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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 15, 2007

Letters to the Editor

MAINLAND INMATES

PRISON SHOULD BE HARSH AS A DETERRENT TO CRIME

The article "Plan: Return inmates to Isles" (Feb. 10) makes me wonder. Sending prisoners to the Mainland offers a great savings to taxpayers. Opponents claim it's "unduly harsh on inmates and their families."

Surprise! Prison should be a harsh and unpleasant experience, one that criminals remember, an incentive not to commit crime again.

Previously two individuals were arrested for stealing copper from highway lightpoles. One had 64 arrests and 10 convictions, the other had 104 arrests and 45 convictions. Both of these individuals obviously have no fear of being arrested, convicted or of going to prison. Maybe prison isn't so bad in Hawai'i.

If opponents of transferring prisoners to the Mainland are really serious, why don't they begin an "Adopt a Prisoner" program? The inmates can stay in their homes, and thus the experience won't be so "unduly harsh" on the inmates.

Of course, elected officials sponsoring and voting for this bill should be the first ones to participate in the program.

Jon Sallot
Mililani

KALAKAUA AVENUE

Can't cops get drunks off Waikiki's streets?

I lived on O'ahu for three years until 2003. I now reside in California and visited Waikiki in December.

I know about the homeless living in the Waikiki area, but have no problem with them.

What I saw that disturbed me a lot were the drunks lying on Kalakaua Avenue in the morning, in the day and at night.

They were under the influence and begging for money from the tourists. The police did a good job with the prostitutes. Can they do something about the drunks?

Vernon Robinson Jr.
Hollister, Calif.

DRUGS

ACLU WRONG IN STANCE ON RANDOM SEARCHES

If random searches save even one life from being destroyed by drugs, I would gladly put up with any inconvenience.

It seems that the ACLU disagrees. They seem more interested in rules than in saving young lives.

As a former member, I decided a long time ago that the ACLU does not stand for a better America.

Warren K. Fukushima
Pearl City

HOUSING

STATE, CITY SHOULD FIND SOME COMMON GROUND

I find it hard to believe that on the one hand Gov. Linda Lingle is featured in a story about a meeting with the homeless in Wai'anae and the plans to open another shelter and future shelters. Meanwhile, Mayor Mufi Hannemann is making plans to sell the 12 low-income projects because the city has to pay too much for maintenance and management.

Isn't the proposed selling of these low-income housing projects going to put more people on the streets and beaches?

Shouldn't the mayor and governor get together and support each other's decisions and plans?

It would appear that what is going to happen is that "one will giveth" and "one will taketh away." Where will that get all of us?

Cassandra Aoki
Kane'ohe

SPENDING PRIORITIES ARE ALL MIXED UP ON O'AHU

What does it say about our community that we gladly give $4 million to the millionaires of the NFL to bring the Pro Bowl to our beautiful Islands and yet our officials balk at continuing to spend $3 million a year for the city's public housing, which provides the most basic need housing to our vulnerable neighbors?

We are talking about our money and our values.

I love sports, but what about our neighbors who depend on public housing? Isn't this one of the basic functions of government? C'mon, Mr. Mayor! You are better than this!

The Rev. Cloudia Charters
Honolulu

HEALTHCARE COSTS

HMSA HAS UPPED FEES TO MDS IN PAST 10 YEARS

I'd like to correct some information in Dr. Todd Thompson's letter about Hawai'i's healthcare system ("State could improve healthcare climate," Feb. 3).

Dr. Thompson is correct when he says that employers today are paying more for their employees' health coverage than 10 years ago. That is because of an increased use of health plan benefits and inflation in the cost of healthcare services.

As Hawai'i's most experienced health plan, we proudly maintain one of the highest financial return ratios in the country. We use 93 cents of every dues dollar to pay providers for services to our members. Only 7 cents is used to operate the health plan.

Regarding physician reimbursements, HMSA reviews its provider fees each year and makes appropriate adjustments. Between these fee increases and annual utilization increases, payments to Hawai'i physicians overall (on a per-member basis) have increased by 82.5 percent over the past 10 years.

