Billionaire's actions come from the heart
Thank you, Genshiro Kawamoto, for your generosity to help Hawaiian homeless families ("Kahala neighborhood has mixed reaction to Kawamoto
," March 23).
The Realtors in the article who voice strong opposition to this generosity are amazing, simply amazing.
One group works with the heart. This is Kawamoto and the new tenants in his homes.
The other looks at the money -- the Realtors.
We should all embrace and be thankful for people who choose to help others. The Realtors and those opposed to this gift from Kawamoto should embrace and welcome the new families in their community.
If the property does not "look good," the Realtors can help the new tenants learn how to make the property look good. This becomes a win-win situation.
Actions coming from the heart are always good. Thank you, Mr. Kawamoto.
If UH chancellor can't afford housing here ...
Your story about Virginia Hinshaw, the new chancellor at the University of Hawaii-Manoa (Star-Bulletin, March 17
), notes, "She will receive an annual salary of $350,000 and a $2,000 monthly housing allowance."
So, am I to understand that a salary of $350,000 still cannot afford housing in Hawaii? Auwe. Either things are much worse than I thought or someone is spending taxpayer money very loosely!
Paul E. Smith
Act now to reduce effects of gasoline use
The purpose of my letter is to advocate for the distribution of funds for alternate energy research and development programs and measures to cut down on the gasoline we use.
Global warming and economic shocks are problems the government should attend to promptly. If we do nothing about this "energy crisis," our economy will be undermined, more American blood will have to be sacrificed to protect our energy sources, and Americans will suffer from rising gas prices and pollution. North America alone emitted 6,008.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which comes from Persian oil, at around $44.84 per barrel (a 152 percent increase in cost from 10 years ago).
We do not need to suffer from all this, however, if we utilize our great wealth and industrial might to make new energy sources that are efficient, feasible, eco-friendly and cost-effective. These alternate energy sources are needed to reduce our carbon and noncarbon emissions as well as cushioning the impact of the rising energy costs.
I am trying to do my part by making a petition for increased state funding for alternative energy R&D programs, as well as the seasonal switching of fuels local electrical generators will use.
I hope your readers will do something that will support this cause, as well.
Washington Middle School
Voices of UH sports are best in the nation
Our University of Hawaii sportscasters are fabulous. Jim and Kanoa Leahey are experts. They are the best on this island and the continent. I was at a UH football game sitting behind Chuck Leahey. When he left, he gave me his half-bag of peanuts. I still have them. He is truly a legend. I always light a candle for him.
They all deserve recognition. I am proud of all of them.
It's time to get beyond the overthrow
Hawaii has to be the only state in the union that sees a 50-year statehood celebration in skeptical eyes
-- "should we celebrate or should we mourn?" Mourn about what?
It gets very tiring, hearing Hawaiians complain about how terrible it is being a U.S. citizen and all the rights and liberties that go along with it. While the rest of the world risks life and limb to get here, some Hawaiians spit on their citizenship, never vote and then complain about how things are going.
Hawaiians gave away the land and the power along with it. The land wasn't stolen, it was given away to a nation that was ready to take it. Hawaiians should get over the overthrow , move on and take responsibility for their lives. They have the same rights and liberties as the rest of us, and if they don't take advantage of them that's their problem. The feudal days are gone; it's 2007.
Better your situation by living in the present
"Anti-U.S. attitude will drive away visitors," wrote Theodore Bischof of Ponte Verde, Fla. ("Letters
," March 9).
Tourism is Hawaii's main industry, bringing in billions of dollars annually, and supporting many thousands of people to make a good livelihood.
Criticizing and condemning the United States for past "injustices" to the native Hawaiians will only create ill will, and discourage tourists (Americans) from coming to our shores.
I've said this before and I'll say it again: Assuming that the Americans never came to Hawaii, and Hawaii was never influenced by "foreigners," where might we all be today and what sort of living might we be making today, all of us, including the descendants of the original Hawaiians, who were oppressed and deprived of their properties more than a hundred years ago?
Despite shortcomings, even some "unfairness and deprivation," we are still living in the greatest nation on Earth, a land of opportunity for people with the gumption and fortitude to better themselves.
Funding to fight invasive species will increase
I want to thank the Star- Bulletin for highlighting Hawaii's problems with invasive species and the need to focus on prevention ("Frog problem represents larger failure to block pests
." March 1). As for underfunding for inspectors, I want to provide the community with positive news.
Since Big Island Mayor Harry Kim's emergency declaration in 2004, lawmakers, including me, have been working to develop a comprehensive strategy to combat the spread of coqui and other unwanted pests.
In 2006, the Legislature appropriated $2.9 million for the Department of Agriculture's Biosecurity Program. Apart from much-needed scientific equipment, these funds are being used to hire 56 more technicians and inspectors to enhance surveillance of our state's airports and harbors. The program also is examining ways to improve collaboration between state and federal quarantine agencies to better screen for biosecurity and bioterrorism threats.
