Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Friday, March 05, 2010

Layoffs better than fund raids

Revenue-seeking proposals by our state legislators have become absurd. Rainy day fund, tobacco settlement fund, hurricane relief fund; it seems there is no account that is safe from plunder. One is reminded of an addict searching for money in a panic to pay for that next fix.

If only they would just wake up, they would see the solution is simple. The bulk of the state budget goes to salaries. State employee unions refuse to accept salary cuts. Furloughs have been a disaster.

The only reasonable alternative to reduce state expenditures is to reduce the number of state employees. When times were good, the state payroll increased at a rate far beyond that of increased population. Those workers should be terminated by layoffs or attrition.

When times get tough, private industry universally turns to layoffs to reduce expenditures and to survive. Raiding various state accounts for extra cash will only delay the inevitable and abrogate the intent for which the funds were created in the first place.

Rhoads E. Stevens, M.D.

Hawaii Kai






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Legislators cave over jobless fund

Things don't change in our Legislature. In an effort to be pro-business, our Legislature cannot break its constant habit of appeasing unions. While all the headlines blare how they are aiding business by not raising the unemployment expense to the amount required by law, they quietly give away more money to the unemployed.

Reports say that the unemployment compensation will remain at 75 percent when it is currently at 70 percent of earned wages. I don't care how you word it, they have increased the payout again, just as they did two years ago when they increased the payout from 60 percent to 70 percent and gave away 30 weeks rather than 26 weeks. Why is the fund gone? Because they gave it away — and here they are doing it again.

Fiscal responsibility be damned — what the unions want, the unions get from our Legislature. I don't know anybody in this state who can take home 75 percent of wages after taxes when working. Why should a person be given the incentive to remain out of work? Our Legislature has no balance, and its favors are bought with votes.

Vote them out!

Bill Comerford

President, E & J Lounge Operating Co., Inc., Honolulu


Shark finning is odious practice

We need a statewide and national ban on the sale of shark fin soup.


It's the only way to protect the killing of more than 100 million sharks — most for the fin for soup — compared to 10 to 15 people killed each year by sharks. This soup is sold in almost all Chinese restaurants and is popular with people who think this is some exotic, expensive soup. The truth is shark fin soup has a very high level of mercury in it and has no taste unless flavored by chicken broth.

Shark fin soup is a high-profit item that must be banned or sharks will die out for a lousy bowl of soup. Keep sharks in the ocean and out of the soup; see

It's hard to imagine a more odious fishing practice than shark finning: The shark is caught, the fin sliced off and the rest of the still-living animal, which is of little commercial value, is thrown back into the water. The crippled shark soon dies — for overpriced, unhealthy, tasteless soup!

Tom Sebas

Ala Moana


Oahu needs total fireworks ban

All the news we hear on the fireworks ban is baloney. The majority of our so-caring lawmakers do not have the guts or courage to ban this insanity. Yet they come up with suggestions to raise the fees on permits.

What a joke.

And who needs permits to blow illegal concussion bombs or any other illegal fireworks? It's free and unenforceable.

Oahu is the one island that needs a complete ban so badly. These lawmakers are the culprits responsible for all the injuries that happen every year, and they don't seem to care.

Yet these useless fireworks pollute our air and cause serious injuries, not to mention the danger our firefighters face when they have to put out brush fires and risk their lives.

To all you lawmakers: Wake up before it's too late to say you're sorry.

You are responsible, so get your act together or get out of office.

Eugene Cordero

Pearl City


U.S. flag stands for freedom

I'd like to offer one veteran's postscript to the state House session, and second committee hearing, on the bill to limit the power of condominium boards to encumber an owner's freedom to display the American flag.

To Rep. Kymberly Pine, House Republicans and the six to eight House Democrats who supported us: Thank you.

To Rep. Rida Cabanilla: We know our not showing up earlier contributed to a mistake that let Republicans put you in a politically embarrassing position. No sympathy; just my gratitude and respect for a fair rehearing.

To those who argued that displaying the flag honored veterans: Thank you. But we were really there because of what the flag stands for, not because it stands for us.

To all: It was bipartisan, because the MIA also included Republicans Linda Lingle, Duke Aiona and Charles Djou. I suspect that's because Gov. Lingle opposed air-drying laundry. If you believe every American's right to enjoy her or his home equals the right of any king to enjoy his castle, the government must support maximum, reasonable accommodation of all rights — from air-drying to flag flying. Against one and for the other would have seemed disingenuous.

To tea party conservatives: We veterans stood with you at your flag-decorated Capitol protest. We missed you at our hearing.


George L. Berish


Catholic writer struck a chord

As a woman educated in the Catholic intellectual tradition, I was delighted to read Dawn Morais Webster's cogent expression of Catholic social justice (”;Civil unions support has basis in Gospels,”; Star-Bulletin, Island Commentary, Feb. 26). I once was proud to call myself a Catholic, but the regressive social policies of the Catholic hierarchy made me determine to develop my strong spiritual life away from the Catholic church. Where is Pope John XXIII and his progressive social policies when we really need him? Webster is the closest thing to him that I have seen in this whole civil unions debate in Hawaii.

In Massachusetts, where a majority of the population and our legislature are Catholic, same-sex marriage has been part of our social fabric for 5 1/2 years. There has been no infringement on religious freedom and churches still make their own choices about who they will marry and bless.

Patricia A. Gozemba

Honolulu and Massachusetts