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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Letters to the Editor

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TRANSIT

STORY ON RAIL CONTRACTS NEGATIVE, INFLAMMATORY

We are pleased, but not surprised, that The Advertiser's Sept. 15 examination of contracts awarded in relation to the rail mass-transit project found no evidence of impropriety.

Project officials explained the procurement process to reporter Sean Hao in detail and assured him all regulations were adhered to, yet he chose to ignore the facts and attempted to paint a negative picture. Such distorted representations tarnish this important project and suggest to Washington that Honolulu will stumble again on mass transit.

The federal Brooks Act requires that professional service contracts be awarded based on the qualification of the provider rather than a low bid.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann and his appointees were excluded from the selection committees, which adhered to state procurement rules. Political influence was completely absent.

Speculative and uninformed comments by Rep. Cynthia Thielen and Councilman Charles Djou added nothing but sensationalism. Since Djou has packaged himself as a political opponent of Mayor Hannemann, and is campaigning for a rival in Saturday's mayoral election, it's troubling that your reporter would not seek a more objective source.

Much of the factual information in the article, including details about the contracts, had already been described in The Advertiser's pages months or even years ago, so we're puzzled by your decision to rake over such old coals at this point in time.

You have done your readers a great disservice by publishing such inflammatory material.

Richard Torres
Deputy director, Department of Transportation Services

Mark Oto
Deputy director, Department of Budget and Fiscal Services

REX JOHNSON

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS RUINING OUR COUNTRY

I guess my reaction to the "sins" of Rex Johnson is different than that of the many other readers. My first reaction on reading that Gov. Linda Lingle is calling for his resignation was, "Political correctness is ruining our country."

I don't know Mr. Johnson, so I don't know if he is a sexist or a racist or if he merely has a lousy sense of humor.

Judging by what I read in the paper, some of his views may be offensive to me also. But whatever happened to, "without regard to race, creed or color?" When did America discard that philosophy?

If Mr. Johnson is doing his job capably that should be all that matters. And apparently he is doing that. He misused government property and was given a huge pay reduction for that trivial offense. To call for his dismissal now is displaying the bigotry that some are accusing him of having.

One hundred fifty years ago, he might have been asked to resign because of abolitionist or suffragist sentiments. Is this the type of country we want to live in? One where people are judged not by their ability but rather by their beliefs? One where people can be fired if someone takes offense at their private utterances?

If you are offended by his e-mails, don't read them. He didn't send them to you. Get a life.

Russ Boyer
Mililani Mauka

SARAH PALIN

SHE CAN SPELL, BUT CAN SHE LEAD FREE WORLD?

The Republicans chose a young, conservative, relatively unknown politician from a predominantly Republican state to run for vice president.

It worked with Dan Quayle in 1988. I have more confidence in Palin's ability to spell potato correctly than in her ability to lead the free world.

Bill Astman
Honolulu

STORY ON EX-EMPLOYEE A RIDICULOUS NEWS ITEM

The recent Associated Press article, "Former Wasilla museum director, now Hilo resident, criticizes Palin," is simply a ridiculous news item couched as a story.

Why is it a headline that someone who was let go would be disgruntled?

Not only did this former Wasilla resident resign his position in the city government, but he also has fundamental differences with now-Gov. Sarah Palin. Self-described as a "bleeding-heart liberal," it's no surprise that he would criticize the former mayor.

The process of establishing one's own team in any new administration is practiced in local and state governments across the country, as well as in our federal government. It is common practice that any political appointee is aware that his or her position is limited to the terms of their leader as "at-will employees."

It would be interesting to see how many of Jeremy Harris' appointees that Mufi Hannemann kept. Or how many of Steve Yamashiro's appointees Harry Kim decided to keep. The answer is likely zero!

Alex Dahlman
Honolulu

PRESIDENTIAL RACE

OBAMA HAS LEADERSHIP ON SOCIAL SECURITY

I am now 81 years old and I have been on Social Security for the past 16 years. It has afforded me a comfortable retirement along with my pension benefit.

John McCain says Social Security is broken, an outright lie to scare voters.

The Congressional Budget Office just released a study saying that Social Security is fine and will continue to be a viable program for the next 75 years.

Obama says it can be improved by extending payroll taxes to earnings above the present limits on the wealthiest workers. I plan to vote for Obama, as he is showing responsible leadership on this important issue for seniors and those about to retire.

