Furry little visitor didn't have to die
The guys at the state Department of Agriculture are absolutely ridiculous ("Stowaway squirrel has no fun in the sun," Star-Bulletin, Feb. 16
). For the time and money they spent on killing and then testing the squirrel for rabies, you could have just tossed the poor thing back on board as cargo and sent it to any city on the mainland for the same price or less!
C'mon, think about it -- it was on an American Airlines aircraft. The squirrel probably boarded somewhere on the mainland several days prior to get out of the cold and finally got hungry enough to be found during the Tokyo-Hawaii flight.
Next time, have a heart and send him to my house. I'll pick him up from the airport and release him myself!
Former Hawaii resident
Hawaii quarter should represent all islands
After reading your Feb. 2 article
regarding our Hawaii quarter designs, I do not agree with some of the reasons and comments by members of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee for rejecting all five designs.
Comments like "too cluttered," "weak composition," "visually confusing" and "favor designs that are more simple" do not describe our designs. Hawaii is an island state, and all the islands should be represented on the quarter.
I happen to have a Nevada quarter that seems "too cluttered" and "visually confusing" compared with what ours would be by using the second design with the king, all the islands, the motto, add "Aloha" from the first design and using the size of the king from the third design.
I feel the design selected should represent the people of Hawaii. We can be proud with the composition that represents our island state: King Kamehameha I, state motto, the islands and "Aloha" on our quarter.
Jean H. Miyahira
Fix potholes before spending on transit
Before the city spends billions on a fixed guideway transit system, how about spending a few thousand to fix our streets? You can't go down any of our streets without risking your car's axles being broken by the potholes that blanket our major thoroughfares.
Obama is a man for all Americans
Barack Obama is not only a good American; he "is" America. He is Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. He is Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali. He is the first man on the moon. He is Tiger Woods and Cal Ripken Jr. He is Oprah and he is Bono.
Obama is a leader who will lead us and a politician who will not play party politics. He is our local island boy, our Harvard man. He will be our Abraham Lincoln. He is of Africa, of Asia, of Europe. He is America.
Superferry offers safe, exciting alternative
It is exciting to hear that interisland transportation will improve through the arrival of the Superferry this July. This transportation will become an alternative to many locals who must travel between the islands for work or family matters.
This transportation alternative also will benefit those who wish to take their vehicles when traveling to other islands, and it will help the people of Hawaii save money in car-rental fees.
In a similar way, the ferries will take away the monopoly that airlines have had until this point, and stimulate competition, which will be beneficial to the economy.
Despite the fact that there have been environmental concerns about the ferry, it must be taken into consideration that it also has its benefits, since the vessel only uses one-tenth of the fossil fuel needed for an airplane to fly interisland. Also, contrary to common belief, the ferries have radars that can detect boats and whales, which eliminates any possibility of collision.
In terms of tourism, the ferries will also boost the economy of the islands, and will become a fresh opportunity to promote eco-tourism here.
Gays aren't the ones destroying marriage
Let's be perfectly clear. So long as "marriage protective" statutes such as the federal Defense of Marriage Act remain on the books, no civil union could ever be the full legal equivalent of a heterosexual marriage. The DOMA denies same-sex couples access to more than 1,000 benefits and privileges that are available only to married heterosexual couples. To argue that there is no difference between civil unions and marriages, apart from the name, is like arguing that 5 is equal to 10!
Who is really denigrating and trivializing the institution of marriage? Take a long, hard look. Ian James of the Cleveland Plain Dealer points out that "we allow (heterosexuals) who have not known each other longer than a blink of an eye to get married in Las Vegas -- by an Elvis impersonator -- at a drive-through window."
Heterosexuals are free to practice serial divorce, to marry for reasons other than genuine love and to end marriages after only 55 hours (e.g., Britney Spears). Moreover, convicted heterosexual murderers, rapists and child molesters may marry even while they are still behind bars. Talk about a stacked deck!
