Get rid of annoying vacation rentals
A short time back someone suggested fixing the problem of homelessness by making it illegal. Really? So, why not criminalize death, taxes and poverty as well?
Hotel occupancy is down to 69 percent, the lowest since 2003. Why not make some vacation rentals illegal instead?
Many people living in neighborhoods where there is increased traffic and noise due to vacation rentals would be happy to have it so. The hotels would be happy about it. The hotel employees would benefit.
And if some of these units were turned into affordable housing, many other island residents would be happy as well.
It looks to me as though this would be a win-win situation for many and would aim at the proper target -- greed!
Hawaiian music goes to hill country
The Makaha Sons performed in Nashville, Tenn., for the first time Wednesday night! People came from surrounding states as they brought aloha to expatriates and others in an area that doesn't get much exposure to Hawaiian culture. A great evening!
Additionally, the Hongos and other groups have recently come to Kentucky prisons, where inmates from Hawaii are in correctional institutions.
Thanks to all who are sharing aloha and the Hawaiian cultural values to parts of the mainland that generally don't get that incredible experience.
To understand life, start with the classics
From time immemorial, books have been a friend to mankind. For many centuries, books have been giving people information, entertaining them, getting their brains thinking and helping them to understand life.
Now, unfortunately, the American educational system does not give students enough lessons to read classic writers such as Shakespeare, Hemingway, Tolstoy and Auezov. And if students don't read the world's classic books, they cannot understand what the world was and, consequently, what the world is. It is a fact.
Scare tactics could hurt state economy
A good economy is based on the power of the people to spend money. I heard that the top Democratic lawmakers in the state are warning of "delays in welfare checks and housing projects and long lines at state counters."
With the state economy still humming, low unemployment and new construction projects being announced every day, it sounds like their wistful thinking to me. It's bad enough they wouldn't return more tax money to us, but now they want to scare us into spending less, too? Shame on them!
Lawmakers are not among underfunded
What kind of lawmakers do we have who put their automatic pay raises above the needs of the taxpayers? Why don't seniors in life-and-death situations get the necessary funding for meals (Star-Bulletin, July 3
)? Businesses and overtaxed residents, who are struggling to feed, cloth, and shelter themselves, stepped up to donate money to continue to provide meals-on-wheels for as many as possible. What about other programs that better people's health and well-being that also require funding, but are denied?
Where were our lawmakers? I didn't hear anything about them giving up some of their "hard-earned" pay raise to help the needy. Why do they deserve automatic pay raises and everyone else has to go to the bargaining table or get legislative approval?
While growing up in Hawaii, it was a common sentiment that our lawmakers were "crooks" and did not have foresight. Sadly, 50 years later, nothing seems to have changed except their names.
Budget cuts lead to first-day disaster
Wednesday was the first day of class for many of Oahu's public schools, and with that I would like to give a great big, block letter, underlined, italicized and screaming AUWE! to our state government.
When I was a child, schools provided pencils, books and ancillary supplies (glue, paper towels, whatever). All we brought was a binder and an open mind. Now, due to budgetary constraints, schools have become one of the lowest priorities for public expenditures. Thus, children must lug huge boxes and bags filled with every imaginable supply to school on the first day. These purchases often total several hundred dollars, and it is not inconceivable that they would be a financial hardship for many island parents.
Perhaps one of the biggest collateral problems with this system occurred right here in Ewa Beach Wednesday morning at the brand-new Keoneula Elementary School: With the children having to haul truckloads of supplies, most parents elected to drive their children in (I know I did). Since this is the first new year for Keoneula, it was evident that school officials were quite unprepared for the traffic jam. There was little in the way of parking available, and chaos ensued. We ended up more than a block and a half from the entrance to the school.
This system is unacceptable and needs to be addressed immediately. If the GOP wants to leave no child behind, then it should speak with action rather than rhetoric.
