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Letters to the Editor

For Wednesday, February 8, 2012

LAST UPDATED: 08:40 a.m. HST, Feb 08, 2012

Going green sure is costly

Frankly I'm confused by the messages that Hawaiian Electric Co. is sending me these days.

I'm constantly being told that we need to install alternative energy sources to save us millions on imported oil necessary to produce local power.

In the past year, Oahu has more than doubled its solar output, and now we're being told we have to pay more for electricity to make up for the lost income to HECO caused by this solar production.

Am I missing something?

Where are those millions of dollars in oil saved by the local solar generation of 18.5 megawatts last year? It seems like that would more than make up the company's income shortfall.

If this rationale for increasing rates is taken a step further, then how much will our electrical bills be when we achieve energy independence from oil?

Gregory Hartung

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HECO ignores solar's savings

I question Hawaiian Electric Co.'s claim that customers with solar panels "do not contribute to the cost to maintain the system of wires and generators that other customers help pay for" ("Rate increase blamed on sun power," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 6).

It fails to recognize the contributions made by such customers to the grid. Customers with solar panels pay for the installation of their solar power-generating units and, more important, generate electricity at no cost to HECO.

In short, HECO receives its electricity without paying for its installation or generation.

Michael A. Lilly

Teachers want to know details

As past presidents of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, we were distressed at the comments of David Shapiro ("Teachers have lost respect in drama over labor talk," Star-Advertiser, Volcanic Ash, Jan. 25).

As former elected leaders, we have represented teachers since 1971. Never did we find teachers unwilling to be held accountable.

Teachers have been involved in developing the teachers' evaluation systems since 1971 from the old 750/751 checklist system through PATH and Pep-T.

Nor are teachers afraid of performance-based pay. Teachers ratified a performance-based salary schedule in 1997, but it was never implemented by the DOE for a variety of reasons, including cost.

The recent ratification results show that teachers refused to agree to an evaluation system sight unseen.

Shapiro would not recommend that citizens sign a blank mortgage contract, but he calls teachers selfish for refusing to sign a blank contract. How unfair.

Odetta Fujimori, Ted Waitt, Karen Ginoza, Roger Takabayashi, Barbara Nagaue and June Motokawa
Former HSTA presidents

Catholic Church evading liability

The Catholic Church has no grounds to stand in opposition to the legislation raising the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits against perpetrators of sexual abuse ("In pursuit of predators," Star Advertiser, Insight, Feb. 5).

The Catholic Church lost all moral authority to speak on this issue after the church hierarchy covered up decades of sexual abuse, reassigned pedophile priests, and intimidated victims of abuse. The church's opposition to this bill is just one more example of its lack of compassion or support for victims of sexual abuse, and it is clearly one more attempt to protect the church's assets from future lawsuits.

After decades of clergy sex abuse scandals, the Catholic hierarchy still has not learned that kindness and support for victims will help heal the wounds of abuse. It has learned that cover-ups and denials are the best route to save the church's money.

Joy Barnes
Pearl City

‘Disruption' is the real issue

House Bill 2751, which was mentioned in Lee Cataluna's column, basically prohibits a person from exhibiting disorderly or contemptuous behavior at a legislative session or committee hearing ("Disorder can be outlawed; disrespect, not so much," Star-Advertiser, Lee Cataluna, Feb. 5).

The prohibition applies, no matter the person's reason for the disorderly or contemptuous behavior or position on an issue. It is not directed at any particular individual or viewpoint.

The bill is intended to preserve order and decorum for efficient and effective legislative deliberations as well as protect the public, legislators and staff from possible physically volatile reactions of persons dissatisfied by legislative decisions.

Legislators perform their official duties at legislative sessions and committee hearings which, unlike other workplaces, are open to the public. For the most part, attendees have been respectful and courteous to each other, legislators and staff.

Some disruptions in the recent past, however, indicate that clarification of policies for keeping order during sessions and hearings is necessary.

Cataluna makes a valid point that HB 2751 should reference "disruption," not "disrespect." The House will keep the criticism in mind as amendments are contemplated for the bill.

Calvin Say
Speaker, state House

Legalese masks child abuse

Mahalo to Sens. Shan Tsutsui and Will Espero for introducing Senate Bills 2062 and 2404, respectively ("Proposals would ban the thrashing of keiki," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 6).