Root out druggies before it's too late
What! Educators on drugs!
Shame on them. What is the Department of Education doing now? Is it still waiting for more drug offenders and traffickers to hire into the education system? Superintendent, get those druggies out in your back yard before they turn on you. Drug testing is no longer a violation of privacy. Get your teachers tested for the sake of your students. Don't wait for tomorrow; time is of the essence. Drugs spread like wildfire. If not detected, pretty soon all your schools will be infested with druggies of all kinds. Tough call, but you have to do it.
The bottom line is, we have to protect our children and look after their welfare. There is no time to waste. Get it done!
Felino B. Damo
Support of union is insult to taxpayers
Mayor Mufi Hannemann's undermining of the state's negotiations with public-sector unions (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 13
) is a slap to the face of all Honolulu property owners. The mayor should spend less time whining about raises for a small number of his union supporters, who always manage to do quite well in arbitration, and more time worrying about the burden that the out-of-control costs of his government place on the majority of his constituents.
Oahu's beauty tainted by homelessness
Returning on a recent visit to the Waianae coast for a family member's 80th birthday, we were appalled and dismayed at the sight of homeless tents on public beach parks extending from Nanakuli to Makua. The impact raised a strong desire to turn around and head back to the east side of the island.
The tourist industry is still the main economic force in Hawaii. It would appear that tourism has slowed somewhat on Oahu, possibly due in part to the impression that the safety and comfort of the tourist is not a high priority. Visitors should feel free to enjoy all of the amenities, beaches, parks and restaurants. The beauty of the landscape, beaches and quaint towns are some of the attractions that attract visitors. The depression and gloom of the visibly homeless present an eyesore that tourists and returning past residents find disturbing. It is no surprise that visitors are warned away from the Leeward Coast.
It should be in the interests of the state that those homeless people be placed in gainful employment to restore their pride and dignity, thus allowing them to become contributing members of society and stewards of this beautiful state. Relocating the homeless is not a solution; they need to be fully integrated into society, which would eliminate the real probability of their offspring becoming a burden to the state as well.
We hope the future plans for this area are brighter than what we encounter here today.
James and Colleen Williams
Former Hawaii residents
Drug users shouldn't be in education
Why hasn't drug testing always been mandatory through out a teacher's career? Is it because of a shortage of teachers? I hope there are smarter people working to keep teachers in the profession of teaching besides saying "Go ahead, just don't let anyone know."
A representative for the teachers union said, on the evening news, that testing is required for teachers only when drug use is suspected and prior to employment. The whole point of drug testing is to catch the ones you don't suspect.
These are children. If parents caught some drug pusher soliciting their kid they would do something, so why not do something to make sure drug users and sellers aren't part of educating children to be productive members of society?
The teachers union might not think drug testing should be mandatory throughout a teachers career but maybe someone can persuade them otherwise.
Dan Melton Jr.
'Clean elections' here need overhaul
Richard Borreca's column "Clean elections face political exorcism" ("On Politics," Feb. 11
), while insightful, implies that this is something new for Hawaii, but Hawaii already has a public funding option ... its just an absolute failure.
Hawaii is a stone's throw away from upgrading the failed public funding option with a far more comprehensive and powerful option that has seen great success in significantly spiking voter turnout and competition, especially in underserved communities.
Given that barely 33 percent of voting-age citizens in Hawaii show up at the polls, "clean elections," as they are known nationally, can play a major role in re-engaging the constituency. Voter Owned Hawaii commends both Rep. Tommy Waters and Sen. Clayton Hee for having the vision and courage to champion such an initiative.
Make no mistake, "clean elections" keep candidates competitive while at the same time addressing the concern of special interest money in politics. The current system can claim neither and therefore is a waste of taxpayer money. We invest in our schools, in health care and in our communities. Isn't it time we invested in our political process in a way that is meaningful?
Voter Owned Hawaii