Council will seek ways to maximize security funding
Those of us responsible for emergency management in Hawaii were disappointed when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its grant awards for fiscal year 2006. Hawaii will receive about $13 million
, substantially less than the $21.3 million our state was awarded last year. But the reduced grant funding was not a surprise given that $600 million had been cut from the DHS budget. Therefore, we did not join in the nationwide chorus of public criticism of DHS.
Instead, we chose to focus on one of the most important aspects of emergency management: determining the maximum that can be accomplished with the resources available.
During the past four years Hawaii has received nearly $100 million for both homeland and port security projects. The money has been well spent on programs that include: critical infrastructure protection; equipment and training for law enforcement, firefighting and hazardous materials response; emergency medical services; reliable communications between and among responding agencies; and a host of other projects to protect lives and property.
We focused our efforts on projects, equipment and training that will be employed in responding to all types of disasters. Our fiscal year 2006 Homeland Security grants will enhance those efforts.
We are fortunate that the Lingle-Aiona administration and Hawaii's lawmakers recognize the importance of being prepared and equipped to deal with all hazards, and that they have backed up that recognition with funding to enhance Hawaii's emergency response and recovery efforts. These include the expansion of our emergency shelter program with an emphasis on shelters for people with specials needs and sheltering for family pets, public awareness and education and the protection of civil defense workers.
Yes, we are disappointed that we did not get more money from the Department of Homeland Security. My colleagues from other states who have similar responsibilities to me for Homeland Security were more disappointed in the lack of input from the states in the determination and distribution of the grants. Therefore, we are organizing a council, sponsored by the National Governors Association, to inject our concerns to DHS so future grants will be more equitable.
Maj. Gen. Robert G. F. Lee
Hawaii Adjutant General
Director of Civil Defense
Trump will overshadow island-style tourism
In Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial and Battleship Missouri are intentionally juxtaposed to symbolize the be- ginning and end of World War II. Soon, in Waikiki, Trump Tower (Star-Bulletin, May 31
) will soar over its low-rise neighbor, The Breakers.
Unintentionally, the new kind of Hawaii tourism will focus on the pretentious, expensive, excessive and exclusive represented by the tower next to the old-fashioned tourism of The Breakers, with its informality, affordability and openness. The old tourism that we loved will be Trumped and out of our memory except for the dramatic and poignant juxtaposition of the Trump Tower and The Breakers.
Richard Y. Will
Bush, not Inouye, busted U.S. budget
Is there a growing cadre of right-wing TV and radio show hosts weaving a web of fables and fooling the unsuspecting public? Their propaganda appears to have been repeated by a Star-Bulletin letter writer on June 3
who wrote that Sen. Dan Inouye helped steer the finances of the United States into the gutter. This is spin so severe you need to grab a handrail!
In 2000, before George W. Bush became president, the United States enjoyed a huge $230 million budget surplus. Senator Inouye had helped steer the country into a prosperous economy, not debt.
History reveals that after Bush took office, he eliminated that pesky surplus.
Every day he, along with a predominately Republican Congress, aided by pseudo-Democrats like Ed Case, sucked the water and nutrients out the ground as they spent more than $100 million per day for a war that profited Bush supporters, until the deficit grew into a lush, red trillion-dollar debt!
Senators Akaka and Inouye and Congressman Abercrombie voted against the war, while Ed Case said that had he been in office at the time, he would have supported attacking Iraq!
When will we realize Oahu is full already?
Hawaiian Electric Co. says it struggles with insufficient generators
to supply an increasingly demanding population.
Roadways are grossly insufficient to handle vehicle traffic, and getting worse.
Police, fire, medical services are unable to keep up with growing needs for manpower, equipment and facilities.
Water tables are lowering, and residents are asked to voluntarily conserve, with threats of required conservation.
Sewer systems are overloaded and in need of major repairs and upgrades after years of neglect.
Schools are overcrowded and continue to be faced with teacher shortages.
The availability of medical personnel and facilities -- numbers of doctors, nurses, equipment, space -- is critical.
Government is turning to increased taxes to repair and upgrade items that should have received attention years ago. There are continued approvals for development and construction of new housing and hotels, apparently with regard to population and tourism growth and disregard of negative impact on environment and the further taxing of already overtaxed infrastructures and resources.
There are approvals for additional hotel rooms when many existing hotel rooms are being converted into condos.
There is something drastically wrong with this picture and yet, this is Oahu. When is it going to improve? When are planners and government(s) going to realize that this is an island state that cannot expand or annex, and that additional growth means only sacrifice and reduction in the quality of life for the average citizen?
It is time we put our house in order before building a bigger house.
Cutting bus stops will reduce ridership
TheBus lost riders after its strike. Recently, because of fuel costs, ridership has risen, which is great. But what did TheBus do? It eliminated some stops along Kapiolani.
Now, TheBus says, for safety and better traffic flow, some stops on King and Beretania Streets will be gone. If people don't have convenient stops and have to walk farther, it may not be safer. Or the new riders may return to driving -- more cars on the road -- not helping traffic flow. Where is the service in the city Department of Transportation Services?