I find it appalling to think we do not already have these legal measures on record to protect our keiki from the abusive adults in their lives.

I can think of a million creative ways to explicitly and affectionately be the authoritative voice in a child's life before resorting to throwing, kicking, burning, biting, cutting, shaking or striking a child, let alone using "a belt, ruler, clothes hanger, stick, twig, tube, pipe, shoe, slipper, or any hard man-made object that causes welts, cuts, bruises, or damage to the skin or injury to the body."

Shame on us as a society for using legalese terms such as "parental discipline" to disguise ongoing abuse of children. Child abuse is child abuse!

Wylma C. S. Robinson

Live with dignity, die with dignity

As one of the 77 percent of Hawaii voters who believe the terminally ill have the right to some measure of control at life's end, I disagree with the recent attorney general's opinion that aid in dying is unlawful in Hawaii. The 1909 law in question is only part of a constellation of laws advising on this issue. The combined legislative intent is very clear.

At 81, I know that legal interpretations often differ and can change over time. This elasticity is what makes the American judicial system the envy of the world. Not perfect, but ever evolving to meet the needs of current and future generations.

I have incurable cancer and fear a torturous death. I've lived a full life and want this choice to be mine, not the government's. I've lived my life with dignity, so please let me die with dignity.

Ernest "Juggie" Heen
Former member of the state House of Representatives

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kiragirl wrote:
Gregory Hartung: Yep, and that is the reason it makes Jade Moon look stupid. HECO should pull that propaganda commercial as it is getting jeers from many of us.
on February 8,2012 | 03:28AM
OldDiver wrote:
I believe the price of electricity went up due to the increase in oil prices. Anyway that's the story HECO is sticking to.
on June 28,2012 | 06:33AM
serious wrote:
Mr. Heen, I agree with you 100%. I am only two years behind you and I have seen too many of my friends, and relatives including my first wife, suffer needlessly.
on February 8,2012 | 05:51AM
false wrote:
Iʻve seen this happen too many times!
on February 8,2012 | 08:39AM
surfandthink wrote:
Mr. Heen, I am so sorry about your cancer and wish you the best. You are correct: the Hawaii constitution does not have a prohibition against "aid in dying." In fact, the 1909 law can be interpreted as the original dying patient's bill of rights. Since then Hawaii has passed a constellation of laws that re-affirm this right. I agree with Mr. Heen: it seems that in Hawaii a terminally-ill patient already has the right of how to die. The January 12, 2012 QMark poll shows that 77% of Hawaii voters are in favor of aid in dying. According to that same poll, 92% believe that "how a terminally ill person chooses to end his/her life should be an individual decision and not a government decision." Finally, 83% believe that "the medical community and not the government should establish proper guidelines and safeguards in the writing of possible life-ending medication prescriptions." The StarAdvertiser should inform the public of the results of this important poll.
on February 8,2012 | 10:58AM
NoFire wrote:
Mr. Heen, our family supports you and your position and we hope your death will be with dignity.
on February 8,2012 | 12:50PM
OldDiver wrote:
Concerning "Going green sure is costly". What is happening is instead of paying for HECO to purchase oil and to pad their executive bonuses, consumers with solar panels are using the saving to purchase goods and services from merchants in the islands. This keeps the money at home and stimulates the economy, instead of exporting our island dollars overseas to purchase oil.
on February 8,2012 | 07:49AM
Pacej001 wrote:
AND solar users are being subsidized 65% or more by other taxpayers. Makes sense at the individual level, no sense whatever at the state or national level. Just more crony capitalism, this time of the liberal/progressive variety.
on February 8,2012 | 08:12AM
OldDiver wrote:
Corporate subsides for Oil companies, Drug companies, the Nuclear industry, the Airline industry, Defense contractors, Big Agriculture and the like dwarf any tax subsidies for solar panels.
on February 8,2012 | 08:35AM
OldDiver wrote:
In Hawaii we export between $5 to $8 billion of our hard earned cash to purchase oil every year. Keeping a couple of those billion in Hawaii will more than make up for the tax subsidies. Think of how much money could have been saved in money and in lives if Bush didn't invade Iraq for oil. Moving towards energy independence is taken a few steps at a time. It won't happen if we don't take any steps at all.
on February 8,2012 | 11:43AM
Pacej001 wrote:
So right, about energy independence, but, unfortunately, things like gulf drilling moratorium, the cancellation of the XL pipeline, EPA enforcement aimed at non-existent global warming, Dept. of Interior obstruction/delay of drilling permits, and pervasive hostility of the Obama administration to anything that doesn't have the Green seal of approval are all conscious political acts which make us LESS energy independent. And the solar exercise still fits the definition of crony capitalism, just with a left wing spin, because, with the huge subsidy, we're just ripping off the taxpayer and putting the money in a different set of pockets.
on February 8,2012 | 01:47PM
Toneyuki wrote:
Where does that hard earned cash come from? That's right! We import it! It's called economics!
on February 8,2012 | 05:25PM
peanutgallery wrote:
Put down the Kool-Aid OD. It's early, and you're already on a rant about Bush. Please tell us in your Kool-Aid stuppor; where is all the oil?
on June 10,2012 | 04:53AM
mulletpond wrote:
We have to give up an important conception when writing about purchasing oil. It is not just for the utilities. Hawaii purchases crude oil mostly from Indonesia. The crude is refined or distilled here in Hawaii by Chevron and Tosco. In the process out of every barrel of crude 17 gallons of gasoline and 14 gallons of fuel oil is produced. If the utilities didn't burn the fuel oil there would be a need to export the fuel oil. Cars are just as responsible for our importation of crude and not just the utilities.
