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Cachola undecided on fireworks ban

I would like to comment on the article "Council split on fireworks ban," which appeared in the July 9 Star-Advertiser.

The article incorrectly reported that I am a "definite no" vote on Bill 34 (2010), which calls for a total fireworks ban. The truth is that I’m still undecided. In fact, I clearly expressed to your reporter some of my concerns as follows:

» The bill is insensitive to cultural and religious events which should be addressed.

» Having been given the prerogative by the Legislature to regulate fireworks, the counties should collaborate on a uniform policy to deal with illegal shipments of fireworks.

» Since aerials and smuggling of illegal fireworks constitute most of the problems, enforcement is the key. Why pass a bill if it cannot be adequately enforced?

Bill 34 (2010) is still a work in progress. As such, I will wait for its final version and carefully weigh both sides of the argument before making a decision.

Romy M. Cachola
Councilman, District VII


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Rushed Akaka Bill will cause Hawaii discord

The Akaka Bill’s passage is assured now that our Republican governor agrees with the current version that grants the state authority over certain "Hawaiian government" activities. Imagine, with an apartheid arrangement, two governments, one race-based, existing cheek by jowl in a society that used to be advertised as a model of racial blending and cultural assimilation for the whole world.

Yes, the political stars are aligned, so hurry and get it passed before there is any serious discussion in Congress or locally as to what the possible ramifications might be. If nothing else, expect heightened ethnic disharmony and "native rights" litigation ad nauseam.

Tom Freitas
Hawaii Kai


Mayor Harris did make wastewater strides

While a frequent critic of the Harris administration during my tenure as public works chairman of the City Council, to imply that Mayor Jeremy Harris did nothing but pass on the mess to Mayor Mufi Hannemann is factually wrong ("City’s settling of sewer suits means mayor can collaborate," Lee Cataluna column, July 2).

Harris showed real leadership by working with the Board of Water Supply to install the water recycling facility at Honouliuli, which brought a significant portion of the flows up to tertiary treatment. His administration pushed ahead the expansion of Honouliuli, which included secondary treatment for which no federal waivers were available.

It was Harris who entered into a massive agreement with the EPA as part of a consent decree to upgrade the collection system as well. Miles of pipe were rehabilitated during his term.

Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of projects to upgrade Honolulu’s wastewater system were accomplished during his time as our mayor. While he and I disagreed over the waivers, significant progress was made.

Steve Holmes


Vagrancy, antismoking laws are deal breakers

Having recently completed a multinational conference with participants from 24 nations in the Pacific Rim and Europe, I can tell you that our state and local governments are not helping bring these groups to Hawaii with the ridiculous antismoking laws and vagrancy problems we are now dealing with. Of the negative comments I heard at the conference, those two stood out.

Hawaii is a beautiful vacation destination but it is not the only one in the world. Many of the suggestions for our next conference were not Hawaii but Pattaya Beach or Phuket, Thailand.

Both are less expensive and where on their off time, participants could sit, have a drink and smoke if they desired without feeling like a criminal.

Robert W. Holub
Ewa Beach


Nuclear energy is way to go for future needs

While windmills and solar provide some limited and erratic energy, the only long-term source for safe and nonpolluting energy is nuclear. The recent development of small underground reactors could provide Hawaii with inexpensive and inexhaustible supplies of electricity that can be used to fill all current needs, and is also easily expanded to provide for future needs, including the next generation of electric highway vehicles.

Today, the main problem is political, not technical. Small nuclear power plants have been safely powering submarines, battleships, aircraft carriers, etc., for many years. What is needed now is some truly far-sighted leadership, along with some fact-based education of the voting public.

Bud Weisbrod
Aurora, Colo.



Leaders must lead

I was part of the majority that voted against same-sex marriage, but even then I favored civll unions rights. A homosexual partnership opposes the law of nature, so legalizing such would have been wrong. But it is obvious that nature is not always perfect, so when possible society needs to make accommodations as long as no harm comes to itself. Civil unions should be one of these accommodations.

Christians argue sin while proponents seek compassion but at the end of the day House Bill 444 does not condone a way of life, it accommodates it. Every lawful citizen deserves to be treated fairly.

We need our leaders to lead, especially against a majority. Our leaders should have led us away from racial segregation. They should have led against the corraling of Japanese-Americans into internment camps and elsewhere, leaders should have led against much, much worse.

Warren Higa


Equal rights for all

The Hawaii State Democratic Women’s Caucus deplores Gov. Linda Lingle’s decision to veto HB 444. This is just the latest in a long line of policy decisions that compromise the rights of women and minorities in our state. Over the past eight years, the governor has also waffled on choice for women; has vetoed legislation to provide emergency contraception for rape victims in emergency rooms; has attempted to slash health care benefits to the poorest among us; and has failed to nominate women to the bench and to the Board of Regents.

We remind current legislators and all candidates seeking elected office that the job of elected leaders is to protect the rights of all and that those rights are not subject to approval by a popular vote. Equal rights for all is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, as is the separation of church and state. We call on the next Legislature to pass a civil unions measure giving the LGBT community the rights that are theirs. Let Hawaii be the Aloha State, not the Theocratic State of Hawaii.

Ann S. Freed and John Bickel
Hawaii State Democratic Women’s Caucus


Let the people decide

Legitimacy of law, and its moral basis, MUST lie with the consent of the governed. Always.

Major societal changes will be illegitimate without ALL citizens having an equal voice in giving their approval to such a societal restructuring, by referendum.

For this reason, the governor’s veto of House Bill 444 is correct: such a major societal change as requiring by law that our communities now value all sexual relationships as equivalent, that the traditional legal status and role given to heterosexual marriage since the first laws were ever written, cannot be forced on to our communities by a few politicians alone, especially by less than open legislative practices as recently occurred in Hawaii.

Only by referendum should our communities and society be allowed to be restructured.

Power to the people, always. The ends do not justify the means.

Walter Moe, president Edward Gutteling, vice president
The Conservative Forum for Hawaii


People already voted

This issue has faced the people of Hawaii once before and once before the majority of the people of this state said "no," this is not what we want in Hawaii. Do the supporters of HB 444 support the democratic process or not? Do they believe in putting their cause before the people and letting the people, the voters decide what they want and do not want in their state? They probably say they do, yet when that process results in a decision not in their favor, it’s not acceptable.

People are missing the point: They keep using the term "equal rights"—well, it’s not about equal rights. The Civil Rights Act gave us equal rights. The question here is personal rights. Same-sex couples and supporters who want to see HB 444 passed want the right/privilege to be considered married, but they hide behind semantics, calling it a "civil union"—bottom line, it’s a marriage.

The governor followed the lead of the people who put her where she is; that’s how the system works. Any attempt to circumvent that or change it is not asking for equality, it’s demanding superiority.

Deborah Pearson


Right thing not done

It sometimes falls to those who are in charge of things, governors, mayors, presidents and so on, to make difficult decisions. That is part of their job, and their responsibility.

It is understandable, given human nature, and yet bitterly sad when they fail in their job and abdicate this responsibility.

The case is most clear when, as with HB 444, the right thing to do is blindingly obvious although perhaps not the most popular course.

One mourns the notion of governance, nailed to the cross of popularism.

Michael Stroup


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