Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Akaka Bill offers more than parity

Sen. Dan Akaka's continued insistence that the Akaka Bill will merely provide parity between American Indians and native Hawaiians is inaccurate. The Akaka Bill would provide far superior benefits than anything Native Americans could ever hope for. American Indian sovereignty exists within their own reservations; Sen. Akaka would have native Hawaiians living anywhere in the state sovereign through the powers of a separate native government with differing laws and benefits based on ancestry.

The Akaka Bill would also provide for negotiations for the transfer of ceded lands to the new nation of Hawaii. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled on March 31, 2009, in OHA v. State of Hawaii that the ceded lands as transferred to the state at statehood are for all citizens of Hawaii regardless of race or ancestry. No transfer to a separate government would be possible without the state violating its trust responsibility to all Hawaii's citizens. Listening to the many attorneys and special interests that apparently have Akaka's ear have created a bill with unimaginable consequences should it be passed.

Garry P. Smith

Ewa Beach





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Lawmakers need to ban fireworks

How many times will it take our lawmakers to respect the requests of our police department and fire department to ban fireworks — considering that both departments are respecting both religious and cultural celebrations?

How many times are lawmakers going to continue to insult those who risk their lives at work to protect the public with responses like “;We will raise permit costs and fines”; before doing what should be done?

How many people will have to go to hospital emergency rooms because they are having trouble breathing before those elected do what needs to be done?

I have never been a member of either departments anywhere. Still, I have more respect for both vocations than some of our lawmakers. These lawmakers do not go on the calls, or to the fires, often risking their lives in doing so.

These same lawmakers obviously have not given any thought to, or do not care about, the impact fireworks are having on those men and women returning from the war — for many, it being a second or third tour of hell on earth.

There is still time in this legislative session for our lawmakers to set aside party differences to do what is right. Or come election time, for our voters to do so.

Dale Blasko



Health care is No. 1 priority

The Democrats will meet tonight for district caucus. Delegates will be selected for the state convention.

I ask each district to send only delegates who are committed to national health and the no-American-left-out principle of national health. The health of the American family should be the No. 1 priority, and Hawaii's commitment to health should be shouted from the house tops.

Carol Fanning



Star-Bulletin has earned its way

The Star-Bulletin has been the better newspaper: an easier-to-read tabloid size, superior color photos and graphics and a weekly TV guide. It has earned the right to be our daily newspaper. The Advertiser has failed in all these ways and should not be allowed to dominate the market here.

Nancy Bey Little



Gambling would be winning bet

I just returned from Singapore where it just opened its first casino and expects to open a second soon. Like Hawaii, Singapore is another gateway into Asia for business and tourists. A few years ago when its tourism base began to slide, it, too, weighed the pros and cons, took a gamble and finally decided to try it.

Charging a per entry fee of $100, the new hotel and surrounding hotels were booked months before it opened, and the grand opening attracted a crowd that filled the casino, with long lines waiting to get in.

I am sure that our local Las Vegas diehards would pay $100 instead of the airfare to Las Vegas, and all that money would stay here. It also would be a good bet that our tourism rate would increase.

Gambling has been around long enough that, if done right, it would make Hawaii a new destination and improve our quality of life — jobs, education, water, parks, sewer, roads and government services — by the monies the state and city would collect. A portion could help pay off mass transit early, in new revenue.

It is a win-win situation and would give Hawaii something new to attract the elusive tourist dollar, the lifeblood of Hawaii's economy. You can only market the sun, surf and beach so long before it gets old and something new is needed to make Hawaii an attractive destination. The benefits far outweigh the potential problems and would be a winning bet.

Robert Rock



Thanks for gifts from Hawaiians

For the past 20 years, the Tribal College Journal has been the voice of the 37 tribal colleges and universities located on or near reservations in North America.

Each fall for the last 16 years, our magazine publishes the best creative writing, poetry, and personal memoirs submitted by some of the 30,000 students attending these schools. These works reflect the fortitude, courage, humor, tragedy and triumph crafted from Native American reservation life.

As a University of Hawaii alum and former Oahu resident, I want to express my gratitude to the Hawaiians who helped us by providing personal computers for our student writing contest winners. This year, Hawaiians accounted for 40 percent of funds raised for prizes to the Native American tribal college students. Mahalo!

While these schools are open to all, tribal colleges are unique institutions providing workforce training and cultural studies geared toward Native American students. Our students come from places like Pine Ridge, S.D., where the average annual income is less than $8,000, according to the U.S. Census, and the Rosebud Reservation, which has the unfortunate statistic of the highest per capita suicide rate in the world.

As Hawaiians know, inequities and poverty give birth to strong and resilient voices reclaiming culture, language and indigenous education. This is the case with the continued development of Native American higher education institutions.

Kurt Umbhau

Editor, Tribal College Journal, Mancos, Colo.


Corporations are not people

I am greatly concerned with the unfettered treatment corporations receive from the courts and others. Please, take action to treat corporations as such: dead entities with no rights of the people. Corporations are not people; they are shells, dead.

Ronald Carlson