For Friday, July 9, 2010
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 9, 2010
I found it very disappointing that there is a group of citizens opposing a rate increase in bus fares. Even with the increase, are these people aware that the taxpaying citizens of Oahu, many of whom do not utilize TheBus, subsidize the annual operating expenses of TheBus at about 80 percent, while fares only account for 20 percent of those costs?
It seems that the old "entitlement syndrome" is rearing its ugly head again. Those percentages of operating expenses should be reversed, with the bus riders paying 80 percent and the taxpaying public paying 20 percent of the annual operating expenses.
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The amendments to the Akaka Bill are ludicrous. Under the amended version, Hawaiians have no control of their national lands or natural resources and they cannot challenge the United States for the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii during 1893.
Hawaiians had better read the updated version of H.R. 2314 and object to U.S. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs making crucial decisions relative to their culture without their consent. The bill will divide the Hawaiian community even more than it is now. It will make it more difficult to claim the crown lands, konohiki lands and the kuleana lands. I urge Congress not to pass H.R. 2314 until a true vote is instigated by the Hawaiian community.
Graffiti on public and private properties. People dumping bulky items by the side of the road, creating an open invitation for others to dump their trash. Lawmakers shuffling the homeless around like deck chairs on the Titanic. Vandals cutting down farmers' papaya trees for no apparent reason.
As a society, have we become so cold, uncaring and cynical that we have lost touch with our innermost feelings? Have we forgotten that we are dealing with people's lives, livelihoods and the aina? Have we lost our moral compass?
Not the Hawaii I know and love.
When American citizens have been given the opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage, they have overwhelmingly approved of the traditional definition (one man and one woman). Thirty states have added defense-of-marriage amendments to their constitutions. In 1998, Hawaii voters overwhelmingly voted to support traditional marriage in this state.
Every person in our society deserves equal rights. But redefining marriage is not about equal rights -- rather, it's about adding special rights to our laws and Constitution.
Traditional marriage has survived another day, thanks to the good Gov. Linda Lingle. But in four months, those Democrats in the House and Senate who supported House Bill 444 will be back for re-election in November. If we don't remove these Democrats from office, and most especially if a Democrat is elected governor, HB 444 will be revived and have clear sailing in legalizing homosexual marriage in Hawaii.
The letter writer who considers it a waste of money and resources to fund Kailua's Fourth of July fireworks show should understand that the individuals and businesses who contribute to the fireworks fund also contribute regularly to a wide variety of our community needs ("Fireworks cost seems a waste," Letters, July 3).
Schools, playgrounds, sports teams, after-school clubs, environmental cleanup, etc., are supported and funded by the generosity of those who take pride in the success of our community. The fireworks display not only brings our community closer for a few minutes in time, but helps us to appreciate how truly fortunate we are.
The article about "The Death and Life of the Great American School System" by Diane Ravitch should be required reading for all politicians ("Setting the bar ... " Star-Advertiser, June 30). Her book presents a well-documented history lesson on previous and current reform movements.
In Chapter 11, "Lessons Learned," a conference on successful international schools in 2006 concludes that "a strong curriculum, experienced teachers, effective instruction, willing students, adequate resources, and a community that values education" were all common ingredients.
What you may notice is that there is no mention of higher test scores, giving principals more power, changing the Board of Education or starting up more charter schools. These are the topics still in the forefront of the news.
For the most part I enjoyed the editorial, "The price of freedom is an active citizenry," (Star-Advertiser, July 4), but with one exception. The author called out our "democracy" when in fact our country was founded as and continues constitutionally bound as a "republic." While often considered as one and the same (in both scenarios government is elected by the people), there is a clear distinction. In a democracy the majority rules (potentially, "mob rule"). However, in a republic, government rules according to the law of the land, which in turn is framed by our Constitution.
Richard Borreca's column makes some important and cogent points ("Lingle fails to give credit where tax-hike credit is due," Star-Advertiser, July 6). Supplementary points, however, are necessary to correct any misperceptions caused by the headline.
First, the Legislature did not solve the general fund budget shortfall solely by raising taxes. During the 2009 and 2010 sessions, the state faced deficits of $2.1 billion and $1.2 billion, respectively. In both sessions, about 50 percent of the shortfall was addressed by budget cuts initiated by either the governor or Legislature.
Second, the Legislature balanced the budget without a general excise tax increase, without an income tax increase on low- and middle-income families, and without scooping the counties' hotel tax share. The Legislature wanted to avoid a substantial, broad-based tax increase that would have hurt the economic recovery and worsened the cost of living. Instead, the Legislature chose the strategy of increasing selected, narrowly focused taxes and fees and revising certain tax breaks.
For information on how the budget was balanced, see the charts at hawaiihouseblog.blogspot.com.