New year will bring more reasons for optimism in Hawaii
It is with bright optimism for the future that we wish all Hawaii residents and visitors a joyous and relaxing holiday season. We hope that during this special time of year, you are able to enjoy time with your family and friends, and reflect on how fortunate we are to live in the most special place on Earth.
In Hawaii, we are privileged to have a host culture where ohana encompasses not just one's immediate family, but the larger community of friends, neighbors and colleagues around us.
Throughout 2007, the people of Hawaii demonstrated a remarkable commitment to helping others. Whether sending care packages to our Hawaii-based soldiers fighting overseas, collecting food for the hungry or homeless, or donating toys so every child receives a gift during the holidays, our residents continue to show their aloha for each other every day. For this we are truly blessed.
During the holiday season, our desire to take care of our fellow residents is at its strongest. This is when we see even more individuals, community groups, churches and temples in Hawaii generously help those in need, including our homeless residents.
For those members of our ohana unable to afford housing, three new shelters have been opened on Oahu that have helped hundreds of people successfully transition into permanent housing, while two new shelters opened on Kauai. The community also has stepped forward in extraordinary ways, donating meals, clothing and necessities.
We also united in celebrating the tremendous success of the University of Hawaii Warriors football team as they head to their first BCS game on New Year's Day. Their focus, perseverance and unity of purpose led to the accomplishment of an incredible goal and inspired Hawaii residents across the state.
This holiday season, we are especially grateful for the men and women serving in the military who, together with their families, sacrifice so much to secure a better life for people worldwide. We pray for the continued safety of those deployed. We also express our deepest sympathies to the families of members of the armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice this year in defense of our freedom.
As we celebrate the holidays and look forward to the opportunities in the new year ahead, we wish you and your family peace, good health and happiness.
Mele Kalikimaka a me ka Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!
James R. "Duke" Aiona Jr.
Warriors can take No. 2 if they're careful
Here is some information that needs to be passed on to University of Hawaii football coach June Jones, the Warriors and the public before they go to the Sugar Bowl:
» If the Warriors can beat Georgia at the Sugar Bowl, there is a possibility that the Warriors can be ranked second in the NCAA final poll. We all know that either Ohio State or LSU will be No. 1. If the Warriors win big or just win, No. 2 is a high possibility.
» Please warn the Warriors that Bourbon Street can easily make a player violate the team rules. Florida State has lost about 25 players for cheating on exams and Ohio State has lost one of its key players, who will miss their game. Please, don't let us lose any player for violating team rules.
Enjoy the game -- and let's hope for the No. 2 spot in the final polls.
Sustainability can be a source of pride, too
The Warriors football team has been a great source of pride for the people of Hawaii this year, and it's wonderful to see the outpouring of letters to the editor reflecting that pride. I wish, however, that people would show the same loyalty to their island home by supporting the sustainability bills currently up for review by our City Council. If we care about the environment and the future of this state, we must actively push for policies and laws that will make Hawaii more sustainable.
These measures will not happen without feedback to our elected officials through phone calls and letters. Take a few minutes to review the proposed bills on the City Council Web site and to contact your Council member and the mayor. I'll bet if we had to convert Aloha Stadium into a landfill, everyone would finally realize how important it is to preserve our natural resources before it is too late.
More police needed to fight DUI
The rapidly growing increase in drunken driving fatalities is an appalling fact of island life. Unless we are willing to fund the formation of a highway patrol or at least significantly increase the number of police on the roadways, little can be done. There simply isn't enough of a police presence on the highways to deter drunken drivers, despite the increased strictness of the DUI statutes. For every drunk driver who is caught or is involved in a tragic fatality, hundreds successfully elude the police every day.
What is not mentioned also is the number of drivers impaired on crystal meth or pain medication. They don't show up in the statistics, but we feel their presence everyday when a dangerous driver meets our worried gaze with a glassy-eyed stare.
How many of us are willing to fund more police, which is the only realistic way of reducing the number of DUIs and traffic fatalities? Any serious reduction in DUIs involves a tradeoff that a majority of us might not be willing to make.
Media interfere with democratic process
Columnist John Farmer wants to "fix" the presidential debates by limiting them to the "real" candidates (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 16). He wants to narrow the field as soon as possible. Then he can tell us whose nomination is "inevitable" and, later, project the election winner.
Isn't it strange that the media, who can't wait to tell us who will win, also decry our lack of interest in voting? Such lack of interest is understandable when we hear over and over that our vote doesn't really count. After all, they tell us who the serious candidates are before the primaries start, who will win the nominations before the conventions begin and who will win the election before the polls close.
Just once, I'd like to see all candidates given at least roughly the same chance to win the hearts and minds of voters. Just once, I'd like to see the nominations actually decided on the convention floor. Just once, I'd like to see election-night news, but no projections, just results. I'd call that a positive change. In fact, I'd call it democracy!
Thomas D. Herndon
Indonesia now more livable than Hawaii
As a Vietnam vet whose father and mother are Pearl Harbor survivors, I had to leave America due to Hawaii's difficult policies in getting a permit to build. Also the Bush administration's Department of Homeland Security has not a clue about importation from a Hindu country and has a prejudice against any Muslim country. Ignorance in government and the fact that the United States did not attend the Conference on Climate Change has embarrassed me even more. Vice President Cheney should be impeached as Bush is too stupid.
I am safe and free in Indonesia, but not in any city in America. What happened to my country? What happened to Hawaii, as all the reefs are dead due to hotels using chemical fertilizers on the golf courses? Why do they kill the very place where they make millions of dollars?
I will never return. Read "1984" by George Orwell, as he predicted China would become free and America would become communistic. It happened.
Mayors' Challenge Cup should be first of many
Last month I had a great opportunity to be a part of the inaugural Mayors' Challenge Cup. I would like to thank Hawaii Golf Foundation, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste for organizing this event. I would also like to thank my teammates and our competitors for a great time.
I hope this wonderful event will continue for years to come.