on February 8,2012 | 12:17PM
lowtone123 wrote:
That's HECO for you...their strategy is to confuse customers and then hit them with a rate increase while they're still dazed.
on February 8,2012 | 07:52AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Haven't seen anything in the SA regarding the Obama administration's determination to force Catholic Church agencies, hospitals and universities, etc, to provide birth control and sterilization medical procedures as part of employer-provided health care insurance. Compelling a religious organization to violate their fundamental religious beliefs is yet another uncomfortable surprise from Obamacare. The larger lesson from this is that those we have elected now think they have the mandate to rule us, not just govern. Obama may back down on this particular issue, but why wouldn't we expect more of the same if Obama is given a second term.
on February 8,2012 | 07:56AM
OldDiver wrote:
The problem here Pace is you are assuming all employees of those facilities are Catholic. Are you willing to allow your employer to tell you which religion you must to belong to? Is it the employers right to restrict the kinds of medical procedures it's employees can have. Shouldn't it be between an individual and his or her doctor? A big brother employer is not something we need in America.
on February 8,2012 | 08:05AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Is it the right of the employer to restrict kinds of medical care? No, but that's not the point. The point is that the government is attempting to compel a religious institution to fund/provide reproductive services in fundamental violation of their religious principles. Also, it doesn't matter what the employee's faith is, the issue is the rights and religious freedom of the Church, the employer. As to the interaction between patient and doctor, agreed, but that doesn't mean that the employer has an obligation to violate it's religious principles and be part of this interaction. To paraphrase you: A big brother Federal government is not something we need in America. On a more practical side, I hope the Obama administration sticks to its guns on this issue. It has provided a pretty good preview of the role of an overbearing government as Obamacare is implemented and it has fired up a lot of the religious community, not just the 77 million Catholics. This is a major political blunder. Good.
on February 8,2012 | 08:24AM
OldDiver wrote:
By your reasoning, if an employer doesn't believe in cancer treatment for religious reasons then they should be able to remove cancer treatment from employee health insurance policies.
on February 8,2012 | 11:36AM
Pacej001 wrote:
By your reasoning, reproductive functions and the elective use of birth control are a disease like cancer. Don't think so. In fact, why should anyone have to pay for someone else's birth control? If you think so, your logic would have us paying for all sorts of non-disease related treatments. All this is aside from the fact that the administration callously intends to violate the Catholic Church's long held views on the sancticy of human life. This looks like a fundamental constitutional matter and the Obamacare people are on the wrong side of the issue. I can just see the bumper sticker now, "Frist, they came for the Catholics". Indefensible.
on February 8,2012 | 01:56PM
wiliki wrote:
These culture wars are the Republican way of avoiding continuing discussion on the state of the economy because it looks like it's starting to look a little better despite the Republicans best efforts in Congress. Here a link about the recent superbowl ad with Clint Eastwood.... http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/uh-oh-its-morning-in-america/
on February 8,2012 | 03:35PM
Pacej001 wrote:
Ah, yes. The Wiliki diversion. Since when did freedom of religion become a component of the "culture wars" what ever that is? Is the economy getting better? Hard to say. Given the manipulation of unemployment data or at very best, misinterpretation, it's very hard to say, especially in the time frame when unemployment reportedly drops 1.2million people disappear from the calculation because they have just given up looking for work, and especially because the percentage of Americans who've just given up looking for work is the highest it's been since the early 1980s---you know, that was when Reagan took over and added millions upon millions of jobs. But never mind, just keep worshiping at the Church of Krugman and maybe things will get better for real some day.
on February 8,2012 | 04:33PM
Toneyuki wrote:
The Republicans did not pass a bill that "had to pass to find out what was in it". Well we are finding out. They are FORCING a church to go against it's principles. You are deflecting. As far as the economy getting better, it's about time. I guess Obama's policies could only hold it back for so long.
on February 8,2012 | 05:31PM
Buckykat wrote:
The whole problem is the feds telling employers they have to provide health insurance, then on top of it dictating that the insurance they provide must cover certain things from dollar one. That's what has led in large part to our costs for healthcare being out of control. Let the employee decide which healthcare package they want and take the employer out of the mix entirely. Enact tort reform, allow companies to compete between states without having to cobble together different plans for each state so that every lobbyist's whim at every level of the legislature has been satisfied. Ultimately people would be responsible for their own care. Let the individual decide if they want the Cadillac plan or the "basics."
on February 8,2012 | 03:23PM
bigbud808 wrote:
Aloha Bukykat the high cost of drugs and medical supplies are driving medical cost and insurance rates higher than it has ever been.We need to regulate pharmeceutical drug companies.
on May 16,2012 | 04:16AM
Toneyuki wrote:
By your reasoning, if an employer doesn't believe in cancer treatment for religious reasons then they should be able to remove cancer treatment from employee health insurance policies.~OD

