Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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July 09, 2008 - MidWeek
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Floating metal

Thanks to MidWeek‘s tremendous coverage, Hawaiian Electric made it through the graduation season with just two outages related to metallic balloons! We actually had no outages in all of May and were coming close to a perfect zero when these outages occurred on June 4 and June 5, just a few days from the end of graduation season. Still, we are very pleased with the overall campaign and very grateful for the partnership with MidWeek in supporting the “hold on to your shiny balloons” message and helping us to spread the word.

Interestingly, at the tail end of our campaign, the California Senate voted to ban helium-filled metallic balloons because they too frequently fly away and get tangled in electrical lines, causing hundreds of power outages in recent years and leading to millions of dollars in costly repairs for the utilities.

Here in Hawaii, there are no plans to ban metallic balloons, so it’s all the more important that we continue to promote our message so that the popular item can still be enjoyed safely by all!

Sharon P. Higa
Corporate Communications
Hawaiian Electric Company


Founders’ intent

In his column “The Supremes’ Constitutional Tilt,” Bob Jones lauds Justice Stephen Breyer and others who believe that the U.S. Constitution is a “living document” subject to being re-interpreted with the times. He then claims that sticking with the founders’ original intent “would give us something like Sharia, the Muslim canonical law that’s inflexible.” How patently absurd! Interpreting the Constitution with regard to our founders’intent has served us marvelously over the years. The ungrounded idea that it’s a “living document” has begotten only strife.

This has an interesting relevance to our times, in that Barack Obama has stated that he also believes that our Constitution is a “living document.”

Translation: From his standpoint, our rights are not necessarily inalienable, which would be the original intent of the writers, but instead can be rescinded by the government as interpretation of the document changes over time. How suicidal to vote for someone with that type of philosophy!

Steve Williams
Honolulu

Inalienable rights?

Regarding Bob Jones’ comments about the Constitution and the Supreme Court: I’m not sure if George Bush, Dick Cheney and their minions consider the Constitution a living document, but they have certainly taken away some of the rights I was taught in school that I have, inalienably.

Or maybe they flunked the test on the Constitution in school.

Or maybe they just don’t give a damn what the Founding Fathers wanted.

Whatever the case, it’s a sad commentary. Thank God their days in office are numbered.

James Gomes
Honolulu


Curious notary rule

We’ve all seen the public rhetoric and name-calling as Stop Rail Now closes in on the petition goal of 45,000 signatures. The city administration may be feeling the heat - the mayor has said publicly that he won’t let the Stop Rail Now initiative reach the ballot. Lines seem to have been drawn.

What may not be generally known is that each of those Stop Rail Now petition sheets must be notarized. And many of the 30,000-plus signatures already collected have been so notarized. As a notary public, I found it very puzzling when I was informed by a letter dated June 25 that Hawaii’s notary public seal requirements had changed - effective May 5, 2008, several weeks before the letter of notification. Because of the May 5 change to Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapter 5-11, every notary public seal in the state has to be replaced to satisfy new requirements. The delay in notification corresponds to the time that many of the Stop Rail Now signatures have been collected - and notarized under the old rules.

In a call to the deputy attorney general, who manages the notary services office, I asked about those documents that had been notarized between the date of the change - May 5- and the date we were notified of the change - June 25. I was assured over the phone that notarizations during that period using the old seals and the old rules are valid. But that leaves open several questions: Why was the announcement so late in coming? Will the Honolulu City Clerk accept Stop Rail Now petitions notarized during the intervening period?

Robert Kessler
Waikiki

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