An additional $2 million was allocated specifically for coqui control and prevention. Of this, $1.8 million went solely to hardest-hit Hawaii County. These appropriations have been used to strengthen the partnership between state agencies and grass-roots coalitions like the Hawaii Invasive Species Council, which are working to provide communities across the state with more effective control techniques and vital equipment assistance.
This session, we are working on measures to fund the new action plan by the Coqui Frog Working Group, and to limit liability for private businesses who want to enlist volunteers for extermination projects.
The Star-Bulletin's point, though, is well taken. We should be working toward the prevention of unwanted species to save taxpayer money and terrible damage to our natural environment for the future. I am optimistic that our experience fighting the coqui will teach us a valuable lesson, and will come to represent a turning point in our continuing fight against invasive species.
Rep. Clift Tsuji
D, 3rd District -- South Hilo, Panaewa, Puna, Keaau, Kurtistown
In a March 23 editorial, "Observe statehood with more than a party
," the Star-Bulletin editors voiced what many proud Americans, whether they be Hawaiian or otherwise, have felt and said since Hawaii stopped publicly celebrating our Admission Day years ago.
I was the first in my family who was born in Hawaii. It is a travesty that we have not been celebrating our induction into the Union, loudly and proudly, during the last decade. Some have said this was due to the sensitivities of those who do not support Hawaii statehood. But what about the lack of respect and sensitivity to the many Hawaiian Americans who are proud to call themselves Americans and have faithfully served our nation in times of peace and war?
I have many ethnically Hawaiian relatives and friends who are proud that we are the nation's 50th state. Their feelings about celebration and pride have been ignored by the government and the media. Respect and sensitivity go both ways.
Publicly celebrating Admission Day again is long overdue, and we shouldn't have to wait until the 50th anniversary in 2009. Why can't we start this year? If the governor and the Legislature really are proud to be Americans, then it's time they start showing it instead of placating a vocal minority.
Eric J. Seabury
Deputy City Prosecutor Glenn Kim, center foreground, accepted congratulations in the state Senate chambers last week after winning confirmation as a Circuit Court judge.
Kim's brave opponents deserved lawmakers' support
I was a spectator in the gallery when Sen. Clayton Hee spoke against Glenn Kim's confirmation as a circuit judge on March 16 ("Glenn Kim deserved Senate confirmation," Our Opinion, March 19). I disagree with most of the editorial opinions and letters concluding that Hee conducted a "witch hunt" on Kim. It was only justice and fairness that the two female witnesses were granted the courtesy of at least nine votes of confidence for their courage and willingness to come forward. It was only right that both Sen. Colleen Hanabusa and Hee voted with the other seven.
How would future confirmation witnesses and testimonies be forthcoming if lawyers are reluctant or hesitant?
Regarding Kim, I agree that this newly confirmed justice should be given the benefit of the doubt. Respectfully, I must still disagree with your editorial, letters and Richard Borreca's March 18 "On Politics" column -- the Senate floor debate held on March 16 was neither a disgrace nor a travesty. And it was not an instance of Hee's "grandstanding."
Arvid T. Youngquist
Disorganized senators waste time, test public patience
It's perfectly clear why we've got the worst voter turnout in the nation and that most people couldn't care less about what goes on at the Legislature.
Case in point: I attended the confirmation of two judges last week at the state Senate. I was blown away by how disrespectful members of the Democratic majority were to the attendees. Frankly, I'm outraged at what happened.
The family and friends of Mark Recktenwald and Glenn Kim showed up to support them, and the Senate Democrats made them wait more than two hours while they talked story behind closed doors. It's one thing to waste your own time, but it's a whole different ballgame when you waste the time of a couple of hundred people because you don't have your act together.
If Senate President Colleen Hanabusa wants to stay in power, I suggest she start showing some leadership skills.
This is exactly why people are fed up and politics has such a bad name!
Shaking things up isn't necessarily a bad thing
As an interim director of a high-profile government department, do you make some effort to accommodate the power structure in place or begin a matter-of-fact implementation of your vision regarding the future conduct of operations? The former would certainly help in confirmation hearings, while the latter would almost certainly elicit opposition.
Iwalani White -- a no-shibai person -- chose the latter course ("Dispute clouds Public Safety decision," March 23). This was a courageous -- if politically dangerous -- act, as there are usually good reasons for a department having had so many interim and short-term directors.
I have known Iwalani since taking a University of Hawaii graduate social work law and ethics class from her years ago and have kept in touch ever since. She is more than qualified and suited for the Department of Public Safety director's position in terms of education and administrative experience, bringing a local presence that will wear very well in that department.
Change can be stressful, and judging from the pained noises generated during her interim period, I think Iwalani is accomplishing just that very thing!
Director, Site Engineering Inc.
Being popular isn't a prerequisite for the job
What's up with our state Senate?
It seems to be turning the confirmation of the director of the Department Public Safety into a popularity contest ("Lingle Cabinet appointee runs into opposition in subpoenaed testimony," Star-Bulletin, March 21).
Since when did it become mandatory for employees to "like" the boss? That's not an important measure of fitness for the position.
The voting public is becoming concerned about these antics. Enough already!