Letters to the Editor
Don't blame Akiba for Democratic loss
Lee Black's Nov. 11 letter to the editor calling for the resignation of Lorraine Akiba as Hawai'i's Democratic Party chairwoman was about as unfair as you can get.
No one has worked harder and sacrificed more to revive Hawai'i's Democratic Party this year than Akiba. She's put more time and energy into this position than most people put into their full-time jobs all for the grand compensation of zero dollars.
The lesson to be learned is that one person cannot single-handedly change the outcome of an election.
It's time Democrats stop pointing fingers at individuals and start working together as a team. They have four years to get it together ... and not a moment to spare.
Democrats brought us a high quality of life
If the Democratic Party is at fault for the last 40 years of life in Hawai'i, I thank it very much. My family has enjoyed a quality of life unmatched by my Mainland counterparts.
We have sun, surf and the best weather in all of the 50 states. My wife and I are products of the public schools (Farrington High School) and are proud of it. My two children attended the public school system and are college graduates: one is a lawyer and the other a business person. That's pretty good for a failing public education system.
After 30 years of working in the public service sector of our community, I retired and live quite comfortably on my retirement pension.
Good luck to Governor-elect Lingle and the Republican Party. I hope they can match the last 40 years of Democratic "oppression."
Clayton S. Izu
We must insist that Democrats cooperate
Now that Hawai'i has selected a new governor, we must give her all of the support possible. She is going to need it as she "works" with the Democratic majority that will try to stall all efforts of change.
We have already seen their attitude by the statements they have made that indicate a drastically reduced budget for transition and for appointees by the new governor. What a shame. These people still don't get it.
Linda Lingle is going to need the help of the voters to keep their representatives aware that the public is watching them. The public expects integrity and honesty from their Legislature. Efforts to thwart the change needed will only serve to invigorate the electorate to work even harder from now to the next election to put them out of office, too.
As citizens of this beautiful state, keep in touch with your senator and representative to let them know we are all watching their actions and expect them to cooperate with the new governor. Let's keep their feet to the fire.
We certainly did get best money could buy
A few days ago, a writer to this page opined that with the recent election, we now have the best president and governor "that money can buy." But isn't that exactly what we got with Bill Clinton and Ben Cayetano?
Not only that, we also got the best presidential pardons, the best local and national scandals and corruption, the best sex scandals, the most indictments of local and national politicians and the greatest threat to our national security since Hitler and Tojo.
Yes, I can see that Bill and Ben were a much better bargain.
Jack M. Schmidt Jr.
Let's establish an annual "Dobel Prize" for political obtuseness. The obvious first awardee, for 2002, would be Evan himself. Future awardees could be nominated by a panel of editors, who could also select an appropriate prize.
John C. Burgess
Lingle isn't keeping her political promise
I was dismayed to read that Governor-elect Linda Lingle had hung up the phone on UH President Evan Dobelle when he made a courtesy call. Is this the other side of Lingle that the public is unaware of?
I would expect a governor to be above pettiness and show respect to everyone regardless of their political differences.
Whatever happened to her campaign promise to work with all concerned parties, both private and public, to move forward for a better Hawai'i? This is a poor start at fulfilling that promise.
Don't forget GOP lost seats in House
Good editorial postmortem on the Lingle win. You should have noted the fact that the GOP failed to retain seats in the House and were lucky to get the two additional Senate seats to reinforce the fact that the Democrats are not out of the political picture quite yet.
The reporters' analysis of the district breakdown of the votes were very good.
Condemn apartments, create wedding chapel
The City Council has scheduled a second reading on Resolution 02-300 for tomorrow.
This resolution, which passed first reading by an eight-to-one margin (with John DeSoto dissenting) would permit the condemnation of Kahala Beach Apartments, owned by the Kamehameha Schools, in favor of the 31 lessees seeking this condemnation.
It doesn't seem to matter that perhaps 20 of these lessees do not meet the qualification criteria stipulated by Chapter 38, which provides the legal basis for condemnation action. This is another sterling example of the council actions reflecting commitment to the public good.
Permit me a more modest proposal:
Our cash-strapped city government should instead condemn the property to its own use and evict all 192 tenants. The building can easily be converted into a multilevel wedding chapel, which could be appropriately named the JFK Memorial, i.e., John Felix Kamehameha Memorial.
The benefits would be threefold: 1) It would link two of the greatest names in Hawai'i political history, 2) provide a much-needed new income stream to Honolulu Hale and 3) eliminate limo congestion and neighborhood angst in Hawai'i Kai.
