Flexibility is key to biofuels' success
Re: your Dec. 14 editorial
, "Change in electricity production a complex, costly endeavor": As a long-term business owner and resident of Hawaii, I applaud the state government and Hawaiian Electric Company for seeking to reduce our dependence on foreign oil imports to fuel the growing demand for electricity generation by changing to biofuels.
I have become involved with alternative fuels as president of Safe Renewables Corporation, a biodiesel producer, and know that biodiesel can be refined from a wide assortment of crops, giving tremendous flexibility to our community in the future. We need not be stalled by concerns about the availability of one feedstock or another as many can be utilized, from crops produced here as well on other Pacific islands.
HECO and the state should proceed vigorously with this important initiative.
Drug tests give all power to government
I believe it would be a mistake to start randomly drug-testing teachers. It's not that I'm condoning drug use -- in fact, as a Mormon, I try to persuade people not to take any addictive drugs at all, including alcohol, tobacco, coffee or tea. But private persuasion is entirely different from public coercion.
As a libertarian, I'm wary of increasing the coercive power of government, especially when it would be used to impose religious or moral beliefs upon people who are harming only themselves, not others. I do believe that teachers should be fired if they show up for work while drunk or stoned, but random drug testing goes well beyond that -- it means punishing people for private drug use even if they show up for work sober.
The issue should be whether the teacher's public behavior is harming the students in their care, not whether the teacher's private behavior offends someone's delicate sensibilities.
Unions will benefit most from rail
The most efficient form of transportation is driving a car. Don't distract from my point by bringing in pollution and global warming. Let's stick to efficiency and politics.
TheBus exists and virtually no one rides it, especially those who profess the benefits of public transportation. There is an obvious reason why no one rides TheBus or will ride DaRail for that matter.
Parents drive their children to and from school. Will these potential rail riders change their habits and let pre-schoolers and children under 12 ride DaRail? Why aren't they letting them ride TheBus now?
We all know the answer to these questions.
If I live at the top of Alewa Drive, Hawaii Loa Ridge or any ridge in Honolulu, will the existence of a rail that is miles distant make a difference as to whether I use my car or a bus? The answer is no. It affects these people like it affects those who live on the Windward side of Oahu.
The reason that people choose to use their cars rather than ride TheBus will be the same reason that they will still choose to use their cars rather than ride DaRail.
The rail will benefit only one group -- UNIONS! And the politicians who suck up to unions.
Hanukkah reminds us of our many blessings
Happy Hanukkah to our residents and visitors of the Jewish faith.
This year, the Festival of Lights began at sundown yesterday,* and Jewish people around the world will light the first candle on the menorah. Over the following seven nights, they will light each of the candles on the menorah as symbols of hope and gratitude for God's many blessings.
Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of the oil. After reclaiming the Temple in Jerusalem from the Syrians thousands of years ago, the Jewish people found they only had enough oil to light the sacred lamp for one more night. The small amount of oil miraculously lasted for eight nights.
The continued illumination symbolizes the light within us all. In Hawaii, whatever our beliefs or religious affiliations, this light is shared with others through our spirit of aloha.
As the Jewish community prepares for Hanukkah, we are especially hopeful for the safe return of our troops, and thankful for the many blessings we share every day with all the people of Hawaii.
Best wishes for a joyous, peaceful and Happy Hanukkah!
James R. "Duke" Aiona Jr.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
» A message from the governor on the start of Hanukkah on Saturday's editorial page was mistakenly changed to say that the Jewish holiday began at sundown Dec. 16. Hanukkah actually began at sundown Dec. 15.