Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Council sneaky in cutting credit

When I receive my next property tax bill, I will remember that the City Council canceled the homeowner tax credit.

Even though they lowered the rate a little, most of us will have to pay more because they also killed the proposed $150 credit. It seems like they tried to fool everyone by coming up with the new rate on the last day of the budget process, with no previous public hearings.

What a sneaky bunch!

Judith Melvin





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Veto urged on online tax bill

The future of Hawaii's online media industry is in jeopardy due to HB1405, also known as the “;Amazon tax. “;

The bill will require all online merchants to collect sales tax from all Hawaii residents. To avoid this tax online, merchants will cancel contracts with thousands of Hawaii-owned Web sites.

I am surprised not many people are aware of this bill. It will handicap Hawaii's online media industry by not allowing them to fully monetize their Web sites, giving an advantage to international and mainland companies and professionals.

Hawaii's online media is a clean and low-impact industry. Hawaii should be promoting this industry, not trying to destroy it.

The bill has passed the House and Senate. Please encourage Gov. Linda Lingle to veto it.

Dean Takamine


Diverse court reflects life

During my third year in law school, my constitutional law professor's jaw dropped open when I postulated there is a professional myth of neutrality regarding the judiciary. I suggested that judges can only be as neutral as their self-awareness allows them to be, and that law school is not necessarily the ideal forum to foster self-awareness. Neutrality is a goal, not a given.

There are a variety of legal theories on constitutional interpretation and, additionally, all justices bring to the court their own life experiences, philosophies and educations. They are not purely cerebral automatons, nor should they be.

The Supreme Court was long comprised solely of one race and one gender. This does not reflect our multifaceted society.

The law is not static, and legal interpretation changes to reflect our culture. If it did not, the Constitution would be a dead document, and quite easy to interpret. Shifts regarding big issues, such as segregation and the right to choose, often occur at least 10 years behind predominant cultural and social mores. For some, change is much too fast; for others, much too slow.

A diverse court better reflects our society and changing social norms.

Bambi Lin Litchman (attorney)


Palau's Gitmo move hailed

What a lift to my sagging feelings! “;Detainees in limbo find haven in Palau”; (Star-Bulletin, June 11). Tiny yet courageous Palau.

Thank you, President Johnson Toribiong, for saying this is “;a humanitarian gesture”; to help 17 human beings who have been “;cleared of wrongdoing but cannot return to their native country, China.”;

Toribiong says he is doing this “;on the request of the United States and the rights of these detainees. These people should be freed and their imprisonment or detention appears to me at this time to be unlawful or illegitimate.”;

These innocent Chinese Muslims have been imprisoned in Guantanamo since 2001.

Yes, we have helped Palau in the past — and will in the future — but some in our “;helped by our country”; states refuse to take these innocents in. We claim to be a Christian nation?

Yoshie Tanabe


Bainum actions touch heart

Hawaii has lost a compassionate and honorable man with the passing of Duke Bainum.

I just wanted to share a short tidbit as to the kind of man Duke was. About six months ago, a couple of legislators, Councilman Bainum and I were attending a dinner meeting in Kailua. At about 8 p.m., Duke leaned over to me and politely whispered, “;Do you think I could leave early?”;

He then went on to say, “;Karen, in my lifetime, I've waited sooooo long for my kids that I want to go home and make sure I tuck them in bed.”;

Duke brought tears to my eyes and I was so proud that his family meant so much to him.

Yes, Hawaii, we've lost a wonderful leader and gentleman. My deepest condolences to Jennifer, Z and Kona.

Karen Lani Shishido

Special projects coordinator,

Partners in Development Foundation