Hawaii's Constitution needs an overhaul
I read with interest Richard Borreca's "On Politics" column on Sunday
, which raised the question of whether or not we need a constitutional convention. Two years ago, Sen. Fred Hemmings addressed this very point when giving his 2005 Opening Day speech before the Legislature. Rightly, the senator pointed out that our Constitution is antiquated, hard to read, and is in need of an overhaul. Thank you, Mr. Borreca, for raising this important issue and thank you, Sen. Hemmings, for looking ahead and fighting for much-needed reform.
Act now to support easier voting by mail
I can't find anyone who knows why you have to re-apply to vote by mail every election cycle. It makes no sense and everyone hates it, including the Board of Elections, I am sure! The board has to process well over 100,000 applications for absentee ballots every two years, mostly from the same annoyed voters.
Senate Bill 156 is sitting in conference committee at the Hawaii Legislature right now. This bill will allow any of us to sign up for a permanent absentee ballot. If we can just get the two houses to agree on the final wording, anyone who wants to vote by mail can do so without re-applying every two years.
Our kapuna want to vote by mail and disabled folks do, too! Voters all over the islands want to vote by mail because it saves time. Go surfing? Go vote? Guess which one wins?
Hawaii hit a new low in voter participation in the last election. Give Sen. Clayton Hee (808-586-7330), Sen. Roz Baker (808-586-6070), Rep. Tommy Waters (808-586-9450) and Rep. Marilyn Lee (808-586-9460) a call and urge them to pass SB 156.
Kindness of locals made visit extra nice
My wife and I would like to express our sincere thanks to so many exceptional friendly people of the island of Oahu.
From the Sea Life Park to Makaha and from Waikiki to the North Shore, we have enjoyed the scenic wonders of the island. The friendly aloha spirit was ever present. Total strangers (local people) offered valuable advice, which was very much appreciated.
We would like to salute the many drivers of TheBus -- male and female -- who were not only real professionals operating their vehicles but also kept their cool when some visitors were difficult. We never before experienced such outstanding service in any other region of the world.
Thanks to the people of Hawaii.
Walter & Erika Beisel
Didn't people learn from Berlin Wall?
There is a big difference between presidents. Ronald Reagan wanted to bring down the Berlin Wall. George Bush is building the Baghdad Wall. What's the difference between the two walls? Not much. The occupiers, the Russians, erected the Berlin Wall to separate two ideologies in a foreign country. The Baghdad Wall is also being built by the occupiers, the Americans, for the same purpose, also in a foreign country. Even the excuse is the same -- to prevent enemies entering a walled-in area. But the enemy is ideology, which penetrate walls and skull bones.
Will it work? Well, take the example of the Berlin Wall and the mindset of those who have lived inside the wall. It never worked. Any difference? Yes, there is. This time you, the American taxpayer, are paying for it. Maybe even for bringing it down one day.
Iraq 'barriers' bring back bad memories
The building of walls (referred to as "barriers" by the Bush administration) in Iraq is a giant step forward.
Separating the minority Sunnis from the rest of Iraqis is essential in order to preserve the peaceful conditions now prevailing in that country.
Further steps are necessary, of course. Since the Sunnis will occasionally be allowed to come out from behind those barriers, some sort of identification is essential.
Perhaps they should be forced to wear a yellow star.
John A. Broussard
A little compassion can have a big effect
In the wake of the last few days' developments -- the Virginia Tech massacre, the hostage shooting at NASA -- I think it is safe to say that now, more than ever, we need to focus on what's really important: compassion and responsibility. It's easy to be reactionary to developments and shout, "We need new laws," but what we really need is new hearts. It's a sad fact that the 21st century has made our lives less personal and more superficial.
The question I have to ask myself is, "When someone falls down, where do they have to go for comfort?" As a pastor, what disappoints me is I find that more and more people are becoming less compassionate and socially responsible toward one another, even in the church. It's difficult these days to find someone to sincerely confide in, who will love you unconditionally, and who will actually help and not retard your dreams and hopes. Some of us are hurting people with words in ways worse than those who hurt with guns. The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness -- let's return to compassion and responsibility!
Rev. Daniel P. de Gracia II