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Defining ‘Hawaiian’ needs an update

Native Hawaiians with $1-a-year land leases but no homes on two homesteads are eligible for federal money to help them build homes under a pilot program launched by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands ("Isles’ homesteaders to get funding boost," Star-Advertiser, Sept. 17).

The first U.S. federal statute establishing a program for Hawaiians, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921, defines "native Hawaiian" as a person with 50 percent or more Hawaiian blood. Subsequent amendments to this act has permitted spouses and persons with 25 percent Hawaiian blood to take over a lease as heir.

All U.S. federal statutes enacted since 1970 define "Native Hawaiian" as a person with any Hawaiian ancestry.

The division between "native Hawaiians" and "Native Hawaiians" will never be resolved until the 1921 act is repealed by the U.S. Congress. The term "Hawaiian" is an all-inclusive term. One Hawaiian: Equality for all.

Jimmy Wong

People could live in shipping containers

Finally, someone speaks up for shipping containers as housing alternatives, thinking outside the box for cheap housing.

I wrote to our last mayor about this very issue, to only have him pass the buck to someone else’s department.

In the Sept. 7 Star-Advertiser, there was an ad selling storage units "under the H-1 Freeway, next to Waikiki post office." Perhaps something like those could go toward housing homeless populations. A site to consider: the makai side before Sand Island Access Road.

Bernie Mattingly

Police and public are treated alike

This is in response to Richard Garcia’s letter about Honolulu Police Department Chief Louis Kealoha, asking that he treat the public the same way ("Treat public, police in the same way," Star-Advertiser, Sept. 25).

Garcia is misinformed if he thinks there is a double standard. If a person is arrested, it becomes public record and the media can request that arrested person’s mug photo.

The police sergeant who allegedly committed abuse wasn’t arrested, yet his picture and life story were plastered on every local news station. Is that fair?

There have beenofficers in the past with their pictures in the media after getting arrested. But the media didn’t follow up when that officer was found not guilty. Now there’s your double standard.

Mike Villanueva

UH executives should take pay cut

University of Hawaii President David Lassner proposes to reduce tuition rate increases for students by getting the Legislature to fund his generous gift to students ("UH plans no boost in tuition for 2 years," Star-Advertiser, Sept. 26).

If it passes, he is a hero. If it fails, he can blame the Legislature for the higher tuition rates, even though those rates were set by the university.

Rather than stray from a self-sustaining UH, I also have a solution to decrease student tuition. If the UH president, administrators, professors, coaches and other well-paid staff were to take a 10 to 20 percent pay cut, I’m sure student tuition fees could be lowered significantly. I’m sure the students would appreciate the commitment and generosity from within more than an impersonal handout from without.

Peter Chisteckoff
Mililani Mauka

New tax rate will affect rental rates

The current "Residential A" real property tax will contribute to homelessness.

The "Residential A" owners who rent their properties will raise the rents of their tenants. The renters who cannot afford it will seek more affordable housing, creating a downward spiral that forces those at the bottom into the street.

We should be doing everything we can to encourage more affordable housing, not hinder it.To that extent, I suggest three real property tax rates regardless of the property’s assessed value:

» The regular residential rate for property that is owner-occupied, orrented a minimum of 12 months to a renter who occupies the property (no subleasing).

» The "Residential A" rate would apply to all residential propertythat does not have a homeowner’s exemption.

» A "Residential B" rate, equivalent to the current resort tax rate, for all residential property, to include all property which any part thereof is rented, or subleased, for a term of less than 12 months.

Chris Godwin

Try strobe lights at road crosswalks

It’s getting disgusting that I keep on reading about these pedestrians getting run over.

The latest one was at the crossing by Castle Medical Center in Kailua.

When in the world is the state Department of Transportation going to use strobe lights across the long crosswalks? They have them all over Seattle.

Bill Kapaku

VA still making it hard for veterans

I am a disabled Navy Veteran currently residing in emergency housing at U.S.VETS (not associated with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) out in Waianae.

As a homeless veteran, I was assessed twice for HUD/VASH (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program), which is a housing voucher similar to Section 8.

I meet all criteria to obtain HUD/VASH, but continue being denied and told I’m too high-functioning. The case managers prefer giving these vouchers to those who have substance-abuse histories (I have none) and who cannot seek resources on their own.

The Veterans Administration has failed veterans in need again.

Leah Koonce

How to write us

The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~150 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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Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813



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