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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 6, 2010



"Responsible leadership" has been raised in a letter from the governor's office ("Criticism of Lingle plan is unjustified," April 2).

The House of Representatives has been very responsible in formulating its financial plan, which maintains a delicate balance between funding essential services and minimizing negative impacts on ordinary taxpayers and businesses.

Contrary to the governor's letter, the House has not passed a general excise tax rate increase. Why has she suggested otherwise?

Rather, the House has proposed a variety of revenue measures that are targeted and intended to minimize the negative impact on the general public and economic recovery. The measures include a temporary suspension of certain general excise tax exemptions which currently benefit relatively few businesses and persons, and the curtailment of the high technology tax credits which currently benefit relatively few high-income taxpayers. In general, the House package is "anti-special interest."

The governor's financial plan defers a substantial amount of state liabilities until after she leaves office. She proposes to defer $275 million in tax refunds that are due in this current fiscal year. She also proposes to continue delaying two months of Medicaid payments to health care providers, despite her emergency appropriation request for $40 million. Is this responsible leadership?

Rep. Calvin Say
Speaker, House of Representatives



Rob Perez's recent insightful articles about the elderly in Hawai'i hit the nail on the head once again. Although the issues he raises and articulates so well are not new, he manages to reach into the very complicated array of problems and pull out those that are the most compelling.

We know that with the first boomers turning 65 next year our meager capacity to respond will be stretched even thinner. When will we learn that preparing for the age tsunami is far more effective than waiting for it to swamp us?

Thanks to the well-written articles like these, perhaps we will do what needs to be done. The sooner the better.

Marilyn Seely



I want to clarify an important detail in the article, "Lieutenant governor candidates air ideas," (March 28). The article refers to me as the only candidate to oppose the Honolulu rail project.

The question as put to me on rail required a "yes" or "no" response, and there are many shades of gray in this complicated matter. It's just not that simple and your readers and the general public deserve a more concise answer.

In fact, I support mass transit as described by the O'ahu Coalition for Affordable, Flexible Transit. This group includes members of the American Institute of Architects Hawai'i, the League of Women Voters Honolulu, and Hawai'i Advocates For Consumer Rights. They make the case for " construction of the most technologically advanced, affordable, flexible, convenient, and safest mass transit system within the limited means of O'ahu's small tax base."

All agree that we must build a transportation system that will relieve the daily gridlock. For this to happen, all of the known planning and environmental issues must be dealt with before ground is broken on the $5-plus billion rail line. Failing this, we risk yet another Superferry debacle.

Rep. Lyla Berg



The Native Hawaiian Covenant recently signed by the U.S. Army, and acknowledged by members of the native Hawaiian community, is intended to be a symbolic, yet powerful first step in initiating a proactive dialogue between the native Hawaiian community and U.S. Army in Hawai'i.

It establishes basic principles and common interests, a commitment to enhancing mutual understanding, and expresses a desire to work together to achieve common goals in the future. The covenant doesn't deal with specific issues but identifies a positive and constructive path to resolve differences.

The covenant codifies the Army's commitment to open, transparent dialogue with native Hawaiian and community leaders, ensuring Army leaders who come after us understand the benefit of establishing a strong relationship with the Hawaiian community.

During my time here, I've learned native Hawaiian leaders are concerned with several Army-related issues: preservation and access to cultural and historic resources; continued protection of threatened and endangered species; the economic future of their people and the larger community; and that Army leaders and soldiers know and understand native Hawaiian culture and values.

This covenant is an important first step in talking through our mutual concerns, finding new avenues to address these concerns, and working together.

Col. Matthew Margotta
Commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Hawai'i



I simply had to respond to the egregious commentary in Victor David Hanson's column, "President should back off from hard tactics and try for real bipartisan answers," (March 25).

Wow. First off, Hanson comes from Stanford University's Hoover Institution, which sounds academic but is really a conservative think tank.

As for Obama needing to be more bipartisan, he tried that route, and was judged a softie by the right which chose a strategy of blocking anything he supported. Plus, the health care bill is already loaded with bipartisan compromise measures.

As for "hard tactics," one need only to look at GOP support for teabaggers and crypto-racists, together with their very disciplined use of anti-big-government fear-mongering rhetoric originated in rightist think thanks. Where were these folks when President Bush pushed through Medicare Part D, a "big-government" benefit designed to court a desired voter segment and a great boon to the pharmaceutical industry?

The Bush administration oversaw the greatest shift to disparity between the highest and lowest income groups in the United States, and Hanson represents a group that wishes to extend that gap. So let's be clear on who is calling Obama partisan.

Ken Rubenstein