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Thursday, November 27, 2014         

SA Editorials

The death last week of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye was a seismic event in the political history of the state. As in an actual tectonic shift, Hawaii’s foundational strength will be put to the test.

Dashing through the snow might not be a problem in Hawaii, but dashing between traffic certainly is at some Oahu hot spots.

In the upcoming session, state lawmakers can no longer be idle on dialing down generous solar tax credits, a clean-energy policy that was initially worthwhile to launch the photovoltaic industry, but has now resulted in millions of dollars in lost state revenue and too-fertile ground for opportunists.

Wednesday’s formal signing ceremony was a momentous occasion for Hono-lulu, with the long-awaited federal full-funding grant — $1.55 billion toward the $5.26 billion cost of the elevated rail project — winning final approval.

Returning to a parked car and realizing it has been towed ranks up there among the most dispiriting experiences in driving. It usually means a disruption in the daily schedule, calling a friend to help with transportation — and a fat bill besides, payable in cash only.

Hawaii has lost a stalwart and distinguished champion among the political leaders of the nation with the death of U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, 88.

A federal judge's acceptance of the city's overall environmental assessment of Oahu's rail project is a welcome stamp of approval.

In agreement with other studies, the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization has determined that large-scale wind turbine projects on neighbor islands would have a positive economic effect.

The state agency that decides on development of Kakaako has revealed competing plans for a 650-foot residential tower that would be by far Hawaii's tallest. Information that had been concealed were released last week to the public, an encouraging first step, but myriad more details will be needed in order for citizens to render informed support or concerns.

The state Constitution, like all organic documents of government, was not meant to be a permanent, marble edifice, unchanged through the ages.

Tsunamis emanating from earthquakes far away have caused damage and deaths in Hawaii, so the casual response by some people along the coasts to Saturday night's warning is disturbing.

In two separate amendment proposals, Honolulu voters are being asked to create special funds to be spent for specific purposes, and to funnel general city revenues to nonprofit organizations to make up for federal cutbacks.

Quiet enactment of a law that the Abercrombie administration backs to create state-and-private partnerships for development projects has now erupted in vocal questioning, adamant protests and even calls for repeal.

.U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and former Gov. Linda Lingle have faced off in multiple debates in their contest for the U.S. Senate, and it was clear who had the better skills onstage. Lingle is more poised and adroit at thinking on her feet.

Waikiki's most wistful shopping venue faces a makeover under plans by Queen Emma Land Co., and the sentimental are certain to be wary over what that means.

In the Pacific region, food security has long been a concern of international organizations, in particular the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which has fostered cooperation in food production and supply among its member nations since 1968.

Churches deal with matters of faith, not an area that lends itself to measurements. But perceptions of the church from those on the receiving end of the religious outreach, that's another story.

President Barack Obama begins a nine-day mission today as a step toward furthering America's role in including this region of the world as an essential element in U.S. jobs and security.

Hawaii's travel industry stands to benefit enormously with the growth of tourism from China, but the exchange of words in this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit shows how things can become stalled. Frictions between the U.S. and China continue to complicate what should become beneficial to both powers.

A lot of times, things will slip through cracks in the state bureaucracy, but those cracks have to be pretty big to let something like a half-million dollars get away.

That’s going to be one colossal building kissing the Kakaako sky if all goes as intended by the state agency that gets to decide such things.

Spending millions of taxpayer dollars to replenish Hawaii's vegetation and native forests may seem extravagant except for the alternative: public consumption reliant on declining sources for absorbing rainwater and replenishing groundwater.

Advertising is part of many public and private venues, from smart phones to elevator cars. Trying to get your message out is what helps fuel business, and business fuels the economy.

The cost of health insurance in Hawaii is comparable to that in most other states, but the continuing increases are enough to cast doubts about whether the medical treatment is worth the price.

At long last, it's showtime. This week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting will be a showcase of Hawaii to the world, and numerous local companies see it as a chance to increase their visibility and sales abroad.

It's time the Honolulu Board of Water Supply curbed its practice of hiring lobbyists to look out for its interests at the Legislature as well as the City Council, if leaders of the semiautonomous agency hope for a clear path to boost water rates on Oahu.

Pedestrian safety ultimately comes down to awareness. Anyone crossing a thoroughfare or stepping into traffic for any reason should look back and forth to become aware of vehicles coming their way. Drivers must be alert to pedestrians, checking ahead and on the periphery.

A nine-member committee to recommend where Oahu should cut out a new landfill has been quiet and civil as members have established criteria to judge various locations. But it's the calm before the storm.

The state is pursuing its broad mission to improve Hawaii's public school system along several fronts, but sharpening the accountability of all parties surely is one top goal.

Hawaii often feels cut off from the political machinations of Washington, D.C. — indeed, the entire country may feel estranged from the current debt-ceiling fracas. But now it's more important than ever to seize some measure of control, however small, from the looming threat of financial chaos.

It's hard to put a price on loving care, but sometimes highlighting the bottom line is the only way to draw attention to a mounting problem.

