For Tuesday, August 2, 2011
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Aug 2, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 2:22 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011
Solar power is key to island lifestyle
Hawaii is like no other place on earth.
That is why we live here and why people come here to visit.
The natural beauty of each island is special and unique. But the natural beauty of the islands is in jeopardy if plans for Big Wind succeed. Molokai and Lanai will be cluttered with windmills and Maui and the Big Island could be using forests to fuel cogeneration power plants. All for what? To feed Oahu's need for electricity.
Instead of destroying the natural beauty of out islands, with big companies making big changes to our small islands, let's focus on bright solutions. Solar power is the key to keeping our island way of life while keeping up with the power needs of today.
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Allow more homes in urban center
I have a reply to James D. Navarro who wanted to know, "Where do you suggest these homes be built?" ("Where can houses be built on Oahu?", Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 28).
I suggest that the metropolitan area of Honolulu be rezoned and then redeveloped to support new housing. Reducing or eliminating the required number of parking stalls alone would have a significant impact on how developers calculate their bottom lines. Many old policies like this need to be re-evaluated as we move to less dependency on cars.
Maybe it's time to stop our western expansion and commit to a better urban center. Give up on the rail and traffic solutions and invest in housing where people need to be.
Reason is second to power of belief
Thank you for running Leonard Pitts' column "Reason is the only leash we have for the dogs of war" (Star-Advertiser, Commentary, July 27).
As thought-provoking as his views are on the causes of war, I have to say that there is always something that is a priori to reason: belief, whether substantiated or not.
For example, President George W. Bush and his neocon advisers believed that Saddam Hussein had, or was developing, nuclear weapons, and even evidence gathered by the U.N. and U.S. inspectors couldn't change their minds.
Or take the matter of national Interest. Thank goodness there is now discussion about whether it is our national interest to be conducting war in Afghanistan. The orthodox view is that it is; the only question seems to be how to do it.
Where is Americans' commonly held belief that the U.S. is, and must remain, preeminent among the nations, taking us?
Hawaiians will lose if treated as Indians
Colette Machado, the chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, says that the message of a new state law to our nation is that "the re-establishment of a Native Hawaiian governing entity" must be endorsed ("New state law sends clear message to Congress about Hawaiian sovereignty," Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, July 31).
That means the following:
» She wants a tribe to be authorized for a Native Hawaiian government.
» Tribes come under the authority and jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
» The U.S. Department of the Interior treats tribal members as wards of the federal government, even though Indians were supposedly granted citizenship in 1924.
» Most of us do not want our fellows of Native Hawaiian ancestry to be treated as American Indians are in 565 federally recognized tribes in the United States. Why does Machado want that?
Richard O. Rowland
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Why is Honolulu so covered in litter?
I recently moved back to Honolulu after living in San Francisco for 20 years and am appalled by the amount of litter in Waikiki. Twenty years ago the trash situation was quite different — there was no trash, or at least not as much.
Isn't littering illegal? Why aren't there signs pointing out the fines for littering? Who enforces the littering laws? Are there any police walking the streets anymore?
Have we reached a point where our police can no longer walk on the streets and enforce the laws? Bums sleep all over the place in Waikiki. Is this really the image Hawaii wants?
Trash on our streets and beaches. Yes, on the beaches. Even with all the trash cans around, people can't seem to get their trash in the cans. Even the Honolulu Zoo has litter everywhere. Do we have to volunteer to pick up other people's garbage?
Teachers better off being in a union
I think former Gov. Linda Lingle's position on allowing teachers to not pay union dues has some merit, but only with the following conditions:
If teachers don't want to pay union dues, that would be fine, but they should not be able to take the same pay and benefits that the union negotiates for its members. They are on their own to negotiate their own individual contracts with the state Department of Education, and will have to take what they can get.
I wonder how many teachers would want to take that deal?
If enough teachers wanted to go it alone and get whatever the DOE would offer, the taxpayers might well save big bucks by not offering competitive salaries and benefits.
I predict it wouldn't be long before those independent teachers are begging to get back into the union.