Letters to the Editor

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Council did right thing with conversion repeal

Thank you to all City Council members who voted to repeal the appalling city ordinance of 1991 that required landowners to offer their land for sale to condo owner-occupants, as reported in the Jan. 26 Star-Bulletin editorial. I have no sympathy for those condo owners who bought leasehold condos and then think that they have a right to expect the city to force landowners to sell the land that they own.

Who came up with this dumb idea in 1991? One more way to take land from the Hawaiians? Thank you, Mayor Hannemann, for indicating that you will sign the bill into law. I suggest that the condo owners look themselves in the mirror for a sign of integrity and forget any further lawsuits. Apologize to the landowners for your foolishness and try to negotiate a reasonable lease fee.

Pat Blair

Certain events in Iraq seem awfully familiar

Closed airports, curfews, police presence, secret polling places, death threats, gunfire, civil war.

American-style democracy?

Yep, reminds me of voting in the '60's in Detroit.

Paul D'Argent
Lahaina, Maui

Disabled-parking cards can obstruct vision

There are too many people driving with disabled-parking placards mounted to their inside windshield mirrors while the vehicles are in motion. These placards cause a visibility hazard for the driver by blocking his/her view to the front and front-right of the vehicle. If the operators of these vehicles would read the placard they would clearly see that there is a printed notice on each stating that the placard is not to be mounted while the vehicle is in motion.

We are all concerned about pedestrian safety, and the governor and local authorities are asking for more severe penalties related to vehicle/pedestrian incidents. By using the placards properly, we would be taking a significant step toward pedestrian safety.

Whenever anyone observes a vehicle operating with a mounted disabled placard they should tactfully remind the driver that it should not be mounted when the vehicle is in motion. I would hope that Honolulu Police Department officers would do at least the same, as it is also in violation of the law.

B.G. Judson

Isles' homeless need someone to listen

As this New Year gets under way, I ask you to really open your eyes and urge you to truly investigate the circumstances of the homeless. According to the Aloha United Way, the number of homeless on Oahu has risen to about 6,000.

Stanley, who lives on the grass behind the Queen Liliuokalani Building, lost his apartment and job to a work-related incident. Susan, a University of Hawaii student, sleeps on the sidewalk of Makiki Park and gets her meals from the surrounding garbage cans. Andrew grew up in a middle-class family and worked since he was 16; after Sept. 11, 2001, he lost his job. I encourage you to look deeper than the surface when observing the less fortunate. These people are the epitome of the phrase "life is not fair."

Everyone needs someone to listen sometimes to make it through. You never know -- your kind ear might be the one that makes a world of difference to a person who feels no one in the world cares.

Daniel Miller

Like residents, 'Lost' must pay paradise tax

Didn't anyone at the State Film Office or the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism warn the producers of the "Lost" TV series that their costs for filming here would be 30-35 percent higher than anywhere else in the country ("Lost Opportunity," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 26)?

The higher costs the producers experienced are no surprise to any Hawaii resident. Not only is the cost of doing business here about one-third higher than the national average, so are prices of food, housing and gasoline. "Lost" TV producers, welcome to Hawaii and its "paradise tax." Sorry, but you can't record this tax on your income statement. Just be thankful you folks aren't filming on the outer islands where the paradise tax is even higher than on Oahu.

Hawaii residents have long paid this tax without any tax credit, rebate or Act 221. I'm sure many of us are not receiving salaries comparable to "Lost" cast members, producers, film crew or Teamster drivers, although many of us are working two or three jobs!

Hawaii and its people are special, but to experience both will cost you an extra 30-35 percent.

Gary Lum

Those potholes are getting pretty deep

Has anyone noticed that the "potholes" on our roadways rarely look like "pots" anymore? A recent trip revealed holes shaped like each of the Hawaiian islands. One in particular on the Pali Highway (since covered over) resembled the island of Molokai in both shape and size. For awhile there the Nimitz Highway was comprised of more "hole" than "road" with nary a smooth square inch between Bishop Street and Iwilei Road.

Those holes that actually do look like pots are extremely deep, not unlike the one mom uses to boil spaghetti noodles. One of my aunts, with a brand new driver's license in hand, inadvertently ventured into one of these with her right front tire and spent the next several seconds spinning around like a top. Needless to say, she hasn't driven since. A usual bone-jarring jaunt over a deep hole is followed by a trip to the tire shop for wheel alignment ... followed by a trip to the chiropractor for neck and spine alignment.

Norio Hataye

We need to delve into moral values

We need to expand the conversation about moral values. Religious conservatives claim moral and family values as their reason for being in opposition to gay marriage, abortion, stem-cell research and physician-assisted dying. I take the opposite view and also claim moral and family values as the basis for my belief.

I understand and respect the concern for traditional marriage. I have the same concern and would like to see the concept of traditional marriage strengthened and upheld as a critical part of the foundation of our society. We need to encourage and teach the values of respect, honesty, commitment, forgiveness and love within the marriage relationship. It's the eroding of these values that has led to divorce, family dysfunction and the threat to traditional marriage, not the marriage of gay couples who support the same values.

There should be a similar examination about the sanctity of life. I agree wholeheartedly that life is sacred. Life should be honored, revered, respected and be given every opportunity for full development and complete living. The purpose of life, as intended by God, includes healthfulness, happiness and longevity. Unfortunately, disease, natural disasters, human greed and violence provide formidable challenges. I think this concern transcends religious doctrine. Whether one is conservative, moderate, liberal or atheist, we all share this view about the sanctity of life.

In America we are free to worship God (or not) according to our personal understanding of and relationship with God. This means we also have the responsibility of making individual choices about abortion and the nature of our death; it's between each person and their relationship with God.

