Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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Letters to the Editor

Allegations not proof of guilt

House Bill 1141 and Senate Bill 1437, which limit public access to comsumer complaints, are good bills. With all due respect to Bruce McCullough ("Filed complaints should be public," Star-Advertiser, Letters, Feb. 15), here are a few reasons why:

» False complaints can be made to the detriment of a competitor’s business.

» An innocent person’s business can be affected by a case of mistaken or stolen identity (which happened to my neighbor) and the mistake cannot be rectified.

» Most important, we live by a form of English common law under which an individual is deemed innocent until proven guilty.

McCullough wants to revert back to the spirit of Napoleonic law by deeming an individual guilty before any investigation. This is presently done by posting false or malicious accusations by unscrupulous or mistaken people alongside valid complaints on the Internet. That is not fair.

Patrick Balvin


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Obama actually spending more

The Obama adminstration’s 2012 budget proposes to spend $3.48 trillion on everything except the interest on the national debt. This is a 7 percent increase over what the government spent in 2010.

Remember, a lot of stimulus money was flying out the door in 2010. Today I received a letter from Rep. Mazie Hirono assuring me that she and her colleagues in Congress will closely review President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget proposals. Today, all I heard was the howling over the deep, tough, painful cuts from her colleagues about the proposed budget.

You might want to ask yourself how would you feel if you had 7 percent more to spend next year than you did this year.

Tom Fragas


Let seniors keep their pensions

I was there to hear Gov. Neil Abercrombie address the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee on cutting our retirement benefits ("Medicare reimbursements unjustified, governor says," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 12).

He lectured the retirees using his famous canoe analogy. He implied that while everyone else is paddling to pull the state out of the fiscal mess, the retirees are just sitting and watching them stroke.

To balance the budget, former governors and politicians have been raiding and skimming the employee retirement system for 40-plus years. Now, Abercrombie wants to tax pensions and revoke Medicare reimbursements. We are on a fixed income and retirement was planned on a promised compensation.

What canoe was he in when he protested against the Vietnam War as the GIs returned? And what canoe was it that made his absence from all those congressional votes acceptable? Who paddled then?

Gov. Abercrombie, please just leave all of us older retirees and others who have earned all their retirement benefits alone. We will all die off soon enough without you and other politicians taking our earned retirement benefits.

Floyd Burns
Pearl City


Pro Bowl bus poorly managed

Having been a transportation writer and columnist for 38 years, I was disappointed by express bus service to and from Aloha Stadium for the NFL Pro Bowl.

The "premium" fare of $12.50 roundtrip from Waikiki was transit robbery compared to the $2.50 one-way fare for other rides.

After the game, TheBus personnel could have pre-sold tickets out of a portable kiosk at the bus-staging area, preventing customers from fishing for exact change for the fareboxes, delaying boarding.

Route supervisors ordered doors closed when seats were filled rather than allow "crush loads" that provide for more efficient use of equipment and personnel. Buses provide stanchions, handlebars and seatbars for standees in such circumstances.

Meanwhile, I was pleased to read about Hawaii’s first rail transit project. It will increase mobility, add new dimension to the city and alleviate traffic congestion. But be forewarned: The system will cost more than estimated. Don’t expect it to be finished on schedule.

Joe Grata
Pittsburgh, Penn.


Dogs deserve more aloha

I am the secretary of Boxer Club of Hawaii and have a male Boxer that I have used for breeding. I strongly support House Bill 1621 and its companion, Senate Bill 1522, which would regulate large-scale breeding operations.

Frequently, I hear from those who have purchased a Boxer from an unethical breeder. The health issues these poor dogs face could have been prevented by the applying minimum care standards in these bills.

Breeding dogs is an unregulated industry that puts profits above animal welfare. According to the Humane Society of the United States, Hawaii in 2010 was ranked in the bottom tier as a humane state. Hawaii is characterized by a sense of aloha and ohana, so this record of weak animal protection laws is shocking and must change.

Theresa Donnelly


People’s musicians true winners

Carlos Andrade was right on when he commented that Hawaiian music has "mostly been the people’s music" ("Grammy fractures Hawaiian music circles," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 15).

Having a Hawaiian music category in the Grammys may be a good thing, but whom do the nominated artists really play for? Do they play for the people or, as Andrade pointed out, for the Grammy audience? I can tell you from first-hand experience that one of the nominees this year is truly dedicated to the people. Cyril Pahinui visits our school, Connections Public Charter School in Hilo, every Tuesday. Cyril is teaching a group of our students to play the steel guitar. He is inspiring a new generation and teaching them to love Hawaiian music.

Congratulations to all of the Hawaiian musicians who were nominated. I respectfully pose the question: What are you doing for the people?

John Thatcher


Music contests judged subjectively

It seems unfortunate that Tia Carrere and Daniel Ho have been put in a defensive position after their Grammy win. Music is art, whether embraced by one or a million. Whenever judges’ opinions are tallied concerning anything subjective and a winner is announced, controversy is sure to follow — be it for music, film, beauty pageants, hula contests, ice skating, "American Idol" or even a dog show.

One thing all of these contests have in common is that they give us an opportunity to both celebrate and bash each other. Now that’s aloha.

Mark Ida
Salt Lake


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