Letters to the Editor
'WORST' VS. 'BEST'
AKAKA'S MILD MANNER HIDES POLITICAL SAVVY
When it comes to U.S. senators, a lot depends on what your definition of "worst" is.
Being effective at doing good is a working definition of "best." But the epithet "worst" ought to be reserved for senators who are effective at doing bad things. And there are many.
A dozen years ago, while in Washington, D.C., on a journalism fellowship, I was asked to write a chapter on Hawai'i's congressional delegation for the "Price of Paradise" book. I found Dan Akaka was universally known and liked by members of the Senate, which he had just joined, and the House, which he had just left. He used that familiarity well.
For a small congressional delegation representing a tiny state with unique needs and no regional alliances, not having many enemies on either side of the aisle can be very valuable. Calling Dan Akaka "parochial" just means the junior senator spends more time looking out for Hawai'i concerns, while the senior senator leads the delegation on national issues.
In Washington, one way to make things happen is to twist arms. Another is to throw your arm affectionately around fellow legislators' shoulders, using humility and humor to get things done. Akaka's mild manner hides more intelligence, political savvy and determination than some may give him credit for.Peter Rosegg
FLUSH ALA WAI CANAL WITH PUMPING SYSTEM
For many years, the Ala Wai Canal has been contaminated by the water flowing out of Manoa and Palolo valleys as well as the effluent of various storm drains. These sources of pollution and silt make the Ala Wai unsuitable for swimming and marginal for canoe paddling, and make it necessary to periodically dredge out the silt.
In addition, sewage system emergencies result in having to dump large amounts of lethal contaminants into the canal.
I believe there is a practical engineering solution to cleaning up the Ala Wai.
Install half a dozen large vertical low-lift pumps in shallow seawater wells in the vicinity of the zoo. These pumps would run only at night after 9 p.m. when HECO can supply low-cost power from its existing generators. And also take advantage of non-oil-based energy that might be available during early morning hours.
This electric power should cost about $400 per night or about $100,000 per year (based on 250 pumping nights per year). This annual energy cost would amount to about $3 per hotel room per year, or about 10 cents per person per year for O'ahu residents.
With such a system, nine or 10 hours of pumping should completely flush out the Ala Wai with nice clean salt or brackish water and make the canal an asset that we can all be proud of.Alan Lloyd
NEW RULES ARE NEEDED ON CONFIDENTIAL DATA
As a member of the HGEA, I was shocked and dismayed that the confidential data of 43,000 HGEA members were compromised. It is evident from this latest loss of confidential data that new administrative rules need to be formulated and implemented concerning confidential data for all state agencies. I would strongly recommend the state implement the following:
CHILDREN NEED MORE CHALLENGES IN SCHOOL
As a parent of future students, I was one of those who had their eyes opened by Oprah's special recently on our national crisis in education.
One-third of U.S. students will not finish high school. We are currently ranked the highest in economic standing in the world, but how long do we think that can last when a third of the nation's population isn't being properly educated?
I see a big difference between the students now from when I was younger.
I got a great education from the state of Hawai'i's public schools with the GT/AP program, but my youngest sister is now a sophomore and I see a huge decline in the expectations for students — to the point where teachers are only teaching to pass the national tests instead of a core curriculum that would match them to the rest of the students their age.
Children need more challenges and expectations to work toward and feel a sense of accomplishment, and they should not expect that the world is going to be so easy and everything will be handed to them.
The good teachers are the ones who do this, but the students either give up or the parents rush in and save them.
It seems like such a fight to get any kind of change in our education system, but we can't leave our schools in this institutionalized state that they are in. It won't work.
I don't want to be in a country known as the country of drop-outs.Lindsey Pierce