EVEN SMALL GIFTS WILL HELP RESCUE RELIEF
A few years ago my boyfriend and I visited my cousin in Panama City, Panama.
One night we all walked from a pensione to his apartment. Suddenly a tall man appeared (seemingly out of nowhere) and whisked our luggage out of our hands. We were startled until my cousin heartily greeted the man, who then helped us proceed to the apartment. It turns out that my cousin (who aids Latin America with his federal job) had greatly helped this kind Haitian man, who now gladly returns the favor when he can. My cousin told us how he felt strongly about the good people of Haiti and how they have suffered.
Haiti, with a history of political strife, is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Densely populated, it is only the size of Maryland. In 2008 Haiti was hit by four hurricanes. Now a disastrous earthquake has struck. The devastation is massive and unnerving.
We can help by contributing to rescue relief. Former president Clinton noted that even a gift of $5 makes a difference. Organizations helping include the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Clinton foundation, Oxfam, Unicef and more. See: www.interaction.org/crisis-list/earthquake-haiti.
BAMBI LIN LITCHMAN | Honolulu
SECRETARY OF STATE
HOOSER'S CRITICISM OF AIONA JUST POLITICS
Sen. Gary Hooser's letter (Jan. 15) in opposition to Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona's proposal to establish an independent, elected secretary of state in Hawai'i came as no surprise. Hooser has declared his candidacy for lieutenant governor, and politics-as-usual would dictate that he should criticize the person whose office he covets at every turn.
Hooser ripped into a proposal he hasn't even seen. These are the facts:
• Aiona announced his intention to propose a constitutional amendment this legislative session to establish an elected, nonpartisan secretary of state in Hawai'i — similar to 38 other states.
• The measure, if approved by voters, would repeal the powers and duties of the Elections Commission and eliminate the position of chief elections officer.
• The proposal is revenue-neutral, so taxpayers would not pay one extra cent.
Aiona's proposal would restructure the governance of the Office of Elections to be directly accountable to Hawai'i's voters, improve efficiency and increase public involvement in elections.
Currently, voters have no direct authority over the Office of Elections or the chief elections officer. Hawai'i consistently ranks at the bottom nationally in voter turnout, and the elections system has been plagued by controversy.
Travis TayloR | Senior adviser for communications, Office of the Lieutenant Governor
CANDIDATE MISSING IN RACE FOR CONGRESS
If you are still undecided about who to vote for in the upcoming special election for the congressional seat Rep. Abercrombie is vacating, yesterday's Smart Business Hawaii congressional debate clarified matters:
If you want a cheerleader for big government, a statist who will try to expand the power of the federal government at every opportunity, someone in virtual lockstep with the agenda of the "Two Dans" and Rep. Mazie Hirono — Colleen Hanabusa is your hard-left choice.
If you feel it is morally reprehensible to vote for a Republican, but want someone who will at least occasionally vote to limit the growth of the federal government, such as voting against the Jones Act, Ed Case is the center-left choice.
If you're looking for someone who will try to slow down the growth of the federal government, and vote against tax increases, Charles Djou is the center-right choice.
If you're looking for a libertarian who will invariably advocate for greater individual freedom and try to shrink the power of the federal government at every conceivable opportunity — sorry, no such candidate showed up yesterday.
JIM HENSHAW | Kailua
5 WAYS TO PREVENT PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS
There are several ways to alleviate the pedestrian crosswalk accidents.
1. Don't put crosswalks on a six-lane highway whose speeds are 45 mph or higher (and whose speed limit should be 45 mph) — and which is one of three major throughways between the Windward side and town — unless there is a stoplight at the location. Either put a pedestrian overpass in place, provide a pedestrian-activated stoplight or eliminate the crosswalk.
2. All crosswalks should be required to have embedded light systems such as those installed in the Wilson Tunnel as lane markers, with these lights to be activated or to change color when a pedestrian is present.
3. Consider how long it takes an 80-year-old person to cross six lanes of traffic and decide if interrupting the flow of traffic for that length of time is a worthwhile way of moving people. If not, make other arrangements for people to cross such streets.
4. Consider a circulating jitney system that would carry people to nearby bus stops and across the street to bus stops in the opposite direction.
5. Look, listen and ensure eye contact with drivers before stepping into the street.
BOB GOULD | Kāneohe