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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Beach litter

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    Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

    Norfolk Island pines tower over Beckwith Street in Manoa. The consequences of planting certain types of trees near homes and roadways need more thought.

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    DON'T WAIT FOR THE CITY TO CLEAN UP

    Almost every Sunday, my wife and I go to a beach on the Windward side. We take a walk and, after reaching our turnaround point, I come back collecting pieces of plastic, bottles and bottle cups, ropes, beach toys, and many more pieces too small to identify.

    A couple of Sundays ago, a gentleman told me to "just enjoy the beach because the city comes to clean up." While it is true that the beach looks better than before, it's evident that C&C can't be expected to handle it all.

    So, I say to that gentleman: I will not stop, for the following reasons:

    1. It is obvious to me that between cleanups pieces of plastic go back to the ocean to "feed" turtles, marine mammals, fish and birds.

    2. When I finish picking up enough plastic to fill a bag, the beach looks a lot cleaner and I feel a lot better.

    3. I will not wait for the government to come and solve a problem that I can help solve by myself.

    Perhaps if more beachgoers clean up after themselves and take a little something extra, our beaches will look better and locals and tourists will enjoy them even more.

    SERGIO G. ROBLES | Manoa

    NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND

    DOE COMMITTED TO FURTHER PROGRESS

    Under No Child Left Behind, states must measure academic progress using tests aligned to their standards. John Kawamoto (Letters, July 21) correctly stated that the DOE set its own progress goals. At the same time, he falsely suggested the DOE did not believe they would be held accountable to achieve them.

    What Kawamoto failed to say is that no matter what path a state decided to take, 100 percent of students must test proficient under NCLB in math and reading in 2014.

    Under NCLB's rating system, if a school misses just one target in 37 areas such as ethnicity, poverty, limited English proficiency, special education and high school graduation rates, it will not achieve adequate yearly progress.

    Two-thirds of Hawai'i schools did not meet AYP this year. However, student proficiency scores in reading since 2003 rose from 41 to 65 percent and, in math, from 20 to 44 percent.

    The DOE agrees with the Obama administration that NCLB should focus on growth in student achievement rather than an unrealistic, "all-or-nothing" AYP model.

    Kawamoto's claim belittles the work and efforts of our students, teachers, principals, and parents. The Department remains committed to its rigorous standards and setting high expectations for all students.

    CARA TANIMURA | Director, Systems Accountability Office, Hawai'i Department of Education

    HEALTH CARE

    URGE CONGRESS TO ACT BEFORE BREAK

    In response to nurse Lyn Pyle's July 24 letter ("Wealthy protected while children suffer"), we must remind ourselves that Congress is planning to take a break prior to examining and passing a national health care program. Please contact your elected leaders in Hawai'i and Washington, D.C., and demand that they not take their break without passing a high-quality, single-payer health-care delivery program for all Americans. We need this desperately. Thank you.

    WILLIAM MARSHALL, RN | Honolulu

    ENERGY, HEALTH CARE

    LEGISLATION NEEDS TIME, PEOPLE'S INPUT

    Hawai'i's senators and Congress members are in lock step with President Obama, as illustrated by their support of cap-and-trade legislation and health care reform. The consequences of cap-and-trade are potentially disastrous to an already troubled economy. Nowhere in print or on TV was disclosure of those consequences given. A 1,100-page bill was "rushed' through the House last-minute with representatives signing a bill they had not even read.

    President Obama's push to get health care reform done now needs to allow time for more of the people's input. Where are the doctors and staff going to come from to add another 50 million people to the health care system? Of the 50 million "uninsured," how many are illegal immigrants, and how many are younger folks who could buy insurance but choose not to? What will happen to care for the elderly when money runs out and rationing of services becomes bureaucratic decisions?

    The left wing of the Democratic Party now has control of two of the branches of government, and probably soon the judicial branch. Is it wise to also give them control of the energy and health care of the United States?

    JAMES D. YORK | President, York & Co. Inc., Honolulu

    PINE TREE HAZARD

    MORE FORESIGHT NEEDED AT PLANTINGS

    The removal of the Norfolk Island pine trees in Manoa by the city ("Tree removal a relief on Manoa street," July 21) might serve as a reminder to plant with foresight in the first place. Especially speaking on the corporate/municipal scale.

    As beautiful and tall as these Norfolks stand, aren't they prone to decay and termites, and don't they pose a problem in high winds?

    Living on the North Shore and coming downhill to Hale'iwa and seeing the young and newly planted Norfolks as a windbreak has me concerned about the future. These trees grow so quickly, and I wonder what Kamehameha Highway will look like in 10 or 30 years. Will someone need to review, or remove, this "tunnel of trees" due to hazard?

    Perhaps the owners could sell these trees and plant the new choice of the arborists, the fern podocarpus.

    When these evergreens grow 30 to 50 feet tall, everyone who drives down toward the North Shore will be able to, without fear of falling Norfolks, continue to enjoy the panoramic views.

    MARI HARTMAN | Sunset Beach