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Tuesday, October 20, 1998

HSTA should stay out of gay marriage issue

As a teacher and member of the HSTA for nearly 30 years, I have usually supported the decisions made by its board of directors. But I cannot support its endorsement of a "no" vote on the traditional marriage amendment.

How can HSTA state that "this would be the first time in history that a constitution was amended to take away rights that people already have?" Same-gender marriage has never been a constitutional right in the U.S. or Hawaii, so how can it be taken away?

The board should have remained neutral on this critical moral issue, and just provided unbiased information for teachers to make their own personal decisions.

George Poliahu Jr.
Kailua Intermediate School

Constitutional amendment is a question of fairness

Joan is a friend of mine, a professor at a mainland university. She is also a lesbian who for 10 years has shared her life with her partner and her partner's son. She is the boy's second parent.

Recently the Social Security administration advised Joan of the benefits that her survivors would receive if she died, which typically include monthly payments for children and a spouse, plus a one-time death benefit.

Like all employees, Joan has paid into that system all her working life. But, were she to die, her partner and her partner's child would receive nothing.

If Joan had been a man, she would be married and her partner eligible for benefits. But as the law stands, when Joan dies, her contribution will benefit the survivors of married heterosexuals instead of her own loved ones. This is not fair.

One good thing about the people of Hawaii is their firm commitment to equality under the law. Our Bill of Rights makes it difficult to enact laws that discriminate unjustly. Accordingly, our Supreme Court may be close to ruling that people like Joan are entitled to fair treatment. I hope voters will vote "no" and let the judges do their job.

Kenneth Kipnis

Don't let politicians change Constitution

The state Constitution limits the power of government. The Constitution also ensures my rights as an individual citizen. I am not gay, but I don't want the Legislature to take away any of my constitutional rights.

One of those rights is to be treated equally under the laws, regardless of gender. If this constitutional right is given over to the Legislature, what right is next? Does anyone doubt the next attack will be on a woman's right to choose?

Don't be fooled by clever advertising. A "yes" vote gives that embarrassment we call a Legislature more power by changing the Constitution to take away our individual rights.

Don't do it; vote "no." Keep your rights for yourself.

Lunsford Dole Phillips

Mail-in balloting makes voters nervous

I do not like the absentee mail-in ballots. My 92-year-old husband, a former U.S. attorney for Hawaii, A. William Barlow, doesn't have the physical ability to push, pull or press! If he were to use a No. 2 pencil, according to the instructions, the little football shapes that must be colored in would be pale gray, at best. I do wonder whether our ballots will be counted or discarded?

As for signing the ballot envelope -- the affirmation statement -- why can't one sign in ink instead of a No. 2 pencil? A pencil signature invites erasure or worse.

I personally feel very apprehensive and seriously doubt that our votes shall count. I am very, very disappointed.

Roberta Hale Barlow

Stadium burgers give voters food for thought

I have decided to vote for change. Having made this decision, I asked myself, "OK, so what is it that you want changed?" I found my answer at the Aloha Stadium during the UH/SMU football game.

My son asked for a hamburger, which cost me $3.75! For a hamburger! How did this happen? Didn't anyone ask, "If you are awarded the food concession contract at the stadium, how much are you going to charge people (taxpayers who helped pay for the stadium) for a hamburger?"

Who was negotiating on my behalf?

And those bag searches! If the food was good and the prices reasonable, the stadium wouldn't have to be concerned about fans bringing in their own snacks.

Sharon Hurd
(Via the Internet)

Cayetano had his chance and he blew it badly

Socialism and cronyism cause economic slavery to all but the party bosses and the old boys. This can be seen throughout the world. All the people of Hawaii will be better off with leadership that will reduce government interference, reduce the tax burden of the people, promote free trade and help people who want to create jobs and start or grow their own businesses. Today, the state works against them.

Linda Lingle is the candidate with the true democratic values. Cayetano had his chance and blew it. His economic plan called for a tax increase! He put off union pay raises so he could say we have a surplus. Is this the kind of leadership we need?

Cayetano did nothing in the face of the wost economic downturn since statehood. Lingle will add much needed balance to our do-nothing Legislature and our overactive Supreme Court that is committed to the status quo. Think about it. One of the reasons the mainland economy is so strong is because we have that balance in Washington.

Cayetano says he should be re-elected because he knows what it's like to be broke. Well, Ben, so do we and we're sick of it! Hawaii needs a governor who knows what it's like to help create a climate of prosperity.

Michael J. Scherr
(Via the Internet)

Candidate is generous to mainland contractors

If small-business owners in Hawaii really believe that Linda Lingle is their new champion, they had better wake up and get a copy of her campaign spending report. Using nearly $250,000 or almost one-fourth of her total expenditures for work done by mainland companies is certainly no way to help Hawaii's economy.

I'm not stupid. As a small-business owner, I know what $250,000 would do for my company.

Tessie Anno

Any new CEO of trust must be watched, too

It seems that the action to remove the Bishop Estate trustees will ultimately come to pass, even after anticipated delays in appeals from them. They cannot stave off the inevitable.

While I agree that allowing the status quo to drag on was not a viable option, in view of what is about to happen I urge extreme vigilance in watching how the proposed interim caretakers will handle Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate affairs.

This is crucially important to the well-being and future of all Hawaiians, especially for the children who are that future. The caretakers should be held accountable to all, no matter how long or short a time they control the estate. The will of the princess should be key, not new interpretations of that will.

Larry Kwiatkowski
(Via the Internet)

Why are outsiders going to run Bishop Estate?

It seems that Bishop Estate is going to get some new albeit temporary leadership. This is both good and bad. Good that the public is now aware of many of the misdeeds of the present board as well as those of past boards; bad that the suggested appointment of two non-residents is on the table.

Let's not have outsiders continue to set directions for Hawaiians. We are a capable people who can take care of ourselves. We don't need another outsider telling us how we should be.

Sharon Pomroy
Las Vegas, Nev.
(Via the Internet)

Waikiki is striving to be more pedestrian-friendly

Chris Wells (Letters, Oct. 13) missed the point of the Kuhio Beach widening project: to take space devoted to the automobile and return it to public use.

Our recent demonstration project that temporarily removed one lane showed that traffic does not deteriorate by any measure, including volume, speed and safety. Instead, the land width that is not needed can be used for wider sidewalks and more landscaping.

The park setting can extend from the Kapiolani/Honolulu Zoo area to Kaiulani Avenue. This is a vast improvement.

The mayor's vision for Kalakaua and all of Waikiki is to make it more pedestrian-friendly and better landscaped. This benefits both Waikiki residents and visitors, including those from other parts of Oahu. Along with the historic trail markers, this will be another step toward providing a more Hawaiian sense of place in Waikiki.

Cheryl D. Soon
Director, City Department
of Transportation Services

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