Rev. George Lee
Honolulu

MCCAIN CAMPAIGNING ON SAME BUSH MESSAGE

Eight years ago, George W. Bush was elected president on his campaign for change, reform, working across the aisles, lowering taxes and changing the educational system. Fool us once, shame on you.

Four years ago, Bush was elected because he was going to lead us in a war we later learned he began on false pretenses and lies about his opponent. Fool us twice, shame on us.

This year, John McCain has said his Republican party is corrupt and has let down the country. His fellow Republicans at their convention cheer because he is going to reform them and bring change. Sarah Palin points to the corruption of her Alaska Republican party and how she confronted the corrupt Republican leaders. The Republican convention erupts in cheers.

McCain is campaigning on change, reform, working across the aisles, lowering taxes and changing the educational system. Sound familiar? He has many of the same Republicans who brought us Bush working on his campaign. Bush and Cheney, the same leaders who he says have made our country worse off than we were four years ago, have endorsed him.

Fool us a third time and we deserve whatever we get.

Lincoln Okita
Honolulu

U.S. HOUSE

HIGHWAY FUND VOTE WAS ACT OF COWARDICE

The overwhelming House vote for an $8 billion rescue package for the federal highway trust fund is a measure of congressional cowardice and its commitment to socialistic subsidies for motorists. Instead of diverting general tax funds to the trust fund, the federal gas tax should have been increased by 5 cents, which would cover the $8 billion shortfall.

U.S. gas taxes, federal and state, are far too low. Highway construction costs escalate 30 percent faster than the CPI. Corrected for construction cost inflation to equal the 4-cent 1960 tax, the 18.4-cent federal gas tax should be 48 cents. Our lagging highway and bridge maintenance program needs huge increases, estimated to cost more than $1 trillion over the next five years.

We don't subsidize electric and water consumers. Faced with water shortages, New York City was forced to meter individual water users instead of financing water supply with socialistic real estate taxes. Forced to pay user charges, New Yorkers cut consumption 30 percent.

The same user-pays principle applies to electric power consumers. Premium charges for peak-hour use flatten the demand curve and avoid huge capital investments in added generating capacity.

The same free-market, user-pays principle should apply to highway users. It is absurd to subsidize artificially stimulated highway use, with its huge contribution to pollution, global warming and congestion.

C. W. Griffin
Honolulu

UH-MANOA

TREES HACKED NEAR ORVIS AUDITORIUM

Driving to my favored parking area Monday morning, I saw that the UH-Manoa music department had lost two of its muses. A pair of trees that had beautified and shaded the area in front of Orvis Auditorium have been hacked to pieces.

I can't imagine that patrons of concerts and other events at the auditorium will approve.

Pat Matsueda
Honolulu

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

ISLE CITIZENS HAVE RIGHT TO DRUG-FREE TEACHERS

On Sept. 12, Richard Miller wrote an Island Voices column saying teacher drug testing will accomplish nothing and will deprive the school system of much-needed finances. Additionally, he said it is nothing more than a draconian attempt to deprive teachers of their basic rights.

Mr. Miller could not be further off the mark. Nowhere did he mention the rights of the citizens of Hawai'i to demand a safe, drug-free workplace. Nowhere did he mention that what brought this issue to the forefront were multiple violations of the drug policy by some teachers and the impotent reaction of the HSTA.

He speaks of the civil liberties of the teachers, but not of the law-abiding citizens. And no-where does he offer an alternative path to correct this issue except the threat of the ACLU standing by to bring a lawsuit against the state, an insult to the people of Hawai'i who want the best for their tax dollars and, most of all, their children.

The citizens of Hawai'i have the right to demand a standard of conduct for state employees. If drug testing is deemed necessary as a check and balance, as well as a deterrent to continued drug offenses, then let it be.

The civil rights of the taxpayers, who are employers of the teachers, outweigh the civil rights of a few people when quality education and a safe environment for our children are at stake.

Paul W. Theisen
'Aiea

FUEL

ETHANOL A GOOD IDEA THAT JUST HASN'T WORKED

Ethanol was a great idea that just didn't live up to its expectations. Many of us are trying to get rid of the 10-percent ethanol law.

It drives up the cost of gasoline. It doesn't ship as well as gas. You can't store it because it separates in just a few months. It gets lower gas mileage. It ruins small engines. It attracts moisture (boaters hate it).

If it cost more to produce and doesn't perform as well in the long run the environment is better off using gasoline without the 10-percent ethanol.

Yes, it was a good idea it just didn't work.

Ban ethanol now.

Stan Wright
Kane'ohe