History may be kinder to Bush than we are
Like many Americans, I am unhappy with the fact that our president relied on false weapons of mass destruction information, and I wish we were not engaged in a war against some elusive enemy in Iraq.
And, while our chief executive's ratings are down in my book too, I note that, since 9/11 (six years ago), our general safety from terrorist activity and America's domestic tranquility have remained basically intact.
Accordingly, my conclusion is that, despite all the grumblings (mine and everyone else's), somewhere, somebody must be doing something right. Perhaps history will look back on these times more favorably.
James M. Donovan
Public doesn't like closed-door deals
City Councilman Rod Tam's Aug. 23 letter
defending closed meetings of the Honolulu City Council reflects how out of touch with voters some Council members can be.
Contrary to what Tam may believe, the voters of this county do want to know if our city leaders are about to hand over $300 million of our tax funds.
We do not want any deals made behind closed doors, especially deals which involve this kind of money.
People's transit wants and needs are ignored
Is there anything a citizen can do to stop the disastrous choice to build a rail system in Honolulu to relieve traffic congestion?
Answer: Yes. Read Page E6 in the Aug. 26 Sunday Star-Bulletin.
Let us reason together and investigate a guided bus system.
City government is treating its citizens as though they are stupid peasants unable to understand or make good choices. We are not unthinking clods, and it is demeaning to have this rail system crammed down our throats as though we are so deficient in brain power that we don't know what is good for us.
It feels as though the City Council and the mayor are attacking us, doing things we don't want done since they (enlightened elite) think it is good for us dopey and dazed citizens.
Elected officials are supposed to represent and reflect our wishes and to work for not against us. City employees were not elected to behave like autocratic rulers! So stop it.
Committee should be blind to island mosaic
Isn't the debate over Hawaii's civil rights advisory committee membership
backwards? To illustrate, here is a question I would administer -- in a hospital's newborn nursery -- to each member: Candidate, as you look at your newest fellow citizens, do you:
A: See them sharing a common and glorious future together as equals, or
B: See in their separate pasts a justification for assigning them to separate groups that claim different rights and privileges?
Doesn't anyone remember America's battle to destroy the evil dishonesty of "separate but equal"? Or when its schools still taught what made America different from, and superior to, the "old countries"? Specifically, that America's nationality is defined in terms of common ideals instead of a common bloodline, and that the Creator endowed "sovereignty" in individuals who are ruled only with their shared consent vs. in "sovereigns" -- monarchs, tribal chiefs, high priests, etc. -- who ruled subjects with no "self-evident" rights.
That's why I can be an American -- just like you, but had my four immigrant grandparents gone to, say Japan, France or Africa instead, no one would accept me as "Japanese," "French" or "Afro-Anything."
So, instead of debating the membership of people pledged to honor Hawaii citizens' born-equal rights, shouldn't we debate membership of people who view America as a mosaic that assigns newborn infants to color-coded boxes that keep them segregated from one another literally forever?
George L. Berish
Protect Hawaiian lands by amending law
Those who are pleased with the recent reshuffling of the Hawaii civil rights advisory committee use the guise that they just want a say in the political process determining the future of their home.
The truth, however, is that these folks don't just want to get involved in determining the future of "their home." Rather, they seek to meddle into Hawaiian lands and other programs that are not their business.
Since 1921, Hawaiians have had lands set aside under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. Almost immediately, these lands became a political football as everyone and his brother tried to figure out how to get a piece of them at little cost. We are plagued by government entities awarding cheap leases of our lands to big-box retailers and other non-Hawaiian causes, which have no financial benefit to the Hawaiian people. In fact, such leases are actually detrimental to the mission of these programs.
Additionally, Hawaiians are constantly bombarded by non-Hawaiians trying to determine our right to self-determination. Hawaiians deserve the same rights, no more no less, afforded to Native Americans on the U.S. continent; it's also pertinent to point out that Native Americans on the continent were never one single nation united under one government that was recognized globally, as Hawaii was before the overthrow.
The most efficient way to achieve self-determination is by amending the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, rather than crafting new legislation. I believe, as did our first congressional delegate, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole, that all Hawaiians, regardless of blood quantum and residency, should and can have the opportunity to benefit from such programs and participate in this process.
Whitney T. Anderson