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Thursday, March 19, 1998

Mayor is wrong about Board of Water Supply

Jeremy Harris should not tamper with the Board of Water Supply. From what I can see, it is the only city agency that seems to be operating efficiently and doesn't have a money problem.

Then the mayor has the audacity to say the BWS should be investigated because it is not broke. He says its managers should refund what he says are "overcharges" on water bills.

When I look at my water bill, I see that my sewer charges, set by the mayor, are much higher than my water charges, set by the BWS. Who is Harris kidding?

John Jenss

Harris deserves support for scrutinizing city

Mayor Jeremy Harris is right to do a bottom-up review of city operations. The state should do the same. Then maybe any overlap could be eliminated and our taxes lowered.

My daughter left Hawaii to live on the mainland. We hope that she will be able to return here someday, when the economy improves.

Harris' bold moves are painful but need to be done. Let's give his ideas a chance. Maybe then they can serve as an example for state government.

Pualani McCabe

No need for task force to study trustee pay

The picture is quite clear once you get it in focus. See? Two groups.

The first are children from poor Hawaiian families. Like other kids in poverty, they are at risk of malnutrition, abuse and poor education. Standing behind them are their parents. Nobody is smiling.

The second group includes the five trustees of the Bishop Estate. There are plenty of smiles in this group. Why? Because together each year, these well-fed, greedy characters help themselves to more than $4 million of estate money intended to educate Hawaiian children.

The obscene inequity of this picture should be clear to everybody. Why do legislators need a task force to study a mess that has tainted even our highest state court?

R.C. Johnson

Democrats' power has gone to their heads

Our government's powers were designed to be limited. We were given the fundamental right to question and challenge incumbents, especially if their performance is poor.

Rep. Terrance Tom's campaign spending measure is a desperate attempt by the incumbent party to squash any challenge to its power.

This party used to pride itself with its lofty ideals. No longer. The abuses by this political oligarchy are now even worse than in the plantation era.

Gene Dumaran

Campaign spending reform is fair and long overdue

Why are the Star-Bulletin and Republicans crying so much over the House proposal to amend the campaign spending law limit to contributions to political parties to the same amount ($6,000) as to individuals?

The proposed change makes sense. Why limit political contributions to individuals and not political parties? In 1994, Frank Fasi made a mockery of the law on campaign spending limits when his contributors funneled several million dollars to the Best Party for Fasi's gubernatorial campaign.

It is clear from their cries of outrage that the Republicans intended to use the same tactic for Linda Lingle. It is no secret that she has been soliciting big money from rich mainland Republicans like David Murdock for her gubernatorial campaign.

The proposed amendment is long overdue. That is why it is being supported by Common Cause and the state Campaign Spending Commission.

Lloyd T. Nekoba
Friends of Ben Cayetano

Attacks on campaign reform get too personal

Instead of a rational debate on "soft money" and how to control it, I read in the Star-Bulletin a string of personal epithets hurled at me by one of your columnists: "sniveling," "sneaky," "reprehensible," "perfidious," and more than a dozen other equally appalling adjectives.

Your newspaper has once again struck a blow against fostering a civil climate for the discussion of public policy issues by publishing, under the guise of free speech, commentary which is nothing more than name-calling and personal attacks.

Halting "big donations" in political campaigns has been the consistent policy of the House Judiciary Committee since I became chairman in 1993. During the recent elections these "big donors" discovered a loophole in the law and evaded the limits on campaign contributions to an individual candidate simply by funnelling their money through a political party, which then turns it over to the candidate.

Is it good public policy to have the upcoming election tainted by these big donations and to have candidates beholden to those who make them? I don't think we should have to wait for the millennium before enforcing campaign contribution limits for all parties, donors and candidates.

Is it too much to ask that the Star-Bulletin change its focus from vilifying those it disagrees with to reporting on the extensive floor debate at the Legislature on this issue?

Terrance W. H. Tom
House Judiciary Committee

It's obvious Democrats are frightened by GOP

Wow, those Democratic politicians must really be scared. Never before has a serious campaign finance reform bill been enacted during a campaign year. But the minute it looks like Republicans just might win a couple of races, the Democrats swing into action like George of the Jungle.

Mid-session, mid-campaign cycle, mid-hearing, they hastily gutted an innocuous elections measure and squeezed in a new bill that cuts campaign donations to the bone. Then they muscled it through a sheepish-looking Judiciary Committee.

It's campaign finance reform, banana republic-style. Now that their candidates for governor and Congress are well-stocked with cash, now that their national party has been bankrupted by the honorable Mr. Clinton, only NOW they're going to "fix" the campaign finance laws.

And the fix is in, just in time to ensure that Hawaii never gets two-party balance or accountability.

Because this year, it's different. This year, the good ol' boys are scared.

Cam Akana

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