Airport transit station
CITY, FAA IN CONTACT ABOUT RUNWAY ZONE
The March 20 article "Rail problem flagged in '09" paints an inaccurate picture of the city's communications with federal airport officials and the state Department of Transportation about the airport's runway protection zone for the rail route and Lagoon Drive station.
We have been in regular communication for several years with the Federal Aviation Administration and HDOT about Honolulu International Airport, the rail route and station.
In fact, the city did an airspace analysis of the rail route and Lagoon Drive station and provided it to HDOT in May 2008 and the FAA in mid-2009. Our analysis was based on the Airport Layout Plan, an official document that describes the airport's existing and future physical characteristics. The Airport Layout Plan showed a substantially smaller runway protection zone then that is now required.
Neither the FAA nor HDOT at the time commented about conflicts with the runway protection zone in our airspace study. The issue was actually brought up by a Federal Transit Administration consultant. When we were made aware of this in mid-2009, we moved promptly to work with the agencies to address it. HDOT Director Brennon Morioka agreed with the city's proposed solution in a letter dated Nov. 3, 2009.
In addition, it is far too early to file the Form 7460 with the FAA because the rail system's final design details are still being developed. Design details will not be completed near the airport for several years.
The FAA requires the form to be submitted at least 30 days prior to construction. Needless to say, we intend to follow all FAA instructions and submit the form in advance of rail construction.
Additionally, this form is not required before completing the environmental impact statement for the rail system.
Finally, we are troubled by Gov. Lingle's comments in the article. She states that the FAA will not sign off on our mitigation plan for the airport. To be clear, the governor was not at any meeting between the city, HDOT and the FAA when this matter was discussed.
Furthermore, Mayor Hannemann and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff are in constant communication. The mayor and administrator, with support from their technical and professional teams, are working on a timely resolution to this issue that all parties can agree on soon.
Wayne Y. Yoshioka | Director, Department of Transportation Services, City and County of Honolulu
CONGRESS FINALLY ACTS COURAGEOUSLY
Wow! We see some courage being displayed by the U.S. House and Senate. Quality health care should not be the exclusive right of the rich. Humanity finally triumphs over the profits of the health insurance companies.
Let's continue to place people over profits. Any insurance plan benefits when the pool of participants is large. This is the best way to reduce premiums for all and provide equal health care for all.
I'm proud to be a union member and a Democrat. Mahalo to Rep. Hirono for her support and vote, and to former Rep. Abercrombie who always championed this issue.
peter oshiro | Honolulu
WHAT HAPPENED TO REDUCING GARBAGE?
Colleen Hanabusa and Todd Apo have told us how much they love the 'äina. They, among others, fought to have garbage shipped to the Mainland to save our 'äina (Waimänalo Gulch). Mayor Mufi Hannemann fought to expand H-Power, increasing its capacity by 300,000 tons per year. All of these "solutions" may sound good at first glance, however:
1. No trash has left O'ahu for Mainland burial.
2. H-Power has been operating at reduced capacity for months because we must package trash for potential shipment and we must meet our raw trash commitment to the landfill at Waimänalo Gulch.
I thought we were supposed to commit to reducing the amount of trash to the landfill.
Does anyone in our city or state government have a clue? Why do we keep voting for these people?
Garbage in — garbage out. It's your vote. Use it.
chuck beneke | Kapolei
INCREASE OK IF IT BENEFITS MAJORITY
I don't mind paying more general excise taxes if the additional funds go to benefiting everyone in Hawai'i or at least the majority of taxpayers.
If the increase means more food inspectors for the restaurant trade and a Web site for the results, or more agricultural inspectors, or improved infrastructure (sewers, roadways, public transportation, etc.), then I heartily approve.
If the increase is aimed at special interest areas or programs for any smaller segment of the population, then I do not support such an increase. Let's get back to basics and use taxes to support the majority of taxpayers.
Ellen Wong | 'Aiea
CEO OF GANNETT GOT 41 PERCENT PAY RAISE
Just a month ago, workers at The Honolulu Advertiser were shocked to find out that Gannett was betraying us for 20 pieces of silver. The company is selling the assets of the paper that we struggled to make profitable, but erasing nearly all of our hard-earned rewards on the way out the door.
Now, employees are outraged to read that while we were making good-faith concessions to help The Advertiser survive, Gannett CEO Craig Dubow was chalking up a 41 percent pay raise in 2009.
Yes, a 41 percent raise while we took a voluntary 10 percent pay cut.
With Gannett selling the crown jewel that workers helped pay for with years of hard work and moderated wage demands — the $80-million state-of-the-art press at Kapolei — it looks like the top brass and the investors will get the loot, and we'll get the boot.
Gannett, please make it right by insisting our entire contract — not just the severance pay — is carried over to the new owner. David Black, please respect the loyal workers who made The Advertiser the gem you so desire by honoring our existing contract.
Patrick De Costa Jr. | Waipahu