Letters to the Editor
Trash-filled Kalaeloa can be new landfill site
My thanks and appreciation go out to John Wesley Nakao for his Dec. 5 commentary. I have been concerned for quite some time about the lack of responsibility the state has taken for the Kalaeloa area since its turnover.
In March 2003, more than 100 Kiwanis and Key Club members from around O'ahu converged on the camping area of Kalaeloa for a joint service project. With the help of a grant from Matson Navigation Co. and the City and County, we spent an entire morning picking up hundreds of bags of trash and a truckload of bulky items such as tires, car batteries and entire abandoned cars.
As if the trash situation weren't bad enough, we couldn't even use the restroom facilities because the septic system was backed up and had been for many days. The backup was so bad that the sewage was oozing out of the ground behind the bathroom.
The truth of the matter is the state has allowed what was once a beautiful camping area to be taken over by a homeless population that litters the area and overtaxes the restroom facilities. I agree with Nakao that the housing facilities on Kalaeloa could be used to house those very homeless people who are now destroying the camping grounds.
Unfortunately when we took students back to the same area a month later, the trash was back, the restroom was still horrible and to make matters worse, one of our cars was broken into while we were cleaning the beach.
The lesson to be learned is that the state cares little for Kalaeloa. It has allowed the entire area to fall into disrepair. Perhaps we should suggest Kalaeloa as the new site for the landfill; obviously the beach campgrounds are already on their way.
PCHS Key Club
Myth of war perpetuated as answer to problems
I'd like to respond to Thomas Stuart's Dec. 2 letter.
Characterizing the current war in Iraq, he uses patriotic catch phrases such as "It is time for courage and self-sacrifice in defense of freedom," "obligations of duty, honor and country" and "patriotism."
It is surprising a Vietnam veteran, that Stuart respectfully is, still perpetuates the myth of war as an appropriate answer to the world's problems. And patriotism is defined as war, and wholesale murder of citizens of a sovereign country. Obligations of duty, honor and country ultimately lie at the door of the president, who has failed miserably, except for his redundant fear-tactic speeches and Hollywood-style photo-ops.
Witness this messy fiasco in Iraq.
This war, euphemistically referred to as "Iraqi Freedom," has cost hundreds of U.S. soldiers' lives, hundreds of innocent allied civilians deaths and $100 billion in the first six months alone, with no end in sight regarding casualties and U.S. taxpayers' money. All for ridding a single dictator who was sanctioned and contained?
America's unilateral invasion has alienated 90 percent of Europe, and those countries had more to fear from Saddam Hussein.
Bush & Co. started this war and occupation under false CIA and MI-5 intelligence. And this administration admitted there were no ties between Saddam and al-Qaida training camps, uranium procurement and 9/11.
So we made a mistake, and now it's too late? "Oh well, since we're here anyway, let's kill everybody loyal to Saddam, in defense of freedom?" Doesn't this rationale ring hollow to thinking humans? America should be ashamed and should not pump more money into this pit.
The next presidential election in 2004 will be pivotal to America's future: Was this a moral and justifiable war necessary to protect the United States at home, or was this invasion, wholesale destruction and occupation completely manufactured by the U.S. government as a salve to placate the trauma from 9/11, scapegoating an easy mark, Saddam, and to take control of Iraq's oil fields?
New HCDCH leader has needed experience
In our judgment, the appointment of Stephanie Aveiro as executive director of the Housing and Community Development Corp. of Hawai'i is an excellent choice.
As officers of one of Maui County's largest nonprofit human service agencies, we worked closely with Aveiro during the eight years she served as director of the Department of Housing and Human Concerns for Maui County. We found Aveiro to be a competent, dedicated, hardworking and knowledgeable public servant.
She brings the experience required to this critical position. She is an island girl who knows the housing challenges facing our state. She will not require months of "getting up to speed," and she is ready to take on this important job at a time when affordable housing has become one of our community's most pressing issues.
In our view, the appointment of a dedicated and proven public servant, with clear lines of communication in state government, provides us with the opportunity for positive change and a new direction that is long overdue. We applaud the governor and wish Aveiro well in her new assignment.
Gladys C. Baisa
Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc.
Tom Blackburn Rodriguez
Special Projects Director
Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc.
An innovative way to reduce landfill waste
No district wants a landfill in their back yard.
My landfill waste-reduction method incorporates use of a pit with a tough plastic enclosure inside. The pit is made by a back hoe. The enclosure is injection molded into a rectangular shape. A bulldozer pushes the waste into the pit containing the enclosure form. When full, the hinged top is closed. It is waterproof when closed.
A hydraulic lift raises the rectangular box or "core form" several feet above the ground. On the side is a steel platform. A bulldozer pushes the "core form" on to the steel platform.
The "design form" is a plastic apparatus that consists of hollow cylinders, loops, holes and projections. The "design form" is attached to the "core form" while secured on the platform. Then both forms are pushed and slid onto the bed of the truck.
The truck is driven to the dock where a crane lifts it onto a barge. The barge unloads the entire two-form structure into the ocean.
