Letters to the Editor

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Harbin's appointment shortchanges voters

The residents of the 28th Representative District have been shortchanged by Governor Lingle's appointment of Beverly Harbin to fill the House seat left vacant by Ken Hiraki's resignation.

Harbin only recently moved into the 28th District, having changed her residence from Hilo after Hiraki's announcement. She knows nothing about the issues concerning our district and lacks legislative experience to help solve them.

In reality, the governor has merely made a deal to prevent a Democrat from properly serving our district and is really trying to help her own candidate win the next election.

Carolyn Wilcox

Just call Hawaii the 'gonna' state

Hawaii should change its nickname to the "gonna" state. Hawaii has some of the worst schools as far as test scores go, and buildings are crumbling before our eyes. But we're told they're "gonna get better."

Governor Lingle promised before she was elected to work to split the school system and form localized districts, but she now says she's "gonna" do it if re-elected.

Gas prices here are the highest in the nation because of the utterly unworkable gas cap, but we're told prices are "gonna" come down.

The only thing I can be sure of is that government is "gonna" raise our taxes.

Sandra Anderson
Hilo, Hawaii


"We don't have one now, but we are still talking to the Harry Kims and Lee Donohues of the world."

Brickwood Galuteria

Hawaii Democratic Party chairman, on the search for a Democrat to run against Gov. Linda Lingle in the 2006 election. Donohue, former Honolulu Police Department chief, announced yesterday that he may run, and Kim, Big Island mayor, has expressed interest.

Rejecting Akaka Bill honors Hawaiians

Hawaiians of the past must be honored by Hawaiians of the present telling the truth about their history. The truth is when Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown in 1893, none of her subjects cared enough to fire a shot in her defense.

Hawaiians then had 66 years to remedy the issue. After deciding they didn't want a kingdom, in 1959 Hawaiians voted 2-1 to become part of the United States. This vote resolved once and for all the will of the Hawaiian people and whether Hawaii was stolen.

Since voting to become part of the United States, Hawaiians have not done so badly. Their median household income is $52,000, better than whites in America. And they are far wealthier than any Polynesians outside the United States.

We do not need a race-based government in Hawaii. I pray our representatives in Washington will see the great danger poised by the Akaka Bill, honor the Hawaiian people who wisely chose to become part of the United States and strike the bill down once and for all.

Wendell Nakamura
Makawao, Maui

Hawaiians left out of Akaka Bill changes

Why do non-Hawaiians in Congress get to amend the Akaka Bill? Why were the changes not done in Hawaii by the people this bill would affect? Is this "self-determination"?

And if the Office of Hawaiian Affairs needs to hire legal scholars to analyze the amendments, the trustees don't have to go far, considering that legal scholars who are versed in Indian law and native rights live here and are native Hawaiians. If OHA is going to pay anyone, it should pay our own people.

Its disgusting how OHA throws money around to hire consultants, money that should be going to beneficiaries. I thought OHA had this bill pa'a.

What happened?

Paulette Kaleikini

Motivation matters in college experience

As a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, I feel compelled to defend my school from the low ranking reported for it in the Aug. 20 Star-Bulletin. Although a simple ranking process based on retention rates, class sizes and student-faculty ratios can give clear statistical information, it can also mislead prospective students.

Such rankings miss the essential element in student success. Prospective college attendees need to know that whether they go to Princeton, UH or Kalamazoo, their success first as a student and then after graduation depends on them, not on the school they attend.

Intelligent, focused, hard-working students will do fine in virtually any college or university in this country. Those who are confused about why they are in college and what they want to get out of it will do less well. At least in state universities such as UH, unfocused students won't bankrupt their families in the process.

Getting a college degree has become increasingly tied to mercenary motives. People want a degree for what they think it will bring them in the job market after college. It is therefore advisable that the prospective student do a cost-benefit analysis before choosing a school. The cost differences between universities might be more than $100,000 for a four-year degree.

Does the money saved by attending a UH-type school provide a better long-term financial return than does the unguaranteed increase in starting salary that a degree from an Ivy League school is supposed to offer?

Does the type of degree matter? Are architects, engineers, accountants, doctors and lawyers trained at UH not going to have good earning power? Most the professional and business leaders in Hawaii are UH graduates.

The best students educate themselves about all relevant factors before they start on a college career.

Tracy Ryan

Warriors should play lower-level teams

The University of Hawaii's football team lost its first two games, against USC and Michigan State, by big scores.

The Warriors should not be playing top college teams. Playing lower-level teams should be considered. They might win some games instead.

How Tim Chang

Who will live in revamped Kakaako?

I read with interest of the proposed Kakaako development with its harbor and high-rises (Star-Bulletin, Sept. 15). Will local people be able to afford units in these high-rises?

Or will many of them be owned by absentee owners whose only interest is to own a piece of Hawaii?

Roy M. Chee

Let's all pay 'fair share' of disaster relief

How can we -- and how should we -- pay the staggering bill for rebuilding the lives and property devastated by hurricane winds and flood waters?

Here we have both a practical problem and an ethical issue. The sum is too large to fund by charitable donations alone, and the federal treasury is strained by the Iraq war. Even a quick exit from Iraq would not free enough money to fully fund hurricane relief; a special federal assessment will be needed.

How should this be structured?

Ethical issues are involved in the widening gap between rich and poor in the nation as a whole and as revealed in New Orleans in particular. The middle class has been weakened and the upper-income class has been enriched by the Bush Congress. Now is the time to ask those who have enjoyed the most benefits to give a fair share back to the nation.

So the large amount of public funds that will be needed beyond our voluntary donations should be generated by a special federal assessment with the rates rising steeply with one's income level. Congress should enact a "Fair Share Special Assessment"now.

Janet Thebaud Gillmar

Estate tax is not double taxation

Paul Anderson ("Rich people already pay plenty in taxes," Letters, Sept. 18) says we should thank "those people for the 65 percent of the total taxes that they do pay."

What he didn't say is that the few wealthiest people reap 80 percent of total income in the United States, but pay only 65 percent of the taxes while the majority of the taxpayers earn only 20 percent of the total income, but pay 35 percent of the tax bill. He should thank the average working stiff for picking up the 15 percent that the rich do not pay.

Anderson says that estates should not have to pay taxes because the deceased owner already had paid federal and state taxes on the gains from wise investments. He didn't say that investments are taxed only on dividends and on the gains received at the time of sale; or that taxes on dividends and capital gains are lower than on earned income; or that taxes are not paid on the increased value of unsold investments. So estate taxes are not double taxation.

He also doesn't say that only the richest estates are taxed on unearned wealth.

Milton McAngus

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