The under-reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid services is a major concern across the country. Physicians here in Hawai'i know that HMSA has no control over this government problem.

To target HMSA dues in an effort to compensate for the government's shortfall is entirely inappropriate.

Cliff K. Cisco
Senior vice president, Hawaii Medical Service Association

ROADWAYS

POTHOLE HOT LINE CALLS SEEM TO BE IGNORED

Thanks for printing how to report potholes. But what good does it do?

Three months ago, I reported a pothole at an intersection in my neighborhood. Today it still exists (and is deeper) along with three new ones.

How can anyone think that we can maintain a rail system when we can't even maintain our roads?

Shall I phone the hot line again, only to be ignored?

Pam Chambers
Niu Valley

IRAQ

WATADA FACES COURT THAT WANTS TO KEEP WAR

It's interesting that this newspaper didn't make the Lt. Ehren Watada story the headline, since he is from Hawai'i and his stand is based on morals and saving souls.

As a Hawaiian, I am supporting Watada because he is brave to stand on principle as an American. But I am saddened, because Americans who are against him lean more to the white racist view of what America is.

Watada is facing a kangaroo court that is connected to corporations that have an interest in keeping the Iraq war going, so they can make money in this illegal war.

Rita K. Kanui
Waimanalo

CRITICISM OF WATADA REALLY SUPPORTED HIM

Some very startling information about Lt. Ehren Watada's refusal to deploy to the illegal Iraq war has come to light.

A commentary on Feb. 6 by Col. Thomas D. Farrell, who served in Iraq, stated: "Many of us who served were under no illusion about the administration's corruption of intelligence to make the case for war."

Col. Farrell is telling us that senior military officers knew the reason for war was not the truth, and no one stood up to object to what they knew was illegal.

Most telling is Col. Farrell's statement that Lt. Watada may be right in his claim that the Bush administration bamboozled Congress with phony claims of weapons of mass destruction and insinuations of ties to Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, but Congress has not repealed its resolution or passed legislation to force withdrawal.

Col. Farrell unwittingly supports Lt. Watada's position on the Iraq war.

It is evident this was not his intent, but we thank him anyway.

Robert Lloyd
'Ewa Beach

COUNTERPOINT

CITY POSITION ON PAY HIKES IS FAIR TO ITS EMPLOYEES

I was disappointed after reading David Shapiro's commentary in yesterday's paper.

He purposely left out the fact that the state has an offer of 4 percent before the HGEA, a fact he admits he dismissed as not relevant when it is the very figure that he's criticizing Mayor Mufi Hannemann for saying that the city can afford to pay and the state was willing to do so at the outset.

Shapiro sent an e-mail to the mayor late Friday afternoon and asked if the city had committed to step increases. I told him his information was off base and the city did not commit to step increases. By being an irresponsible commentator and not taking the time to verify the facts, he left readers with the impression that the city had committed to step movements and that the wage offer would nearly double to 7.5 percent. Where he gets that figure is anybody's guess, but what's more important is the city never made such an offer!

I told Shapiro the mayor likes to bargain, compromise and negotiate in good faith. Imagine being a government employee and seeing that in this robust economy, with a huge state surplus and the private sector getting nearly 4 percent in salary increases, that your boss thinks you're only worth 2 percent. That's what the state is saying to its employees. It is a slap in the face. The 4 percent position of the city is fair; it's not exorbitant, it's something that acknowledges the worth of the city worker while still being affordable to the taxpayer. It can hardly be construed as a payback for support or that he is undermining negotiations and no longer is part of the management arbitration team.

And the strange conclusion about property taxes comes out of nowhere. The mayor has pushed for and provided property tax relief in light of increased property values. He'll continue to do so when he introduces his next city budget in a few weeks.

Shapiro had a preconceived commentary in mind and went with it. By his own admission on his blog, he was upset that other bloggers and good journalists beat him to the punch, and instead of being mature about it, decided to take out his frustration on HGEA and Mayor Hannemann.

Bill Brennan
Press secretary to Mayor Mufi Hannemann