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Letters for Tuesday, July 15, 2008

• Veto authority necessary

• Senator owes us an answer

• ‘The perfect storm’ of dissent

• What don’t I do?

Veto authority necessary

Our governor’s constitutional power to veto legislation is fundamental to the integrity of Hawai‘i’s system of government, which is based on dividing power and responsibilities into separate, independent branches. By keeping power from accumulating in the hands of the Legislature, the governor’s veto authority improves the quality of legislation and promotes compromise between the executive and legislative branches prior to passage of legislation. The veto power also provides a final opportunity to examine the efficacy of legislation from a wider legal and fiscal perspective, and helps ensure that the laws passed by the Legislature provide, on the whole, a net benefit to the state.

The veto power enables the governor to reject legislation that contravenes our state and federal constitutions. Hawai‘i laws must conform to these principles, so the governor is obliged to veto legislation in conflict with any constitutional provision.

Additionally, fiscal prudence may not be possible without vetoing pieces of legislation that create unfunded mandates and present other forms of fiscal irresponsibility. The fiscal impact of any single piece of legislation cannot be viewed in isolation, but must be looked at as part of the overall fiscal condition of our state and government.

Similarly, legislation must be vetoed if it does not result in a net benefit to the state. While a legislator represents the interests of his or her district, the governor must take a broad-based approach, evaluating the overall, long-term impact of each piece of legislation on the state as a whole. Although a given piece of legislation may benefit a few persons or groups within the state, the overall effect of such legislation may not necessarily be good for Hawai‘i.

The veto power is consequently a very important tool for maintaining and improving the overall well-being of our state.

Ezra Bendiner, policy analyst

Office of the Governor

Senator owes us an answer

Senator Daniel Akaka deserves our gratitude and a standing ovation for his heroic stance on the so-called FISA Compromise Bill. He was one of only 28 courageous senators who stood up on July 9 to protect the Constitution of the United States.

Senator Daniel Inouye, not so much.

Senator Inouye is a war hero and true patriot, and therefore it is puzzling why he would vote in favor of weakening the Constitution by taking away the protection of unreasonable search and seizure.

Two possibilities occur to me. One is that he was ill served by his advisers and didn’t realize the horrific nature of the bill. Perhaps his advisers, and maybe the senator himself, believed the vigorous defense of the egregious bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

But by now it has been shown that these defenses, which unfortunately play on our fear of terror, are weak and based on erroneous logic and outright falsehoods. These false arguments have been so convincingly destroyed that only those who are ignorant of the facts would still try to defend it.

As terrible as this first possibility seems, the second is even worse.

The Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, in a letter dated May 17, 2006, to then Speaker Hastert, revealed the names of 30-some senators who were briefed on President Bush’s illegal wire-tap program. As Chair of the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Inouye attended a briefing at the White House on Dec. 4, 2001.

Now to be fair, Sen. Inouye was not the only senator who did nothing about this illegal program after he found out about it. In fact, of all the senators who attended the briefings, only a handful had the courage to stand up and say “No” to the criminal activities of the Bush administration. Nevertheless this possibility must be considered: Did Sen. Inouye vote to retroactively make this program legal on July 9, 2008, and did he go along with this illegal program because he, like others, had, at least by virtue of not mounting an effective opposition to the program, bought off on it?

I believe our good senator, whom I respect and admire, owes us an answer to this puzzle.

Gy Hall


‘The perfect storm’ of dissent

Don Paul’s letter (“The cost of protest,” Letters, July 13) asserts that protesters chose “whales before people.” As one who chose to protest in the water I must remind him of another reason for being in the water: to protest the failure of government.

When Gov. Linda Lingle chose not to acknowledge over 6,000 signatures of Kaua‘i residents requesting a thorough EIS, the ultimate disrespect in my opinion, and the decision by Rep. Joe Suoki to not hear SB1276 on the floor of the House of Representatives, the failure of government helped to create the conditions for a “perfect storm” of dissent and disgust for officials and elected leaders to allow a company to put “profits before people.” This failure by our government and the attempt by HSF to bribe locals with $5 rides ahead of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court decision to overturn Judge Cardoza’s ruling helped to draw several thousand nonviolent protesters to assemble at Nawiliwili. By preventing the Alakai from operating before an EIS was conducted, these citizens, surfers and non-surfers, helped bring to light some of the failures of our government to provide clarity and guidance to businesses wanting to operate legally and ethically in Hawai‘i.

Despite Mr. Paul’s assertions, local family members can still choose to visit relatives or attend cultural events on neighbor islands. Advanced medical care is still available for seniors and local produce can still make its way to the Big Island.

I’m sure if more people knew that traffic clogging, gas guzzling RVs were allowed on the HSF, I bet more folks would’ve been in the water. I, for one, am glad that’s not the case.

James Trujillo


What don’t I do?

What do you do is the number one social question in our society. What do you do refers to what you do for money, to earn a living. Many people ask this question as a prerequisite to see if you meet their criteria and expectations. If you are not a doctor or lawyer, they move on.

When I am asked what I do, I say, “A lot, I get up, brush my teeth, stretch, pray, have coffee and breakfast, read letters to the editor, write a letter to the editor, shower, then I watch ‘The View,’ go for a walk, have lunch, swim, go to the library, go to the post office, take the bus to Costco for free samples and then I ride my bike home.”

The list is endless of what I do.

Please do not ask what I do, ask my name and say “Aloha.” Everything else will fall in place and divinity will reign.

Kimo Rosen



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