KUDOS FOR UPLIFTING NEWS ON SCHOOLS
Lee Cataluna's Dec. 29 column regarding Campbell High School's robotics team left me warm and fuzzy all over. It was refreshing and uplifting to read something positive coming out of the Hawaii DOE for a change.
I'm sure there are other success stories about public school students; perhaps The Advertiser could publish one for every story concerning HSTA-Lingle administration clashes, low graduation rates, yada, yada, yada. Kudos to coach Schaefers and the Sabertron team.
GARY LUM | Honolulu
3 THINGS NEEDED IN THWARTING TERRORISM
Although Northwest Flight 253 originated overseas, it's time to look at measures in place at our own airports. Current procedures seem strict, but I believe they do little to stop a determined terrorist and are more likely to only frustrate the well-intentioned, everyday traveler. So what more can we do? Three things:
1. If you're serious about thwarting terrorism, you must look serious. For example, tactically uniformed officers openly carrying automatic weapons. The officers would be in roving patrols and prominent at security checkpoints.
2. Profiling. Yes, profiling. Offended? Sorry, but political correctness and hyper-sensitivities must be put aside or we will undoubtedly see more airliners falling from the sky.
3. Finally, as a nation we must understand and maintain an attitude that reflects reality. That reality is that we are at war against a very determined non-state-aligned enemy whose stated goal is the destruction of our country.
If you want to see a model for airport security, you need only look at Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel. The Israelis are serious about security because their survival has always depended on it, and now ours does, too.
ROBERT LOTTIE | Kailua
FIGHTING TERROR WITH TERROR WRONG WAY
Although I am a firm backer of President Obama, I strongly oppose his choice to escalate the Afghan war.
I disagree with his belief that it is in our vital national interest to "dismantle and destroy" al-Qaida because that is a self-defeating proposition. When one member falls, another will rise in Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Southeast Asia, Western Europe, even the United States.
As Deepak Chopra pointed out after the Mumbai massacre last year, the concept of waging a "war on terrorism" is oxymoronic, that is, being a self-defeating proposition — as in "waging terror on terrorism."
A better result can be achieved if creative, open-minded solutions are found to resolve disputes. That is the mindset I have seen in Barack Obama, and that is the presidential carriage I am confident will soon return.
STUART N. TABA | Honolulu
STATE, HECO SHOULD HELP FUND STUDIES
Regarding "Photovoltaic faces setback: Industry eager to move forward delayed by utilities' requirements for studies," Dec. 27:
It seems to me that as part of Hawaii's energy strategy for renewable energy, the state and HECO should initially fund studies for all of the island power systems (including Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Molokai and Lānai) to determine where photovoltaic installations would be allowed on each utility system. PV contractors would then know if the location of their proposed projects (on the electrical system) would be compatible with the utilities' requirements prior to making any investment. KIUC could also make a similar agreement with the state for the island of Kauai.
As a utility engineer, I know that these studies are expensive and require a great deal of data about the electrical utility system, some of which HECO may not wish to release. These studies could be funded as a fee from the investors who want to install these PV projects; not a great solution, but a start, at least.
THOMAS MUN | Aiea
EDUCATION, HUMAN SERVICES BOTH CRITICAL
It is a sad state of affairs when our elected officials choose to pit education against human services. Our government leaders should not rob the health and human services rainy-day fund to mitigate a faltering education system.
It is naive to think that just getting children back into the classroom will solve the broad challenges facing the Hawaii Department of Education. How can a child effectively learn when his/her family is falling apart? What can we expect of our youngsters in school when there is no childcare to enable mom and dad to work? We know that student learning is compromised when children have not eaten because food bank shelves are empty.
Children can only thrive in the classroom when their basic human needs are met. The rainy-day fund was established "to maintain levels of programs determined to be essential to the public health, safety and welfare" (HRS 328L-3). Education is essential to the well-being of our state, but so are health, safety and social welfare programs. The rainy-day fund was never intended to pit one critical service against another, but to shelter all needs from the storm.
DEBBIE SHIMIZU, LSW | Executive director, National Association of Social Workers, Hawaii Chapter