For Saturday, July 9, 2011
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 9, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 2:23 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011
The governor told us that Hawaii's new civil unions law would bring in millions to the state. I don't think so. Now that New York has joined other states with same-sex marriage, who would want to go to little Hawaii, where the anti-gay marriage campaign started 18 years ago? People don't forget. And civil unions are just another case of Hawaii doing too little too late.
Business people in New York now predict that the new law will initially bring in $500 million from people seeking a wedding in Central Park, the Hamptons, the romantic Hudson Valley or Niagara Falls. All of those dollars could have been coming here.
Is it too late for Hawaii? It's never too late. Latest polls show the majority of the people of Hawaii and the entire country, for that matter, are in favor of same-sex marriage. Many former critics of same-sex marriage now realize that the moral foundation of our country has been strengthened and not diminished.
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In regards to Gov. Neil Abercrombie's request for us to stop feeding the homeless and give to the shelters instead, I have a question to ask. I toured a shelter in Waianae on June 7 and it was made clear to us that it does not accept homeless people from the beach if they are mentally ill or if they are on drugs. What becomes of those who are rejected by the shelters? Do we then let them starve to death? I realize that some of the homeless do not like rules at the shelter — some because they cannot drink and take drugs and some just do not like rules. However, what happens to those who are still at the beach or pitching tents on the sidewalks?
All too often, people file lawsuits to settle their disagreements. Just a couple of weeks ago, the mayor and the City Council seemed destined for a lengthy legal battle after the Council overrode the mayor's veto on the rail budget bills. But rather than letting lawyers enter into an ugly battle and having the courts settle this issue, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation stepped in.
HART decided not to file a lawsuit, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees and setting a tone of reconciliation and collaboration. This project needs to be about cooperation. The people voted for rail. The people voted for HART. Let's carry on with the people's will, and keep this project moving forward.
At a recent meeting with the Kona Chamber of Commerce, Gov. Neil Abercrombie stated that he wants to dispel the notion that his government is "anti-business." So he proposed a public-private partnership to promote business by building more state and federal housing. In other words, he proposes more government spending of taxpayer money to dole out contracts to selected businesses using unionized labor that presumably voted him into office.
He made no mention of promoting and supporting small businesses by reducing onerous regulations, taxes and other impediments to small businessmen and women in Hawaii.
Perhaps Abercrombie does not realize that most taxpayers do not work for the government but for private businesses. Businesses employ more people than the state and federal government does. Encouraging businesses to succeed translates into more employment which, in turn, generates more taxes so that he can balance his budget.
Little wonder that he and his government are perceived to be anti-business.
I was severely disappointed by the comments made by former Mayor Mufi Hannemann in his commentary ("Tourism will play essential role in Hawaii's economic future," Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, July 6). Although Hannemann is quite aware of recent history, especially his role in it, he neglects the lessons that Hawaii has learned by solely focusing on one economic export.
In the early 1800s, after the death of Kamehameha I, sandalwood harvesters ran rampant across the islands until the precious trees were wiped out. The next monoculture was sugar, and that market went bust, leaving thousands jobless. Now we have moved to tourism, which the continuing rise of oil prices will surely decimate, leaving us helpless yet again. Diversify Hawaii, for our future's sake.