We could then set our minds to more pressing matters: perhaps eliminating unfair JFK wedding competition by condemning both Kawaiaha'o Church and St. Andrew's Cathedral.
This would certainly serve the public good.
Paul Pua'a III
Children need to be challenged physically
I am dismayed that the Department of Education would even consider lowering the P.E. requirements with the high percentage of obese children.
Creating walking trails and adding milk and water to vending machines won't get these children to lose weight. Not wanting to change in and out of P.E. clothes and because they're not interested in physical activities are poor excuses. They need to move! Children need to be challenged physically and mentally.
Surfers applaud return of Caldwell's Web site
On behalf of all the surfers I know, I applaud the decision to bring back Pat Caldwell's Web site, an invaluable resource for all ocean lovers, as reported on Nov. 9.
Caldwell always gave us the choice between "local-scale" and "face height" forecasts. There was no "safety concern." An obvious bureaucratic power play, but fear of lawsuits may be the convenient excuse, as Mark Fox's Nov. 9 letter suggests.
However, Mr. Fox is incorrect that all other news sources use trough-to-crest (face heights) measurements. KGMB showed video of a surf contest last week where the waves were clearly over-head yet the report described the surf as "3 to 5 feet." Does that mean Channel 9 could be sued? Would the National Weather Service like to shut down its news broadcast, too?
All of us have seen actual surf that was higher and (alas!) lower than forecast. Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds and a quite elusive goal in predicting Mother Nature.
If liability is truly the issue, it is akin to the Blow Hole and Sacred Falls cases, which should be reversed or dismissed. The great outdoors comes with risks, about which we must have all the tools possible to educate ourselves. But we must make our own decisions. Government responsibility should be limited to standardized warning signs.
Beyond that, our Legislature must act to remove any city or state liability for those who choose to surf, hike, etc.
Holiday is too long
Why are public libraries closed for four days the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th "in honor" of a one-day holiday on the 11th?
Rail transit system is critical
How exciting that our new governor quickly announced that traffic problems are a top priority. However, her ideas to relieve traffic congestion with toll-operated, double-decker freeways are not just old, but the project would be ugly, outdated and obsolete.
Not to mention the unbearable congestion created during years of construction.
I predict yet another spendthrift scheme that will almost certainly include a foray into the already strained wallets of Hawai'i taxpayers. Historically, toll roads never pay for themselves. In fact, the tolls always increase under the guise of money needed to pay for all manner of other fiscal problems and projects.
Those of us who are serious about alleviating traffic congestion on O'ahu will remember with consternation the long-dead Honolulu Rail Transit Project. Why is it that the government and residents of Honolulu seem to think they can avoid rail transportation forever? Has this city and its residents learned nothing from the rest of the world? When will they realize that this is not the sleepy little Honolulu town of the past? It is now the bustling, dynamic, congested new Honolulu.
As our former City Council member Rene Mansho languishes in jail for her many crimes against the taxpayers and city of Honolulu, one must wonder if she is ashamed of her most costly crime: killing the Honolulu Rail Transit System in 1993. That vital Rail Transit Project was completely designed, ready to build, and included state-of-the-art rail technology. The rail system was to have been constructed down the center medians of already existing roadways starting from crucial Leeward O'ahu areas, proceeding through areas such as Dillingham, downtown, Kapi'olani, the University of Hawai'i, Waikiki and more. One could have traveled from Waiawa Station to downtown Honolulu in only minutes.
The Honolulu Light Rail System would have been the best in the country. It would have rivaled even the best in many foreign countries such as Singapore, a similar small island that had very similar traffic problems as O'ahu. Now it has an absolutely wonderful efficient rail system used by millions of commuters. Even cities such as Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia have wonderful rail systems. Why are we in the dark ages here?
The rail system was to have cost $1.4 billion. The federal government was to give Honolulu $755 million to help us pay for it. The taxpayers were to pick up the rest of the price with a general excise tax hike. It would have been worth every penny.
Since the death of that innovative rail project in 1993, and what did you, the taxpayers, get? A failed Bus Rapid Transit System proposal that would desperately compete with cars for space on already congested roadways.
This is not rocket science, folks. Are you moving faster on the roadways? Is traffic getting better or worse for you? Let us at least think of the children of this island. They are facing near-total gridlock in 25 years, even if they have a double- or triple-decker freeway.
I urge everyone to insist that our government join the rest of the world and build us an adequate and affordable rail transit system.
Michael J. Lauck
Formerly of the O'ahu Transit Group