Belt case shows need for tougher penalties
A member of the Center for Global Nonviolence recently submitted a letter in which he stated that we all should be able to live in a Hawaii where we have the right not to be killed and the responsibility to not kill anyone (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 23
). In fact, our nation's founders also had that same view about the right not to be killed, so much so they included it in the Constitution ... life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
People need to take the blinders off and see that unfortunately there are bad people in the world who don't care about laws or personal responsibilities. In such cases, laws and very harsh penalties are needed. Unfortunately for the past and future victims in Hawaii, we are severely lacking in the latter. Our legislators need to wake up to that fact and revisit the issue of crime and punishment. Sadly, I bet the only action we see in the Cyrus Belt case is chain-link fences go up around all pedestrian overpasses and victory against crime declared in the big square building.
Collectivism prevailed in supermarket strike
In response of Romeo L.A. Dublin's Jan. 13 letter
regarding the Times Supermarket strike, I would like to point out several errors in his argument that capitalism and individualism prevailed over collectivism.
What happened, in fact, was the opposite: collectivism prevailed over individualism. Collectivism is when individuals submit to the will of a group for the sake of the group. In this case, the individuals (the strikers) were forced to give up their benefits for the good of the company. The company is the collective, not the union.
Also, Mr. Dublin implies that collective bargaining is at odds with capitalism. The goal of labor unions is to negotiate for the best deals. Is that not capitalism at work?
Teamsters and other union members definitely understand, perhaps more than Mr. Dublin, that for-profit businesses primarily exist in order to make money. The very existence of labor unions is due to that fact. The goal of businesses is to ensure that they keep making a profit, so labor unions were created in part to ensure that companies reward the accomplish- ments of the workers.
Finally, his comment about moving to France where unemployment is high solely because of unions is dead wrong. According to the French government agency Invest in France, only 8 percent of French workers belong to a trade union. The U.S. rate is 13 percent.
Old Waikiki has lost much of its charm
I was in Waikiki for New Year's Eve. It had been eight years since I was there and 13 years since I had lived in Waikiki. I felt really sad when I was there looking around at the commercialism that Kalakaua Avenue has endured. There is nothing close to a mom-and-pop feel in Waikiki anymore. It's all super-high-end stores with three locations of the same store in a small area. It has lost a lot of the aloha.
The massive chain stores suck the life out of Waikiki. There are no more tikis that were part of the decor of the International Marketplace, and the whole area is devoid of unique shops with local goods that are not mass-produced trinkets. The Thor store was an exception and it reflected a local vibe. But I really left with a feeling of disbelief that it was the same place I once lived.
I'm really sorry to see the deterioration of Waikiki that is viewed as progress and development. If you live there it probably has crept up on you slowly and has not had such an impact. But from a former kamaaina's view -- I'm really turned off by the place I once loved and cherished.
Don't let anyone ride in the truck bed
The current law allowing passengers to ride in the open back of pickup trucks should be amended. Hawaii is one of a few states that still allows this dangerous practice. The many injuries and fatalities arising from passengers being ejected or falling from the back of pickup trucks are not worth the risk.
The current law does not allow anyone under the age of 13 to ride in the back of pickups. As I drive along Oahu's roads, I still see young children riding in the back. It is chilling to see children and adults in the back while the driver races along on the freeways well above the posted speed limit. It seems odd that the driver of a truck can be cited for not wearing a seatbelt, yet unrestrained passengers may be transported without consequences.
The law needs to be changed before more people are injured or killed. A total ban on riding in the back of pickups is needed this legislative session.
Lawmakers should join effort buy Turtle Bay
We wish to convey how impressed and excited we are about Gov. Linda Lingle's proposal to have our state purchase and preserve the 850 North Shore acres of the Turtle Bay Resort.
As a voters, homeowners and residents of the North Shore for 30 years, we are thrilled that some one in our government is up to joining us here to preserve the country for generations of visitors, locals and kamaaina.
Elected officials should join the people of Hawaii and support this initiative.
James, Mia, Kaden and Kona Russi
Reaganomics damaged economy then and now
I was disappointed when Sen. Barack Obama pandered to Reaganites saying that Ronald Reagan offered a sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that has been missing. While Reagan's trickle-down economics provided a brief boost in the early '80s that helped the rich, the effects of tax breaks given to the wealthy were not felt by the middle class.
Little trickled down to workers, unless you were a CEO; wages lagged behind inflation. In the wake of budget surpluses and solid economic growth during the Clinton years, President Bush and the Republican Party revitalized Reaganomics, which has brought the country to it knees again. Example, the current falling financial markets.
Bush has lost all budget surpluses and has us deeper in debt. The kind of dynamism and entrepreneurship needed is that which provides profit-sharing for the employees with comprehensive health care and retirement plans. Otherwise it's just opportunists getting rich on the backs of the working class, or what I call welfare for the wealthy.
Musicians appreciate community support
On behalf of the musicians of the Honolulu Symphony, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the community for the tremendous support it has shown in recent weeks. The enthusiastic attendance and ovations at concerts, generous donations, and supportive letters to the editor, editorials and comments have been greatly appreciated!
Artistically, this is an exciting time for the Honolulu Symphony. We have embarked on a new era with Principal Conductor Andreas Delfs. His plans for next season and his vision for the future show a level of innovation and artistry that promises to bring orchestral music in Hawaii to a new and inspiring level.
The Honolulu Symphony has served Hawaii since 1900, presenting exciting performances, world-class guest artists and high-quality music education. There are still some significant challenges ahead, but with the proper support of the city, state, and community, your Honolulu Symphony can and will continue to serve Hawaii and thrive. Mahalo nui loa.
Chairman, Honolulu Symphony Musicians