Reagan’s optimism
renewed the spirit and
pride of America

EVEN the Democratic stronghold of Hawaii could not help but be charmed by President Ronald Reagan, whose long sunset came to an end on Saturday at the age of 93. His display of affection for the United States and his optimism for the future were infectious, allowing Americans to rediscover pride that had been diminished by Vietnam and Watergate. Many will disagree about the policies of the Reagan presidency, but his esteem will be remembered as unquestionable.

Hawaii witnessed the political beginnings of the movie actor when Reagan visited the islands in 1959 as the host of General Electric Theater. In that role, the former actors' union leader delivered speeches warning about big government and government waste, the mantra of his future political campaigns. As governor of California from 1967 to 1975, he argued for lower taxes and smaller government but gave way to the Democrat-controlled legislature.

When Reagan called for tax cuts to stimulate economic growth in the 1980 Republican presidential primaries, the first President Bush labeled the supply-side theory "voodoo economics." However, he was able to persuade Congress to approve both a tax cut and a $28 billion increase in military spending, and the second President Bush has embraced Reaganomics.

The 1981-'89 Reagan presidency will be recognized by many for ending the Cold War by bringing down the Soviet Union. While some Sovietologists believe the reaches of the Kremlin unravelled independent of U.S. policy, Reagan's rearmament and staunch opposition to Communism probably played a role. By any account, the Communists' demise came on Reagan's watch.

Reagan's style was one of delegating authority to his staff to an extent that he was accused of being detached. That detachment is blamed for the illegal selling of arms to Iran as ransom for hostages in Lebanon and payment of proceeds to rebels fighting the Marxist government in Nicaragua. The Teflon president's ability to overcome such criticism and retain popularity can be derived from his beaming optimism and determination to drive on the high road.

"Whether you agreed or disagreed with some of his administration's policies," Senator Akaka said of Reagan, who visited Hawaii twice as president, "you could not help but like the man and appreciate his plainspoken leadership. He never succumbed to negative and personal partisanship, for at the end of the day, we are all Americans."


Reducing state’s use
of oil is good policy


A new law requires that electricity from renewable sources increase to 20 percent by 2020.

HAWAII heads toward a brighter future where home-grown resources will produce a good portion of the electrical power needed for homes and businesses. With a new law requiring that utility companies generate electricity through renewable means, state government is leading the way toward a measure of self-sufficiency for the islands.

It is good policy for Hawaii's economy and environment.

The law directs utility companies, in essence Hawaiian Electric Co. and its neighbor island associates, to meet a series of benchmarks for power yields through such renewable sources as solar, geothermal, ocean, wave, hydrogen, wind and biomass.

By next year, renewable energy sales must reach 8 percent. The amount increases to 10 percent by 2010, 15 percent in 2015 and 20 percent by 2020. The escalating production mandates give energy producers the time needed to develop and bring power projects on line as they become practicable.

The goal is to free Hawaii from dependence on fossil fuel imports, which the state estimates at between $2 billion and $3 billion a year. The cost of foreign oil and geopolitical uncertainties in oil-producing regions places Hawaii's economic well-being at risk. Although the state generally enjoys clean air, generating electricity from oil pollutes the global environment, which affects the islands nonetheless.

The law also requires the University of Hawaii's natural energy institute to determine how utility companies can reach the benchmarks economically, what renewable sources would be most practical and the effects on consumers and the environment.

Although the law allows for heavy fines if companies fail to meet the requirements, it is intended as a collaborative effort with the state's economic development and land departments providing support. There will likely be community conflicts as new facilities are proposed. NIMBY issues will surely arise, but these will have to balanced against our goals.

No one source will replace oil's brawn for energy production, but reliability increases when electricity is derived through multiple methods. Sources, such as wind and waves, are unpredictable by nature so a varied blueprint for production would be sensible. In any case, Hawaii's wealth of renewables gives the state an advantage over other parts of the country and we should reap the benefits.



Oahu Publications, Inc. publishes the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, MidWeek and military newspapers

David Black, Dan Case, Dennis Francis,
Larry Johnson, Duane Kurisu, Warren Luke,
Colbert Matsumoto, Jeffrey Watanabe,
Dennis Francis, Publisher

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