Letters to the Editor
OBAMA'S MESSAGE HAS IMPACT TOWARD PEACE
The headline over a Jan. 16 article said it all: "Few results from Bush's Middle East trip, Analysts say his goals are unrealistic and that he lacks credibility."
In light of George W. Bush's most recent failures, isn't it about time to change course and think about Barack Obama's call to talk to our enemies for the sake of bringing peace to the region? For all of our wasted lives and money in Iraq and the recent bluster over Iran, the article reports that "many Gulf countries appear to be moving closer to Iran over Washington's objections."
As The Economist reports, in between campaign stops Sen. Obama is actually trying to do something about the violence in Kenya by urging calm via Voice of America, and by calling opposition leader Raila Odinga to appeal to him to speak to his adversary, Mwai Kibaki.
Unfortunately, Sen. Obama's adversary, Hillary Clinton, has called him naive for suggesting we speak to our enemies.
From thousands of miles away, he's having more of an impact toward peace than our president has had on a weeklong tour. What we need is a significant shift in our foreign policy application, not more of the same.John Cheever
FREEWAY SHOULD NOT BE SHUT DOWN FOR SO LONG
Well, they did it again. A terrible tragedy followed by insult to injury by HPD.
Won't they ever learn that shutting down the only highway for hours is just plain nuts?
Is there no end to this madness? If this terrible thing had happened on the East Coast and the police pulled the same stunt there, both the police chief and the mayor would be thrown out of office. Isn't that what we need here?
Enough is enough. Do your investigation in a half-hour and be done with it. And if they can't do it in a reasonable amount of time, they should step aside and let someone who can do it take charge.Walter Mahr
MAINTENANCE EFFORTS SEEM TO BE HIT OR MISS
We read with great pleasure about the plan to install landscaping along the barren Kahekili Highway mauka of Kane'ohe town.
However, with this project comes the chore of maintenance. We are really disturbed about the maintenance along Kamehameha Highway adjacent to the Pali Golf Course. For years, it appears the plan has been to cut back the hibiscus quickly just before it blooms, depriving the motorists of the floral display that could be. It is a shame!
On the other hand, the maintenance of the medial strip on Pali Highway from Beretania mauka up to Nu'uanu Valley is really outstanding!
What's the problem?Peter B. Nottage
MANAGED LANES WILL BE BETTER THAN RAIL SYSTEM
The first rail toll you will pay is the increased excise tax on everything you buy — everyone has to pay this toll.
The second rail toll you will pay is spending more time on H-1. Your commute will get longer, and there is no relief in sight for traffic-accident days.
Rail will not improve the H-1 bottleneck and will make it 50 percent worse for the morning commute. All H-1 users will pay this toll — commercial vehicles as well as private vehicles.
The next rail toll is the increased bus fare — all bus riders will pay this toll. The operating costs for rail are almost twice what we have now for the bus. Therefore, you can expect all bus riders to pay a minimum of $4 per ride even if they never use the train.
The next rail toll you will pay is fear. Rail stations are magnets for crime.
The next rail toll you will pay is the transfer toll — the time and inconvenience of transferring from the bus, to the station, wait for the train, ride the train, transfer to the bus stop, ride the bus. Then do the same on the return.
Managed lanes will reduce all of these rail tolls — excise taxes, travel time, bus fares, fear and transfers.John Brizdle
THEBUS SHOULD LOWER AGE FOR SENIOR DISCOUNT
TheBus seems to be the primary source of mass transportation on O'ahu. It also seems to be more costly than other modes of transportation in cities on the Mainland. I notice a senior must be 65 to qualify for any break on the fare.
If O'ahu officials were to lower the senior age to 62, it might help alleviate traffic on O'ahu by encouraging more people to take TheBus. The majority of mass transportation companies on the Mainland use 62 as the age for discountable travel.
We need to do everything to encourage bus ridership, and this may be one way to encourage taking more drivers off the road.Bob Woodger
HAWAI'I WANTS QUALITY EDUCATION FOR YOUTH
I find it laughable yet sad that the Jan. 10 UH tour was an eye-opener for senators.
Have they been living under a rock? Don't their children attend UH? All the buildings on campus need some fixing. They need to shore up buildings; fix cracks in the walls, sidewalks, ceilings and roofs; upgrade the classrooms with unbroken tables and chairs; install state-of-the-art equipment in classrooms, offices, study halls and libraries; hire more maintenance crew to fix problems immediately; and the list goes on and on.
We, the people of Hawai'i, don't only "want to see what was promised to him (Jones) and agreed to," but to also fulfill our obligation to the youth of Hawai'i who want a quality college education at our public university.