These are important issues. They need our full, thoughtful attention and our discerning, values-based decision making.

John Heidel

Neighborhood aides should stay downtown

While I understand Mayor Hannemann's desire to better use city space at Kapolei Hale, the possible relocation of the Neighborhood Commission Office there is a bad idea.

The neighborhood assistants must remain downtown. Board members and members of the public islandwide visit the office daily. Members check their mail, prepare testimony for the City Council, Legislature, and government agencies, review their files, file their agenda, etc. Many board members work downtown and will not be able to take time off to travel to Kapolei. The assistants liaise with state and city agencies on behalf of their respective boards. Legislators visit the office to drop off materials for board meetings. Sending the neighborhood assistants to Kapolei may well succeed in doing what former Mayor Harris was unable to accomplish with the vision teams -- kill the neighborhood board system.

The Neighborhood Commission Office is like a Satellite City Hall, dealing with the public face to face. It is not a clerical, back-office organization. Its staff does not occupy much space. Surely there is space in city-owned property in the downtown area where the office can be located. If not, then space for the neighborhood assistants should be found in the area, with the back office staff, which rarely interfaces with board members and the public, being sent to Kapolei.

Lynne Matusow

Bottle bill offers socialist approach

The poorly conceived and ill-prepared implementation of the bottle tax is in full swing. I wonder if the Politburo forced citizens to recycle bottles in the former communist U.S.S.R.? It is something you would expect in a socialist state.

Now the central government of Hawaii is going to regulate gasoline prices. My guess is Fidel Castro controls gasoline prices in communist Cuba, too. Maybe Honolulu can be a sister city with Havana. We've got so much in common -- palm trees and price controls.

I don't mind the politicos being in charge of education and fixing roads, neither of which they have shown any semblance of competency. Yet we seem so eager to entrust these same politicians with more and more authority over what should be market-driven concerns.

Here's the deal. Show me you can take care of our schools and our roads first. Then let's talk about turning Hawaii into Cuba Pacifico.

Mark Middleton

Rude students compel teachers to leave

From afar (Ketchikan, Alaska), I agree that the various reasons listed by schools superintendent Patricia Hamamoto for the low teacher retention figures in Hawaii are valid (Jan. 22). I have been an English as a Second Language tutor for the past year and a half while I take college courses toward a degree and teaching credential. If my short experience in the public school system here is any indication, there may be another reason why teachers are leaving the field in droves.

There is an appalling lack of respect for their elders exhibited by the majority of children today. When I am in the classrooms tutoring, I also observe just how much time is spent by the teachers in trying to discipline students. This is valuable teaching time that is taken up by efforts to keep students on task. These are not the classrooms of the past. Students with problems such as attention-deficit disorder, for example, attend regular classes, and teachers are forced to deal with such students who may or may not be on medication designed to calm them. This is not to say that only students with such conditions may be disruptive. Often classroom chaos is caused by plain old rude, disrespectful kids.

It is imperative that parents take a more active role in instilling good manners and respect in their children. I personally think that there are many, many teachers out there who should win medals for bravery just for showing up for work every day. It takes a special kind of person to deal with a typical classroom today, and the public needs to be reminded to teach their children to behave better.

Karen Ramsey
Ward Cove, Alaska
Former Honolulu resident

Oshiro off base in criticism of Lingle

I am disappointed by Rep. Marcus Oshiro's column Thursday labeling Governor Lingle's process to name a replacement for Rep. Sol Kaho'ohalahala as "shibai."

As the son of a farmer and grandson of farmers, I often heard the phrase, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

I see Lingle's gesture to include Democrats in the decision-making process as a gift and as evidence of her willingness to work together. The fact remains that she can pick any Democrat she wants. Her willingness to be inclusive and open in the process is far beyond what's required. The only real disservice is being committed by Kaho'ohalahala by withdrawing from his position shortly after being elected.

I'm afraid that Oshiro might not know a good thing when he's got it. I also think that he is playing politics and being divisive. This is evidenced by the fact that his speech on the opening day of the Legislature had no references to working together and collaboration. Lingle's State of the State address had several.

Oshiro's rhetoric and spin are the real shibai.

Bill Tobin

Democrats treated Lingle with disrespect

Governor Lingle's State of the State address on Jan. 24 was progressive, substantive and nonpartisan. She spoke to the best in us as citizens of Hawaii. She reminded us not to overlook those who haven't been able to enjoy the benefits of an improving economy. Most important, she gave us her substantive and fiscally sound plan to achieve those goals.

She presented the Legislature a balanced plan of action to eliminate homelessness. She reaffirmed that early childhood education is critical for working families and pledged the state's resources to help 3,000 more children to attend high quality preschools. She also presented a common sense program for long-term care.

Lingle's address did not set up barriers or divisions based on political parties. Her speech gave us solutions to the problems that our communities struggle with each day. But sitting in the House chamber, I felt disappointed to see many House and Senate Democrats dismiss and reject her ideas before she finished a sentence. It was as if they were playing some schoolyard game of agreeing to ignore her.

I have listened to, read or been present for the State of the State address since Governor Burns. Lingle's speech had all the right elements that were missing for too many years. It had vision, a sense of purpose and hope. It was one of the best State of the State speeches ever, and if you haven't read it, you should.

Ted H. S. Hong




Seeking state symbols

Hawaii has a state bird, a state fish and a state flower. What other symbols should the Aloha State have? For example, should we have a state insect? If so, what should it be? Or how about a state bento? Come up with your own categories and share them with Star-Bulletin readers.

E-mail your ideas and solutions -- please include your name and address -- by Wednesday, Feb. 16 to: brainstorm@starbulletin.com

Or fax to:
c/o Nancy Christenson

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

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