Letters to the Editor

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Homeless deserve Katrina-like help

It is most gratifying to see Americans open their hearts and wallets for those who are suffering horrendously after Hurricane Katrina. But let us pause for a moment and think of all the other homeless people to whom we have shown only half-hearted concern and compassion for years.

Are they really so different from the Katrina victims? Do we see presidents, movie stars, rock performers and professional athletes converging as well on them to help any time soon?

Yoshi Clack

Iraq gets faster service than New Orleans

The U.S. government and the president should be ashamed that our country can deliver troops and munitions to Iraq faster than they can deliver food and water to the U.S. evacuees in New Orleans.

Harry Cooper

Storm victims get help, but what about vets?

Those who bewail the sloth-like response of our federal government in response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina should realize it could have been worse. Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on Aug 29, and within a week, money was flowing like the waters that descended on New Orleans.

In contrast, thousands of veterans with service-connected disabilities have been forced, for more than 100 years, to fund their own disability stipends by taking an equivalent amount away from their military retiree pensions.

This year, Congress enacted, and the president signed into law, an end to this practice for 33 percent of the affected veterans. These vets will begin to have their disability stipends paid for in full by the Veterans Administration, but it will be phased in gradually over a period of 10 years.

If, within a week, we can start spending $1 billion per day on rescue and relief for hundreds of thousands of people who were foolish enough to settle in swamp lands made habitable only due to the levees built by the Army Corps of Engineers, why, after 100 years, can our nation not find the money to properly pay our disabled troops?

Jean Bross

State should suspend taxes on gasoline

Despite the imposition of gas cap law, Hawaii consumers have seen a dramatic rise in the cost of gasoline within the past two weeks. The sudden rise in the price of gasoline is straining already tight family budgets. While politicians bicker about who is right and who is wrong, people are suffering.

The people of Hawaii need immediate relief now. Since we obviously cannot make market prices go down, why not temporarily suspend the state's gasoline taxes?

A tax break will allow families to make adjustments in their budgets in order to anticipate the higher cost of fuel when the suspension ends. The state currently has a budget surplus and can afford to give taxpayers this much-needed respite from the high cost of fuel.

Ray Yanagihara

Menor's new tune strikes a sour note

It appears that the next round of "American Idol" auditions has begun, and Sen. Ron Menor has changed his tune. It appears to be the blues. I read with amazement how he now is blaming the Public Utilities Commission and threatening legal action to force the commission "to comply with the intent of the law" ("Key legislator blames PUC for higher gas prices," Star Bulletin, Sept. 13).

What is astonishing is that he previously was praising the PUC a few days after it released its final gas cap report on Aug. 1, which set the rules for implementation. In the Star-Bulletin article ("Lingle urges legislator to put brakes on cap," Aug. 4), Menor complimented the PUC for its efforts and said "the commission's rules validate the Legislature's intent."

Now that things are going wrong, Menor would rather affix blame on the PUC rather than move swiftly to correct the situation by asking for a special session and for once follow the recommendations previously made by a University of Hawaii economist and other experts. That is to repeal the law and address the real reasons prices are higher, including high gas taxes and the high cost of doing business in Hawaii. In the words of one "Idol" judge, "Your performance is hideous!"

Debbie Kim

Pidgin speakers ought to know English, too

Regarding the "Under the Sun" column Aug. 17:

Pidgin is OK. It has a quaintness and a uniqueness of semantics like no other language spoken anywhere else in this world.

However, da kine pidgin talker should be able to, when the occasion and circumstances prescribe, be able to communicate effectively using proper English.

Tetsuji Ono
Hilo, Hawaii

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