Very few criminal defendants, violent or otherwise, are found not guilty by reason of insanity. Nationally, defendants use the insanity plea less than 1 percent of the time, and more than one-third of those are murder cases. One in four of the defenses are successful.

The capture this month of 14 reptiles brought into Hawaii illegally has raised fresh concerns over the ease with which these ecological time bombs have penetrated the state’s fragile ecosystem.

The era of easy air travel is over for the foreseeable future, but a sensible improvement to software in full-body scanners at least represents an important step toward a more tolerable boarding experience at the nation's airports.

Pristine tropical waterfalls, spectacular rugged coastlines, stunning views of lush valleys — these are among the images used by the tourism industry to entice visitors to our shores. It's an implicit promise: Come to Hawaii and experience these natural wonders for yourself.

Honolulu's Board of Water Supply went 11 years without raising fees, and the island's aging pipeline suffered the consequences. A proposal before the board to increase fees by 9.65 percent in each of the next five years will be hard on residents during a struggling economy, but delays of needed maintenance would make matters exponentially worse in the long term.

It's refreshing to see that it's still possible to conceive a Waikiki improvement that doesn't equate "better" with "bigger." The latest example comes from Tony D.H. Ji, the longtime leasehold owner of the Royal Hawaiian Market Place, currently an aging colony of retail kiosks at the corner of Royal Hawaiian Avenue and Lauula Street.

Its authority rejected by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the state Office of Information Practices now is curtailing its past practice of ordering other state and county agencies to divulge information that should be made public.

Carl Bonham had a choice to make after receiving his doctorate in economics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989: Accept an assistant professorship at the University of Hawaii at Manoa or go with one of the offers from mainland universities.

Papaya farmers on Hawaii island again have been victimized by what has all the appearance of organized vandalism.

Hawaii state law requires that police departments' 911 and dispatch tapes be made accessible to the public, for the good purpose of making police accountable.

The upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference should be a motivator to deal effectively with Hawaii's homeless problem, without devolving into an excuse for draconian measures.

For more than two decades, the limited law-enforcement arm of Hawaii's state government has sought a respected place and function.

The complaint before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board filed in the dispute over the Hawaii State Teachers Association contract is certain to leave a lasting imprint on the way government comes to terms with its workforce.

One of the most worrisome things about life in Hawaii is its cost, and yet it's hard to get people to act on one of its principal drivers: the price they pay for energy.

Suntanned University of Hawaii coeds who would like to wear bikinis in the University swimming pool yesterday staged a curve-in at the Diamond Head entrance of the pool.


Ocean thermal energy conversion — the technology known better as OTEC that more than 30 years ago was viewed as the great hope for this oil-dependent state — gradually lost some of the cachet it had among funders of research.

Hawaii came close to not only following other states but surpassing them in allowing victims of child sexual abuse to sue their long-ago offenders.

The state Department of Education and its teachers union have sparred for years over drug testing of faculty but may have finally resolved the issue as part of a contract proposal — even as that imposed contract is under dispute due to wider disagreement.

Few issues brought before the state Public Utilities Commission have deserved as much scrutiny as the proposal to transmit energy from windmills on Lanai and Molokai to Oahu.

Competition is often invaluable in judging performance in public contracts, and comparison by companies performing in nearby areas is useful — but those will disappear if the city awards a sole islandwide contract for handling police-initiated vehicle tows.

The enactment of a law that essentially begins the process of reestablishing Native Hawaiian self-governance on the local level is an important move, solidifying the state's stance of reconciliation toward its native people in the hope that federal recognition may follow.

One would have thought that elected leaders would have been scared straight by now, instead of letting sewage-treatment responsibilities get away from the city yet again.

The goal of the present-day State Historic Preservation Division is to get over its difficult past so staff can focus on their job chronicling and protecting history into the future.

The National Park Service has made numerous additional recommendations, but here are the mandatory corrective actions the State Historic Preservation Division must take by next June to avoid having its federal grant suspended.

Even for the slow-moving wheels of government, seven years is long enough for "temporary" storage use of prime Waikiki land earmarked for a public park.

When it comes to sanctions, a low number of them usually means a good thing. But when transgressions are unreported or under-reported, or there's a lack of urgency in investigating questionable situations, a low sanctions rate signals that the system needs tightening.

The state and the Army need to find a middle ground in their clash over mountaintop helicopter training on the Big Island, a solution that would lead to compliance with Hawaii environmental laws without running up an enormous and pointless expense for shifting the training to the mainland this year.

Two years after the ban on hand-held cellphones while driving took effect on Oahu, many drivers continue to bring their phones to the ear.

The charter schools movement has run into some particularly punishing headwinds in recent months — or, viewed from the more optimistic perspective, is facing an important crossroads in its development.

"Patriotism," Mark Twain once wrote, "is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.

While the nation continues to struggle from the recession, Hawaii has reason to be optimistic about recovery of tourism, the state's economic engine.

