Residents can't escape from polluted ocean
Visitors have a choice; local residents have none.
Visitors can go someplace else as the ocean waters around our islands get dirtier and more polluted.
Secondary wastewater treatment is not only a need, it's a must for the sake of the children of Hawaii.
Candidates' drug use isn't irrelevant
The presidential candidate I am leaning toward is not Barack Obama, however, I hope I am being objective when I question the defensive brouhaha over his self-admitted drug use, for in some small part, it is why I turned away from his candidacy.
I applaud anyone who can admit to previous bad behavior -- of any kind -- deplore it for what it was, and move on to new standards. And I understand that times are different now from when Bill Clinton was pilloried for admitting that he had "tried but hadn't inhaled." And marijuana didn't keep Clinton from being elected any more than I think drug use will hinder Obama if he is the nominee.
What I don't understand are the media, the campaign staffers and the supporters who would dismiss Obama's drug use as if it is irrelevant, a youthful indiscretion to be overlooked; more, I don't understand the venomous attacks on those who speak to the issue as if they are somehow making an unfair or negative attack. Weren't we here before? With George Bush? And what kind of mixed message are we sending: Dare to say no, but if you don't, and then run for office, it's OK to brush it aside? What kind of hypocrisy do we practice?
It is not the fact of Obama's early drug use that bothers me as much as the prevalent attitude that it is not worthy of current discussion.
Proposed regulations bad for cruisers
As a mainlander who loves the islands and cruising, I felt that I had to speak out regarding the federal regulations proposed that will limit even further competition between cruise lines. While the original purpose of the laws regarding foreign flagged ships once made sense, today is a different world in which there are few U.S.-flagged ships on the seas. At the present time, the regulation of stopping in a foreign port restricts the availability of cruising to basically one line among the islands unless one has unlimited time in order to allow for sailing from the coast and the stop in a foreign port. It also creates a monopoly for cruising in the islands for a line that is not being competitive with regard to service and customer satisfaction.
My wife and I sailed with the Pride of Aloha in November, and having done other cruises with other lines previously, were extremely disappointed in the inconsistency and poor quality of the cruise line's service. I can only feel that this lack of attention to detail and operation results from the near-monopoly status enjoyed by NCL-America. To make the other cruise lines even less competitive by adding further hindrances is counterproductive to both the economy of the islands and of the American traveler. If NCL were an exclusively American-flagged line, I might be able to understand the idea, but many of NCL's ships are also foreign flagged as well. This whole idea strikes me as isolationist and short-sighted as well as contrary to the American public's best interests.
Anthony K. Lux
Pass the bill to make absentee voting easier
Seniors and anyone who works for a living will tell you that getting to the polls to vote can be difficult. Voter turnout keeps declining here in Hawaii and the process is part of the problem. People all over the state testified in favor of Senate Bill 156 but the conference committee members failed to finish their work and enact it. SB 156 will increase voter turnout. The bill was carried over from last session and enactment can happen right now with very little effort -- like one or two hearings and a favorable vote.
Gov. Linda Lingle, Rep. Calvin Say and Sen. Colleen Hanabusa all said on the opening day of the Legislature that this is the year of change. Well, let's urge them to make a big change that will increase voter turnout. SB 156 allows permanent registration for absentee voting. This means that seniors, physically challenged folks and those who go to work every day can vote by mail in both the primary and general election without having to re-register every time.
If these politicians really mean what they say, then let's see some action! Pass SB 156 right now and make it easier for voters to vote and be heard. And yes, Gov. Lingle, you need to sign it and fund it.
He died 'Baroque' but was rich in talent
Next Sunday, we celebrate classical music genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 252nd birthday anniversary. Born in 1756 in Salzburg, Austria, he had an amazing career during the Baroque period, composing such magnificent classics as "The Marriage of Figaro," "Eine Kleine Nachtmuzik" ("A Little Night Music") and many other concertos and symphonies in his short life.
How ironic is it that such a brilliant composer died Dec. 5, 1791, at age 35, penniless ... as in, "Baroque"!