First of all, you are comparing apples and rocks. Second of all, if the company had never offered cancer treatment or any other treatment in their policies and the employee was made aware of that when they were hired, then yes they should have the right to not offer it on religious grounds.

The government when in charge of healthcare LIMITS treatment. Not based on religious grounds but on financial grounds.

on February 8,2012 | 05:35PM
Nevadan wrote:
Aloha Pacej: Not to worry. Obama is politically driven and will back down. Remember these two theorems: William Jefferson Clinton: It's the economy, stu-id Barrack Hussein Obama: It's the Hispanic vote, st-pid
on February 8,2012 | 11:17AM
Nevadan wrote:
(1) William Jefferson Clinton: It's the economy, stu-id. (2) Barrack Hussein Obama: It's the Hispanic vote, st-pid.
on February 8,2012 | 11:21AM
SmedleyFerndock wrote:
How much oil has been saved in the year 2010 due to the generation of solar power? No one seems to be asking this question. A significant and measurable amount of solar has been added to the grid in the last several years. Where is the feedback? I am concerned that HECO's archaic infrastructure is unable to integrate the solar into the grid. The result would be that HECO maintains the same or almost the same amount of oil fired generators on line to insure that if the sun goes behind a cloud the whole system does not fail. I would like to see an independent review of the results of solar to this point. I have zero confidence in HECO to integrate the solar into the grid in an efficient and economical way. I expect HECO to react in a corporate manner to maximize profit and everything else is secondary or not important. I am also concerned that the political and emotional rush to go green has prevented the question of how much oil is HECO saving to be objectively asked and answered.
on February 8,2012 | 08:42AM
mulletpond wrote:
In writing this post I am not supporting HECO in anyway but just provide thought and you can do whatever you feel with it. HECO's rate is about 35 cents per kilowatt. Fuel cost component is 17 cents. So 18 cents go to something other than fuel like maintenance, equipment and etc. If we were to run a "fair" system HECO would pay you 17 cents per KW and when you pull it back at night you should pay 35 cents like the rest of us. HECO is acting like a battery. As for surplus either you use a net metering agreement or forfeit the surplus to HECO for the convenience of being hooked up to HECO. In 2004 it rained for forty days. If that happens again we'll see how the system will stand up.
on February 8,2012 | 11:08AM
mulletpond wrote:
By law no cost can be added when you pullback electricity from the grid.
on February 8,2012 | 01:35PM
mellishi wrote:
At 35 cents per kilowatt. Even owning a Nissan Leaf car will be expensive to own, let alone installing and paying a lease on PV panels --- Hawaii... we are screwed again, and again, and again!
on August 7,2012 | 06:56PM
Buckykat wrote:
Decrees as to what insurance companies HAVE to cover is one of the reasons health insurance is so costly. It's hard to find a really basic low-cost program that provides for catastrophic events but where the individual pays for their own birth control, basic doctors' visits, and so forth. Why should an employer or an individual only have the option to purchase politically correct coverage that includes everything from gender reassignment to over-the-counter meds, naturopathic care, chirorpractic, acupuncture, massage, and so forth? If more people have to pay for their care out of pocket they'll rethink whether or not they need every test that the doc ordered to save his butt from the lawyer sharks prowling daytime TV.
on February 8,2012 | 11:25AM
Buckykat wrote:
