Would-be stowaways yearn for Hawaii
My sister and I heard about the Hawaii Superferry on our trip to Hawaii just before Hurricane Katrina hit. We had planned to take my granddaughter for her eighth-grade graduation this summer and had hoped to island-hop on the ferry. Unfortunately, we had family obligations and had to give up our plans.
We were almost resigned to our fate when last weekend we were in Mobile, Ala., for a cheerleading competition and there -- right across from the convention center -- sat the fabulous Hawaii Superferry! What a way to travel between the islands -- it's like a mini-cruise. Now if we could just figure out how to stow away, we'd have our trip to Hawaii and our ferry ride.
Anti-Lingle bias drives Democrats' legislation
While there are many good bills now making their way through the Legislature, there also are a number of bills that seem to exist only to curtail Gov. Linda Lingle's ability to do her job.
Examples of the "bad" bills are proposals to limit the number of nominees to three that the governor can propose for judicial vacancies, reducing the number of gubernatorial appointees to two from 12 for the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and eliminating the governor's ability to make international trade agreements or contracts unless the Legislature approves.
All of these proposals are created and supported by the Democrats in the Legislature. It is such a blatant attempt to stop the governor from doing her job that it would be laughable if these were not such serious matters. The Legislature needs to stop the party politics and do what is best for all of us by voting against these measures.
Senate had reasons for rejecting White
I respectfully disagree with Cynthia Oi's "Under the Sun" column on Iwalani White, Gov. Linda Lingle's nominee to lead the Department of Public Safety (Star-Bulletin, April 4
). The Senate Public Safety Committee members do not question her qualifications and accomplishments. A director's leadership, management skills and performance, however, are critical. Our decision was carefully thought out.
Her rejection is not about change. Several opponents had been with DPS less than one year, and were part of the critical changes in Oahu Community Correctional Center's mental health program. They opposed her for what they said were bad decisions, poor judgment and unfair treatment.
Nor is this a political tool against Lingle. We confirmed six of her nominees for department heads, several judicial appointments and numerous others.
Many sectors opposed her. Testimony came from guards, corrections officers, management and professional staff, and from mental health advocates and others. We heard of White's hasty decisions without careful thought and all the necessary facts; how she did not consult key staff or management on important matters; and her failure to comply with procedures and violations of collective bargaining agreements, exposing the state to liability.
The diversity, nature and seriousness of opposition cannot be ignored. The Senate believes she is not the right person to lead DPS.
Senate Public Safety Committee
Nationwide popular vote would help Hawaii
Most states award all of their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in the state. Because of this winner-take-all rule, candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize or campaign in states that they cannot possibly win or lose.
In the November 2004 election, the candidates spent only $390,000 in Hawaii, compared to $4,600,000 in the battleground state of New Hampshire (which has the same four electoral votes as Hawaii). Candidates visited New Hampshire in the November election six times more often than Hawaii.
Hawaii would increase its clout in presidential elections if the candidate with the most votes in all 50 states was guaranteed the presidency. The 13 smallest states together contain 11 million people. Because of the two-electoral-vote bonus that each state receives, the 12 noncompetitive small states have 40 electoral votes. Ohio has 11 million people and has "only" 20 electoral votes. However, the 11 million people in Ohio are the center of attention in presidential campaigns, while the 11 million people in the 12 noncompetitive small states are irrelevant. Nationwide election of the president would make a vote in Hawaii as important as an Ohio or New Hampshire voter.
John R. Koza
Los Altos, Calif.
Editor's note: Koza is the originator of the "Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote" contained in Senate Bill 1956 in the Hawaii Legislature.
Sierra Club should be on sewage council
The mayor has announced the members of his new Solid Waste Advisory Committee. It is a representative group with excellent people, but it has an obvious omission.
There is no one from the Sierra Club, the organization that has done more than anyone in promoting solid waste solutions at the state and county level (as with the bottle law and passing the comprehensive curbside charter amendment).
The Sierra Club hopes that the advisory committee comes up with workable solutions for the city. We will be available as a resource and will monitor the administration's efforts to implement a comprehensive curbside recycling program.
Chairman, Sierra Club -- Oahu
Future looks bleak for America's poor
We are fast becoming a two-caste system in the United States. The extremely wealthy class is becoming richer and richer, with salaries of millions of dollars a year. Some are now even being paid millions of dollars a month.
Meanwhile, the poorer class is becoming larger and larger, with millions of Americans working for little more than the minimum wage, often holding down two or three jobs just to exist.
And the middle class is disappearing.
In our lifetime, we will see the need for more and more social programs just to keep the poor from starvation, or dying without medical care -- for want of insurance. We will see them walking, for want of transportation, while the rich are chauffeured to and fro in limousines, or making their longer trips in private or corporate jets. There will be servants and masters.
It is already happening. The American Dream is changing.
Too many Americans are already dreaming of where they will sleep tonight, where their next meal will come from or what they will have to give up to buy medicine. All this while the upper class is deciding which of their homes should be remodeled this month, and should they go to the beach home or the mountain retreat this weekend, or maybe fly to Europe for dinner.
We need lawmakers who will lower taxes
It does not surprise me that Hawaii is the second-worst state in the nation when it comes to taxing the poor (Our opinion, Star-Bulletin, March 4
). I believe that we pay some of the highest taxes in the country. And for decades our politicians have promised to cut taxes, not add more taxes or raise any taxes. And all we see is more taxes and higher taxes.
This has got to stop. If Hawaii wants to see lower taxes, then we need new politicians, we need new blood. We need a Legislature that would listen to the people and make Hawaii an affordable place to live. I believe that our taxes are spiraling out of control and we need to fix it now. We cannot be burdened anymore with more taxes.
Will invading country honor 'forever stamp'?
The Postal Service is unveiling its avant garde "forever stamp." Exactly how long is forever? If a foreign country such as China, Russia or Iran takes over the United States, will our forever stamp become a not-ever stamp? If the price of crude oil rises to $1 million a barrel, can the postal service afford to deliver our mail at the current $.41 forever rate or will the forever rate rise to $41? Exactly how long is forever?
A war on terror by any other name ...
President Bush long ago recognized that the "war on terror" is a misnomer. On Aug. 17, 2004, he said:
"We actually misnamed the war on terror. It ought to be the struggle against ideological extremists who do not believe in free societies who happen to use terror as a weapon to try to shake the conscience of the free world."
It's important to call things by their right names.
John A. Broussard