SECURITY WELL DONE BY COAST GUARD
Mahalo to all who were involved in the security issues of the president's stay here on O'ahu. Special commendations to the men and women of the United States Coast Guard.
As a resident along Kailua Bay, I was privy to many of the comings and goings of the small Coast Guard Zodiac patrol boats throughout the week. These men and women were patrolling the canal and Kailua Bay 24 hours a day in the daytime heat as well as rain and Hawai'i's "cold" to ensure the security of the president and his family as well as nearby neighbors. They did so in a truly professional manner as they had to stop beachgoers and would-be fishermen from entering the waters near the president's vacation home.
For the bit of inconvenience that we residents and visitors alike might have had, I truly laud these young men and women in the Coast Guard. A job well done, Coasties!
ELLEN HUNTLEY | Kailua
AT-GRADE SYSTEM NOT THE WAY TO GO
Yes, $5.3 billion is a lot for an elevated transit system. Yes, you could save $2 billion by having part of it built at grade. However, how valuable is an at-grade system if it doesn't save people time and affects street traffic?
Imagine what would happen if a train is involved in an accident at a crossing. We all know how bad Honolulu drivers are, and they have never dealt with a train in their lives. If a fatality is involved, there will be hours of investigation, train delays and people will take hours to get home. How do we put a price on lost time?
Our officials should make a case to the federal government for more funding. Consider it economic stimulus. We lack the space for more highways. Elevated roads eventually dump traffic onto streets. Graduated lanes won't work and neither will toll roads because they take away from existing traffic. Buses can only do so much. You can squeeze only so many sardines into a can.
robert k. soberano | Honolulu
WHY WOULD WE SEE PRESIDENT AS WEAK?
Jules Witcover's comment-ary (Jan. 8) was interesting. He complained that some perceive President Obama as weak as opposed to "his image as Mr. Nice Guy."
Could this be because of waiting four months to send additional requested troops to a war he stated was "just"? Could the perception follow from waiting to condemn the terrorist attack at Fort Hood until after he completed the first part of his speech to Native Americans?
Could the perception follow from waiting over 72 hours (while playing golf on vacation) to condemn the terrorist who attempted an attack on Americans aboard an American airliner over American airspace? Could the perception follow from giving Iran eight deadlines to comply with international nuclear arms treaties? Perhaps the perception came when he bowed to the Saudi king or was snubbed by the Chinese in Copenhagen.
Weakness appears to be in the eye of the beholder, as is naivete.
MARK DESMARAIS | Honolulu
SECRETARY OF STATE POSITION WON'T HELP
The amendment proposed by Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona to establish a secretary of state position that governs and manages the elections will not fix the underlying problems in the Office of Elections.
The Office of Elections still lacks the financial means to hold special and regular elections. This includes acquiring new voting machines, finding a permanent leader and employing staffers. This secretary of state position would end up costing taxpayers more in the long run and threaten the entire integrity of our voting process.
Although Aiona proposes a nonpartisan, elected secretary of state, creating such an office would politicize the election process and reduce accountability. The role of the chief elections officer was moved from the lieutenant governor's office to an independent Elections Office years ago, in part, to take politics out of the election process.
Aiona ignores this issue's long history as well as the clear logic behind removing politics from the election process.
The Office of Elections needs our support and attention in the coming term, not a new name or title.
GARY L. HOOSER | Senate majority leader, District 7
WE NEED LESS WAR, NOT MORE SECURITY
The recent letters about increased airport security seem to be totally backwards. We don't need more security, or a bigger, more invasive screening technique.
Do these armchair security contractors really think anyone with an ounce of brains is going to be foiled by the same government that goofed up three times in eight years? What if the person in question isn't in the one database to rule them all?
We need to stop making enemies by stopping foreign, aggressive wars.
NICHOLAS HAHN | Honolulu
GASPING PATIENT WAS A POWERFUL PROTEST
Pity the woman whose lungs convulsed from inhaling firework smoke that began long before Jan. 4. When I met her at Kapiolani Medical Center, Pali Momi, she was just released from the emergency room after being pumped with medication to curb the angry asthma attack.
She gasped for every breath. Her eyes bugged out with frantic hope for the next gulp of air. She leaned over to get maximum benefit from every breath. She was a powerful protest against neighborhood fireworks explosions. Because of her, I'll be saving money at every New Year's. I am "pau" with lighting New Year's fireworks. "Aikea" about her.
REBECCA KANG, PH.D. | Foster Village