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Opposite-sex couples will also use civil unions
Like nearly the entire Hawaii media, Hawaii Business appears to equate civil-unions legislation with “same-sex unions.” I have been looking at the issue from a different perspective for a long time: A Dec. 15 article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser points out that, in France, the overwhelming majority of civil unions are now between couples of the opposite sex. This article confirms what I have heard is also the result of civil-union laws in Australia and the states of Vermont and Massachusetts.
Any analysis of the economic impact of civil unions needs to take into consideration that it will not be limited to same-sex couples. Global society has been changing and research in the U.S. today shows that the majority of young couples are no longer getting married, and more and more couples consider marriage an anachronism. However, a large number of those mostly straight couples are interested in having the legal rights of married couples, and might like to take advantage of civil unions and other legal alternatives to marriage.
My prediction is that, in the next generation, we will finally get government out of the marriage business, turning it over to religious bodies, where it belongs, and government will be exclusively involved in recording secular civil unions.
Richard Weige, Salt Lake, Oahu
Money-saving idea never accepted
Greg Wiles’ article on the state’s long delays in cashing checks (December 2010) shows that the state has been losing a lot of potential interest revenue.
Some years ago, a vice president and branch manager at Bank of Hawaii told me about a solution he had. He said he had suggested to the state tax office that normal tax receipts be routed to a lock box for which BOH would have the key. The bank would add night staff to deposit the checks so the state could use or invest the funds the next day. He determined the bank would earn enough interest during the short time it had the money to cover its costs.
Unfortunately, the tax office never followed the suggestion, but perhaps some day it will.
Charity works with Maui Food Bank
The article “Feed My Sheep Donates Food on Maui” (February 2011) actually concerns two organizations that operate separately but work together to feed the hungry on the Valley Isle. As a partner agency of the Maui Food Bank, Feed My Sheep distributes food to those in need at six sites islandwide. The food comes from many sources, including the Maui Food Bank, donations from the community and wholesale purchases.
Our community’s combined efforts mean that Maui has been a hunger-free zone for the past two years – a testament to what we can achieve by working together.
CEO and Executive Director, Feed My Sheep
On TheBus, stand up for aloha
First as a UH student and then as a young attorney in downtown Honolulu, I was an appreciative patron of TheBus. I loved its prompt and friendly service. So I was surprised to read disparaging remarks about TheBus in a letter to the editor (December 2010). The writer alleged that buses are so overly crowded as to force people to almost always stand and that the service was far from friendly and prompt.
So, I called TheBus. It turns out the company serves 75 million boarding passengers per year. Its 525 buses roll a total of 86,000 miles per day – a distance equal to three times the world’s circumference. In short, TheBus is a huge operation with lots of customers, all of whom would like a seat.
Then, I reflected on what my mother told me: “Always give your seat to ladies and the elderly.” Such old-fashioned courtesies can be forgotten in any large city, even Honolulu. That’s where the spirit of aloha comes in. We should all “stand up” for aloha (sorry for the pun). Who knows, maybe the person you give your seat to will be the same person who sent the disparaging letter to the editor. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Companies Should Reduce “Oahu-Centric” Thinking
I own Communication Center of Hawaii in Hilo. We have been in business since 1976 and mostly we do telephone equipment for businesses, as well as some computer wiring, PA systems, etc. We are also a low-voltage electrical contractor. Some of our best-known customers are the Imiloa Astronomy Center, Lyman Museum, YWCA, and various county and federal offices.
I find that many companies that are headquartered on Oahu, and have offices on the Neighbor Islands, do not bother to contact on-island businesses for their Neighbor Island needs. The term I use is Oahu-centric.
Contacting a Neighbor Island business would result in better on-island service and, quite possibly, a better price. But few seem to think of making the effort.
Mark “Doc” Goldman, Hilo
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