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Wednesday, February 24, 1999


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Backers of employment bill are enemies of business

A state House committee, headed by Terry Nui Yoshinaga, has approved the dumbest, most business-ignorant bill I have ever heard of. The bill would force investors buying Hawaii companies to keep all existing employees (good or bad) on the payroll for at least a year after the purchase.

Why not take out a full-page ad in USA Today saying "Invest in Hawaii and lose your right to run your own business the way you see fit"?

The same Democrats who said they got the message about the economy being the No.1 priority ALL voted in favor of this bill. The only two Republicans on the committee voted against it. Republican Rep. Jim Rath called it the most extreme anti-business legislation he has seen since he took office. I agree!

J.M. Lanin
(Via the Internet)

Don't give tax breaks for hiring felons

Hawaii employers would get a tax break for hiring and then keeping paroled felons under a measure moving in the state House.

The Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs approved the bill that would give an employer a tax credit equal to 5 percent of the employee's first-year wages, up to a maximum of $1,500. For the second year, the credit would increase to 15 percent, up to a maximum of $4,500.

Of course, we want to stop the revolving door of criminals being released from prison, not being able to live within the law, returning to a life of crime and going back to prison. But to give them such preferential treatment is incredible, considering the number of law-abiding unemployed people out there.

James Ko
(Via the Internet)

Working is much too harsh for welfare recipients

How can Rep. David Pendleton (Feb. 19, View Point) be so "mean-spirited" and "extremist" in proposing that those welfare recipients whom taxpayers support, year after year, should have to actually work for their $36,400 annually like so many of us do?

Just because hateful and backward states like Wisconsin, Tennessee and Mississippi have lessened the burden on their earnest citizens by coercing the "misfortunate" ones into responsible, productive behavior does not mean that we should do the same here in the People's Republic of Hawaii.

Those states' legislators should be ashamed of the prosperity their citizens are now enjoying. Obviously, Pendleton doesn't have his mind right.

Richard Garver
(Via the Internet)

Liddy is better qualified than Hillary to run country

Rico Leffanta stated that Hillary Clinton was better qualified than Elizabeth Dole to be president (Letters, Feb. 17). What an absurd presumption. Can't he remember the health-care reform debacle that Hillary led?

Knowledge of Hillary's legal or leadership abilities is rather sketchy, other than her connection with the Whitewater scandal. By contrast, Elizabeth Dole served as a cabinet member twice, and is the immediate past president of the American Red Cross, a demanding post requiring a person of proven leadership qualities and impeccable integrity.

Furthermore, Americans cannot and should not be subjected to four more years of another Clinton. One is enough to last a lifetime.

Lloyd Y.S. Kim
(Via the Internet)



Bullet "This journey has taken me to the bottom."
-- Honolulu attorney Richard Frunzi, sentenced to five years in federal prison for conspiring to launder drug proceeds.

Bullet "Getting into law school is very competitive. People push the envelope too far sometimes."
-- Lawrence Foster, dean of the University of Hawaii Law School, on California law school applicants allegedly cheating on entrance exams taken in Hawaii.

Bullet "He seems to be leading quite well. But the people are not quite sure where he's leading them."
-- State Democratic Party Chairman Walter Heen on Gov. Ben Cayetano.

Bullet "He's not gay. He's not straight. He's just a character in a children's series."
-- Kenn Viselman, president of Itsy Bitsy Entertainment Co., producer of Tinky Winky dolls attacked by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

It takes efforts of many to convict drunken drivers

I write in response to Police Officer J. Grindey's Feb. 3 letter, "Judges must be tougher on DUI defendants."

To convict a drunken driver the judge must be presented with credible evidence of the offense, including evidence the police officer had probable cause to stop and arrest the defendant. When the police and prosecutors cannot produce such credible evidence, the judge cannot find the defendant guilty.

If this kind of case is happening daily at District Court, as Officer Grindey alleges, all of us need to look into the training of all the actors involved: police, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges. Everyone involved must know his or her job in order to enforce the requirements of the law.

The judiciary conducts annual training on various topics for judges. I do not know the training programs of the police department or prosecutor's office, but expect they also make efforts to see their employees are adequately trained.

In addition to questioning the competence of others, I hope Officer Grindey is asking himself what he could have done -- and can do differently in the future -- to ensure that his arrests result in conviction.

Marsha Kitagawa
Public Affairs Director
Hawaii State Judiciary
(Via the Internet)

State government hasn't done much

Just what has been accomplished to date by the Hawaii state government?

We have pledges for a recount of the last election by the Legislature, and the governor has promised to reform the civil service and institute regulatory reform under a "SWAT" program headed by the lieutenant governor.

While we are talking macho, let's see what the Minnesota citizens are getting for their tax dollar. Newly elected Gov. Jesse Ventura has already submitted a two-year budget proposal. It includes a $844-million income tax cut targeted to the middle class. He has already signed legislation regarding campaign finance oversight, and lest you think this guy is a closet Republican, he has proposed a $500-million increase for K-12 education that has been well received by both parties.

The Hawaii governor's office may have fewer resources than Minnesota at its disposal, but our people deserve more substance than pledges of future reform and waffling statements on the validity of an election recount.

Ben Willkie
(Via the Internet)

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