Letters to the Editor
PROJECT IN KAKA'AKO SHOULD NOT GO FORWARD
In 1949, Honolulu Mayor Johnny Wilson had the foresight to purchase private shoreline property in Waikiki to be used for public parks. This property is now known as Kuhio Beach. Imagine this area with hotels and condominiums instead.
Our present governor and legislators could at this time stop the sale of public lands, as proposed by the Hawai'i Community Development Authority.
I question the judgment of the HCDA if its members voted that this property could be sold without an updated environmental impact statement.
This project should not go forward. The Kaka'ako district needs more open space for parks, especially makai of Ala Moana Boulevard, to take care of present mauka development and increasing population density.G. Downing
EAST SIDE ALREADY HAS THREE PRISON FACILITIES
One of the things that bothers me most is when someone submits a letter to the editor without first researching the issue. Case in point is the letter submitted by a concerned Leeward resident on Feb. 7 who is of the opinion that the proposed new prison, the "unwanted," should not be "dumped" in her backyard (Kalaeloa) and suggests "Go east, my friend" to those who support the idea.
Well, for the record, I live on the east side, and we already have not just one, but three facilities: the Women's Community Correctional Center, the Hawai'i Youth Correctional Facility and the state's Mental Health Facility, which also houses those referred through courts and the criminal justice system.
By the way, our east side is no worse for having those facilities in our community. For example, the women of WCCC have performed thousands of hours of community service over the years cleaning up and beautifying our community. These facilities have not lowered our property values, either.Serena Camara
MEDIATION SERVICES HELP DURING DIVORCES
Karyn Herrmann's Feb. 6 letter recounts her disappointment with court-ordered mediation during divorce proceedings. I am sad this was not a good experience for her, but I would like to urge divorcing couples to consider mediation.
The Mediation Center of the Pacific (MCP), a nonprofit organization, has provided low-cost and accessible mediation services to Hawai'i's people for over 25 years.
Mediation gives divorcing couples a forum for discussing and reaching agreements on issues of importance to them — property division, child custody, visitation, etc. These agreements, crafted by the individuals themselves with the help of a mediator, are, unless contrary to law, honored by judges.
MCP is able to offer low-cost services (and waive fees if needed) because professional mediators volunteer their time and because the center gratefully receives funding from Aloha United Way, the state judiciary, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and other agencies and charitable foundations.
Is mediation for you? Mediation is appropriate in almost any case in which those in disagreement are willing to listen to each other's suggestions, let go of blame and work to shape the future by negotiating solutions that work for everyone.Ruth Tschumy
President, Mediation Center of the Pacific
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
MILITARY DUMPING WAS SHAMEFUL, CRIMINAL ACT
Shame on the military, after reading Jan TenBruggencate's Feb. 2 story. Dumping 8,000 tons of chemical weapons off O'ahu is a criminal act. If no one had found the report, the Pentagon would have kept it silent.
The responsible people, unfortunately, are pretty much already dead. No point in investigating those guys anymore. What in the world were they thinking?
Of course, the Pentagon claims that those chemicals would break down into nontoxic compounds if their container failed. We believe you at the Pentagon, just as Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
The officers who decided to dump those chemicals weapons were the same ones in charge of the troops the day of the attack of Pearl Harbor. Another day of infamy.
How come we stay so quiet about it? The military should not be allowed to destroy this island — no more chemical dumping, no more land destroyed, no more shooting targets, no more Stryker brigade. Enough is enough.
The Hawaiian archipelago should be a sanctuary; instead it becomes an example of how dumb people can be. Good luck to our senators and congressmen in D.C. in finding the truth.Guy Belegaud
CONTRADICTIONS FROM NO CHILD LAW CONTINUE
Is it just me, or do the effects of No Child Left Behind seem to get more contradictory as time passes?
First, if the children at a school fall below the yearly requirements set by the No Child law, then the school goes into restructuring and teachers are retrained, holding the teachers responsible for the inadequacies of the learners. However, if the school continues to fail, then the entire faculty could be replaced. In this latter case, the "learners" (meaning the teachers who are being retrained) are responsible for the failures and not the "teachers" (the restructuring team responsible for the retraining of the teachers).
When do the "professional trainers" become accountable?
And now, with the news of librarians being cut from school staffs, the contradictions continue. The No Child Left Behind Act is focused on improving student achievement in language arts and math. Language arts is about reading and writing. How do children improve on such skills without these qualified specialists in reading?Daniel A. Kelin II
BICYCLE AN EASY STEP TOWARD FIXING TRAFFIC
An island can only accept so many vehicles until its roadways become congested. Then, you have traffic and nowhere to go, and it seems we've reached that point.
