Shell games bad budget policy
Anyone who has driven on Moanalua Road and Kamehameha Highway in the Aiea-Waimalu area will attest to one thing: The condition of the roads are horrendous, period. I know there are a lot of roads elsewhere that are the same or worse.
So how come our legislators want to raise vehicle taxes with no guarantee the money will be used to fix our roads? Legislators also want to raid the hurricane relief fund for purposes other than for hurricane relief. And now, in another stab in the back to the taxpayers, they want to divert $200 million from the city’s rail fund to the state, replace it with a $300 million bond (since issuing a bond for the sole purpose of balancing the budget doesn’t look good) and extend the half-percent general excise tax rail surcharge two more years!
Once again, instead of cutting spending, our same legislators continue to play shell games to extract more money from the already overburdened taxpayers.
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Civil unions not true equality
Your article demonstrates that there is, indeed, a road ahead to full equality under the Constitution and laws of Hawaii ("Civil unions: the road ahead," Star-Advertiser, March 6).
I in no way mean to belittle the great work done by Equality Hawaii and the decency and political courage demonstrated by our governor and Legislature. But the truth is that civil unions do not provide full equality.
When a straight married couple moves from Massachusetts to Hawaii, they have full protection of the law as a couple the second their feet hit the ground. My partner of 21 years and I were legally married at our then-home in Massachusetts in 2005. We became legal strangers to one another when we moved here. We will continue to be legal strangers until Jan. 1, 2012, when the civil unions bill takes effect.
Marriage is a constitutional right. Civil unions are not — they are a matter of legislation. What the Legislature can give, it can also take away. That is a huge difference.
Shark’s Cove restroom filthy
I’m concerned about the appalling condition of the Shark’s Cove restroom on the North Shore. The urinal is inoperative and drains to a hole in floor. The stench and overall condition of this restroom is sickening and, at best, an embarrassment to local residents and the state. Can you imagine the reaction of our visitors? Are these conditions limited to just the men’s restroom or limited to just this park? I don’t think so.
Our families and visitors deserve better.
IBEW missed an opportunity
Precisely when the political right is waging a concerted and savage attack on workers’ rights, blaming unions for our current economic downturn, trying to turn the public’s sentiments against them, who would have thought a union would foolishly cooperate in its own denigration?
That’s exactly what the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers did by carrying out a strike against Hawaiian Electric Co. in the midst of a severe storm that left thousands of Oahu residents without power.
Would it have been so difficult to delay the strike a few days, until the crisis was resolved?
Forcefully proclaiming that they’ve temporarily placed the welfare of the community before their own bargaining positions would have earned IBEW a place in our hearts.
I’m afraid just the reverse happened.
Wally Yonamine loved in Japan
I was saddened when I read that Wally Yonamine had passed away in Honolulu at the age of 85.
Wally came to Japan to play with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants, which was the best team and took the title every season. My father took me to watch the games at the Giants stadium in Tokyo. Wally was the first batter with the Giants and he kept hitting averages over .300. He was not a home-run hitter, but he hit middle-range hits that gave the next batters a better chance to make more scores. He was an important and reliable player for the team, just like Ichiro Suzuki is with the Seattle Mariners today.
Wally was a very unusual player for me. He was always smiling and showing his white teeth, even when the game was on. Most other Japanese players in those days didn’t smile or show much expression. But Wally seemed happy about enjoying baseball.
Goodbye, my baseball hero from Hawaii. Your smiling, tanned face stays in my mind forever. I will never forget you.