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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rail Transit

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

An artist's rendering of a proposed rail transit station at Pearlridge.

Advertiser library photo

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IF IT'S 'NOW OR NEVER,' IT SHOULD BE NEVER

City Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka points imperially to a sign reading "It's now or never." (Advertiser, Jan. 22)
I told my budding daughter early on if a potential lover pressures her with "It's now or never," tell him it's never. She has done well with that advice. We have now been pressured so much into an outdated, unsightly and unaffordable project that we should say now, "Please let it be never. Oh, please."
And now that the real architectural experts have overwhelmingly spoken out against the blighting of our beautiful countryside and against the unrealistic cost of the proposed elevated railway, and now that the feds have expressed their reservations about the questionable financing, and now that we have a recession and need our hard-earned money for more immediate necessities, we should just scuttle the whole thing. Stop it dead in its tracks for good. Write off the spent millions to bad judgment. We all make mistakes.

GERHARD C. HAMM | Wai'alae Iki

SUPERFERRY

WHAT WILL FERRY OPPONENTS DO NOW?

When Hawaii's natural disaster strikes, will we be able to borrow back the Superferry? It will be interesting to see if the altruistic folks who saved Hawaii from the evils of interisland marine transportation now send an emergency contingent down to Haiti to save it from the pernicious Superferry.

BRUSE ECKMANN | Honolulu

CIVIL UNIONS

LAWMAKERS NEED TO LISTEN TO CITIZENS

The unity expressed by the citizens of the state of Hawaii needs to be listened to by those in governmental office. The voices of the recent demonstrations of thousands against the "gay rights" bill can be heard loud and clear: The citizens of this state do not want traditional marriage values devalued by the institution of so-called "equal rights" of gay couples.

While most of us have many gay friends whom we care deeply about, that does not eradicate our sense of violation of both what is right or of moral values. It is not our desire to sit in judgement of our friends and loved ones, but at the same time it is not their "right" to expect us to condone their lifestyle or support them in that lifestyle. If we further devalue our beliefs in, and support of, traditional marriage, and uplift their lifestyle to one that is credible, we toss out the traditional family and along with it we will see the loss of more family values.

It is my hope that our lawmakers will listen to the voices of reason of concerned citizens who have nothing to gain by protesting this bill andeverything to lose for future generations if this bill is passed. Vote NO on the "gay rights" bill.

LEE HALL | Lhue, Kauai

LET'S NOT MAKE SAME MISTAKE ON MARRIAGE

I find it interesting that people are citing the "sanctity of marriage" as a reason to block civil unions. I wonder if they realize that as recently as the 1960s, there were still laws in place to prohibit interracial marriage.

If marriage is indeed sacred, we violated it with prejudice long before this civil unions issue. Let's not make the same mistake again by barring select couples from equal protections.

Worse still, we are the most diverse state in our nation, yet here our local community sits, unhealthily fixated on a group that is "different." Here in Hawaii, we exist harmoniously with people who are different from us in terms of race, ethnicity, culture, religion and, yes, sexual orientation. Let's not lose sight of the quality that makes our state so special: acceptance of people from all walks of life.

Some say that this bill has come at "a bad time" and that we have other, more pressing issues to attend to. If I'm not mistaken, our nation has come to value both equality and diversity. That fact alone makes this bill a very pressing issue.

AARON GOROSPE | Mililani

ALL FAMILIES DESERVE EQUAL RESPECT

When a state provides legal recognition of same-sex relationships, it provides and promotes an environment of tolerance and acceptance of all its residents. All families in Hawaii deserve the equal dignity and respect that civil unions offer.

It is the duty of the Hawaii Legislature to pass HB 444 in 2010.

The bias, prejudice and intolerance of a few misguided citizens/churches should not be a determent any longer.

PATRICIA BLAIR | Kailua

HEALTH PLANS

IMPROVING QUALITY, LOWERING COST RIGHT

The Department of Human Services contracts with private health plans to provide health care services to Medicaid recipients. This has been done since 1994 through Quest and last year in Quest Expanded Access. DHS is responsible for ensuring the health plans are compliant with contract terms.

The health plans are responsible for negotiating contracts with private providers. DHS does not have a role in the contracting among these private parties. Interference by DHS or other non-contracting parties is inappropriate and may contaminate the negotiation process. In the absence of antitrust activities, a market-based approach can maximize value. Competition on cost among high-quality providers increases value.

Recently, a health plan was criticized for trying to increase value in providing case management services. A health plan cannot change the demand for medically necessary services and is required to supply them. Having a smaller network of high-quality providers, operating at a lower cost due to increased volume, benefits both patients and the state.

DHS closely monitors its contracted health plans to ensure that Medicaid patients receive medically necessary care. Improving quality and lowering cost are precisely what Hawaii taxpayers expect, especially during an economic crisis.

DR. KENNETH FINK | State Medicaid administrator