Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Sunday, February 22, 2009

Give Vegas a try for Hawaii casino

About two years ago I approached leaders of our Legislature to consider doing a feasibility study on opening a casino in Las Vegas. You must be aware of the number of Hawaii residents who travel to Las Vegas annually. A study would answer such a question as:

» Would Nevada allow another state to do business there?

» How much would it cost?

Obviously, it got nowhere. Come on, Legislature, how about giving it a try? If it is feasible and if it is accomplished, we could earmark the profit to our state Department of Education.

Roy L. Benham


City isn't a stone, it's a sponge

Mayor Mufi Hannemann's' “;stone to soup”; fable in his State of the City address is an interesting metaphor. The “;stone”; of course is the city, the villagers taking food out of their families mouths and putting it into the bottomless stone water are taxpayers. Since taking office in 2004, the mayor has raised fees (tripling the sewer fees and doubling the vehicle registration fees), the general excise tax (12 percent increase) and property tax appraisals (and thus taxes) every year.

We now have the largest budget ever by the city and county of Honolulu. For him to claim that public workers are not going to get a pay raise is a sleight of hand. Public workers are already scheduled to get a 4 percent pay raise this year on top the of the 4 percent pay raise they got last year, they just won't get more pay raises next year.

I think it would have been even more appropriate if the mayor in his fable had used a sponge to represent the city instead of a stone.

Garry P. Smith

Ewa Beach

We need plastic bags - just ask your dog

I'm confused on the issue of plastic bags. First, we want to ban them because they're bad for the environment. OK, but then I hear they can be recycled into energy at the H-Power plant. So why don't we just collect them and do that?

If plastic bags were banned altogether, what would we use for our lunches, our garbage, our dog poop and countless other practical things? We would have to buy plastic bin liners, and that's just as bad.

There is already a program in place where markets collect the used bags. How about we expand this program, and perhaps make it mandatory? I've also read that some plastic formulations are better than others. Why not just ban the use of the ones that are not recyclable, and only allow the use of the ones that are? Wouldn't an alternative source of power be a good thing?

Penny Guinn


Equal means equal for homosexuals, too

At my age (I'm 70), accepting two men or two women marrying is one helluva stretch. As I've done most of my adult life, on controversial issues I like to go back to the fundamentals. And when I did, I found something that is very disturbing.

Let's start with those beautiful and inspiring words from the Declaration of Independence: “;We hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal. They are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. Among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”; There's that word “;all”; - no exceptions. There's the word “;equal.”; And then there's the phrase “;pursuit of happiness.”;

In the pursuit of happiness, I cannot think of anything more inherent than a lifetime committed relationship recognized by society; whether you want to call it marriage or a civil union. The Declaration of Independence tells me that we've been terribly wrong all along; that all, heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, are equally entitled to marriage as the prime component of their pursuit of happiness; and that we are denying a minority their God-given right.

This becomes even more alarming when you realize that 10 years ago we voted overwhelmingly in Hawaii to deny this right. Since then many other states have done likewise. I cannot think of another time in our history where a majority has denied a minority's right at the ballot box. We have voted down their God-given right because gay marriage makes us emotionally uncomfortable. Think about it. For the sake of our comfort, we are denying homosexuals their God-given right. Shame on us! I'm even more ashamed because this is Hawaii. For my 48 years here I've bragged that this is the most tolerant place on earth. Auwe!

I'm afraid that the day will come when we add this to our list of terrible things our country has done; slavery, internment, segregation and torture, for example. It's still not too late to make this right. We must support our Legislature in legalizing civil unions.

Rick Lloyd


Rent-to-own can make it easier for many

Owning a home in Hawaii seems like a hopeless dream for renters. I wonder if renters could sign a 1-year rental agreement in which the year's rent after one year could go toward the down payment purchase of the apartment home and homeowners insurance. In the matter of the property maintenance upkeep requirement, said renter owner would be able to work rather than pay a maintenance fee such as be one of the part-time security guard, custodian or landscaper.

Why does owning a home one day by a renter seem such a distant, lost dream removed to a distant galaxy of our universe!

Frankie Kam


Seniors, answer Obama's call to serve

President Obama has continued the process of uniting our country to one big call for union in service to one another. He had already indicated how “;with it”; he is by using the Internet to rally votes when on campaign. He is continuing on this highway, to reach Americans for partnership in recovery for jobs and education, plus needed assistance for every service in every corner of our great nation.

I am a senior citizen and know how important it is for me to keep active in my field, for my own health and those I can still serve. I enjoyed a wonderful career as a reading specialist. I plan to answer our president's call by giving teacher workshops in my condo, for free! I hope that the schools do respond; I have more than 40 years of specialized teaching to share. One of my greatest joys is to be needed and I know there are many disabled senior citizens in Hawaii who feel the same way. I echo Obama when I say to other seniors, “;Step forward and give of your talents, even from a wheelchair! You are still needed.”;

Janet Powell

Clinical reading therapist


Civil unions are indeed same-sex marriages

The controversial and divisive issue of same-sex marriage is again before our community because state legislators in the House of Representatives fast-tracked and approved legislation establishing “;civil unions”; for same sex-couples in Hawaii. In our view, these legislators are wrongly proposing to legalize same-sex marriage under the more benign-sounding banner of civil unions.

What should be of concern to the people of Hawaii is that these publicly elected legislators are ignoring a clear mandate by 70 percent of Hawaii voters just 10 years ago - that marriage should be between only a man and a woman.

Supporters of civil unions argue that the legislation is not about redefining marriage statute. However, what civil union proponents are not saying is that this legislation instead would create a parallel chapter in our law for civil unions, which would constitute de facto same-sex marriages.

The bill's language is clear on this point with a key section headed, “;Same benefits, protections, and responsibilities as marriage,”; and stating that partners in a civil union “;shall have all the same rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities under law ... as are granted to spouses in a marriage.”;

The bill provides that every reference in Hawaii law to “;marriage”; shall apply equally to “;civil unions.”; Even the procedures for obtaining a license and for solemnizing same-sex civil unions would be identical to those for traditional marriage. Finally, under the bill, Hawaii would officially recognize civil unions and same-sex marriages from other states and countries.

In 1998, when the people empowered the Legislature to define marriage as one-man and one-woman through a constitutional amendment, we believed that we had spoken loudly, clearly and definitively about the matter. By moving HB 444 through the legislative process, our legislators are reintroducing a divisive and diverting issue into the community at a time when the very economic survival of families is at stake. We believe that we should attend to first things first.

HB 444's supporters claim that times have changed since 70 percent of Hawaii voters repudiated same-sex marriage, and that the prevailing sentiment now is that our residents favor civil unions as a same-sex equivalent to marriage. Unless these supporters can document this claim, we say that the Legislature should abide by the will of the people so strongly and clearly expressed in l998.

Most Rev. Clarence Larry Silva

Bishop of Honolulu

Roman Catholic Church in Hawaii

Editor's note: This letter also was signed by the Very Rev. Mac R. Alexander, vicar general, Roman Catholic Church in Hawaii; pastor Wayne Cordeiro, New Hope Christian Fellowship Oahu; pastors Art and Kuna Sepulveda, Word of Life; Mitch D'Olier, president & CEO, Kaneohe Ranch; and Francis Oda, chairman, Group 70 International, Inc., senior pastor, New Life Church Honolulu.




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