Letters to the Editor
SCHOOL PENALIZED FOR ITS AIR CONDITIONERS
Our principal sent us a message that the Department of Education will charge Aliamanu Middle School for excess use of electricity because of the air conditioners that we installed on our own.
The school held fundraisers and parents bought all sorts of goodies. We were trying to help the state, school and community.
Now we discover that we are going to be charged for working so hard to provide a comfortable environment for our students.
It is not our fault that we are a 50-year-old school and that when the school was first built no one took into account the need for a cool environment for school sessions during summer months.
It is very discouraging for schools like us to be self-sufficient when we get penalized.Gloria Gorter
CHARGE PASSENGERS BASED ON TOTAL WEIGHT
I have the answer to the problem of airlines charging for checked bags — everyone and their bags get weighed and we pay to fly per pound.
Isn't it all about weight, anyway? The heavier the plane the more fuel is used — it might even encourage people to go on diets and lose that "excess baggage!"Linda Kaiser
QUESTION FOR LINGLE ON TRUST IN GOVERMENT
The fact that Gov. Linda Lingle is anxious to level unfounded criticism at the Senate's procurement investigation shows she must be afraid of its findings.
I am not surprised at the governor's attempt to divert attention from the facts surrounding Ted Liu's $8.7 million procurement violation. However, she failed to mention that the Senate voted unanimously to authorize the investigation after Mr. Liu's months-long refusal to comply with the state procurement officer's order to rescind his award of the contract to his friend, Barry Weinman, and instead give it to the rightful highest-ranked bidder, Kolohala.
The governor also neglected to mention that Barry Weinman has been a significant contributor to her campaign. Records show that Barry and Virginia Weinman contributed more than $100,000 to her, Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, a handful of other candidates and the Republican Party.
She glosses over the fact that Mr. Liu's supposed error clearly violated even the most basic tenets of the procurement code. That is at the core of our investigation: to determine whether he did so knowingly and intentionally. Sixty hours of testimony revealed that Mr. Liu, his deputy, his ASO and division heads were — at best — embarrassingly derelict in administering the procurement laws.
My question to the governor is what happened to her campaign promise of "Restoring Trust In Government?" She said that she would create a transparent system of awarding contracts that brings Hawai'i in compliance with universally accepted standards.
Instead, we see the Lingle administration doing everything she criticized past administrations for.Sen. Donna Mercado Kim
D-14th (Halawa, Moanalua, Kamehameha Heights)
PEDESTRIANS SHOULD WEAR REFLECTIVE GEAR
Michael P. Rethman has it right in his May 22 letter, "Sensible proposals to help increase safety."
Many pedestrians (and motorists) do not realize that pedestrians are virtually invisible to drivers, especially at night.
Every pedestrian should wear a reflective vest or armband at all times.
The state or some benevolent organization should see that all pedestrians (especially elderly and children) have and use such reflective gear. I am sure they are cheap in bulk, and perhaps could be put in dispensers at especially dangerous crossings.
This would be a cheap, practical and quick partial solution.Alvin Murphy
SUGGESTION WOULD HOLD DRIVERS ACCOUNTABLE
I have several comments in response to recent letters concerning pedestrian and bicycle safety.
I am the bicycle commuter whose picture appeared on the front page of The Honolulu Advertiser on May 13.
In 14 years of commuting to Downtown from my home in St. Louis Heights, I've had my share of run-ins and close calls with motorists but, fortunately, have never been hit.
I used to take down license plate numbers and call them into HPD, but learned nothing is ever done with this information. For a driver to be cited, a police officer must be present. Obviously an HPD officer cannot monitor every intersection, so there is a low probability of a driver being cited for failing to yield right-of-way to pedestrians or bicyclists in a crosswalk (yes, bicycles are allowed to be ridden in crosswalks in Honolulu, contrary to what some drivers believe). It is only when there is an accident that police are involved.
If, as in other states, citizens could call in a violator's license, motorists would know there is a greater likelihood they could be held accountable. You can bet there would be much better compliance in observing crosswalk right-of-ways.Richard Sullivan
St. Louis Heights
KEIKI SCHOLAR PROGRAM A BLESSING FOR HAWAI'I
On May 20, Gov, Linda Lingle recognized three recipients of the Governor's Innovation Awards for ingenuity and commitment in developing creative ways to improve Hawai'i and help the state meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Though not one of the governor's distinguished honorees, there is reason for the state to applaud Kamehameha Schools for their innovative approach to educating children of Hawaiian ancestry. It is, indeed, a terrifically creative blessing for all of Hawai'i.
Kamehameha Schools' recent commitment of an estimated $47 million over the next 15 years to send Native Hawaiian students, who cannot be accommodated on their three campuses, to 61 private schools throughout the Islands takes the term innovation to an incredible level.
Under its Pauahi Keiki Scholars Kindergarten Program, 240 students each year for the next three years will receive up to $6,000 annually toward their tuition at a participating private school. And, the student can have this aid continue until graduation from high school.
This powerful initiative creates a unique methodology that will make all of us better stewards for our children's educational legacy:
Thank you, Kamehameha Schools, in collaboration with the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, for helping the collective spirit of our citizens soar with great hope and aloha now and for generations to come.Betty White
Head of school, Sacred Hearts Academy
CITY REMOVAL OF ARBORS IS A DREADFUL DECISION
The removal of shady arbors from Kukui and River streets to try to kick gamblers and drug dealers out of the area seems the worst possible urban planning and police work.
If you remove the amenities to get rid of the criminals then, as they say, the terrorists have already won.
Too much gambling and drug dealing? Call the police, not the demolition crews. That's what the police are for.
Why not consult with city planners, park designers, landscape architects and architects on how to maintain and improve the streetscape for all of us.
Where were their voices in the article about a press conference ("Arbors removed from Chinatown," May 23)?
This is a dreadful retreat from the revitalization of Chinatown. What do we do next? Roll up the sidewalks?Walter Wright