Letters to the Editor
POSTED: Sunday, November 16, 2008
Cancer victims become survivors at Queen's
After reading "Mixed bag in palliative care" in Thursday's Star-Bulletin, I feel compelled to write and express my profound appreciation to all the wonderful people at the Queen's cancer center.
The coordinated treatment provided by my family doctor, Donald Nicol, my surgeon, Dr. Gary Lattimer, and my radiologist, Dr. John Lederer, has allowed me to be a cancer survivor rather than a victim.
In addition, I would like to acknowledge the compassion and support provided by Dr. Daniel Fischberg and his staff during the time following my surgery and radiation.
Airport route will serve more rail commuters
Routing the proposed rail system through Salt Lake area would be reckless, unproductive and stupid. The industrial and business areas along Kamehameha Highway through Pearl Harbor and Nimitz Highway are where people go to and from work. The airport, too, will be served well because the route that makes sense will go through that area.
Moreover, many Salt Lake residents are opposed to the rail noise that would disturb their residential homes. I believe Mayor Mufi Hannemann is correct that the airport route is better.
Council should explain B&B position
Why is the City Council so driven to convert residential homes in areas like Hawaii Kai, Kahala and Kailua into tourist accommodations?
The need is obviously not there. The sewer capacity is not there. The water capacity is not there. The roads and infrastructure are not there. The city agencies that are needed to manage an influx of tourism in our once-quiet neighborhoods are not there.
More important, the "large home" residential communities do not want this Council-driven commercialism in their neighborhoods. Proof is in the fact that the neighborhood boards have voted down both the vacation rentals bills and bed-and-breakfast resolutions.
Why is Charles Djou, once a Councilman who listened to his constituents, defying them now and pushing this activity?
Waikiki hotels do not need this competition, especially now. Waikiki does not need its close-by communities like Kahala and Hawaii Kai going into competition with it. Djou also represents Waikiki and the hotels, through their association, have opposed these bills and resolutions.
Please, someone on the City Council explain to us, why? And why now?
Gay marriage doesn't hurt non-gays, society
Thank you for your Nov. 10 editorial asking the Legislature to approve same-sex marriage in Hawaii. To those who might oppose it, I wish there were some other comparable term, but there isn't. Only marriage is marriage. Same-sex marriage does not affect heterosexual marriage at all. It does not infringe on religious rights - no church is ever compelled to marry a same-sex couple (or any couple) should it choose not to.
Same-sex marriage helps the family by allowing a legal relationship between two same-sex parents and children - natural or adopted. Some studies show that 20 percent of same-sex couples already have children. Same-sex marriage in no way affects any other laws. By being married, committed couples gain hundreds of legal (not religious) rights, ranging from joint taxes to inheritance to health care decisions.
Although some religions try to make same-sex marriage a religious issue, it is not. It is giving a class of people equal civil rights. No one chooses to be gay (would you, given the discrimination?). We are made gay by the same God who makes people straight.
Look at Massachusetts, Canada, most of Europe, our allies in the Iraq war. All have same-sex marriage. None have suffered any harm at all. Are we not as progressive?
I urge the Legislature and the governor to pass same-sex marriage this session.
Three cheers for the Golden State's bigotry
Rah Rah Rah
Majority isn't always right; neither is Prop 8
Brandi Sobek of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asks us to "grow up" and "deal with what the majority has decided on Proposition 8," which took away same-sex couples' right to marry (Letters, Nov. 13).
Actually, Proposition 8 pushed California to the brink of a constitutional crisis. It upended a doctrine of separation of powers and deeply trounced upon California's judiciary. It eviscerated the most foundational principle of the state's constitution.
If allowed to stand, Prop 8 would devastate the principle of equal protection and it could endanger the fundamental rights of any potential minority based on race, religion, national origin or gender. It would mean that a bare majority of voters could enshrine any manner of discrimination against any unpopular group and the California constitution would be powerless to disallow it.
Equal protection of the law is what separates constitutional democracy from mob rule tyranny. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a major backer of Prop 8 and its members contributed almost $20 million to the campaign. A major backlash against Utah started immediately with appeals from coast to coast calling for a boycott of both Utah and its Sundance Film Festival. Utah is the home of the Mormon church.