Every day, the people of O'ahu struggle with bumper-to-bumper traffic. Yet many disregard the bicycle as a legitimate form of transportation. Choosing to ride a bike is a simple and easy step toward solving O'ahu's growing traffic problem. It keeps you in shape, it's a great way to relieve stress and it's fun. You experience the commute from a whole new perspective.
However, to truly make cycling an effective means of transportation, the state, counties and the community need to work together to create and maintain visible bikeways and uphold a greater respect for our streets, whereby cyclist and motorist feel comfortable sharing the road.Mitchel Young
STATE SURPLUS SHOULD GO BACK TO THE PEOPLE
Regarding Brickwood Galuteria's Jan. 13 letter: How did we get this state budget surplus? From the people of Hawai'i. They are the ones who turned around Hawai'i's economy and made our state the success it is today. Therefore, Hawai'i's working families deserve a refund in the form of a check.
If you feel, Mr. Galuteria, that you don't want it, that's up to you.
Gov. Lingle's 2006 plans, such as transportation, cost of living, affordable housing, education, the environment and economic sustainability, sound good to me. After all, it's all for the people.Clare Hunt Kasher
'WAR MACHINE' SHOWS AMPLE COMPASSION, TOO
I thank the editorial staff for its recent article supporting of the university-affiliated research center. The piece focused on the facts and avoided biased political views.
Much of the argument against UARC has emphasized that all military research, no matter how benign, ultimately supports the military war machine, death and destruction and the "militarization of minds." Those who make this claim are ill-informed about today's military and the people who serve in it.
A look at the Navy's response to the tsunami disaster, in which sailors eagerly provided relief, yields insight into today's Navy and how military-related research activities can contribute to good.
Reliable propulsion systems allowed numerous ships to alter their schedule and rapidly deploy toward Indonesia. Shipboard reverse osmosis units generated thousands of gallons of fresh water for delivery by helicopter to people in desperate need.
Aboard the aircraft carrier in the machine shop, Navy personnel tooled repair parts for emergency generators serving damaged hospitals in Banda Aceh and repaired and maintained water-filtration units.
Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Units, no doubt a beneficiary of numerous DOD-financed research programs, provided disease control and water and soil studies. Aircraft with advanced sensors located people washed out to sea.
The hospital ship Mercy saw more than 6,000 patients, providing immunizations, lab services and surgery. Survey ships with advanced sonar surveyed the waters, allowing safe shipping and relief supplies to get ashore
On board, sailors consolidated toys sent from across the nation, and cooks boxed thousands of lunches for the survivors ashore.
This is the military "war machine" I know — one filled with compassionate, dedicated and selfless people eager to serve others.Richard Kirchner
Commander, U.S. Navy, Waipahu
GEOTHERMAL HAWAI'I'S SALVATION
Right now, after President Bush's speech promoting the idea of replacing gasoline with ethanol, our legislators are feeling pretty good about the legislation they passed last session. I'm referring to the law mandating the replacement of gasoline with ethanol.
They are all missing a fundamental scientific fact that makes the whole thing "shibai": It takes more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than the gallon contains. The process runs at a net loss.
Our new law is nothing more than a publicly funded subsidy of the sugar industry. A recent article in Popular Science magazine indicates that to replace all the auto gasoline in the U.S. with ethanol would require every square inch of agricultural land in the U.S. be dedicated to growing corn for that purpose.
We have a virtually unlimited source of energy in Hawai'i that is being ignored by our planners: geothermal resources on the Big Island.
Geothermal energy is used to make electricity. Electricity is used to extract hydrogen from water. Hydrogen is a completely pollution-free source of energy that can be burned directly by internal combustion engines or, in the near future, be used to power fuel cells that drive electric automobiles.
Geothermal wells now produce about 25 percent of the Big Island's electricity. The company that drilled the wells and produces the electricity almost went broke in the process of startup.
A small group of very vocal people in the vicinity of the project, with various agendas, used the legal system to delay the project for years. Other companies are unlikely to take the risk unless the playing field is leveled.
I propose that the Legislature establish a state task force for geothermal energy development. The task force would identify those lands suitable for geothermal development, with the emphasis on areas with minimum population nearby.
The state would then condemn the land and establish a geothermal enterprise zone. Interested companies would be able to obtain long-term leases from the state, along with tax incentives.
It's time to start planning for a future when oil is scarce and very expensive. The present rise in oil prices is not just a temporary thing. World demand is increasing, and the available supply is, or will soon start, decreasing.
Our state is fortunate to have this great resource. The time to start the planning process is now — not wait until we are in crisis.David L. Bigelow