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Letters to the Editor

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Public losing right to beaches

Regarding the proposed Kyo-ya beachfront high-rise that would adversely bend the rules and overshadow a portion of Waikiki Beach: The rights and desires of the individual — and corporations — should rarely, if ever, trump the rights of the community. We can no longer afford it.

A high-rise building should never be allowed if it conflicts with the community’s enjoyment of our beaches.

Doug Fetterly
Honolulu

 

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The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~175 words). The Star-Advertiser reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include your area of residence and a daytime telephone number.

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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

Taxing pensions violates contract

I have been working at the City & County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting for 20 years.

One of the biggest disadvantages of working as a civil servant is the pay scale as compared to similar career fields in the private sector.

For me, remaining a civil servant was offset by the promise of retirement benefits to include paid-up medical benefits and a pension exempt from state income taxes.

Now the governor is proposing that state and county employee pensions be taxed. This appears to be a breach of the contract made with city and state employees. It is unfair both legally and ethically.

One can only fear that the paid-up health benefits will be the next to be taken away.

John M. Friedel
Hawaii Kai

 

Pensioners also should sacrifice

When times are bad, everyone needs to do their share to shoulder the burden.

Business, government, unions and citizens including retirees should contribute to reducing the state budget deficit.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s proposal to tax pensions above $37,500 for single filers, $56,250 for heads of households and $75,000 for joint filers is reasonable. We are not millionaires, but receiving the first $75,000 of our retirement income tax-free would still allow my husband and myself to do the things we have been doing in our retirement.

I hope the governor shows the same fortitude when it comes time to seek concessions from the unions. I voted for him and now I’d like to see him take Hawaii forward with fairness and conviction.

Maile Goo
Niu Valley

 

Kristof biased against Catholics

Columnist Nicholas Kristof exposes his anti-Catholic bias by not explaining why Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Olmsted stripped St. Joseph’s Hospital of Phoenix of its affiliation with the Roman Catholic Diocese ("Catholic hospitals in doctrinal dilemma," Star-Advertiser, Jan. 28).

It was not, as Kristof says, that the hospital "terminated a pregnancy to save the life of the mother." Olmsted (who was not quoted) maintains that the hospital did not follow Catholic ethical practices to try and save both the mother and child, especially when the death of the mother was not imminent.

Joseph A. Shorba
Honolulu

 

Civil unions law a positive step

I am a resident of Hawaii living in Taipei, Taiwan.

I am here because my male Taiwanese partner is not recognized by U.S. immigration laws in the same way that a married partner (i.e. heterosexual) would be recognized.

The movement toward a civil unions law in Hawaii will not, per se, resolve our immigration issues, but I celebrate the action nonetheless. My partner and I see each and every positive step in state and federal legislation that moves toward equality for all as a movement in the right direction.

Daniel Weddle
Honolulu

 

Service dogs not just for the blind

June Watanabe’s Kokua Line featured a concern about service animals ("Rules clarify ‘service animal’ definition but lack legal impact," Star-Advertiser, Jan. 28).

As a member of a service team — handler and service dog — I have come across countless occasions of public ignorance about service dogs. Additionally, people look at me strangely and I have even gotten comments like, "You’re not blind."

No, I am not blind, nor are countless others who have non-visible disabilities, which include diabetes, epilepsy, hearing impairment and mental illness. The American Disabilities Act defines a service dog as having "individually trained to work or perform tasks for a person with a disability."

What is needed is better education of what can be expected of service teams and the rights of the public and service dog teams. Additionally, there needs to be a concerted effort to bring to light those who falsely claim their pets are service dogs just so they can circumvent the law.

Todd Rohm
Makiki

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