Letters to the Editor
CASE HAS EVERY RIGHT TO RUN FOR THE SENATE
Last I checked, Hawai'i is part of the greater democracy called the United States of America. You can run for office, and if enough people vote for you, you're in.
I don't understand why people are upset at Congressman Ed Case for running for Senate. If he doesn't win the seat, then the Akaka supporters have lost nothing. If he does win, then there are more people than just Ed Case who believe it's time for change.
Business with no competition leads to complacency. Holders of elected office can develop the same complacency. They should follow the example of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who set his own term limit and will honor that by stepping aside and allowing new people with fresh ideas to step up.Rich Kirchner
MCCLAIN'S APPROACH ON UARC REASONABLE
The Hawai'i Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai'i commend UH interim President David McClain for the reasoned and balanced approach he has taken in arriving at his recommendation that the Board of Regents proceed with a proposed contract with the Navy to establish a university affiliated research center within the UH system.
It is clear from President McClain's statement that he had taken the time to carefully weigh the arguments on both sides of this issue before arriving at a recommendation that advances the university's research goals and provides specific safeguards to protect the integrity of the university.
We are confident that the members of the Board of Regents will give this matter the same kind of thoughtful analysis and consideration.Carl Takamura
Executive director, Hawai'i Business Roundtable
President, Chamber of Commerce of Hawai'i
DAVID MCCLAIN GREAT CHOICE TO LEAD UH
It is so refreshing to note that some sanity still exists at the University of Hawai'i and with the Board of Regents.
David McClain has been the obvious choice for president ever since he took over as interim president. His leadership capabilities have been proven and are recognized by people on a national research firm, the chairman of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the UH student body president.
A previous national "search" resulted in the hiring of Evan Dobelle, who proved to be one of the worst unnatural disasters to hit the state in many years, and we are still paying for it.
Give McClain the job, and let's get on with making UH all it can be with a man at its helm who really understands Hawai'i and the needs of the university.Shirley Hasenyager
CAUSE AND EFFECT?
Advertiser headlines on two successive days read: "McClain advises UH regents to proceed with UARC" (Feb. 16) and "UH regents want to hire McClain as president" (Feb. 17). Excuse me, but is there some connection between these two stories, or is the timing purely coincidental?William Bailey
LAS VEGAS BUSES ARE HONOLULU'S SOLUTION
While our mayor is spending taxpayer money to travel all over the country/world looking at other cities' rail systems, I wonder if he has observed some of the things I recently observed in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas rail system, which was down more than it was up during the first year of operation, has stations the size of some strip malls. On the other hand, its new double-decker buses, "the deuce," are very comfortable, take up less space than our current reticulated buses and carry more passengers. They would be ideal for the routes between town and Waikiki. I doubt our mayor even looked at them, let alone rode in one.
I don't believe that the majority of voters on O'ahu want a fixed rail with huge stations, which would be an eyesore in our already-crowded city areas. Land and properties would have to be condemned for the "common good," which is never a good thing.
Every administration over the past 25 years has spent our money investigating this issue, always to come up with the same answer: Unless you can go underground, rail is not the solution.
What we need are dedicated bus lanes and a bus system that runs 24/7 and doesn't cut service on the weekends when people want to go to the malls, etc. We are not San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago. We are seriously limited by our size and have to plan accordingly.Marijane Carlos
SCHOOL LIBRARIANS ENHANCE EDUCATION
As a longtime school librarian, I would like to clear up some misinformation (Letters, Feb. 15) about my field.
Unlike public librarians, school librarians are teachers first. We hold both a master's in library science and a teaching degree. We teach students how to find, use and evaluate information and use the technology, including the Internet and other Web-based tools, effectively and ethically.
We also partner with teachers to teach standards-based lessons that cross all subject areas (math, language, science, social studies, etc.). Our primary role is to ensure that students are effective and discriminating information consumers and producers.
Everything in the school library is there for the sole purpose of enhancing student learning by supporting the school's curriculum. Because all materials are age and developmentally appropriate, selection requires someone with thorough knowledge of education, child development and library collection development — in other words, a teacher-trained school librarian.
As numerous research studies show, schools with a strong library staffed by a professional school librarian produce more effective and successful students than schools without. So, before you decide to close down all of the school libraries and send the students to the public library, ask yourself, is it really worth it?Patricia Louis
'UKES FOR TROOPS' IS A WORTHY UNDERTAKING
UkesforTroops.com has received a letter from one of your readers questioning our booking and integrity (Advertiser, " 'Ukes for Troops' a big hit," Feb. 13).
Specifically, we have been told that if we have raised about $10,000 and purchased 417 'ukulele at $21 each, the numbers do not add up. Well, $21 times 417 equals $8,757. This amount does not include the cost of the books, strings and tuners that were added to each shipment, nor does it include the cost of postage for all of these items from the sellers to Huntington Beach, then on to Iraq. All donation checks are processed through Operation Homefront, and receipts are turned in to them for all of our expenses.
The person did not use his or her name to sign the letter nor give us a return address to respond to. He or she asked that we respond via your publication. We are involved in this project not to make money for ourselves, but to make the lives of all of the troops easier while they keep our homefront safe.Anita Coyoli-Cullen
Huntington Beach, Calif.
PUBLIC FUNDING OF ELECTIONS IS WORKING
A recent editorial says, "It's unrealistic to expect legislators to support publicly funded campaigns for every state House district. This would be a continuing expense."
