More than just a nuisance
Whether or not snakes can fly, as suggested in the article "Hanalei kayakers report snakes" (Star-Bulletin, June 28
), is beside the point. The Hawaiian forest and habitats have been ravaged by species from elsewhere. The risk is huge -- do we want a Hawaiian forest without any Hawaiian birds?
The true problem is that pathetically few resources have been deployed in defense of Hawaiian native habitats. In real, federal government terms, the dollar amounts are a pittance, trivial, and put us at risk to total domination of our forests by pests like the brown tree snake that has devastated the forests of Guam, arriving there from the South Pacific by military transport. Inspections that can prevent these creatures from coming here are both military and civil.
Not all pests are just nuisances, like the coqui frog -- they could very well destroy all the native forest that we now have. Inspections might delay commercial and private traffic, but are completely vital to the preservation of Hawaiian habitat and culture.
Graham Paul Knopp
Now let's cut tax on other essentials
Thank you, Gov. Linda Lingle, for repealing the excise tax on gasoline blended with ethanol (Star-Bulletin, June 26
). The people of Hawaii have faith in that the next step toward helping us cope with the high cost of living is to forgive the tax on essentials such as food and medical care.
Harassment claims need serious attention
Try putting yourself in the shoes of a worker who finds herself the object of unwelcome sexual attention by her supervisor. What would you do if you were unsuccessful in discouraging your supervisor and his advances became so aggressive that you were afraid of being alone with him at any time and any place?
In desperation, you might try to talk to upper management to have your supervisor stop his sexual harassment.
This is exactly what allegedly happened to some workers at the Hale Koa Hotel. The women reported the pervasive sexual harassment yet the Hale Koa Hotel management chose to ignore the anguish of the women and turn a blind eye to this horrific problem at this hotel (Star-Bulletin, June 9).
How can a U.S. Army-owned hotel treat workers with such uncaring disrespect?
Roads are unsafe for Hawaii's cyclists
As a cyclist and bike commuter, I am appalled to find out that Hawaii Bicycle League has no bike lane to its office. If you survive the harrowing ride to the HBL office at 3442 Waialae Ave., there is no bike rack to park your bicycle.
Of course, you can carry your bike up their stairs (no ramp for handicapped people) and ask them yourself why our roads are so unfriendly toward cyclists.
I am glad that we have a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting cycling, but I hope our government can take a more proactive stance on my safety. Please donate to HBL at www.hbl.org
Volunteers, sponsors succeeded with Taste
Recent comments made by Julie Murray, president and CEO of Abilities Unlimited, about Easter Seals' management of Taste of Honolulu were misleading and unfair to the volunteers, sponsors and members of our community who supported Taste events for the last 15 years (Star-Bulletin, June 27
Contrary to Murray's comments, Taste was successful because of the thousand-plus dedicated volunteers at all levels and the generosity of sponsors, which allowed us to consistently deliver high-quality events that were a positive experience for all who attended. Based on our commitment to safety and quality, we did maximize the fundraising potential of Taste.
All funds raised from Taste remained in Hawaii and were an important source of program funding, which helped us grow into a statewide organization of 385 employees and allowing us to deliver more than 360,000 hours of direct service last year to children and adults with disabilities. Ninety percent of all revenue goes into our programs and services.
Taste of Honolulu is an important part of our history and we hope Flavors of Honolulu enjoys the success we did.
President and CEO
Easter Seals Hawaii
Dedicated Awana served Lingle well
The resignation of the governor's Chief of Staff Bob Awana on Friday
is a great loss to the state and to many of us personally. I first met Bob in 1998 when he was the campaign manager of a little-known candidate for governor, then Maui Mayor Linda Lingle. He devoted himself to her campaign and was upbeat even when she lost against Gov. Ben Cayetano in a close election.
He continued his dedication and leadership to Lingle's winning campaigns in 2002 and 2006. In spite of personal losses this year, Bob continued to provide inspiration and integrity to his position.
I am sure that the allegations against him will be proven false, but his integrity was such that he did not want his position to negatively influence the governor or the lieutenant governor.
Awana has provided exceptional service to the state of Hawaii and should not be judged in the press on unproven allegations.
Why no 'Click It' for school buses?
