Obama is a candidate we can believe in
Barack Obama has launched an extraordinary campaign that has been dynamic, dignified and painstakingly positive. Energized and inspired, Americans throughout the country have responded to his message of change and hope.
As the Hawaii presidential caucus approaches, local residents should take special notice of federal bills that Obama supports. As president, Obama will sign the Akaka Bill, which finally and deservedly extends federal recognition to Hawaiians.
Obama supports the Equity for Filipino Veterans Act, which fulfills America's promise to recognize the sacrifices and bravery of 250,000 Filipino troops who joined U.S. forces in World War II. This is meaningful legislation that will remove inequities suffered by members of our community.
Barack Obama believes in us. And that is why we should believe in Barack Obama.
We need a president who is less clever, more direct
On Feb. 1, Ruth Pratt wrote that while Barack Obama opposed President Reagan's polices, he respected the innovative processes used by Republicans to route Democrats, adding that Obama appreciated the clever process that brought the idea into being.
A major part of Reagan's clever process was quelling dissent, terminating the FCC's fairness doctrine that provided for broadcasts of views contrary to his. And mostly, the public heard what Reagan wanted them to hear, resulting in a minimal outcry when Reagan:
» triggered the Iran-Contra scandal,
» looted Social Security accounts to fund tax cuts for the rich, and
» cut social programs and thousands of mentally ill patients were turned into the instantly homeless, with many arrested for vagrancy.
Other innovative Republican ideas had energy companies shifting the cost of their pollution cleanup to taxpayers. This process has carried over to the Bush administration with its clever WMD ruse to invade Iraq. Bush's corporate supporters rake in profits while taxpayers pay for this Mideast misadventure! How much more of this innovative cleverness can you afford?
McCain is trustworthy, true conservative
The Republican Party is the only political party in the United States that has always supported my biblical beliefs, convictions and traditional marriage family values.
With that said, is the soon-to-be-nominated Republican candidate for president Sen. John McCain a true conservative? I believe he is.
At the recent conservative convention in Washington, D.C., McCain said that as commander in chief his decisions will be based on Republican conservative principles, which include all of the above. McCain is known to keep his word.
An an evangelical conservative Christian, I will vote in November to do the right thing.
Melvin Partido Sr.
'Superdelegate' process should be abolished
As I understand it, a superdelegate's purpose is to vote for the candidate who he or she feels is best suited to be in the general election. One thing I don't understand is, why do we need these superdelegates when we already have delegates? I can see if there is a tie and this is a tie-breaker. But there are nearly 800 superdelegates. They can make or break a candidate!
Say Clinton is behind by 50 delegate votes and then the superdelegates bring her ahead with their votes. This is not fair. Another thing to understand is that many superdelegates might feel obligated to vote for Hillary Clinton as they were part of former President Bill Clinton's regime. Voting because of obligation is not the purpose of a superdelegate. The Democratic Party should abolish superdelegates.
It will be interesting to see how Hawaii's Democratic congressional members -- who also are superdelegates --casts their votes. Will they vote with the true intent of superdelegates or follow another who is senior to them?
Francis K. Ibara
Look beyond Obama's connection to Hawaii
Look how silly we Americans can be. We actually have people saying that Oprah Winfrey chose her race over her gender by supporting Barack Obama instead of Hillary Clinton. How shallow can we be?
And now some supporters of Obama are saying that he is "ours," as in he is one of us, simply because he once lived in Hawaii. It would be like saying Nicole Kidman is kamaaina because she was born here. That is not the reason to vote for anyone, and makes us appear more shallow, uneducated and easily influenced. It was bad enough when Jasmine Trias survived for that long in American Idol, and the whole Sanjaya thing didn't help either.
I would not cheer for the Houston Rockets just because of Yao Ming. I would neither cheer for "The Rock" simply because he went to McKinley, nor listen to Bette Midler simply because she graduated from Radford. Likewise, I would not vote for Obama just because he lived here, nor would I vote for him because he is black.
If I vote for him, it will be because I believe in his cause.
Get serious about real problems
It has been rather dismaying to watch the Legislature in action.
To list but a few of the pieces of legislation up for consideration in the 2008 session -- a "solar energy" bill that would allow tenants to string up clotheslines on their lanais; a bill that would protect us all from the rampant abuse of aspartame ("I'll take a double cheeseburger please, but hold the Diet Coke."); a bill that would fine little old ladies up to $1,000 for feeding stray cats; a bill that would ban stores from bagging our groceries in traditional plastic sacks; and last but not least, a bill that equips the city with the authority necessary to confiscate wayward shopping carts.
