The Philippines need our kokua
The historic and cultural bonds between Hawaii and the Philippines are strong, and our communities' roots run deep.
That is why I'm asking for your support for our brothers and sisters in the Philippines who are suffering from the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan.
There are many ways to get involved with the relief effort here in the islands.
Monetary donations may be made at any branch of every bank in the state, including American Savings Bank, Bank of Hawaii, Bank of the Orient, Central Pacific Bank, Finance Factors, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaii National Bank, HomeStreet Bank, Ohana Pacific Bank, Pacific Rim Bank and Territorial Savings Bank.
Donations may also be made online at The Filipino Community Center (FilCom Center) and The Red Cross.
For more information on other Hawaii events related to Typhoon Haiyan relief, visit alohaforphilippines.com.
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Governor
Diesel train is noisier
(The following letter was sent to West Maui County Councilwoman Elle Cochran.)
It's the end of November, and for about a month, the old black engine of the Sugar Cane Train is out of service.
It has been replaced by a diesel engine that emits a noise level - especially when approaching intersections and tooting its horn - that is unacceptable.
1) Is the train subject to a safety inspection like a car or truck? In that case, it should not get a "safety sticker." If your car is as loud, there is no way you would pass the inspection.
2) Is the train enjoying an exemption, and if so, who granted it?
3) Is the noise pollution just exceeding legal levels and nobody cares?
I would like to pose those questions to West Maui Councilwoman Elle Cochran, who, ironically enough, is on the Environmental Management Committee.
So, what's the answer?
I was told by an operator at the Wailuku Police Department that Maui has NO noise ordinance in general.
If so, this needs to be corrected - and as soon as possible.
Enough of the excessive noise. I am sure tourists do not enjoy it, and certainly not permanent residents who are exposed to it several times a day.
JOHN BLAHUTA, Lahaina
Groups want to keep strong military presence
Through an unprecedented partnership between The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Hawaii Business Roundtable and Pacific Resource Partnership, business and labor groups have committed to proactively work together to promote and preserve the military's presence in Hawaii.
In a post-Inouye era, this will be critical, as other states are actively advocating for military installations and missions by dedicating significant amounts of resources to attract the military.
This partnership commissioned a new public sentiment poll, "Hawaii Perspectives," which will be the first of many that will focus on key issues facing our state and conducted on a regular basis, allowing us to track trends and provide context to new issues that arise from time to time.
Key findings from the initial poll include:
92 percent of voters believe the military's presence is important to Hawaii's economy;
77 percent support military training exercises in Hawaii;
46 percent believe the economy is getting better, while 45 percent believe it is getting worse;
42 percent believe that the economy/jobs and traffic are the more pressing issues facing Hawaii; and
78 percent feel that the availability of housing that local families can afford is getting worse.
These results show overwhelmingly strong support for Hawaii's military and defense industry. Military expenditures in Hawaii total $8.8 billion annually, including $2.4 billion in military contracts for construction, supplies and services.
The direct and indirect impacts of these expenditures account for generating more than $14.7 billion into the state's economy and creating 102,000 jobs that report $8.7 billion in annual household earnings.
Furthermore, Hawaii has the highest military spending per capita among all the states.
For more information, check out media coverage in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and a Hawaii News Now interview with Howard Dicus.
Any significant reduction through a base closure action or other reduction in force will have a crippling impact on our economy and workforce, as well as the social fabric of Hawaii.
Recognizing the substantial economic contributions of the military to our state, the Chamber's Military Affairs Council (MAC) is adopting a more proactive strategy to maintain the current military presence.
We propose to do this in concert with the executive and legislative branches, including our congressional delegation, as well as with county government leadership.
In January, the chamber will rollout a plan outlining ways for stakeholders and our communities to get involved and support this important effort.
SHERRY MENOR-MCNAMARA, President and CEO, Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii
Republicans working to sabotage Obamacare
"Obamacare is an Obamanation." "Obamacare is a nightmare." "Obamacare is a train wreck."
After these letter headlines, it only gets worse with lies, innuendo and partisan outrage.
Why does the media publish this prejudiced opinion from Obama-haters and Tea Party Republicans?
Yes, the Obama administration deserves to be on the hot seat, but Republican and Tea Party politicians are incredible hypocrites for whining about Obamacares' failed introduction, since they did everything possible to sabotage it.
Most Republican governors have refused to set up state exchanges, forcing millions out in the cold in regards to healthcare.
Republicans in Congress, in a concerted effort, blocked funding for website contractors and refused to let Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius move money around to make up for Republican obstructions.
But there is good news; all this fuss about broken websites will become a historical footnote in no time, as Obamacare is up and running smoothly.