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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Letters to the Editor

ELECTION 2006

'YES' VOTE ON CHARTER AMENDMENT 3 URGED

On this year's election ballot, Charter amendment 3 addresses two major concerns in Hawai'i: affordable housing and the environment.

As a senior graduating this winter from the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, one likes to know what possible future lies ahead.

With the enactment of this bill, the future will look much brighter for O'ahu.

I urge people who are interested in affordable housing and a cleaner environment to vote for this amendment.

Jesse Shain
Honolulu

CRITICISM OF HIRONO ON WAR MISSES MARK

Dr. Edward Gutteling accuses Mazie Hirono of running away from a fight because she wants to stop funding outdated weapons systems, unproven weapons systems and our current missile defense systems (Letters, Oct. 27).

My, what a wacky idea, doing away with waste money that could be better spent supporting our troops.

He further chides her for coming up with an idea of starting a department of peace. Maybe had we looked at peaceful alternatives and allowed international inspectors to finish their job, we would not be wasting $2 billion a week on a war that claimed more than 90 precious U.S. lives in October alone.

Robert Lloyd
'Ewa Beach

LINGLE HAS CHANGED STATE FOR THE BETTER

If you take a minute to remember what state government was like four years ago during Democrat rule, you'll realize just how critical this upcoming election is.

Just four years ago, an endless network of insider connections existed in all aspects of government.

The economy was down the drain, the State Hospital was failing miserably, the ice epidemic was on the rise, doing business in Hawai'i was a nightmare, and finding a decent job was near impossible.

Even pets suffered as a result of outdated quarantine rules.

But all of this has changed for the better with Gov. Linda Lingle's and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona's leadership. We're finally on the right track, and we cannot afford to go backward. We need to re-elect this team so they can continue the great job they started.

Sally Harper
Honolulu

WARD THE BEST CHOICE TO SERVE HAWAI'I KAI

Congratulations on your endorsement of former representative Gene Ward for this open seat (Oct. 25).

You correctly identify the principal reasons voters should choose Gene Ward over his opponent: extensive experience in the community, including previously representing Hawai'i Kai in the Legislature, and a broad perspective gained through national and international service, most recently as Peace Corps director in troubled East Timor.

Gene is tested, proven and well prepared to serve Hawai'i Kai again in the Legislature. Compared to a novice newcomer, the choice should be clear, and The Advertiser has it right.

Richard W. Baker
Hawai'i Kai

BICYCLE LEAGUE BACKS CHARTER AMENDMENT 8

Regarding The Honolulu Advertiser's "no" endorsement of Charter amendment 8 (Oct. 23), we at the Hawaii Bicycling League respectfully disagree.

The City Charter is the correct venue as it provides an opportunity for registered voters on O'ahu to determine how their city is governed. The Charter is reviewed every 10 years and amended in the interim. What better way to institute long-term policy? Should Honolulu become pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly in the next 10 years and this policy becomes irrelevant, it can be removed the next time around.

Passing Charter amendment 8 is not a magic bullet. Advocates, citizens, representatives, and enlightened government employees will still need to push for specific funding, designs, education, enforcement, etc., but that is no reason not to change the Charter. Yes on Charter amendment 8!

Kristi Schulenberg
Executive director, Hawaii Bicycling League

TRANSIT

HIGHER GAS TAX COULD FINANCE BUS EXPANSION

To solve the traffic congestion problem on O'ahu, you have to take individual cars off the road. Building more roads and adding more lanes to freeways won't solve the problem the more roads, the more vehicles.

Toll roads won't help, because the majority of folks won't pay the toll to drive on the roads, just as the majority of drivers don't carpool.

Rail won't solve the problem, because it is too expensive for everybody, and it serves just the few.

Here is the solution: Raise the cost of gasoline to $5 a gallon. The extra tax would be used to subsidize the city bus program.

This tax would add more buses and neighborhood transit buses/trolleys to connect to major bus stops. It would also be used to lower the cost of the regular pass, similar to what senior citizens pay.

I did observe that when gas hit almost $4 a gallon, there were fewer cars on the road, and more people carpooled.

Although not an easy decision, it's time we do the right thing.

Patti M. Inada
Honolulu

ADJUNCT TO DEFENSE

BENEFIT TO BE GAINED IN COMMITMENT TO PEACE

Despite what Edward Gutteling (Letters, Oct. 27) and others have implied, there is neither danger nor dishonor in seeking peace. As a nation and as individuals, we should share a commitment to standing as models of human decency.

The proposed Department of Peace, which has gained the support of Congressman Neil Abercrombie and Democratic candidate Mazie Hirono, would not promote peace to the detriment of defense; it would support peace as an adjunct to defense. It would also develop programs that would teach alternatives to violence and encourage future generations to address their differences in more productive and less destructive ways.

Simultaneously promoting peace and maintaining a strong defense is no different than modern medical science focusing on both maintaining health and fighting disease. They are two sides of the same coin.

Every day, we see the terrible price we pay for being too anxious to resort to war. Yes, there will always be times when we will need a strong defense.

But we must also recognize that there are many more times when we would benefit from a commitment to peace.

Donnie Torres
Pearl City

SCHOOLS

IRONY SEEN IN BOE'S GRADE FOR HAMAMOTO

It is ironic that Board of Education Chairman Randall Yee stated that School Superintendent Pat Hamamoto is doing a terrific job, while the board rated her performance as satisfactory.

Are we satisfied with relative mediocrity? Maybe we need a new chairman as well as a new school superintendent.

