that rarity these days -- a moderate Republican.
However, things are never so simple. The greatest threat to the environment is the current Republican-dominated Congress. Were she to win this election, Thielen would only be one powerless freshman among many others and would not have enough clout to overcome her party's anti-environment tendencies. What is desperately needed is a Democratic majority to continue to pursue its generally environmentally friendly policies. Thielen may be an environmentalist and a moderate, but she is still a Republican.
So the Sierra Club, I believe, is not hypocritical in its continued support for Akaka; it is being pragmatic in returning him to Congress. It realizes that the long-term gain is more important than his single transgression.
Thielen would bring balance to Senate
We have known Cynthia Thielen for more than 35 years as a friend, neighbor and legislator and we intend to support her candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
We are doing so in spite of our concerns about having another Republican in Washington. We are appalled at the current administration's "stay the course" approach to the war in Iraq and its arrogant foreign policy that has alienated our country's friends and allies around the world. We also abhor the Bush administration's relentless assault on the environment, civil liberties and the principal of separation of church and state that is so vital to the democratic ideal of religious freedom.
We support Thielen's candidacy because we are certain that if elected, she will provide a voice of sanity in Washington, D.C., on the above issues. She has always done the "right thing" as a member of the Hawaii House of Representatives. We know we can trust her to do the "right thing" in the U.S. Senate on behalf of Hawaii and our country.
Annetta and Phil Kinnicutt
Hirono's negative ads are a real turnoff
I watched in disgust a recent political ad that Mazie Hirono is running on all the local TV stations. It is a despicable example of trash politics.
Hirono must be really desperate to win at all costs. By using such attacks to smear Bob Hogue, she has shown her true colors.
Hogue would never stoop to that level of campaigning, even if he knew it would cost him the election. I believe people are fed up with negative campaigning no matter who is guilty of it.
Hirono should first try to raise her own personal standards before she attacks someone we once welcomed into our living rooms as a trusted friend delivering the news of the day.
HSTA didn't have time to poll all teachers
As the HSTA State Political Action Committee (PAC) chairwoman, I feel obliged to respond to the criticism by a few teachers concerning the HSTA's decision to endorse Randy Iwase in the gubernatorial race.
Our recommendation process leading to the endorsement of a gubernatorial candidate is lengthy and comprehensive. After receiving the written responses to the questionnaire we send to the candidates, the PAC, consisting of 24 teachers (two from each of the 12 chapters statewide, who volunteer their time), thoroughly reviews these responses.
Based on these written responses, each of the major candidates (Linda Lingle, Iwase and William Aila), was called to be interviewed by the PAC members. After each interview, we discussed the oral responses coming from each candidate.
The PAC then comes to a consensus and makes its recommendation to the Board of Directors, consisting of 32 teachers, also volunteers who are elected from their respective chapters. At the time we make our recommendation, all PAC members submit their interview notes and justification statements that are available for the board members to review. After reviewing the recommendation with the accompanying notes and statements, the board voted to follow the PAC's recommendation and endorse Iwase.
Normally, the board then seeks the affirmation from the membership, which takes two weeks to complete. Unfortunately, this year, because our teachers were on intersession during the first week of October, combined with absentee ballots permitting voters to vote three weeks before the general election on Nov. 7, we could not follow the normal practice. Had we followed it, our endorsement would not have been announced until after the absentee balloting was commenced, which would not have made sense. We might add that in all of our years of endorsing candidates, the membership has always affirmed the actions of our PAC and Board of Directors.
As a last note, the teachers who complained about our endorsement of Randy Iwase should be reminded that their elected chapter representatives agreed with the action taken by the PAC and Board of Directors.
State PAC chairwoman
Hawaii State Teachers Association
PUC let HECO spend its money unwisely
If there is a investigation into Hawaiian Electric's Oct. 15 power outage, I hope it does not only center upon procedures and decisions made by individuals (I believe those guys probably acted responsibly). Instead, I'd like to see an investigation into effects of the Public Utilities Commission's decision made years ago, allowing HECO's request to use its cash reserves totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase American Savings Bank, and later Young Brothers (which it sold), and to make investments into who knows what additional companies.
I thought it was wrong that a public utility should be allowed to use its income for anything other than system upgrades and investment into its core business of generating electricity, and now we may be experiencing the reasons why. Specifically, the question is, have these non-utility investments by HECO in agreement with the then-PUC delayed or precluded HECO from upgrading its facilities and generators on a timely basis and comparably with other power utilities nationwide? A broader investigation would indeed consider the effects upon past and future rates, company focus, executive salaries and a whole host of issues. The public deserves to know.
Bush didn't lie, and Saddam had it coming
Enough already with the moronic "Bush lied" rhetoric. That would implicate Britain, France, Germany and Egypt, as they all had similar intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction. How many times would Saddam Hussein be allowed to violate U.N. resolutions past the 15 or so that he did before being called to task?
Intelligence was dead wrong on one thing though, that Islam is a peaceful religion. Big mistake!
You can change lives for Hawaii homeless
Today is the 15th annual Make a Difference Day, sponsored by the USA Weekend and Points of the Light Foundation. A day to promote volunteerism, and to remind us to be kind and generous to those who are desperately in need of our help.
The government can only do so much. The rest depends on concerned citizens to step in to provide a permanent solution to their homeless problems.
There are several hundred churches and temples in Hawaii, and yet only a small percentage of them participated actively in helping the poor and homeless people. Did not Jesus Christ teach, "Love thy neighbor as thou love thyself?" Did not Buddha teach "Be compassionate to all people"? It is the religious leaders' responsibility to inspire love and compassion, and to encourage their followers to participate in helping the poor and the homeless, so that Hawaii will not be just a paradise for the rich and powerful, but a paradise for every citizen living here as well.
The true pass to heaven depends not upon how much one has accumulated for oneself, but how much one has given to others.