Shouldn't the Legislature's attention be focused on more significant issues?
Please tackle the rising cost of living.Stop letting the Department of Education make excuses for exercising poor stewardship over its plentiful resources. Pass meaningful laws that will reduce crime and put an end to the tragedies that have recently haunted us on the nightly news.
To our 76 legislators: To whom much has been entrusted, much is required.
Paper bags are bigger threat to environment
As an environmentalist, I have examined the paper versus plastic bag argument. Here are some facts:
Plastic bags are made from the recycled byproducts of fuel refinement, are sanitary, water resistant, require little energy to produce, can easily be recycled, and burn cleanly with less ash and carbon dioxide than paper bags.
The production of paper bags contributes to deforestation and global warming and requires much more fossil fuel to produce and transport. They are not as sanitary and water resistant and produce much more carbon dioxide and ash when burned.
In the weeks since the proposal to ban plastic bags was announced, I have made a point of examining the roadways, shoulders, beaches and public parks for litter while driving, riding TheBus or walking around town. Frankly, I have seen very few plastic bags. The litter that I have seen has mostly been newspapers.
Instead of banning plastic bags, a better, though equally absurd argument could be made to ban newspapers to protect the environment.
Gary F. Anderson
Public needs to know about isle GMO crops
One of my friends is an organic farmer on the Big Island. He told me that there's legislation this year to label genetically engineered foods and also to let farmers know where these crops are being grown.
This legislation makes sense to me. Why should Hawaii be the guinea pig for GMO companies to test out their products? I did a little reading and found out that 50 percent of the papaya in Hawaii are GMO. I also learned that Hawaii is the top destination for field tests of GMOs in the entire world.
This is alarming given the fact that we are an island state and isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I'm hopeful that Sen. Jill Tokuda will hear Senate Bill 3233 this session. It's time that the politicians learn that Hawaii belongs to the people and not to these multinational companies, like Monsanto, that are buying up all the land in our state to test and grow GMO crops.
Law would apply only to serious offenders
Rob L. Wetzel's Feb. 3 states that Rep. Kimberly Pine's youth offender bill (Karen's Law) "would affect a surprisingly large number of our state's youth and their families."We certainly hope this is not the case because Karen's Law applies only to the worst offenses, first- and second-degree murder and first- and second-degree sexual assault and only to those over 15 years of age.Surely these offenders do not represent "a large number of our state's youth."
Wetzel further states that research indicates that juveniles waived over to adult court reoffend quicker, more often and more seriously. We would like to see the peer-reviewed studies that focus only on first- and second-degree murder and rape cases of offenders 15, 16 and 17 years old that come to this conclusion. We suspect that studies with this narrow scope do not exist and that Wetzel is referring to studies that look at the broad spectrum of youthful offenders.
Those convicted of these most serious of crimes in adult court will find themselves facing sentences of at least 20 years to life. It is hard to imagine that they will be quick to reoffend and certainly not more seriously. It doesn't get more serious than first- and second-degree murder.
Land settlement is best way to go forward
I am a second-year, non-Hawaiian law student at Richardson School of Law studying ceded lands issues, our state Constitution and the terms of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs public land trust settlement. I believe the deal is fair to OHA and satisfies the state's duty to provide past due payments.
This settlement represents an opportunity for the state to fulfill its constitutional obligation to native Hawaiians as well as creating a stepping stone to address greater and still unresolved claims, including the ceded lands. No settlement can please everyone. The many years of negotiations and litigation that went into this deal inform the current stance of the state and OHA in favor of the settlement. Now is the time to move forward.
It is in our chosen legislators' hands to act responsibly and with leadership for all of the people of Hawaii. I support Senate Bill 2733 and consider the current settlement an excellent platform from which we can begin to heal the relationship of all interested parties.
Bill would control cost of clean elections
The time is now for passage for House Bill 661 (with amendments), which would establish comprehensive public funding for county council elections.Cost cannot be used as an excusenot to pass it becausethe proposed bill has "safety valves" built into it to ensure that it won't go over budget.
It's important that Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and Speaker of the House Calvin Say listen to their constituents, labor, small business and community leaders who are in favor of passage ofthis bill.
Seven states now have "clean elections" and the benefits range from variety in the candidate field to negation of the effects of special-interest lobbyists. Come on, Hawaii, get on board!