Rick Tubania
'Aiea

EYESORE

GRAFFITI A PROBLEM ON PALOLO STREAM WALLS

We have graffiti problems on the Palolo stream walls. It starts under the bridge by the Palolo Fire Station and it goes all the way down.

What can we do to clean it up? I wish that all the people who live next to the river would listen to sounds, such as the dogs barking, because that is when the people come to graffiti the walls.

Laverne Nekota
Honolulu

FOOTBALL TEAM

TWO UH ATHLETES SHOW TRUE SPORTSMANSHIP

In an era in which individualism and self-aggrandizement in sports are lauded, it is refreshing to hear about the humility and self-deprecating actions of Ross Dickerson and Ryan Grice-Mullins.

Both surrendered their talents to each other, leading to the success of the University of Hawai'i Warrior football team.

This past Saturday, both athletes displayed a commitment to team achievement over individual gain. Seldom do you hear of athletes wanting to give up their starting roster spots and playing time to another. Each exemplified the virtue of wanting the other to succeed, and abdicating his chance to be in the starting spotlight. The result was that Ross and Ryan played terrific games.

I commend them for demonstrating leadership, sportsmanship and humbleness. I would also like to acknowledge the community of people who raised these gentlemen into the type of student athletes we aspire to have.

Thank you to the parents of Ryan and Ross, coach June Jones, and athletic director Herman Frazer.

Resti Paguirigan
Pearl City

EARTHQUAKE

HOTELS, TOUR FIRMS MUST HAVE FIRST-AID KITS

My wife and I recently vacationed at Keauhou Bay on the Big Island. We were having breakfast when the earthquake hit at 7:08 a.m.

In the aftermath, my wife had a mild cut on her leg. I asked at the hotel desk for a first-aid kit, but they said they did not have one.

I asked Jack's Tour Co. bus driver and the Polynesian Cultural tour bus driver, and was told the same thing.

With all the tourists that come to the Islands, how can companies be so ill prepared? What would Hawai'i do if there had been a real emergency?

Derek Priest
McCalla, Ala.

DRUGS

HAWAI'I RX REDUCING COST OF PRESCRIPTIONS

Two recent letters in The Advertiser (Oct. 21, 23) mistakenly downplayed the effectiveness of the Hawai'i Rx Plus program in reducing prescription drug prices for low- and middle-income residents.

This free program offered by the state Department of Human Services is producing substantial price breaks for families and individuals.

According to statistics for September, Hawai'i Rx Plus members saved more than 34 percent on generic drug purchases and more than 14 percent on brand-name medications. That means the 2,074 members who used the discount program in September saved a total of $25,243. Through the first nine months of the year, Hawai'i residents have saved more than $271,000.

DHS will work closely with the Legislature during its next session, with the goal of producing even greater price breaks for consumers who do not have insurance coverage for prescription drugs and earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid.

Signing up for Hawai'i Rx Plus is easy. Just call (877) 677-1892 toll-free or visit the Web site at www.hawaii.gov/dhs/dhs/rx_plus. The program is available to any resident whose income does not exceed 350 percent of the federal poverty level ($39,480 for a single person or $80,508 for a family of four).

Reducing the costs of health care and improving the quality and availability of medical services are among the top priorities of the Lingle-Aiona administration. Hawai'i Rx Plus is an important part of that effort.

Lillian Koller
Director, state Department of Human Services

MAINTENANCE

WORK ON PU'ULOA ROAD IS TAKING FAR TOO LONG

Is Pu'uloa Road being completed by the state or a private contractor?

It seems that in the past three years I have driven on the same bumpy one lane and seen three people working on it at one time. You would think that such a vital ink between Moanalua Freeway and Nimitz Highway would have been completed in a much speedier fashion. By the time one side gets finished, the other side will be old and bumpy.

The state of Hawai'i must look into this. All I would like to see is the road completed. Thanks, and please fill the potholes.

J. Sharp
Honoluluu

KAWELA

COMMUNITY MUST DEMAND OPEN DISCUSSION ON PROJECT

Your recent article on the expansion of the Turtle Bay Resort (Oct. 13) suggests that the Kahuku community is divided on the issue, when it is clear the only support for the project is coming from a handful of individuals most of whom were personally involved with the agreement 20 years ago.

The board of the Kahuku Community Association voted to endorse this plan without prior community discussion. Several members of the board are employed by either Turtle Bay or Kuilima Resort Co., and there is no indication these board members recused themselves from deliberations or the vote.

There has been overwhelming community demand for input at every Kahuku Community Association meeting since the board endorsed the development, but the board has refused to put the item on the agenda.

As a small business owner, homeowner and community member, I am disheartened that my community board members and elected city officials are turning a deaf ear to our concerns, and are ignoring the pleas of the community to allow open discussion on this issue.

I understand that 20 years ago the prevailing concern was for jobs for the workers of the recently closed sugar mill. But, that is not the Kahuku of today. My Kahuku neighbors are worried about traffic, affordability and availability of housing, the destruction of our countryside and loss of the local feel of this area.

Before it's too late, we need to push our officials to get involved and take the steps necessary to ensure that any development abide by standing requirements to protect the environment and preserve our natural resources.

Can we afford to lose the North Shore? Ask your friends and neighbors whether they would rather have preservation of the North Shore, its beaches and landscape, or a tidy profit for Mainland developers.

Does our entire island have to be for sale to the highest bidder?

Virginia Abshier, MD
Kahuku