Friday, April 27, 2001
Perhaps it's time for unicameralismThe ruling by House Speaker Calvin Say and Senate President Robert Bunda that either co-chairman may kill any bill before a conference committee despite majority support for it reminds us just how autocratic and unrepresentative our "third house" may become.
Conference committees were intended to reconcile differences between House and Senate versions of the same bill. But under the loose rules prevailing in Hawaii, bills that have passed both houses can be completely rewritten. Only the title must be saved.
The ruling by Say and Bunda goes a step further toward what the Star-Bulletin rightly calls "one-man rule."
Perhaps the next state constitutional convention should reconsider the merits of a unicameral legislature, which, whatever its limitations, might offer an accessible, transparent and economical alternative to the present "three-house" system. The Legislature can avoid radical surgery be reforming the rules under which the conference committee and its co-chairmen now hold such undisciplined sway.
Another slap on wrist for law-breaking polWait, wait, just probation and community service for former Sen. Marshall Ige? Gosh, the punishment was harsh for yet another government official who violated the law. So City Councilwoman Rene Mansho also will be receiving a slap on the wrist as well? Now that remains to be seen.
Cost should decide Waahila issueKarl Kim's April 3 column on the proposed Waahila Ridge power line touched a nerve. He failed to address price.
Kim is in favor of alternative power generation to replace HECO's plans for Waahila. This is an innovative approach. But should the cost of this innovation be, say, $100,000 more than HECO's estimate, then HECO's plans should prevail.
The vocal minority opposed to HECO (300 at a Department of Land and Natural Resources hearing) does not represent the complacent majority in your neighborhood. In the past, this vocal minority has been successful with its NIMBY arguments. But Waahila represents millions of dollars that we must all share.
Every community needs common facilities. How many landfills, sewage treatment plants, cemeteries, care homes, refineries, electric-generating plants do you have in your neighborhood? Every community must accept some of the less desirable amenities that we all need.
HECO is faced with a dilemma. If it buries the lines at Waahila, then in all fairness, HECO should take down all the unsightly power lines along the Leeward coast and bury them, too.
"Not only is the cross a blight on the landscape, there was no permit to erect the cross."
President of Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of Church and State, on the 30-foot lighted cross erected for Easter services and still standing at Hope Chapel in Kaneohe. Kahle filed a complaint about the cross with the city Planning and Permitting Department.
"We weren't trying to be a lightning rod. We were just putting it up for the community."
Pastor of Hope Chapel, who said the cross was never meant to be a permanent structure and would be taken down by the end of the week.
Straighten out bad drivers, not the roadI've read with interest a number of letters and newspaper articles discussing the safety, or otherwise, of Kaukonahua Road. A Honolulu police officer put it best when he said that it wasn't the road that was dangerous, but the drivers.
It was suggested that in the interests of safety the speed limit be decreased from the current 35 mph. Given that much of the frustration felt by regular users is generated by drivers going 35 mph or slower, and compounded by the very limited passing areas available, I suggest to the "the powers that be" that the speed limit be raised to 40-45 mph. The road is safely driven at that speed. Traffic flows well and the frustration of being stuck behind a slow driver is removed, as is the need to pass in a possibly hazardous manner.
If this is done, in concert with making the entire road a no-passing zone, we may find that the number of accidents and fatalities decreases.
The most recent proposal to straighten the road and to remove many of the trees will do much to hasten the demise of the North Shore as a haven away from the big city, but will do little about the real cause of accidents on this road. The problem lies with the impatient drivers who haven't the time to enjoy the scenery and those who have not been deterred by our laws against drinking and driving.
Again, it's not the road, it's the drivers!
Arts and law programs are worth the costWith regard to his letter April 24 recommending that the state's long-standing and art-nurturing State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and its excellent, virtually self-supporting little law school, be cut:
Wilbert W.W. Wong Is ineluctably, incredibly, monstrously and most seriously WRONG! The benefits these programs bring to Hawaii far outweigh their modest costs.
Richard S. Miller
Richardson School of Law
University of Hawaii
Cutting arts funding diminishes public lifeIn response to Wilbert W.W. Wong's April 24 letter suggesting the state save money for teachers' pay raises by cutting funding for the arts and the University of Hawaii law school:
Unless we understand the need for state support, our arts will not flourish. And if our arts diminish, our community will become dumber, more brutish, less creative.
Our people want theaters, concert halls and art galleries, not just for themselves, but for our childrens' sake. Everything in the arts interacts. Kill the theater, and the talent for television and films will diminish. Cut visual arts training, and our state's ability to design will be crippled. Stop teaching music in the schools, and our local music industry will be impoverished.
We need to understand how views like those of Mr. Wong threaten our fragile culture and quality of life.
David C. Farmer
State Foundation on Culture and the Arts
Some roosters breed eggs and goodwillWaipahu Neighborhood Board chairwoman Annette Yamaguchi says she has received three complaints regarding rooster noise (Star-Bulletin, April 23). Three complaints?
Then, Yamaguchi goes on to say, "People don't have roosters in their backyard unless they have a purpose." Of course, they have a purpose.
I think the story should have better informed the readers what those purposes are. The story doesn't quote the people actually raising the roosters.
All people who have roosters do not raise them just for illegal cock-fighting.
Some people who have roosters also have chickens, and these people benefit by having fresh eggs every day that are natural, and not full of hormones and medicated.
These people also benefit by creating goodwill by sharing eggs with their friends and neighbors.
Richard O. Guerin
The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.