Oil firm was happy to support Inouye
So we now learn Sen. Daniel Inouye has received $11,000 in contributions from officers and employees of VECO Corp., the Alaska oil utility firm involved in the federal investigation of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 3
). Why would an Alaska oil firm donate money to a Hawaii senator? Hmmmmm, I seem to recall Inouye siding with Republicans in a very close vote in 2005 to allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The measure passed 51-49, thanks to Inouye siding with the oil firms.
Don't make us return to back-alley abortions
Letter writer Carol R. White ("Golfer's success should give lawmakers pause," Star-Bulletin, July 30
) misrepresents the issue of pro-life and abortion foes. Needless to say, it is wonderful that young golfer Tadd Fujikawa, born at 22 weeks, is alive and prospering.
This does not change the fact that abortion is legal and that women who choose to terminate their pregnancies do so for a variety of reasons.
Just maybe the male congressional delegation she talks about remembered, as I do, the backroom abortions of yesteryear and the reason for Roe v. Wade.
Akaka Bill vote would require informed public
The Star-Bulletin recently published four letters to the editor and a commentary discussing the Akaka Bill (Star-Bulletin, July 29
). The letters discuss opposite results from polls about the Akaka Bill. Two writers suggest the different results show there is no clear consensus of general support for the bill. Their suggestion is, "Let the people vote on it."
This might be a great suggestion. However, it might be prudent first to ask the public, "What do you know about the Akaka Bill?" An inaccurate description that the Akaka Bill provides federal recognition confuses the general public. The bill does not provide federal recognition, but a process to pursue it.
The next question to ask is, "What do you know about federal recognition and federal Indian law?" Considering that the only law school in Hawaii has offered a federal Indian law course twice, it is likely the vast majority of Hawaii residents are unfamiliar with federal recognition and federal Indian law.
The next question is, "Do you know how different or similar native Hawaiian federal recognition might be to Native Americans and Alaska natives?"
A meaningful referendum of the people requires a voting population educated on the issues, not merely having a vote.
Editor's note: Because of a printing error, the July 29 letters and columns referenced in the letter above appeared in the Travel section (page G3) instead of the Sunday Insight section (page E3). The letters can be found online at starbulletin.com/2007/07/29/editorial/letters.html; the column can be found at starbulletin.com/2007/07/29/editorial/commentary.html
Corrosion probably a big factor in collapse of bridge
The recent bridge tragedy should awaken all us to the workings of nature. The investigation will focus in large part on rusting (oxidation) and corrosion on parts such as bolts, rivets and other parts after 40 years. This corrosive action could have been hastened because of the marine environment of the river.
Another guess of mine concerns the possible report of a train traveling under the bridge at the same time. The noise and rumbling caused by the train could have set up a resonant frequency with a metal member on the bridge to cause it to fail.
OK, that does it -- we need to spend Iraq money at home
With the recent catastrophic bridge collapse in Minnesota, the mechanical engineering agencies point out that 70,000 bridges across America are in need of repair. The cost to fix these structures is a trillion dollars, which the local, state and federal governments don't have on hand. No doubt.
But we have half a trillion earmarked to Iraq, all in the name of "freeing the Iraqi people." The United States foots the bill on building the infrastructure in Iraq, only to watch al-Qaida insurgents and others blow the stuff up before the cement sets.
This scenario will go on as long as we occupy that country.
Pull the troops out now and let's rebuild America. It can't wait another day. Besides, the U.S.-installed Iraqi government is taking August off on holiday, so they won't miss us anyway.
and Lahaina, Maui
Hawaii communities might be vulnerable
I read with interest Friday's Star-Bulletin story
about the situation with the bridges in Hawaii. According to the article, we are in pretty fair shape compared to many other parts of the country.
Before we pat ourselves too hard on the back, perhaps we should recognize that we have some significant vulnerabilities. Think of the consequences should the bridge across Kaelepulu Stream in Kailua become unusable, or the Hanalei Bridge, or any number of other bridges.
Perhaps the state and county authorities should look at the bridges that would significantly affect communities such as Lanikai and Hanalei were they to become unusable, and develop plans to inspect these bridges more frequently and perhaps develop contingency plans should something happen to those bridges, which really are lifelines for their communities.
Kent W. Comstock