Letters 3-11-14


Most of island is like a Third World country

The Kailua Village farmers market looks like a place from a Third World country? Why should it look different?

We are like a Third World country. We have more dirt roads than paved roads. About 90 percent of the properties — not just houses — are on catchment water, about 90 percent of the properties are on cesspools, we have numerous approved subdivisions where many properties don’t have electricity, phone service and more. Even our elected officials have the characteristics of the leaders of the Thirld Word countries. The farmers market fits in perfectly.

John S. Rabi

Kailua-Kona

Legislator’s actions hurt Big Island

Opening the Sunday morning paper to see that Lorraine Inouye will run against state Sen. Malama Solomon this August in the Democratic primary election was great news and I’ll tell you why.

A group of us attended Sen. Solomon’s legislative update recently, eager to hear what’s going on at the Legislature this session and glad for the opportunity to ask questions of the senator. The crowd was bigger than normal with the majority of those in attendance concerned about the stalled shooting range, which has been opposed by the hotels. We appreciated hearing Solomon’s support for the shooting range and her helpful suggestions to bring the opposing sides together.

What we did not appreciate was her handling of the questions not pertaining to the shooting range. She did not even entertain other questions until less than 15 minutes before the end of the hour-and-a-half meeting, announcing she had a plane to catch. Then instead of reading the questions posed for the benefit of the entire audience and then answering them, she cherry picked the subject from the questions and then went off on her own tangent giving us her personal opinions. Not one of at least five questions put forward were honestly or fairly answered.

Sen. Solomon is of the mind that Honolulu knows better than the counties what’s good for them. She is not for home rule as evidenced by her support for the controversial Public Land Development Corporation last session and the pre-emption bill introduced this session to nullify Act 113. She falls heavily on her years of experience in politics and oft repeats that “she’s just doing her job.” But I know more than a few people who welcome an opponent to Sen. Solomon this August. Someone who may be more representative of Big Island concerns.

Michelle “Mike” Kerr

Waikoloa

HELCO pitting affluent against poor

George Orwell would be proud.

Now we have Hawaii Electric Light Co. and the mayor’s Energy Advisory Commission stirring up class warfare by blaming high electric rates for the poor on the number of solar power systems installed by the affluent and businesses. Whatever happened to the law of supply and demand?

If installed solar power systems are decreasing the overall demand for electricity, the cost should go down, not up. When demand for electricity decreases, HELCO imports less oil and its overall cost of doing business should go down. HELCO should pass these saving on to consumers, not charge them more. But in this era of doublespeak, we have HELCO telling us that the poor are paying more for electricity because the affluent are setting up solar systems. That is balderdash.

The fact is, every new solar system reduces the demand for HELCO’s product and cuts into HELCO’s bottom line, so HELCO is trying to make up the difference by charging more to those who cannot afford solar. HELCO is a monopoly that is finally seeing some real competition and it is feeling the pinch. HELCO is doing everything in its power to block new solar installations, including pitting Hawaii Island residents against each other. Standard Oil could take lessons.

By the way, if solar power is so bad for the poor, what are all those solar panels doing at the West Hawaii county offices?

Art Tarsa

Kailua-Kona

Tax and spend has got to stop

Once again we see our legislators talking about raising our taxes. The new Internet sales tax is just the latest of their arrogance.

We already have some of the highest taxes in the United States but that doesn’t make the Democrat rulers happy. Do we ever hear them talking about cutting spending? Not much chance of that as long as they keep giving away taxpayers’ money.

Now that we have fewer “senior legislators” at the federal level to spend taxpayers’ money, the state legislators are doing their best to come up with new taxes to drain those of us living in Hawaii dry.

Being the “bright” bunch of politicians they are, they pay little attention to the fact that each time they raise or adjust taxes they are hurting the very ones they give the handouts and benefits to. Slapping new and increased taxes on hotels, flights, anything they can think to tax does not help the population.

They should be finding ways to cut expenses, such as the ridiculous rail system for Oahu that taxpayers will end up being stuck with.

Wake up people, tell your legislators it is time to stop looking for ways to tax us more. Perhaps it’s time to remove those who just want to add more burden to those living “in paradise.”

Frank Dickinson

Kailua-Kona

Mandatory retirement of state justices the wrong move

Frank Dickinson’s recent musings over the governor’s power to appoint state Supreme Court justices represent yet another chapter in his saga of obsessive disdain for all things “Democratic” (party, that is). This time, under the guise of protecting youthful voters from out-of-touch “old guys” on the court, he urges a “no” vote on raising the current mandatory retirement age of judges from 70 to 80 as part of his strategy to restrain duly-elected governors from exercising their constitutional authority to appoint justices whose values they share but which Mr. Dickinson finds repugnant.

Focusing on the forthcoming retirement of Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice Simeon Acoba Jr. and his inevitable replacement by Gov. Neil Abercrombie as shining examples of Democratic Party liberalism run amok, Mr. Dickinson does not point to any decision written or joined in by Justice Acoba which fails to apply sound legal principles to the issue under consideration.

I wonder what Mr. Dickinson thinks about lifetime presidential appointees to the United States Supreme Court, most of whom stay on well past the age of 70, often into their 80s, even 90s (eg. John Paul Stevens). Remember Warren Burger, appointed chief justice by Richard Nixon at the age of 59 and who served on the court until the age of 79? Harry Blackmun and Louis Powell, both Nixon appointees, served into their 80s. Then there is former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, first appointed by Nixon as an associate justice at the age of 48 and later elevated to chief justice by President Ronald Reagan at the age of 64 where he served in that capacity until his death at the age of 81. Sandra Day O’Connor, appointed by Reagan, served 25 years on the court until her retirement in 2006 at the age of 76.

Currently sitting on the high court are several jurists also known to follow a conservative philosophy in their judical writings — Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, another Reagan appointee, now in his 28th year on the court at the ripe old age of 78; Associate Justice Thomas, appointed by George H. Bush in 1991, currently 66 and going strong; and then there are Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Alito, both appointed by President George W. Bush, who are expected to serve on the court indefinitely.

Of the 45 Republicans in the United States Senate, 60 percent are between the ages of 60 and 80 (29 percent are between 70 and 80). Among such notables are Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Richard Shelby (Alabama), Jim Inhofe (Oklahoma) and Mitch McConnel (Kentucky). Daniel Inouye served Hawaii for 52 years in Congress until his death at 88.

Limiting judicial service on the Hawaii Supreme Court to those younger than 70 will not alter the historical and philosophical underpinnings of gubernatorial appointments — Democratic or Republican. We are a pluralistic society and our system of governance, like those governed, is not perfect. It just seems to work better than most others.

Edward H. Schulman

Kailua-Kona