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Letters to the Editor

For Thursday, August 5, 2010


DLNR spin on Pali fees is wedge for more in future

Don't believe the state Department of Land and Natural Resources' claim that it only anticipated $2,500 in non-resident Pali Lookout parking fees per month ("Pali Lookout fee exceeds expectations," Star-Advertiser, July 30).

The data used by DLNR show that 905,300 people visited Nuuanu Pali in 2007. Of those, 697,100 were non-residents, or 58,092 per month. So even if DLNR figured on four people per car, that would be 14,523 non-resident cars per month, times $3, or $43,569 per month (not just $2,500, or the $8,667 per month actually collected).

Subtract from the fees the cost of equipment, installation, maintenance, and a daily attendant who checks for your local ID. Is this annoyance to residents and the nickel-and-dollaring of our visitors worth it?

The positive spin by DLNR is only to justify extending the fees to other state parks. The land board now has authority to charge both parking fees and user fees to all users -- visitors and residents. Can you see where this is going?

Greg Knudsen
Hawaii Kai


Governor wrong to criticize rating

As a 27-year member of the Hawaii State Bar Association, I am concerned about Gov. Linda Lingle's recent comments urging the state Senate to find there is "no validity to their ratings" for judicial nominees ("Judges' 'unqualified' rating is slammed," Star-Advertiser, Aug. 3).

Regardless of how I or the board feel about the qualifications of the current nominee for chief justice, I think Judge Leonard would agree that it is irresponsible and counterproductive for the state's highest elected official to ask other elected officials to disregard the vote of 10 men and 10 women who were elected by 4,000 members of the HSBA.

As for the confidentiality of the board's vote and the reasons for its opinion, I note that neither Lingle nor the Judicial Selection Commission explain their reasons for rejecting other qualified nominees applying for judicial office, and no one has come forward urging that their decisions be disregarded by the Hawaii State Senate.

Peter Van Name Esser


How to write us

The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~175 words). The Star-Advertiser reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

Kagan should be on high court

Elena Kagan is highly qualified for the U.S. Supreme Court. As solicitor general, the "Tenth Justice," she has argued a broad range of issues before the court. She was the dean of Harvard Law School. She has held positions across the federal government. Forty Supreme Court justices have been confirmed without having served on a lower court. Kagan is clearly qualified.

She impressed me when we met earlier this year. We talked about Hawaii and the importance of reconciliation. She has a history of building consensus and bringing people together. Her knowledge of the law is impressive. I know that she will do a tremendous job upholding our Constitution.

When the Senate confirms the highly qualified solicitor general, there will be three sitting female justices on the court for the first time in our history. The court will be closer to reflecting our diverse country.

Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hi.
U.S. senator


Kagan would be Obama stooge

After carefully reviewing Elena Kagan's record and testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I must oppose her nomination to the Supreme Court.

She has never been a judge, never tried a case before a jury and has practiced law for only three years. She is the least experienced nominee in the last half-century. As a senior adviser to President Clinton, she was instrumental in efforts to restrict private gun rights and to stop legislation to limit partial-birth abortions. As dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan kicked the military out of the campus recruitment office in violation of federal law.

President Obama has said that he looks for judges who will impose "their broader vision of what America should be." That is what he thinks he has in Kagan: someone who willing to advance his big-government vision from the bench.

Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
U.S. senator


Sports package bad for seniors

In regards to the University of Hawaii sports package via Oceanic Cable and its $500 cost, I feel sorry for the senior citizens who are UH fans.

At one time they filled the stadiums. Many can no longer attend the games due to physical ailments and enjoyed watching them on TV. With their limited income, they now cannot enjoy that either. Sad.

M. Kiyono



"Leonard's ability to lead is doubted," Star-Advertiser, Aug. 4: When I first learned of doubts about Judge Leonard's confirmation, I was expecting scandalous stuff. This is just about whether she can lead and her personality? That sounds like pure subjective analysis. What person is ready to be the CJ (chief justice)? And it's not as if she's working alone in some vacuum. There are law clerks, administrative clerks and other staff officials -- those who are going to remain after CJ Ronald Moon retires -- who will help her along.

In addition to Honolulu attorney Eric Seitz, former Circuit Judge Marie Milks and Honolulu lawyer Elizabeth Jubin Fujiwara told the committee Leonard did not have the record of leadership or administrative ability for the job. These are very formidable opponents to the selection. Milks was one of the most respected judges in Hawaii's court system and Seitz and Fujiwara regularly make a living off of trouncing opponents in the courtroom. Along with the recommendation by the board of the HSBA (Hawaii State Bar Association), I would think there are very real concerns about her qualifications.

Where there is smoke, there is fire. I vote no.

She maybe qualified to be a judge but she is not qualified to be chief justice. A chief justice is first a leader and second a judge, as keeping the Judiciary working at high efficiency is very important. A leader must have an open personality, humility, ability to work with people, build consensus and inspire their employees. Leonard does not appear to have these characteristics and those close to the profession have the best view of these qualities.

Anyone who watched the committee hearings knows that Chairman Brian Taniguchi was scrupulously fair and evenhanded. Moreover, his comments after the hearing suggest it is more than clear why the Bar Association changed its qualified rating for Judge Leonard in 2008 to unqualified in 2010. The HSBA board obviously believes that while she may be qualified to sit as an associate judge on the Hawaii intermediate Court of Appeals, she lacks the experience to serve as the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Moon's experience that he brought to the office is much more narrow than (Leonard's). I consider that the questions of state constitutional law are broader and require someone of Leonard's experience. I think that Leonard being a woman would have a democratizing effect on the state Supreme Court. They would be more collaborative under her leadership.

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