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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, August 19, 2006

Letters to the Editor

NEIGHBORHOOD BOARDS

SYSTEM WORKS, JUST FIX WHAT NEEDS FIXING

That the neighborhood board system may need to be fine-tuned and finessed should in no way detract from its many obvious and long-term merits. Having seen diverse neighborhood boards Manoa to Kahala, Kahalu'u to Waimanalo in action, I can attest to the fact that the system works.

Members are committed to their communities, tirelessly volunteering to take residents' concerns to the city and state, and to bring their responses back. As with any corporate body, let them fix what needs to be fixed so they can get back to the business at hand: keeping the democratic process alive, Island-style.

Kalana Best
Kailua

HOUSE RACE

HIRONO BEST SUPPORTS INTERESTS OF MILITARY

I read the article "Congress hopefuls split on Iraq war" (Aug. 15) with great interest. As a retired Army lieutentant colonel, the Iraq war and the horrific atrocities on both sides cut me close to the bone. I love the Army and its loyal soldiers and deplore what is happening to them under the Bush administration.

Because I love the Army and this great nation, I support Mazie Hirono's position on the war as the one that best represents the interest of our beleaguered service members. She has demonstrated that she supports our troops and is concerned that they have been put in harm's way to support a failed national policy in Iraq.

As Mazie has said, "The Bush administration misled the country when it entered this war, and has shown no credible plan for winning the peace, or for a safe exit strategy. We should get out of the quagmire that is Iraq with a phased redeployment of U.S. forces that begins before the end of 2006, and significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty should also occur."

Ann S. Freed, Lt. Col., U.S. Army (Ret)
Mililani

SENATE RACE

IDEAS, NOT SENIORITY, ARE SOURCE OF POWER

It is quite obvious that the Democratic Party of Hawai'i has been successful at instilling in the people of this state that seniority is power. What nonsense. Ideas are and have always been the source of power in Western civilization.

If every elected official were replaced tomorrow, the leaders who would emerge would be those who have the intelligence to come up with creative ideas that they are able to implement.

Richard Noah Hough
Honolulu

VOTERS SHOULD THINK THROUGH THE ISSUES

In her analysis of the Case vs. Akaka Senate race, Nancy Fo Yuen reminds readers that Time magazine called Akaka one of the worst senators in Congress.

Hopefully this election will not be decided by voters who blindly submit to the will of the mainstream media. As Ms. Fo Yuen wants to "send people to Congress who think through issues rather than just vote along party line," she must also recognize each voter's responsibility to think through issues when deciding which candidate to support, rather than voting as directed by Time magazine.

Patrick K. Shea
Kailua

TRAFFIC

RAIL TRANSIT WOULD EASE BACK-TO-SCHOOL JAMS

Wow, I just read the news this week about the "Beat the School Jam" campaign. We're talking more than 50,000 university, high school, intermediate and elementary school students all back on the road beginning Aug. 21?

State and city transportation officials are telling motorists to expect more traffic and more delays, adjust travel times and avoid peak travel periods.

Well, perhaps if we only had a rail system in place today, we wouldn't need all these advisories about the start of school. It comes every year. The choice is clear. Build a rail system that offers people another way of getting around and we solve a lot of our problems.

Or, we can just sit in traffic, burn gas, time and money, and complain about it.

Keikilani Lee
Honolulu

TRANSIT

MAYOR WILL INSIST CITY LIVE WITHIN ITS MEANS

As the City and County of Honolulu proceeds with its analysis of O'ahu's transportation future and holds community meetings to solicit public input, the cost of a proposed fixed guideway is a common topic of discussion.

As is their role, the professional planners and engineers involved in this Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project are gathering data, making analyses and evaluations, and preparing recommendations for the City Council, which will make the final selection of a transit alternative later this year. The planners and engineers are envisioning a system where money is not a primary factor, a transit network that accommodates all needs well into the future, a world-class fixed guideway that rivals those of the great cities around the world.

That is not the world in which we live. It is my responsibility to balance needs with resources. This has meant that we've had to make some tough fiscal decisions over the past year-and-a-half, foregoing the nice-to-have for the need-to-have.

The transit system the city ultimately will support will meet our immediate needs and our budget, estimated at around $3 billion. This is called a "minimal operable system" in the parlance of transportation engineering. Yes, a multifaceted, multimodal approach to solving our growing traffic mess falls within the need-to-have, but I want to be careful that we do not exceed our financial limits.

If revenues from the general excise tax surcharge provide more money for our transportation coffers, or if private partnerships generate a major infusion of cash, or if we receive any financial windfalls for mass transit, then we can consider spending more money to expand the system.

Until then, I will continue to insist that we live within our means.

Mufi Hannemann
Mayor