The purpose of this innovation is to create an artificial reef. To create underground sculptures to attract local and tourist divers.
Most important is that the landfill is greatly reduced and even put to good use.
Put courtroom up for rent
The well-researched articles detailing the numerous shortcomings of the Hawai'i Supreme Court may or may not eventually lead to positive change. Actually, most of the facts reported were well-known by the local legal and law enforcement communities but not by the general public.
Hopefully, the recent addition of an elephant to join the present donkeys peacefully grazing toward a well-paying retirement at the public trough may be positive that is unless the newcomer elects to throw up his hands and back away. Stay tuned.
One thing that may be a plus to generate some much-needed revenue would be the Supreme Court courtroom, which is apparently rarely, if ever, used. Rather than staying dark, why not put it up for rent?
Frank D. Slocum
Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade had support of all
On Thanksgiving Day, Roosevelt High School's marching band marched in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. I'm happy to say that I was able to be a part of it by marching alongside my flute section and the rest of the band. To get to march in the parade was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of chance.
I knew getting to New York would take a lot of commitment and dedication from the band, and we showed everyone that we had it. I'm sure the band felt nervous when waiting to start marching. However, we shook that off, fought through the cold, marched our hearts out and shared the aloha spirit with the millions of people who watched us live or from their televisions.
From this, I'm thankful for everything that was given to us on this day. All the support we got from our school, teachers, family, friends and the public helped us to perform our best. Our hard work in practices paid off significantly. Thank you to Mr. Abe, Mr. Ujimori, Ms. Nguyen, the Roosevelt Band Boosters and the band parents.
Roosevelt High School junior
Don't treat officers as political pawns
Unbelievable! Recruiting and retaining qualified men and women who can become police officers is a nationwide problem. Because of the high standards required to become a police officer, less than 4 percent of those who apply for a position with the Honolulu Police Department are hired.
The job knowledge and competence required of our officers today is mind-boggling. "Just compensation" is a necessity for our police officers. They are willing to give their lives to safeguard their fellow citizens like how Glen Gaspar and Ryan Goto did.
Yet, our leaders in our city administration and the City Council have differences about how the arbitrated pay raise will be paid. With the latest increase in health plan costs, our officers are now taking home less pay than they were before July 1, 2003.
Many were anticipating the pay raise to help balance the increased health plan costs. This is an injustice to our police officers and they should not be treated as pawns. It is time to stop the political sparring and resolve this issue!
Lee D. Donohue
Chief of Police
City and County of Honolulu
Honolulu laid an EGG
Honolulu figuratively got egg on its face for finishing as the fourth most expensive place to live in a national survey.
Honolulu literally laid an EGG: finishing first in having the most expensive Electricity, Groceries and Gasoline.
Egg Foo Young, anyone?
Richard Y. Will
Transit system helps those most in need
Cliff Slater's latest Island Voices is not only full of errors, it's down right silly. (Comparing the city administration to the Book of Revelations? Come, now.)
First, his observation that traffic flowed better during the bus strike is simply wrong. How could he not acknowledge the monthlong gridlock that we all had to endure? Anyone who works in the downtown/Chinatown area could see the effect the strike had on streets and shops left empty.
Second, Slater's assertion that "most bus commuters found rides" is plainly mistaken. Eighty percent of bus riders are considered "captive," meaning they have no other way to get around. These are folks too young or too old to drive, or who simply do not own a car.
While temporary carpools mobilized some bus riders, many others, especially the disabled and the elderly, simply stayed home.
Perhaps Slater is suggesting that we should do away with TheBus, and those who can't find rides are out of luck?
Third, Slater has invented a new way of calculating traffic capacity. His claim that buses take an entire lane on a three-lane road, and during the strike, "general traffic space (increased) by 50 percent" is inaccurate.
Traffic experts know that curb lanes carry 20 percent to 50 percent less volume of traffic than center lanes because of "frictions" such as right-turning and slower-moving vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles.
Fourth, Slater's facts about the Vanpool are inaccurate and deceptive. The $85 per month is not "all included." The Vanpool program is subsidized by our federal and city government and carries a maximum of seven people including the driver. The average bus carries 83 passengers per peak hour.
Finally, private jitney service and shared-ride taxis always have and always will cater to the visitor industry. Why wouldn't they go for the big tourist bucks, rather than sticking with local residents at a smaller profit?
The people who suffer are the kama'aina. Why should they have to switch from a bus to a private jitney on the outskirts of Waikiki at added cost and inconvenience just to get to work? Will these jitneys run extended hours to ensure that the hundreds of hotel employees trying to get home won't be stuck? And where were these taxis and tour buses during the bus strike? In fact, the city encouraged cab companies and tour buses to increase their pickups during the strike, especially for the neediest bus riders and all but one refused.
Slater is anti-transit, plain and simple. He is against buses, BRT, light rail, heavy rail, fixed rail and every other kind of public transit plan that doesn't involve his private tour bus company friends. Transit is an essential infrastructure that provides mobility to those who need it. Slater's arrogant notion that it is not needed because he has a car is simply not acceptable.
Public Outreach Coordinator
Bus Rapid Transit