It’s ironic to read how the new “progressive” candidates talk about progress but their stances are nothing near it (“Progressive faction takes on status quo,” Star-Advertiser, June 15).
Many are running under false assumptions to begin with. With the Maui water rights, they don’t even realize that what they want denies fair allocation to the entire Upcountry area.
Many progressives also oppose GMOs and the Hawaiian Electric Co. merger with NextEra. They support expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, without a scientific basis, putting local fishermen out of work. They block the Thirty Meter Telescope that will help build a diversified economy based on technology.
If you want real progress, take a good look at what these progressives stand for.
Stop rail totally and fix the roads
I don’t understand all this commotion of where to end the rail (“The middle of nowhere,” Star-Advertiser, June 17). In Kapolei? On the moon? On Mars?
There’s a very simple answer. Stop it where it is today. That will stop this never-ending expense of a misconceived, mismanaged, misnamed rail project. Put the unions to work the next day tearing down those pillars, the ugliest things that have ever been forced on our beautiful aina. Have them grind them down and use that new material to fill the countless potholes and repave our rotten, Third-World roads.
Yes, imagine smooth driving that we haven’t had for many mayors.
If that requires some temporary property tax increase, so be it. It is for a true win-win situation.
Gerhard C. Hamm
Rail could go farther west
With talk about ending the rail route at Middle Street, what about the rail going west toward Waianae? Have express buses queued at the Middle Street terminal to take rail riders to their final destination.
Let’s honor vets of Korean War
On Memorial Day, I read an article about honoring all our veterans who gave their life for their country.
It was nice of state Rep. Ken Ito, chairman of the House Veteran and International Affairs Committee and an Air Force veteran, to commemorate all our veterans who served in the military. Accordingly, he mentioned that this year, the Legislature approved measures to fund a counselor for veterans, and $200,000 for the Vietnam Veterans 50th anniversary commemoration. In addition, there was a grant for the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
As a veteran of the Korean War, I was sent there in 1950 when it first started. I hope that next Memorial Day Ito also will honor all our Korean War veterans.
Rod Tam helped public libraries
Something needs to be said about Rod Tam’s support of public libraries.
Public libraries were once called a “stepchild” of the Department of Education (DOE). We were “lost” in that huge organization.
Tam served on both the House Education Committee and Senate Education Committee and helped the Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS) stay in the DOE, but as a separate entity. He started a library repair mission, similar to the road repairs being done now.
One challenge for HSPLS is to “help grow readers” from toddlers to teens. Since nobody has to come to the library, it is essential to have people and collections to draw them in, like a magnet to metal. With Tam’s help, we were able to add 11 more librarian positions, serving teens.
Please visit your nearest library to see your tax dollars at work. Know that Rod Tam had a hand in making things good as they are.
Rant against Tam had no balance
It was shocking to read Lee Cataluna’s rant against Rod Tam, with no balance (“Unrepentant Rod Tam back, like a rash on Hawaii’s okole,” Star-Advertiser, June 10).
Tam served on the education committees in both the House and Senate. He supported public libraries through thick and thin.
Back in the ’90s, then-State Librarian Bart Kane made a deal with Baker & Taylor, a North Carolina books company, to select and send all books for Hawaii’s libraries. There seemed to be a lot of titles they couldn’t sell. It was a mess.
It took the collaboration of neighborhood boards, the Hawaii Government Employees Association and eight concerned elected officials to make the change, including Tam and then-state Sen. David Ige. Nineteen others cared enough to also speak up and protest. I was one of them.
Nineteen years ago, Gov. Ben Cayetano signed Act 22, which returned selection rights to public library staff.
St. Louis Heights
Heiress could spend on schools
I am intrigued that Campbell Estate heiress Abigail Kawananakoa has so much income to put toward thwarting the Thirty Meter Telescope project (“State agency is sued over TMT judge,” Star-Advertiser, June 11).
Specifically, she wants to use her wealth to question the choice of retired Judge Riki May Amano as hearings officer of the TMT case. Amano has proven herself capable of sound good judgment through years on the bench.
As a Hawaiian who with limited means obtained a college degree, I wish Kawananakoa would use her wealth in a more productive manner, perhaps to provide more educational scholarships for Hawaiians. As a single parent, I worked several jobs to put my children through college. It was worth it. Today they are productive citizens, making a difference in our Hawaii.
Our ancestors used the stars to guide them here to ensure their survival. Like them, I want us to scrutinize the heavens using the telescope, to learn about our universe and, ultimately, ensure our survival.
Life-ending drugs not so easy to get
As an oncologist, I must correct Dr. Ira Zunin about the practice of medical aid in dying, the ability to receive a prescription for life-ending medication which is now legal in five U.S. states (“Accepting death as natural would alleviate fear, stress,” Star-Advertiser, Wealth of Health, June 4).
Namely, it is not available to depressed or suicidal patients; only to mentally sound adults with a terminal prognosis. They want to live, but have exhausted all options for healing. They may be facing excruciating seizures, breakthrough pain that even morphine cannot alleviate, or other terrible symptoms. It can give great comfort to know that aid in dying is available.
Zunin’s musing about a “slippery slope,” where a college student who fails an exam or a man who is disappointed over erectile dysfunction will be handed prescriptions to end their lives, is irrational. As 30 combined years in practice have shown, the law works as intended, allowing people the option not to prolong a painful death.
Charles F. Miller, M.D.