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Do we value weeds more than children?

Once upon a time, a man woke up and found he had become a cockroach while he slept. Now, as we sleep in Hawaii, the Sierra Club/Earthjustice and its far-left allies have turned some worthless weeds into weapons of mass destruction.

Their latest target is the Queen Liliuokalani Trust, which benefits Hawaiian orphans and destitute children. Because a couple of native weed plants maybe once grew where the Queen's trust wants to build a shopping center on the Kona side of the Big Island, that land is in the process of being federally zoned as "critical habitat." That means the trust may be prohibited from using the land to earn money to help Hawaiian kids at a time when the trust is on the ropes financially.

The truly surreal thing is that the weeds don't even grow there anymore and maybe never did.

Do we now live in an insane, Kafka-esque world where native weeds (that don't exist) are deemed more valuable than needy native children who are very real?

I fear we will soon wake up and discover, too late, that we've all been turned into cockroach-like dupes by fanatical nature worshippers who duplicitously refer to themselves as environmentalists.

Evelyn Cook
Kapahi, Kauai

State directors should do more with less, too

I thought the idea behind the governor's "New Beginning" was to keep down the size and cost of government. Now, after the election is over, the governor wants a salary commission to seek higher pay for her directors and even the governor's position (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 21).

For the last eight years, county and state workers have been instructed to do more with less, and do it will a good attitude. This message hasn't changed, even now.

So why doesn't this message also apply to directors and the governor? Boy, what you hear before the election is sure different from what you hear after the election.

Chauncy Hew

Cost of gas and drugs won't be reduced

Your Dec. 27 editorial, "Court ruling forces review of Hawaii's prescription drug law," said:

"During this year's gubernatorial campaign, Lingle criticized both measures in remarks to the American Association of Retired Persons, which lobbied for the legislation. 'They will not help you now,' she said of the programs."

Have you noticed how Governor Lingle is shooting down new laws that would reduce the cost of gasoline and drugs to the people of Hawaii? Did you notice which mainland, special-interest industries gave the most in campaign contributions? Gee, I wonder if there's a connection there?

Robert G. Devine
Ocean View, Hawaii

Audrey Case follows great political wives

Eleanor Roosevelt is often credited with winning the crucial New York governorship for her husband. The same can be said about Barbara Bush for the first President Bush and Sen. Hillary Clinton for President Clinton. All three first ladies served as presidential surrogates during their husbands' campaigns for high office.

When Rep. Ed Case wins re-election to Hawaii's 2nd District congressional seat, he will owe his wife, Audrey, big time. The Case family and children also will be owed a great debt for their sacrifice promoting the success of the Case campaign.

Mrs. Roosevelt used to say, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." The "woman behind the man" has come a long way since the '30s.

Arvid Tadao Youngquist

Cruise ships get message loud, clear

As the red sun rose out of the dark Pacific swells, 200 concerned citizens of Molokai lined the wharf wearing "No Cruise Ships on Molokai" T-shirts, chanting and waving placards that read "Leave Us Alone," "Save Our Reef," "Don't Bring Your Virus Here."

At the same time a flotilla of small boats and canoes rowed out to the Holland America cruise ship "Statendam," waving banners that said "Go Home," "Protect Our Land" and "Regulate Cruise Ships."

It was a cheerful, ambitious outpouring of public sentiment from residents who crossed the spectrum in ethnicity and age.

And the cruise ship passengers did not come ashore!

Rough seas beyond the reef were a factor. But last week University of Hawaii marine biologists made a videographic baseline study of the channel through the reef, which meant that the big ship could not pull close enough to shore to damage the coral heads with its five-ton anchor, because that destruction could easily be verified. And there is no doubt that after a bouncy boat ride to shore the seasick passengers' first sight would have been 200 placards telling them to leave.

Not a tourist's dream.

On Jan. 22 the whole cast of characters will be back, stronger than ever, until the megabillion-dollar cruise ship industry gets this message: No cruise ships on Molokai.

Rich Zubaty

RNs matter as much as administrators

As a registered nurse for the past 22 years at both St. Francis and The Queen's Medical Center, I would like the people of Hawaii to know how very difficult it is for me and other RNs to be on strike over contract issues that will determine the future of nursing in Hawaii.

Do I consider my profession as important as the careers of the current management team at Queen's? You bet I do! Do I have a greater personal effect on the patients than do those in management? Absolutely.

My patients are the wonderful people of Hawaii. They know first-hand what are the true issues and concerns facing nurses in Hawaii hospitals. And when they see us on the picket line in front of Queen's, they see not only their nurses, but all that we are -- their mothers and fathers, grandparents, children, aunties, uncles, friends and neighbors. They see their ohana, who truly wants the best possible future for themselves, their families and their patients. Mahalo for your support!

Sheila Kini, R.N.

Democracy thrives on argument and debate

Democratic state Rep. Brian Schatz contributed a very thoughtful essay titled, "Government can regain credibility by whittling down rules and regs" (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 15).

It was noteworthy for several reasons.

>> The forthright recognition that our state government has lost its credibility with small business was refreshingly honest.

>> He correctly notes that businesses need "simplicity, predictability and clarity" to function efficiently and effectively in serving the public.

>> As a two-term legislator, he now feels that local businesses are overburdened with regulations "so layered and complex that it has become nearly impossible to reach compliance with the law."

>> He observes that state law allows bureaucrats to make rules that have the force of law without any lawmaker being involved.

>> He has "no interest in bashing our state government, but is passionately committed to fixing it."

He focused on two practical changes: First, if a law gets repealed, so should the rules related to it. Second, all depart- mental rules must "have a rational connection with the law requiring the rule."

However, he makes no effort to pinpoint personal accountability (punishment) for misbehavior (harm) to the public. That's curious. Virtually every law regulating business explicitly lists penalties for non-compliance, but Shatz appears blind to the need for penalties against bureaucrats (or legislators) for harming some or all of our people. Why the double standard?

Furthermore, although Shatz's proposed changes would help, a multitude of regulations among 20,000 pages of rules need to be dumped.

He also says, "The Legislature seems to love to empower the state government's executive branch to make rules." Then a way needs to be found to terminate the love affair -- permanently.

With regard to the "bashing," the actions of government at all levels require our increasing vigilance and criticism. In other words, it absolutely requires bashing -- constantly -- if it is to be held in check.

Richard O. Rowland
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

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