A proposal approved by this year's Legislature is aimed at removing a part of the state's health care law that calls for its termination as a result of a federal health care system taking effect.

The U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a slap but not a fatal blow to states and local governments experimenting with public-financed campaign options aimed at opening the elections process to more than those in a position to tap large-scale donors.

Hawaii gives the world something to emulate • The age of flat tires apparently is over

The fault lines have moved beneath the feet of public-sector labor organizations across the country.

Victims of crime in Hawaii deserve full restitution from offenders, but most are receiving little of what they were promised in court.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi were justified in taking the unconventional step of going public Friday with a "last, best and final offer" to the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

A study about Hawaii's military economy, published in June by the Rand Corp. and based on 2009 numbers, estimates that more than 100,000 armed services members and their dependents call Hawaii home.

This is Hawaii, so nothing is ever simple where land is concerned. But there's no reason the proposed land gift from developer Jeff Stone had to be this complicated, pushed to the point of unraveling.

Hawaii's tourism industry is excited about the first direct airline flights between Honolulu and Shanghai, which crack the door open to a new, potentially explosive growth market. The promise remains stymied, however, by the difficulty in Chinese travelers obtaining U.S. visas.

With the largest passenger booking ever carried by a Matson ship in regular service, the Mariposa arrived at noon today inaugurating what promises to be a record tourist week.


Hawaii’s public schoolchildren score above the national average in knowledge of U.S. history, but that is likely to drop with the reduction of social studies classes required in order to graduate from high school. A sagging of civic interest is likely to be the unfortunate consequence of a proposal moving forward at the state Board of Education.

The more hawkish on Capitol Hill are pronouncing President Barack Obama's Afghanistan drawdown timetable too rapid, putting the hard-won security gains of American and allied troops at risk.

The City Council seems to have dug in its heels on the issue of who holds the budgetary reins over the $5.

The state Supreme Court has rightly given a man a second trial allowing a jury to decide whether the striking of his stepson was justifiable discipline; the trial judge had refused to allow the defense attorney to use that as a defense.

With age comes wisdom, but that's only the best-case scenario. In the worst cases, elders become more and more vulnerable to scammers.

Change can be a positive thing — especially when the entrenched ways become an obstruction, rather than a help, to good public policy. But the chief executive officer needs to have a sound, articulated vision of what those good public policies are beyond a message of “it’s my way or the highway.”

Wind energy is cited among the green alternatives to fossil fuel, but environmental and community groups are irritated about the handling of a massive project to transmit energy to Oahu from windmills on Lanai and Molokai.

The Hawaiian islands are ideally situated to receive the best of radio reception from stations, far and near, either on the broadcast band or in the short wave spectrum.

Facing an implacable $32.8 million budget shortfall, the state Department of Education has been more aggressive in taking its cutting, streamlining and reorganizing efforts into the once-sacrosanct classroom.

Governments generally turn to regulating industries when a problem arises. Bradley International is now facing 153 charges for second-degree cruelty to animals for the dismal conditions in which it was breeding dogs. That case is sending a clear signal: State of Hawaii, we have a problem here.

As the Fourth of July approaches, the state must be prepared to patrol Ahu o Laka to prevent yet another drunken confrontation for which the 3-acre patch of sand off the Windward coast is becoming known.

Hawaii's attorney general had little choice but to drop his appeal of a judge's discarding of the state's limit on donations to political actions committees.

International travelers leaving Hawaii at Honolulu Airport were placed in danger by back-room federal employees who neglected to screen checked-in baggage for explosives in at least recent months.

Hawaii tourism officials were hesitant two years ago in agreeing to pay the National Football League $4 million for holding each of two Pro Bowls in Honolulu.

The consequences of sexting became widely known in the past week but is not likely to bring an end to the current technology pastime where children are the most vulnerable.

Public schools administrators have tried to safeguard the classroom from most of the fiscal pain the state has felt throughout this dismal era.

Every Sunday, “Back in the Day” looks at an article that ran on this date in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The items are verbatim, so don’t blame us today for yesteryear’s bad grammar.

The need for government-subsidized housing far outstrips the supply. That much is obvious from the backlog of some 10,000 applicants waiting to be placed in one of the state's roughly 6,100 public housing units.

The ride-sharing Vanpool Hawaii has seen success in its 17 years in Hawaii and should find ways to continue during what it expects to be a temporary cutoff of federal funds.

Court officials are checking into what happened in the case of accused killer Toby Stangel, as well they should.

City Council members revealed in recent weeks the cockeyed way they view their responsibilities.

This year's Legislature did nothing to deal with the staggering liability of the health care fund for current and retired state and county employees.

State officials say they are developing a plan to remove axis deer in Hawaii County but a wider venue is appropriate.

It’s called the world’s oldest profession, and it’s not exactly a new phenomenon in little Waikiki, either.

Here are the bills passed by the 2011 Hawaii Legislature that relate to prostitution, especially as it relates to human trafficking.

There's been no shortage of unsettling news on the economic front, particularly from the national perspective.


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