Hawaii needs more family planning funds
According to the Guttmacher Institute, Hawaii ranks dead last among all 50 states when it comes to public funding for services to help prevent unplanned pregnancies (Star-Bulletin, March 1
Furthermore, Hawaii is ranked 47th in actually providing contraceptive services and supplies and fifth in laws and policies that facilitate access to contraceptive services and information.
This information should be sending up a red flag to all concerned. How is it that we can have reasonably good laws and policies in place but no funding and no effective way of making available the information and services?
Loretta Fuddy, chief of the Family Health Services Division, state Department of Health, responded by saying that in the past decade all general fund monies for family planning services were eliminated from the state budget. Why does she not explain the reason for the elimination of funds?
She gives some stats on the reduction in pregnancy and birth rates and says that the state has been forced to be "creative" in how family planning services are rendered. What is not stated is that Hawaii is currently 12th in the nation for teenage pregnancy.
I do not argue that the Family Health Services Division has been doing the best it can given the budgetary constraints, but I do urge everyone to consider how much more could be done if we did have adequate state funding for such a vital issue. Should we be proud to look good "on paper" by our laws and policies when it's clearly shown how little the state financially supports those same programs?
I say put your money where your mouth is. It's time for the state of Hawaii to once again support women and teens' health care by funding family planning services. It's also time for the community to stand up and demand this funding from the lawmakers who serve them.
The women and teens of Hawaii deserve at least that much.
Health educator Planned Parenthood of Hawaii
Speeding superferry puts whales in danger
I'm concerned with plans to allow the superferry to operate in Hawaiian waters at speeds that have the potential to kill whales and other marine life due to unavoidable collisions. I understand that something needs to be done to provide lower cost, high speed transportation between the islands, but this is not the answer. It's just plain wrong for us to accept even a single whale kill as part of the price for affordable interisland travel. Perhaps a better alternative would be to entice a mainland air carrier (for example, Southwest Airlines) to the islands to break the monopoly that Hawaiian and Aloha have on us!
Ferry and rail have their problems
I would like to comment on two things that are on the agenda that will affect the future of Oahu and the state. I have a home in Vancouver, Canada. The two things are the express rail system and the interisland ferry. Vancouver has both. The express train is noisy and it runs until after midnight. The braking sounds echoed throughout the night. Honoluluans, get ready for a major noise maker. Also it seems to attract the low-lifes to hang around the terminals. I am sure you will see an increase in thefts and robberies.
As for the ferry, It was an awesome experience. However, boarding and departing the ferry here will be a nightmare. In Vancouver the terminals are two miles long with at least six lanes going and coming. Where in the islands do we have that much space for traffic?
Tax relief proposals show city's arrogance
The recent tax relief proposals by the City Council and Mayor Hannemann fall short and reflect surface thinking and disregard for Honolulu homeowners. Especially insulting is the idea that home exemptions might be increased for certain age groups, including those still working but not for those over 70 years old, many on fixed incomes, living modestly in their older humble homes. The $50,000 income limit being mentioned is another penalty. The city is saying to our "revered" elders, "Sorry guys, you're too old to benefit from anything more."
To add to the insult the mayor has offered another "solution." Several banks have gotten together to offer something similar to a line of credit for those owners who cannot afford to pay the increased taxes. Now, that's thoughtful. If you can't afford the increased taxes, take out a loan and pay interest on it to pay your taxes so the city can put your borrowed money into its coffers. Then if there's a default, guess what happens to your home? Yay, hurray, what a deal!
The desire for the city to get its hands on the windfall tax increases smacks of arrogance at the expense of those most vulnerable.
Diane D. Ackerson
Protect environment by eating minerals
As Aliaska Brozen pointed out in her March 3 letter
, yes, the eating of animals does pose a great threat to our environment. But she fails to realize that the consuming of vegetables also can be destructive to the aina, and to our human bodies as well. They are full of the same pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and waste as you would find in animal products.
Cannibalism? Same problem, I'm sorry to say.
Especially in Hawaii, plants are a primary contributor of pollution. The streets are constantly covered with those damned plumeria flowers. Every tourist, as soon as they step off of the plane, notices their smell stinking up the place.
Minerals are the answer.
Parakeets and some parrots eat a lot of gravel and it does wonders for their digestion. Their close relatives, the parrotfish (OK, they're sort of distant relatives), eat tons of coral. Anyone who ever swam behind a parrotfish in their plume of poop knows they produce lots of pure sand for our tourists to sit their big white behinds on.
Pure diet? No pollution? And the food never spoils. No refrigerants needed.
Don't use tax money for English translators
Has Sen. Ron Menor lost his mind? First he brings us the gasoline price cap, now (per Senate Bill 2915
) he wants to have our tax dollars fund help for non-English speakers! As a middle-class taxpaying citizen, I'm struggling like everyone else to get by. I can't afford to buy a home, I don't qualify for affordable housing or any type of public assistance. I'm getting tired of my tax dollars benefiting only a few people here in Hawaii. If these people want to live in America, then they need to learn the language. If we were to live in another country, we would have to learn their language. By forcing agencies to provide language services, we aren't encouraging them at all to try to learn the English language.
People in the 17th District (Mililani, Waipio), please don't vote Menor in again into the Senate. We need a change!
Hawaii should be exempt from Jones Act
Rep. Brian Schatz (Letters, March 2
) says the Jones Act helps keep American ports secure. How?
The Jones Act only keeps foreign ships from carrying cargo from an American port to another American port. Foreign ships from foreign ports are not affected by the Jones Act because the law does not keep foreign ships from carrying cargo from any foreign port to any American port.
What the Jones Act does is make shipping to Hawaii more expensive if the cargo originates in a foreign port because most foreign cargo coming to Hawaii goes to a mainland port where it is unloaded and reloaded onto an American ship for the trip to Hawaii.
Puerto Rico is exempt from most provisions of the Jones Act and the Uniform Passenger Act. Hawaii should be, too.
Stop trying to make curbside so difficult
It is not an impossible task to implement curbside recycling. We don't have to reinvent the wheel. We need only look to hundreds of other cities for ideas, not to mention our own Mililani Curbside Recycling Pilot Project. Having comprehensive curbside recycling plus green waste pickup would not break the bank. According to the report on the Mililani project (www.opala.org
), it would cost households $3-$4 more a month than what we are currently paying. Is that really too much?
If we value the aina and all the natural beauty of Hawaii that we have the privilege of enjoying every day, why don't we truly try our best to implement curbside recycling as soon as possible?