University football its own worst enemy
People are wondering why the attendance at University of Hawaii football games is so bleak, and they are blaming everything other than the UH football program itself.
They are guilty of putting out bad PR, poor communication; they have lost the tradition and possess a mediocre product, with the customer voting against attending.
I have been in Hawaii long enough to remember crowds of 45,000-plus people per game in a 50,000 seat stadium, which makes for a lot of excitement. Twenty-eight thousand people in the same stadium amounts to a lot of boredom.
If people don't "like" the team and coach, they don't go to the game. The current administration, the stadium and the coach have given people enough reasons not to attend.
It's kind of like ignoring the customer in retail; when you do, they stop buying.
Boy's father should take responsibility
As a parent, I am appalled at the lack of personal responsibility on the part of David Shpigler in the death of his son ("Lanai railing cited in 3-year-old's death," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 3
). He blames the general manager of Hilton Hawaiian Village for the death of his son, stating, "If they made the right corporate decisions, my boy would be alive right now."
Well, if Mr. Shpigler had made the right parental decisions, his boy would be alive right now. He let a 3-year-old boy play on a balcony eight stories up while being supervised by his 6-year-old brother. What was Shpigler doing while this was happening?
My family and I have vacationed at hotels here numerous times, and we have never let our children play on a balcony unsupervised. Shpigler should take responsibility for his decision and stop trying to blame others.
Real tax threat comes from the state
Real property tax rates in Honolulu are among the lowest in the country, while the services provided are among the best of anywhere I ever lived. Try riding a bus in a mainland or expecting twice-a-week garbage pickup, not to mention bulky-item pickup! In additions, several cities I have lived in had a hefty tax on personal property.
Where people here are taxed out of their mind is through state income taxes and the pyramided excise tax. Why do people moan and groan over $60 a month increase but submit like sheep to the tax hell created by the state? Only in Hawaii!
Cut nonessentials out of city budget
What the mayor and our City Council fail to understand is that a raise in our property values is not a blank check for their use on wasteful spending. In his State of the City address, Mayor Hannemann stated, "I can't think of a better example of my capital improvements dictum: Do we need it? Can we afford it? Can we maintain it?"
Has Hannemann applied this to all areas of the city's budget? If not, then we can reasonably assume there is a wealth of waste to be cut out. Let's start with the $260,000 storage fees for Shaka Santa. At that price, Shaka Santa is not a required city service. Next, the legendary water leaks at Honolulu Hale's pond. Not an essential city service. Fill the pond with dirt and plants. Problems solved, money saved. What is next?
As a taxpayer, I will support a city budget that supports only essential city services and can pass an independent financial review. Also, property tax rates would be set to support this budget without any surplus for our elected officials to spend. As Governor Lingle so well put it about surplus taxes, they belong to the people and should be returned. An excellent point all our elected officials need to remember.
DOE would squander gift of more tax money
A Mililani reader recently urged that more of the state budget surplus "go to schools ... (because) everyone will benefit if schools get the surplus" (Letters, Dec. 22
However well intentioned, that would be a tragic mistake.
The state Department of Education is utterly dysfunctional when it comes to student achievement. It excels only at squandering money faster than taxpayers can cough it up. In less than a decade the DOE slush fund "budget" has gone from $1 billion per year to more that $2 billion per year while:
» The number of public school students has remained virtually constant.
» The number of schools failing to meet the DOE annual progress targets has risen to fully two-thirds of the schools in the state.
» Teachers at rural and outer island schools face layoffs because of DOE's weighted student funding scheme.
Giving money to the DOE is like giving a shot of whisky to a drunk. While it might feel good for a few seconds, it does nothing but harm.
Thomas E. Stuart
Public school teacher
We need more sense, not more laws
The news in Hawaii at the end of 2005 left many of us with more questions than answers.
Do we really need more laws to keep motorists from killing pedestrians, more laws to keep parents from leaving their infants unattended in automobiles, more laws to treat our gay neighbors fairly, more laws to pay women equal wages, more laws to find affordable housing, more laws to provide adequate health care?
Do we need more laws to make education accessible, more laws for traffic control, more laws for zoning our most precious lands, more laws regarding drinking alcohol at public sporting events?
What about more laws to ensure thieves won't disrupt grave sites, more laws deciding the age of minor drivers, more laws to prevent caretakers from abusing children, more laws for marine sanctuary users?
Are more laws the answer to any of these issues? Creating more and more laws, which are unenforceable, gives us a false sense of security. Can more legislation possibly replace common decency and common sense?
Hawaii's elected officials are totally impotent. We are ultimately on our own to make things better here in 2006.