Regarding "Click It or Ticket": What happened to my freedom of choice? While I honestly believe anyone not wearing a seat belt places himself in jeopardy, I need to ask: Do we need a law and another revenue machine for the state?
If our legislators are really concerned with our safety, why are children riding school buses twice a day without seat belts?
Face it, the Cold War never really ended
Paul D'Argent's liberal rant is laughable. In his June 25 letter
, he claims the Cold War is on again and the world has lost respect for the United States. Let us ponder: Russia has supplied Saddam Hussein with cash and weapons, fought every attempt to disarm both Iraq and Iran at the United Nations, and supports Iran's nuclear program. Sounds to me like the Cold War was on long ago, so full steam ahead with missile defense. Who knows, we just might have to protect Russia from a North Korean nuke.
The war in Iraq is not an ideal situation. Insurgents are being trained, armed and financed by Iran. The war in Iraq is also a proxy war with Iran. I just hope Bush deals it to Iran before leaving office.
The problem with the world view of America is they don't like when we defend ourselves; they would rather we give up the ranch like the Clinton administration. D'Argent can sing "Kumbaya" all he wants; the fact is, much of the world wants us gone. I don't much care why, I just wish we could have eight more years of Bush.
Keep incoming pests from taking over isles
On the list of bills that could potentially be vetoed by Gov. Linda Lingle by July 10 is one that directly addresses a problem that makes the news almost every day. Senate Bill 1066 would allow $1 to be collected for every 20-foot container unit brought into the state by commercial marine shipment. That small charge, multiplied by more than 400,000 containers annually, would be a badly needed source of funds to combat the devastating pests those containers are bringing in -- pests like stinging caterpillars, fire ants, snakes, crop diseases, coqui frogs and who knows what other nasty things we haven't imagined yet.
Please write, call or crawl to the governor's office and support this one -- for the neighborhood!
Kewalo Basin tenants have their way at public's expense
The Department of Transportation through the Harbors Division has done a poor job of managing Kewalo Basin. Kewalo Basin has always been short of funds for improvements. Frank Mento, in his letter to the editor Tuesday
, faults the landlord's (DOT's) neglect and not money or the tenants.
Mento is partially correct. He faults the DOT's neglect, and then writes a letter opposing the transfer to Hawaii Community Development Authority. I was deputy director to DOT Director Fujio Matsuda from 1967 to 1974. About 1970, I represented the DOT with the Harbors Division in an attempt to raise fees. My recollection is that we attempted to impose a 5 percent fee. We received strenuous objections threatening bankruptcy and loss of jobs.
In an attempt to compromise, we met with an attorney representing the tenants and agreed to a 3 percent fee. The tenants released their attorney and strenuously objected to the agreed 3 percent fee, claiming it would drive them out of business. The agreement was withdrawn.
I was surprised to read (Star-Bulletin, March 8) that the tenants had been paying 2 percent for the last 10 years, and that HCDA was proposing a 4 percent fee. The low fees being paid by the tenants are an outrage to the public that deserves better.
Why do you think the DOT and HCDA want to privatize Kewalo Basin? The tenants are excellent businessmen who have organized to successfully dominate the DOT these past 35 years. Of course, they oppose the transfer to HCDA and/or privatization.
I am hopeful HCDA can do a better job of administering Kewalo Basin. Tenants should pay fair market value for the use of state facilities. Additional revenue is needed to improve Kewalo Basin for the benefit of the public. For the tenants to pay less than fair market value is subsidy, and any business requiring state subsidy to continue in business should not be in business, jobs notwithstanding.
Concessionaires at the Airports Division pay a 20 percent fee. Hotels were hit with a 6.36 percent room tax. Charging Kewalo tenants an additional 3 percent to 5 percent will require them to pass the 3 percent increase to their customers. I expect, as the hotels, they will recover shortly and then benefit more by an improved Kewalo Basin.
HCDA members should accept tenants' testimony and consider the source. They have consultants who provide fair rental information to arrive at a fee that is fair to the tenants and beneficial to the public. Kewalo tenants are good businessmen who have had their way with government for decades. Sometimes, businessmen, in their zeal for profits, tend to be unscrupulous. This is unkind to the Harbors Division, but nevertheless accurate.
Of course, the tenants want to continue to be administered by Harbors Division.