President David McClain is an excellent steersman, doing what he can with the limited means at his disposal. What is needed is more team effort by the paddlers (politicians) to make it all happen.Gwen Heliker
TWO TECH INNOVATION AWARDS FOR UNIVERSITY
With all the recent pilikia surrounding the University of Hawai'i, it's reassuring to learn of two national awards for a UH-Manoa wireless monitoring innovation.
The 2008 North American Technology Innovation of the Year Award in addition to the 2007 Emergency Technology Award (awarded to Kai Sensors Inc.) are rewards for the latest in a string of recent UH science and technology innovations.
The technique for remotely monitoring heartbeats, breathing and other vital signs simultaneously has a broad spectrum of applications for the healthcare, automotive and homeland-security markets.
The technology is being refined by Kai Sensors Inc. in the Manoa Innovation Center.
Imua, UH-Manoa!Paul Perretta
GEORGIA CAME TO PLAY, UH WARRIORS DID NOT
As a former player, I'm tired of hearing fans and the media say that we were overmatched by bigger, faster, stronger players.
Georgia players are no different than us; the problem was they came to play and we didn't.
Georgia was dominant, not only because they were good athletes, but because their scheme put them in the best position to win.
If Hawai'i (offense) had done the same and utilized/adjusted their scheme to put themselves in the best position, we would not be in the mess we are in now. Believe me, our budget and facilities have nothing to do with what goes on on the field. It's up to the players, and I know for a fact they are looking forward to Florida.
Georgia got lucky, and I say that from a player's point of view. We gave up big plays, which at the end killed us.
But it's over; let's all talk about how we are going to support the program. Let's sell out every game from here on out.Lene Amosa
GOVERNOR ASKED FOR REFLECTING POOL MONEY
I need to correct Mr. Paul Guncheon on his incorrect statement (Letter, Jan. 12) that the Legislature is proposing to spend $8 million on the state Capitol reflecting pool.
Actually, it is Gov. Linda Lingle who is asking the Legislature to add this amount to the budget for the pool.
I think most people would agree with Mr. Guncheon that the reflecting pool is not an essential item, especially when we have so many needs in education.
The governor's request is disturbing considering the fact that of $210 million authorized by the Legislature to fix our schools since 2006, Gov. Lingle has chosen to only release about $30 million.
As we heard from the Council on Revenues recently, the Legislature will have less money to appropriate this year, and it is critical that we make funding decisions based on the greatest need.
We will do our due diligence in determining the state's fiscal priorities.Rep. Marcus R. Oshiro
Chair, House Committee on Finance
INDIVIDUALS CAN HELP IN HOMELESS SOLUTIONS
We are greatly encouraged that the state has taken the responsibility and commitment to fund a $20 million permanent homeless facility in Honolulu.
It is a step in the right direction in reducing homelessness created by a shortage of affordable rental units.
Last month, while enrolling Medicaid members in medical plans at Kamehameha IV housing, I noticed numerous vacant units in buildings apparently serviceable with water and electricity. These units have been vacant for more than a year and are scheduled for renovation.
That evening, we participated in an outreach to about 250 residents at the Next Step shelter in Kaka'ako from our church, New Hope Christian Fellowship.
There, homeless families and individuals sleep and take refuge in cubicles that are 8 feet by 5 feet and open on one side, often draped with sheets for limited privacy.
Residents seem happy and appreciative of their accommodations. How paradoxical that poor planning has allowed habitable vacant apartments to slowly await renovation while homeless families are relegated to a cubicle city from which they must leave everyday by 8:30 a.m. without breakfast to return at 4:30 p.m.
This situation fosters poor stability for families with children and the disabled, and needs to be corrected.
Gov. Linda Lingle, the state government and the private sector are to be commended for their initiative in making the commitment to fund and coordinate the complex efforts needed in reducing homelessness in Hawai'i.
Individuals can do their part through donations of clothing, nonperishable food items and funds to organizations that help the homeless.John Nakao
STEEL POLES A BETTER SOLUTION FOR WAI'ANAE
As an engineer with some local utility system planning experience, I have a recommendation for the electric transmission lines serving the Wai'anae Coast.
I would strongly recommend that HECO be permitted to replace the wooden poles along Farrington Highway that failed during severe wind storms during the past two years with modern steel poles designed for hurricane force winds.
Steel poles have a good record on Kaua'i and on Guam, which has severe hurricane exposure. Also, there is an excellent example of a steel pole power line carrying two transmission circuits and one distribution circuit from Kailua-Kona to Kona airport.
The installation of a steel pole system will offer several advantages over converting these existing transmission circuits to underground, including much less disruption of traffic on Farrington Highway, the only road serving Wai'anae; much less possibility of disturbing iwi in the area; and for a given amount of investment, much more protection from future wind storms because many more miles of transmission lines can be converted to steel poles in the Wai'anae area than could be placed underground.Alan S. Lloyd