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Maui reserve needs to heal from profiteers

How can Dan Davidson, deputy director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, say, "We still think that the limited commercial kayak idea was a good one" ("DLNR to uphold commercial kayaking ban in Maui reserve," Star-Bulletin April 7), after the Natural Area Reserves System Commission, which he is a member of, voted not to approve a request for commercialization in a Natural Area Reserve?

Every kayak operator who has conducted business in Ahihi-Kinau, has been violating the rule from the beginning. No one is to enter the reserve, let alone profit from it. That shows a lack of respect for the rules and for the land. All operators who have profited from this area should be made to pay back every penny to heal the damage done in Ahihi-Kinau.

Ahihi-Kinau needs to be closed to all and allowed to heal. The damage to this area is immense and it will be many decades before the aina will be healed from the effects of encroachment by people who have no respect for the land. Davidson is trying to sell out this land. Who is directing him to act this way? The public has a right to know. Come the next election, we need elected officials who understand the meaning of doing the right things for the right reasons, pono.

John W.K. Luuwai

Lawmakers, be honest about gasoline prices

Rep. Kenneth Hiraki stated in a local news interview that Hawaii has the "seventh lowest" state taxes on gasoline in the United States. While this statement is technically correct, it is only part of the picture. On top of federal taxes and the standard state tax on each gallon of gasoline, every county adds its own tax to each gallon. The truth is that when federal (which everyone pays), state and county taxes are considered, Hawaii has the highest taxes per gallon of gas in the country at almost 55 cents per gallon -- about 12.5 cents above the national average.

It is insulting to the consumers and voters of Hawaii for our elected officials to misrepresent the facts about how much of the price for gas goes to government in Hawaii. Hawaii voters are not fooled by this wordplay and we will remember which politicians are playing fast and loose with statistics -- and our wallets.

Ryu Ishida
Kahului, Maui

Gasoline price caps won't bring down costs

Your April 6 editorial on gas price caps misses the mark. The link between the recent court decision striking down service station rent caps and the Legislature's flawed gas cap law is simple: Government tinkering with the gasoline marketplace hurts consumers and drives up prices.

What the federal court said, and the 9th Circuit Court affirmed, is that the law must substantially advance a legitimate government purpose -- such as lowering prices for consumers. The rent cap wouldn't lower consumer prices and experts predict that the gas price cap won't either.

Judge Mollway ruled that dealers would not "pass on any savings in rent to the consumers in the form of lower retail prices." Mollway said that, "Instead, dealers will pocket the savings for themselves." Now the Legislature is considering a cap on wholesale gas prices. Like the rent cap, the wholesale-only cap won't ensure that savings to dealers would be passed to consumers.

The Federal Trade Commission told Hawaii legislators that both the rent cap and the gas cap would drive gas prices up. The Legislature's independent expert also concluded the gas price cap would not benefit consumers, would increase price volatility, threaten rural gas stations and jeopardize 1,400 local jobs.

Legislators have implicitly acknowledged that capping retail prices won't work. Now they need to have the courage to remove a law that will hurt Hawaii's motorists.

Melissa Pavlicek
Western States Petroleum Association

Let the experts decide about school boards

Imagine if University of Hawaii football coach June Jones had to discuss with fans which plays to call, when to accept penalties and when to rotate players in a football game. As the game progressed, he'd get on his cell phone with these fans, continually checking to see what action they wanted to take. Even if the fans were 100 percent correct in their calls, the opportunity for miscommunication would be unreal. What would be real is that this patchwork of Monday-morning quarterbacks decisions likely would not rise to 50 percent effective.

Speaking of questionable ideas, consider the governor's plans to fragment the state Board of Education and let the people choose the system they want. If we really want superior education for our children, experts in the field of education should provide the game plan, not wannabes without successful professional educational backgrounds.

Ron Rhetrik

House members protect pedophiles

On Tuesday, Rep. Eric Hamakawa, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, led his committee in favor of shielding convicted sex offenders and pedophiles. Rather than protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens and their constituents, Hamakawa and his committee members made it easier for these convicts to hide from the community. The irony is that some of these convicts can't even vote for the representatives who are protecting them.

Well, it's time to replace some of those legislators. Remember these names on Election Day in November; they voted to protect convicted sex offenders and pedophiles: Eric Hamakawa (D, Hilo-Glenwood), Blake Oshiro (D, Aiea-Halawa), Kirk Caldwell (D, Manoa), Jerry Chang (D, Piihonua-Kaumana) and Joe Souki (D, Waihee-Wailuku).

Eileen Mortenson




Hawaii is popularly known as "The Aloha State." What might be a better slogan?

To get started, think about what you might see around the islands -- rainbows, waves, sand, traffic jams, homeless orangutans ...

Send your ideas by April 21 to:

Or by mail:
c/o Nancy Christenson
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Or by fax:
c/o Nancy Christenson


How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). 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 and include a daytime telephone number.

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