Decrees as to what insurance companies HAVE to cover is one of the reasons health insurance is so costly. It's hard to find a really basic low-cost program that provides for catastrophic events but where the individual pays for their own birth control, basic doctors' visits, and so forth. Why should an employer or an individual only have the option to purchase politically correct coverage that includes everything from gender reassignment to over-the-counter meds, naturopathic care, chirorpractic, acupuncture, massage, and so forth? If more people have to pay for their care out of pocket they'll rethink whether or not they need every test that the doc ordered to save his butt from the lawyer sharks prowling daytime TV.
on February 8,2012 | 11:26AM
Nevadan wrote:
Aloha Joy Barnes. Thank you for your letter. The Catholic Church teaches that the Pope is infallible on matters of morals and doctrine. This topic is about morals. We cannot have it both ways. Perhaps the Pope is not infallible, after all.
on February 8,2012 | 11:42AM
jose2011746 wrote:
on February 8,2012 | 11:48AM
jankenpo wrote:
IRT "Teachers want to know details" Yes, I was a bit confused with Mr. Shapiros comments. The proposed contract brought before the teachers for vote had a big hole in it. I'm not a teacher but I would have voted "no" also. The question I have is...how in the world was this accepted by the HSTA president and the negotiating team and presented to the membership for ratification. HSTA failed its membeship. Some of you (former HSTA presidents) didn't do so well either. Negotiating in good faith was broken under one of your watch when a part of a ratified contract was renigged by the union after the fact.
on February 8,2012 | 01:13PM
Toneyuki wrote:
So while trying to find the child abuse bill I stumbled across HB 2062. A nice boring bill, but it's another instance of our goobermint adding more bureaucracy where none is needed. "Establishes the music therapy board within the department of commerce and consumer affairs. Requires licensure in order to use the title of "music therapist" or practice music therapy in the State."

Seriously? We need the government to protect us from unlicensed music therapists?

on February 8,2012 | 05:48PM
Pacej001 wrote:
Ah, but the license fee is the important thing, leaking canoe and all that, not to mention the jobs "created" in the new Music Therapy Commission, sort of like the Liquor commission. Opportunities all around. LOL
on February 8,2012 | 07:20PM
Toneyuki wrote:
I wonder if my music therapist has the correct educational credentials to become licensed. I wouldn't want her playing the wrong music to ease my stress! I pay her a lot of money!!!! I would hate to have to pay her more! Music therapists aren't cheap you know!
on February 8,2012 | 10:01PM
DABLACK wrote:
Per HECO's outrages rates....Force all the HOAs to change their rules and permit the people to hang laundry in their back yard next to their victory gardens.
on February 22,2012 | 11:26AM
DABLACK wrote:
The catholic church, besides shuffling their pedophile priests around, they do not welcome a "catholic" in their church for their funeral services. One must be a "practicing" member by donating money weekly towards their "BUILDING FUND" and operation of the church. Take for example the St Joseph church in Waipahu....the recent renovation cost was approx 3 million bucks. A reliable contractor looked at the finished project and stated that the job cuo;d not have been over a million and a half! Now the priest's home in the Phillipines is built like a "castle".
on February 22,2012 | 11:39AM
peanutgallery wrote:
IRT Odetta Fujimori, Ted Waitt, Karen Ginoza, Roger Takabayashi, Barbara Nagaue and June Motokawa : The days of public employee unions are numbered. The days of you dipping your beaks on the public dime are over.
on June 10,2012 | 04:55AM
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