For Thursday, July 1, 2010
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 1, 2010
In his recent opinion piece ("Weaning off fossil fuels ..." Star-Advertiser, June 28), state Sen. Gary Hooser neglected to discuss the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, signed by Gov. Linda Lingle in 2008, as a product of Hawaii's drive for clean energy. Through projects in solar, wind, ocean, transportation and more, Hawaii is on track to meet its goal of 70 percent clean energy by 2030.
Hawaii has acquired $133.9 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for energy projects in areas including biomass, geothermal, water, smart grid, energy efficiency and conservation, and work-force development. Hawaii has also undertaken advances in clean energy transportation, including a proposed electric vehicle network from Better Place and Phoenix Motorcars.
As co-signer of the historic HCEI, Andy Karsner, assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy, said that "Hawaii's success will serve as an integrated model and demonstration test bed for the United States and other island communities globally." Maybe Sen. Hooser missed that announcement.
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As a speaker at the city's rail symposium in June 2009, I congratulate Mayor Mufi Hannemann and the city on the release of the rail transit Final Environmental Impact Statement. This is a key milestone that shows the potential of rail to benefit Honolulu's citizens.
This project will help maintain your island's wonderful quality of life by enhancing your public transit system, taking cars off the roads and giving residents a fast, reliable and affordable alternative to driving a car. Building the rail line will also create thousands of good-paying jobs that will be a boon to Hawaii's economy. Many cities in the U.S. have benefited from the economic stimulus of rail construction.
I totally agree with the article in yesterday's paper, ("Setting the bar: Are kids benefiting?" Star-Advertiser, June 30) and Diane Ravitch's take on the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. We were misled by profiteers and our children have suffered. We have seen a mass exodus of creative and excellent teachers, who could not or would not perform as puppeteers reading scripts.
Teachers who dedicate themselves to children's education have been used as scapegoats, especially here in Hawaii. We need to respect our teachers; they hold the future in their hands.
I would like to add my voice to those who have pointed out one of the saddest situations concerning the Waikiki Beach area. The homeless have been allowed to turn this potentially five-star wonderland into a two-star playground for those who have not yet found a way to become functioning members of our society. In giving them the freedom to be here, they, in turn, are destroying our much-needed tourist trade, not to mention the negative influence they impose on the rest of us.
Would it not be to everyone's advantage to house the homeless in an empty space such as unused military land? Shelter them, feed them, give them medical attention and, ultimately, find a way to help them re-enter society.
It's no secret. The civil unions bill is a very temporary measure. It is a stepping stone to same-sex marriage.
HB 444 invents a "new" kind of legal relationship in Hawaii by simply copying the state definition of marriage -- word for word, right for right, benefit for benefit -- and sticking a "civil union" label on it.
It's a temporary label that will be easily peeled off by a future court challenge.
Enough with the tricks already. Ten years ago, Hawaii's people voted down same-sex marriage. If same-sex marriage advocates think attitudes have changed, let Hawaii's people vote on it again. Let's make it simple. Let's be fair. Let's be open.
Gov. Linda Lingle is going to make a decision on whether or not to sign, veto or ignore House Bill 444 now before her. No matter what your political or religious beliefs, please contact her by phone or e-mail and ask her to vote for liberty and justice for all, regardless of sexual orientation.
Among other things, this civil unions bill allows access to the bedside of a dying partner. And without the bill's basic rights, upon the death of your partner, their family members can come into your home and take away everything, including your home, which you and your partner built together.
I am a devout Christian and frequently ask, "What would Jesus do?" I believe, without a doubt, that he would most definitely be on the side of love, compassion and freedom for all people, not just some.
The whole point of public funding for campaigns is to allow candidates to run for office and exchange ideas with each other. When one candidate can spend large amounts of money (with private funders) it makes it impossible for those without those connections to have an even chance. An even chance is the point of keeping the funding equal.
In Maine and Arizona, this public funding allows people who probably represent the majority of the public to run equally and win. We very much need more voices and ideas from the community.
I believe that the best way to restructure our schools in Hawaii is to create an elected position of state superintendent of schools, who would be in charge of the entire education bureaucracy.
This would allow the people of Hawaii to become more directly involved in the overall policy and direction of our schools, as well as provide accountability. It would also focus our decision-making process, replacing the crossed lines of authority that for years have paralyzed our ability to make changes and promote progress.
A direct competition of educational ideas and philosophies that the people themselves can endorse or reject by their votes would be very refreshing.