A Positive Look At Government

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - April 28, 2005

This legislative session is rife with proposals which are not in the best interest of the state. The proposal to allow counties to increase the General Excise Tax 25 percent leads the list. I recall an opening day of the Legislature with assurances of tax relief for the general public. Now, all we hear about is the raising of taxes on the general public.

Binding arbitration, a labor practice battled against and repealed by former Gov. Ben Cayetano, is rearing its ugly head after being reinstated by Democrats during Gov. Linda Lingle’s first year. The cost to the state, and ultimately taxpayers, will be tremendous. Bills to diminish the governor’s authority are sailing through the Legislature, while much of a crime package submitted by state and local law enforcement is dying an agonizing death at the hands of the House Judiciary Committee.

I recently considered letters to the editor, news headlines and the content of my own radio program and noticed what could be perceived as relentlessly critical observations of our government. My job is to advance conversation and discussion, in this space and on the air, by presenting my opinion. We can either agree or disagree, but the point is there is a stimulation of discourse and debate. How many times have we been cautioned not to talk about politics and religion? On the contrary. I think we should discuss these types of issues even more.

It is somewhat natural to broach a topic for discussion by expressing concern, outrage or incredulity. That does not necessarily equate negativity. However, these sentiments are often driven by an issue’s deficiencies rather than its qualities. That said, I wanted to float a different kind of trial balloon.

“What are the positive stories about local and state government?”

What comes to mind for you? For me, it is an appreciation for the men and women of law enforcement, especially cops. I think HPD has one of the most difficult and somewhat thankless jobs in our community. The incredible spectrum of human condition an officer has to deal with every day is extremely challenging. To make matters more difficult, officers come under inordinate scrutiny from all sectors of our community. One screw-up and all hell breaks loose. I admire the overall professionalism of our safety officials and I believe they are a bright spot in our local government. To be consistent, I also want to include all agencies responsible for the public’s safety and security. Honolulu Fire Department, C&C lifeguards, prosecuting attorneys, etc. Well done.

I also appreciate the outreach government extends to those interested in starting a small business. The various business centers offering education, advocacy, guidance and financial assistance are a boon to those trying to take on a Herculean task — creating and sustaining a successful small business in Hawaii.

So what say you? I encourage you to share your sentiments and experiences about the positive aspects of government. I will pass on some of your recommendations in this space and on the air.

Now, about that money-grabbing bottle tax …

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