River Street homeless project needs support
Surely other Downtown Neighborhood Board members join me in thanking Michael Ullman ("Gathering Place", Oct. 9) for the invitation to join him on South King Street near Weinberg Hale. We have, in the middle of our own neighborhood, a similar facility helping mentally ill homeless people. Safe Haven has been strongly supported by our board for 15 years. Surprisingly, the same board, by a 5-4 vote, seemed to oppose the city's plan to develop a transitional housing project on River Street near Vineyard Boulevard at its last meeting. The board has at least twice before supported the same proposal, knowing very well that about one-third of the chronic homeless have some form of mental illness. The vote supports the project, but not the requirement that 40 percent of the units be set aside for those with mental illness and other disabilities. Ironically, the effect of the vote is that we support the project without any specific conditions.
Some initially opposed Safe Haven too, located closer to homes, stores, restaurants and in the midst of the Hawaii Pacific University's downtown campus. But there have been few reported incidents with facility residents or the out-patients who come and go. The city project is not nearly so close to vulnerable residents, students or workers. Its residents will live in the facility, so there will be less traffic than at Safe Haven.
Very few people spoke in opposition to the city project at the Oct. 2 board meeting, contrary to the tone of the Star-Bulletin article the next day. Unfortunately, the Star-Bulletin did not interview board members who support the project or other local business persons concerned that homeless people have no place to sleep but in front of their stores.
We hope the downtown/ Chinatown community will come together and back this well-placed project. Residents, workers and businesses will all benefit, as will those very much in need of shelter with supporting services to help them.
Downtown Neighborhood Board member
When cutting budgets, it should be safety last
Why is it that when government - federal, state, municipal - must cut the budget, it's law enforcement, emergency services and defense that take the blows first and hardest while the big-dollar entitlements and social programs (programs created by law to fill a want and really are political point gains), don't take it too hard?
The defense and law enforcement duties are the prime duties and most important responsibilities of government in our country.
Disney resort will bring many needed jobs
Disney's $800 million development plan (Star-Bulletin, Oct. 17) is most encouraging for job seekers and those who worry about our economic crisis today and in the near future. Over and above the jobs available during the building process, there will be 1,000 new jobs at Disney's Ko Olina resort.
Again, this is a positive move for our islands that couldn't have become reality without the dedication and commitment of Mayor Mufi Hannemann. In the past, the last governor threw out the idea about a Disney entity inside Diamond Head crater. After the laughter died down, no one took the ball and ran for the touchdown.
Fortunately, Hannemann had the insight to work diligently with Disney to bring a world-class resort to our islands. Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?
Mayor Hannemann, thank you for a super touchdown inside a Disney goal. What an inspired idea! We will all be better for your insight and hard work.
Thanks to many who gave all on Nov. 4
Mahalo to all who made Hawaii's 2008 elections successful.
Thank you to more than 3,500 volunteer election officials who tirelessly processed tens of thousands of absentee ballots; who opened 339 polling places across the state on time; who served as observers for the public to preserve the integrity of the voting process to assure the security of all ballots and voting equipment and the accuracy of the ballot counting processes; and who audited the ballots and poll books on Hawaii, Kauai, Maui and Oahu.
Thank you to all those people whose day started at 3 a.m. and ended 15 hours later for a stipend of $85.
Thank you to each county clerk and each clerk's staff in the state who planned, met frequently and worked hard at the elections to assure honesty and fairness during the primary and general elections.
Special thank you to the staff of the Office of Elections, who worked tirelessly planning, training, monitoring and working so hard to bring Hawaii a successful election despite the criticism and pessimism among some that it could not be done.
Finally, but by no means least, thank you to the hundreds of thousands of voters who took time away from busy schedules to participate in the democratic process.
To those who did not participate and the critics of our elections, I invite you to become involved and join us in the 2010 elections and to share responsibly in the democratic process - consider running for office, working for the candidate of your choice or volunteering to work on election days. But most of all, consider voting. Your vote will be counted and it does make a difference.
Again, I extend my most sincere and appreciative thank you to all of you.
Chief Election Officer
State Office of Elections
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