Editorials for Wednesday — August 13, 2003

• Adoptions

• Kauai Power Partners


Adopting a baby is a dream come true for couples who are childless, or who seek to raise another child. The openings for adoption in Asia are becoming scarcer, with China stopping the flow of babies earlier this year.

The Garden Island staff reporter Lester Chang completes his series on the adoption of Marshall Island babies on Kaua‘i in today’s issue. Chang has shown several sides to this story. Some say the practice of putting up babies born to Marshallese mothers and adopted on Kaua‘i and on O‘ahu should be better regulated. Others say the practice is a tradition with these Micronesians, and a great benefit to parents who adopt the babies.

The big question is whether practices surrounding the adoption of the fair to all parties, especially the birth mothers from the Marshall Islands.

Questions remain that the U.S. Immigration Service and the Marshall Islands’ government are working on. They include: Is adopting a baby from what amounts to a foreign country by having the mother come to Hawai‘i circumventing U.S. and Marshallese law? Does this practice boil down to being a baby factory where middlemen make some good money off the babies, who made be given birth to primarily to supply goods for this market?

The quandary is one without simple answers. In some ways it is the flip side of the abortion coin. Here babies are being given birth to for a reason through the wish of a woman, rather than being aborted through the wish of a woman. Yet it seems both practices have their share of controversy.

The ethics of bringing Marshallese women to Hawai‘i to provide babies for adoptions needs to be carefully looked at. The U.S. also needs to track what the life of the babies is like three, five and ten years out from their birth, as well as what the life of the mothers is like after the adoption.

Kauai Power Partners

The drama surrounding the sale of the Kauai Power Partners electrical plant mauka of Kapaia is at its climax.

The consultants who put the deal together to build the plant have won a positive decision from a jury in San Diego. This should help clear up the questions regarding clear ownership of the power plant prior to completion of its sale.

The price of the plant its owner Dominion has set seems a fair one for the Kaua‘i Island Utilities Cooperative, and well below the $50-million plus figure rumored to be the sale price.

Next comes hearings before the state’s Public Utilities Commission, which apparently will move ahead without much trouble.

Coming up next is the second election round for KIUC. With two directors resigning, and a new slate of candidates being drawn up, the mix of directors will have some new faces. Some existing board members may also have their terms boosted thanks to the resignation and appointment by the existing board.

To customers, whose bills have risen over the past year due to high fuel prices, more relief in the way of rebates would be welcome more than the new board of directors or the purchase of a new power plant. Hopefully in time these changes will bring these rebates.


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