Research jobs vital to growing economy
With a stroke of the pen, Gov. Linda Lingle sacrificed high-paying jobs for tax credits for wealthy investors by vetoing Senate Bill 2001. The administration ignored the significant importance of the extension of the research and development tax credit while lamenting the investment tax credit loss and its purported job loss. But all one has to simply ask is, How many permanent jobs were created with the tens of millions of dollars of investment tax credits given to "LOST"? The answer is none.
Conversely, the technology industry has grown to 5 percent of the gross state product, providing thousands of permanent jobs. States and nations aggressively compete for R&D companies, the high-paying jobs, the spinoff companies and the significant taxes paid by the companies and employees. States unwilling to compete simply lose jobs. The next Legislature and administration need to lead and not obstruct, before it is too late.
President and CEO, Pukoa Scientific LLC
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Fireworks show a display of pride
In reply to Pat Hurley’s letter asserting , "It’s astounding how easy it is for certain individuals and businesses to come up with $50,000 for a few minutes of pretty fireworks" (Star-Advertiser, July 3).
Those "few minutes of pretty fireworks" are a symbol of a celebration of our great country’s birthday and do have a positive impact on the community.
Come on over to the Kailua fireworks and town parade the day following the "positive impact" of Americans carrying on the tradition of remembering our country’s birthday and a good old small town celebration and some fun.
Drug policy must not worsen things
Neal R. Peirce makes a sobering argument for us to try a new approach to our country’s drug problem ("End the drug war," Star-Advertiser, July 5).
History taught us that Prohibition was effective only in pushing an illegal product’s manufacture, distribution and the collection of its revenues underground — and into the hands of vicious criminals.
Do we honestly think that is where it belongs?
Kagan correct in defining roles
Columnist Ben Boychuk’s condemnation of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s disagreement with Sen. Tom Coburn reveals the typical conservative’s ignorance of the founding documents ("What is Supreme Court’s proper role?" Star-Advertiser, July 5). Kagan was right to deny the Declaration of Independence’s relevance to the judiciary. Crammed with grievances against King George III, the declaration is an apologia justifying the colonial rebellion. In contrast, the Constitution is a blueprint for secular government, prescribing the roles of legal, executive and judicial branches. The declaration says nothing about these roles.
Ms. Kagan correctly condemned the simple-minded judicial philosophy of "originalism," principally afflicting Justices Scalia and Thomas, but also infecting Roberts and Alito. By condoning importation of slaves and counting them as 3/5ths of a person, the Constitution was far from perfect. Its principal author, James Madison, recognized its imperfection, notably in the Article V amendment process. If the Constitution was perfect, why provide for amendments?
Waikiki homeless must be curbed
Last month my wife and I spent our two-week vacation on Waikiki Beach. This was our fourth trip to the islands in the last six years. Every visit we have seen the increase in the homeless population, but the situation this last visit was appalling. I wish to relate a few incidents that happened, which, in my opinion, will hurt repeat tourism.
1. The restrooms along the beach were not accessible in the early mornings because they had become "homeless hotels."
2. One morning, I came onto two homeless men fighting. This was within 100 yards of the police station.
3. The following week, a homeless man was lying on the sidewalk, just outside the women’s restroom next to the police station, fondling his genitals. No police officers were visible.
My wife and I live in Florida, which like Honolulu, heavily relies on tourism for revenue. We also have a homeless situation, but have controlled it through law enforcement, shelters and strictly enforcing vagrancy laws.
St. Augustine, Fla.
Agriculture staff did not ‘bungle’
The "Under the Sun" column about the effort to control the invasive strawberry guava contains misinformation and does a disservice to all the dedicated entomologists, researchers and staff in many agencies who work hard to make sure that biocontrol programs are successful and conducted responsibly ("Despite its attractions, strawberry guava still a bully," Star-Advertiser, July 1).
It was the U.S. Forest Service, not the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) as stated in the article, that submitted the environmental assessment for the release of the natural enemy of the strawberry guava in 2008. The Forest Service later withdrew the EA and decided not to pursue the project. HDOA did not "bungle" this effort but instead felt the project was important enough to take over the lead and submit a revised EA for the sake of preserving Hawaii’s native forests. For more information, go to www.strawberryguavabiocontrol.org
Since the 1970s, when rules and procedures were established for releases of biocontrol enemies of pests, there have been more than 50 biocontrol programs by HDOA and all have been successful in controlling the target pests and none has harmed any native or beneficial plant or animal. The department’s programs include those that continue to control the notorious spiraling white fly, citrus blackfly, giant white fly, papaya mealybug and the erythrina gall wasp, which was destroying native wiliwili trees across the state.
Despite the hardships of layoffs and furloughs, HDOA staffers continue to work hard to protect Hawaii’s unique environment. We hope the agriculture industry and the community continue to support our efforts.
Chairwoman, Hawaii Board of Agriculture