Pilialoha wowed crowd with winning dance
As a Hawaii expatriate who lives in Las Vegas and attended the Miss America preliminaries two weeks ago, I just wanted to let the people of Hawaii know what a great experience it was witnessing Miss Hawaii Pilialoha Gaison perform her Tahitian dance during the talent preliminary and, best of all, seeing her win that Friday evening ("Newswatch," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 27
). It was not just the Hawaii delegates who you could hear cheering for her exuberantly, but the arena was full of cheers once she ended her performance. I could hear only positive comments from those sitting around me.
Better yet, Miss Hawaii once again put our state on the map, and I think she handled herself with aloha. This is a belated congratulations to Pilialoha.
Hawaii residents deserve tax rebate
Recent studies have shown the cost of living in Hawaii is almost 30 percent above the national average. Rising costs are a burden not only for those who have moved here recently, but also for the families and residents who have been here for years. Gov. Linda Lingle's administration has proposed a rebate of $100 per exemption for families with incomes less than $100,000 and $25 for those who make more than that benchmark. Hard-working residents and families in Hawaii deserve the chance to spend the money they have worked hard for. Everyone has their own needs and agendas and, if given a choice with their money, could fairly distribute it to further those needs. I know that if I had an extra $100, it would help greatly with financial burdens such as rent and groceries. If there are people who want the Legislature to manage their money instead of themselves, allow them to donate their refund back to the government, but give the rest of us a chance to receive a rebate that is not only well deserved, but one that can help vaccinate our financial diseases.
Civil unions law exemplifies aloha
As Hawaii legislators prepare to hear House Bill 908 relating to civil unions, it is important that they and the public recognize this measure has been put forward to better protect families.
Legal recognition of a spouse, unlike that offered through the existing and weak reciprocal beneficiary law, can increase the ability of adult couples to provide and care for one another and fosters a nurturing and secure environment for their children.
Any additional costs for health, government or other benefits would be more than offset by increased visitor spending and the burnishing of Hawaii's reputation as a state that celebrates diversity. This can help Hawaii companies attract and retain the best employees in a global marketplace.
Civil unions will make Hawaii a better place for all families.
Is Hanabusa speaking the plane truth?
Regarding Senate President Colleen Hanabusa's remarks in your Sunday Insight section
about a proposal authorizing the state to spend $1.9 million of taxpayer money to purchase a private plane to be used by the governor and other state officials: Is the senator asking the public to believe that she did not know from whom the requested proposal originated until she checked her records?
If the answer is affirmative, it is simply remarkable.
Kenneth L. Barker
Expand Kulani and let inmates grow food
The state should build and/or extend Kulani prison on the island of Hawaii. It does not have to be anything fancy -- a tent city would do, which is what some of our troops protecting are freedom are doing. Train prisoners how to raise their own vegetables and livestock, which can help them when they have finished their sentences and are released from prison. The best thing they can do is hire some retired drill sergeants from the military, and do not restrict them in taking care of these criminals.
One of the responses I received from a state representative was that they had someone, as a project, meeting with community groups to get their reaction. My reply to him was that lawmakers are the leaders and should take action to build or expand this prison. When we try to get input from communities, their response will be the same: "Not in our back yard." Kulani is 19 miles from civilization.
Max N. Calica