EFFECTS HIGHLIGHTNEED FOR PRUDENCE
Lee Cataluna's column "Instead of guidelines and tips, try traps" (Dec. 22) makes more sense than any other article written about rats in Chinatown.
In her article, she says, "If the rat video Larry Geller shot had been of Waikíkí rather than Chinatown, the reaction would have been different." The video by Larry Geller and the local media have caused many negative effects in Chinatown, especially to Kekaulike Market where the video was shot. This has caused a decrease in sales throughout Chinatown.
In these economic times, we surely do not need this. The merchants in Chinatown are angry, especially at Kekaulike Market about the publicity by the media and Internet. The merchants are now using mitigating measures to address the situation. Chinatown is much safer and much cleaner than before.
Rats are found everywhere. The next time something like this happens, let's be more prudent.
JOSEPH W.C. YOUNG, D.D.S. (RET.) | Honolulu
POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE MUST BE SCRUTINIZED
Contrary to Bernardo P. Benigmo's letter (Dec. 22), people like former Gov. Ben Cayetano are not "trying to wreck our hope for a better transportation in the future."
Instead, they are warning us that there is a large potential downside to the rail project that has not been honestly addressed and adequately publicized.
The questions are whether the rail system will deliver all of its claimed benefits, and at what cost. If it doesn't substantially reduce traffic, and if ridership falls well below projections, we will have spent vast amounts of money on a woefully inadequate remedy for our congested roadways.
The rail project entails not only huge construction costs but also the ongoing costs of keeping it running year after year, which are likely to be substantial. Where will the money for the operational costs come from?
At a time when our state and local governments are already scrambling to plug gaping holes in their budgets, we need to demand well-grounded answers to tough questions about this very expensive public works project.
The downside of rail must be just as thoroughly scrutinized as the promised upside; it's not going to be a free lunch.
KENT HIRATA | Honolulu
HAPPY NEW YEAR
WE HAVE MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR
Each new year promises opportunities and challenges, a refreshing look to the future, and an occasion to set new goals and strive to do our best.
As we celebrate days gone by and look forward to new experiences, let us take a few moments to reflect on the special people in our lives, this special place we call home, and the special times in which we live.
The past year — and decade — saw great turbulence and pain, but also brilliance, joy, and achievement. We have so much to be thankful for, and so much to share.
Gail and I wish you and yours Hauoli Makahiki Hou! May the coming year be a great one.
MAYOR MUFI HANNEMANN | City and County of Honolulu
WE SHOULD FEEL HONORED, LIVE ALOHA
I have been reading numerous letters to the editor complaining about the "inconveniences" that the Obama family's visit has placed on the day-to-day routines for some of us. We should be less selfish and instead feel honored that the president of the United States and his family wish to continue vacationing here in Hawaii. A bit of tolerance should be extended even when it impacts some of our own personal feelings. This is Hawaii, and we live for aloha.
JOSEPH FONDEUR | Waianae
LEADERS OWE PEOPLE A SPECIAL SESSION
The HSTA and governor have clearly reached an impasse based on position: for teachers instructional days are necessary; for the governor it is a question of what the state can afford.
The message from state House and Senate leadership is that a special session is not necessary until a compromise between the parties is reached.
This mentality is wrong. It is time for our political leaders to get back to work and set the policy goals and priorities for the state in a special session.
The Hawaii Constitution puts the power to make policy with the state Legislature; to put into law what the people of Hawaii demand. It is clear that the people of Hawaii demand a high-quality education for our children: teachers should keep instructional days and students should be back in school five days a week.
The Legislature is the body of our government responsible for setting this objective. If it means cutting other state services to meet this goal then it is time for our state politicians to begin that discussion in a special session.
TOM BERGER | Honolulu
HAWAII TRAILING IN PROTECTION LAWS
In a state that is driven primarily by virtues of ohana, unity and aloha, it seems a bit unsettling that Hawaii was ranked nearly dead last in a list of animal-friendly states. The Animal Defense Fund ranked Hawaii 48th in the nation based on animal protection laws.
Understandably, Hawaii is already busy with legislation regarding education and tackling the economic recession, but this is no excuse to not strengthen lax laws regarding animal cruelty.
Hawaii is simply trailing in laws to help our animals. For example, there is no law against animal abandonment in Hawaii. There is also no requirement for mental counseling or evaluations for animal abusers — which scientifically shows that many of whom will later "graduate" on to human victims.
This is absolutely unacceptable. It is 2010 and Hawaii seems to be stuck in the Stone Age when dealing with stronger animal protection laws.
Wake up, Hawaii, the dogs are barking for change.
ALVIN PARK | Mililani