Is shooting at cops worse than murder?
From yesterday's Star-Bulletin: "A Maui Circuit Court judge sentenced a Kihei man to 40 years in prison
for shooting at a group of off-duty police officers holding a barbecue at a public park three years ago." Not that I think shooting at cops is a good thing, of course, but he didn't hit anyone, or hurt anyone, but he gets 40 years.
And then, also from yesterday's paper: "A 40-year-old former Kalihi resident has admitted to fatally stabbing his girlfriend multiple times because he had been drinking and was angry from an argument" -- he, however, for murdering his girlfriend, gets only 30 years.
Good grief! If you want to maim or kill your "significant other," Hawaii sure is the place to do it! Murder isn't nearly as punishable there as shooting at cops.
La Veta, Calif.
Former Hawaii resident
HECO should not take tariffs on generators
As a Hawaiian Electric Co. shareholder, I was dismayed to see that HECO is proposing tariffs for on-site generators (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 14
). Instead of rewarding those seeking alternative energy sources, it wants to charge them what their savings would be. This from a company that caused an islandwide power outage last October, almost instituted blackouts recently because it could not generate enough power, and says that it needs new power plants to meet expected demand growth.
Once again HECO is unresponsive to the needs of the community. The Public Utilities Commission must turn down HECO's request.
Soft judges must take the rap for crime
I've had it. I'm tired of judges who are soft on career criminals, knowing full well that when they are put back on the streets they will commit other crimes.
John Lorenzo Jr. was put back on the street by Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto to commit a crime that resulted in the death of deputy sheriff Daniel Browne-Sanchez (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 12). Lorenzo was characterized by prosecutor Marvin Rampey as a "persistent offender." Lorenzo's lawyer, Frank Fernandes, asked Sakamoto to postpone sentencing as Lorenzo was undergoing drug treatment.
Lorenzo had four felony drug convictions going back to 1994. Given that background, Sakamoto granted the defense attorney's request to postpone sentencing. Sakamoto has to take some responsibility for the death of Brown-Sanchez. When he comes up for reappointment, I intend to testify against it. I wish I could do more; I'd really like to fire him.
Defense attorneys get wealthy defending these career criminals. They plea-bargain a soft sentence, prosecutors go along because of their large workload and the criminal gets a soft sentence by judges friendly to defense attorneys that are constantly before them. The criminal has to commit more crimes -- that's the only way he can get enough money to pay his legal fees. And we wonder why the good defense attorneys are so wealthy.
'Clean elections' better for public's interest
We don't need to tweak campaign donation laws, we need to flat-out eliminate private donations to campaigns. Unless we do, our officials will never be free to act solely for public benefit -- they'll make decisions to benefit their wealthy campaign contributors. Under current practice, there's no incentive for legislators to change the way they get campaign money.
This is the single most important legislative reform we can undertake. Let's follow the lead of Maine and Arizona by implementing "clean elections" (House Bill 661 and Senate Bill 1068), where candidates can run a competitive campaign without accepting any special interest money.
HB 661 and SB 1068 have passed unanimously out of the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee!
Now it's up to the House Finance Committee and Senate Ways and Means Committee to do the right thing.
Peace department will save the children
It's way past time for all Americans to support the establishment of a fully funded U.S. Department of Peace. Hatred cannot cease by manufacturing bombs that kill children or even terrorists. Violence ceases only by administering the balm of compassion. There's an old Buddhist saying, "Violence can not cease by violence, but by love alone is healed."
Imagine if we spent as much on peacemaking as we do on warmaking!
I strongly urge everyone to support a fully funded Department of Peace. Warmaking is egocentric, peacemaking is heart centered. It's your children who will benefit. Do it for them. Call your elected officials today.