Most of Arizona's funding comes from a 10 percent surtax on all civil and criminal penalties. Another approach would be to tax campaign ad buys themselves. Even reversing one significant special-interest tax subsidy could pay for the program. What governmental expense is more important than supporting a healthy democracy?
Clean Elections in Maine and Arizona, costing under $4 per taxpayer for House, Senate and governor races, have increased voter turnout, the number and diversity of candidates, candidate interaction with low- and moderate-income communities and the number of contested races. They have dramatically decreased the spending gap between winning and losing candidates and the time candidates and officeholders spend fundraising.
Clean-Elected candidates have passed long-stalled laws for affordable prescription drugs, all-day kindergarten for the poorest schools, higher subsidies for community colleges and financial help for working families needing childcare.
Public funding is working in other states. Let's make Hawai'i next.Brodie Lockard
SEEING ISLANDERS FOR WHO THEY ARE
As an expatriate Islander, I agree wholeheartedly with David Jeong's letter that there is nowhere else in the world where so many ethnicities blend so harmoniously as in Hawai'i.
I miss the blend of cultures, which is taken for granted in Hawai'i. I wish my son could grow up there, learning to see people for who they are, not what ethnicity they are, while at the same time treasuring the diversity of cultures there. Lucky you live Hawai'i! Hawai'i no ka 'oi!Lee Tatsuguchi
TAKING ON BULLIES
It is with great interest that I have been following recent articles on bullying. My first experience with a bully happened when I was in the seventh grade; the last encounter with a bully was in the ninth grade.
In the ninth grade, I am the teacher at a public high school in Hawai'i.Kerry E. Meyer
WHY HOUSING DECISION WAS MADE
In recent weeks, people have spoken out on these pages and elsewhere regarding their concern about the loss of "affordable housing" in the area along Kailua Road that is currently occupied by nearly a dozen aging apartment buildings and which is now slated for redevelopment.
At Kane'ohe Ranch Co., we strongly agree that O'ahu needs more housing that working families can afford. These are not just our own sentiments, but also those of thousands of Kailua residents who shared their thoughts with us over the past two years through a community mail survey and a series of planning meetings.
This valuable input is incorporated in the Kailua community renewal strategy we have developed (of which some of the elements, such as the Kalapawai Cafe and Pier 1 projects, we have already begun creating).
Regrettably, the apartment buildings in question sit above large-capacity cesspools, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered closed. This is a nationwide EPA mandate under the Clean Water Act that is designed to protect drinking water sources. It affects not only Kane'ohe Ranch and the owners and residents of the apartment buildings along Kailua Road, but also thousands of other Hawai'i residents and property owners.
What most people are probably not aware of is that Kane'ohe Ranch and other building owners negotiated with the EPA to gain an additional 30 months to comply with its mandate so that tenants would have more time to relocate. Kane'ohe Ranch has also made arrangements with individual brokers and a nonprofit agency to assist tenants in the relocation process.
It must also be noted that the apartment buildings along Kailua Road, which are in any case at the end of their useful life, have always been "market" housing and not part of any affordable housing project. Moreover, the site remains zoned for market housing.
In any case, those who might wish Kane'ohe Ranch to develop affordable workforce housing should be aware that we have never been a residential developer. We have traditionally left that work to third parties.
The bottom line is that residents have made it clear they want to keep Kailua "Kailua." An important part of Kailua is providing workforce housing for the hundreds who currently live and work in this vibrant town, including teachers, police, retail workers and many others. We must also provide housing options to the young people who grow up in Kailua and wish to live in the community through adulthood.
There are some real issues to solve, and that is why new workforce housing is an element of our community-renewal strategy. We understand how important this is to all those who call Kailua home.H. Mitchell D'Olier
President and chief executive officer, Kane'ohe Ranch Management
SHAPIRO GOT IT ALL WRONG ON KUHIO TREES, NAME CHANGES
Dave Shapiro's Feb. 15 column — "What's in a name? Political undercurrents" — wouldn't pass his own olfactory test.
When Mayor Hannemann took office last year, city departments brought to our attention the public safety and maintenance problems posed by the extreme excess of trees former Mayor Jeremy Harris had planted on Kuhio Avenue. We consulted The Outdoor Circle, which agreed, and together we came up with a plan to remove fewer than one-fourth of the 350-plus trees along Kuhio. All but a handful were replanted elsewhere. Paul Bunyan? Hardly. Of course, Shapiro selectively left this out of his slanted column.
Shapiro ascribes a political motive behind the mayor's current effort to rename the Civic Center and Honolulu Municipal Building for former Mayor Frank Fasi. If it were all that political, we would have taken the safe route and done nothing: no change, no controversy. And if the name change were at all political, we doubt the City Council would have gone along unanimously.
News flash for Dave: People really often do things for the right reasons — in this case, to honor Honolulu's longest-serving mayor during the celebration of the city's centennial.
Shapiro also finds something wrong with the Hannemann administration's support of the proposal to name the Waipi'o Soccer Complex for the late Patsy Mink. That separate proposal was introduced by Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz and Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, not the "same legislation that would name the municipal building for Fasi," as Shapiro wrote.
And why wouldn't Mayor Hannemann support the council chair's effort to honor the former congresswoman? After all, Hannemann, like Mink, is a strong proponent of gender equity for women athletes. It's surprising that Shapiro didn't knock the mayor for supporting the council initiative because the late John Mink, like Fasi, supported Hannemann in his 2004 election. How did you miss that one, Dave?Bill Brennan
Press secretary to the mayor