Easy for councilmen to waste others' money
"Hello, hello, is anyone home?" Regarding City Councilman Rod Tam's "overages" on his cell phone expenses, ("2 on Council emptied stipends," Star-Bulletin, July 2
) one must wonder if he has the same overages on his private-use cell phone, or on his home phone (the ones HE is paying for). I have three different phone plans -- one for local calls, one for cell-phone calls and one for international calls. Believe me, I shopped around and found which ones would be the most cost effective for me, and you can bet I don't have anyone else paying my bills.
How dare a public servant squander my money when I am so thrifty? It's time to say "goodbye now."
Mainland pundits ignore threat to isles
North Korea's recent launching of a few missiles set off a maelstrom of debate. Pundits repeatedly point out with obvious glee that its missiles cannot yet reach the continental United States. They speak as though unaware of the fact that Hawaii is the western border of the United States. Guam and Hawaii may, indeed, be in reach of its missiles. Or is it that the more than 1 million U.S. citizens and residents who live in these islands are expendable in a nuclear conflict?
It is imperative that Hawaii's congressional delegation should have as a top priority correcting this premise and accelerating a missile defense program that is accurate and dependable. Otherwise, the first time a missile is launched toward Guam or Hawaii, the only option we will have is about one half-hour to get our personal affairs and our collective souls in order before we are all incinerated.
Better to endanger whales than people
We are living in a dangerous age. Countries all around us are gaining nuclear capabilities and are already testing long-range missiles capable of reaching the United States, and most certainly Hawaii, yet a federal judge in Los Angeles decided in favor of a complaint filed by the National Resources Defense Council that our Navy and its allies cannot use new sonar technology in tests to detect enemy submarines and other enemy devices (Star-Bulletin, July 4
). The court decided that the safety of whales and other fish came first.
First, I do not think the judiciary has any business dictating national defense policy.
Second, although I am all for enacting policies that protect endangered species, I do not favor those policies if I am the one endangered as a result of the policy.
I would much rather risk the possible injury to a whale or two than see Honolulu vaporized because the National Resources Defense Council was unhappy with the Navy's RIMPAC plan for sonar testing.
Case's candor on Iraq needed in the Senate
Recent letters to the editor have not accurately portrayed Rep. Ed Case's views regarding the war in Iraq.
Like many of us, upon discovering there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Case has stated his lack of support for military intervention based on faulty and misleading information. Case is on record stating that wherever there is a real and pressing threat to our nation, he stands ready to vote for the protection of our country.
Our nation has learned many things since the war began three years ago. Our Democratic Party leaders in the Congress, such as Rep. John Murtha, have spoken out against the war in Iraq. Even though Murtha, as well as 155 other Democrats, voted to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein, he now views the war differently.
Our leadership in Congress understands that while evidence used by the current administration was inaccurate, what is necessary now is to rise above the political infighting and rhetoric over the initial evidence and find a solution to the current conflict.
Great leaders are ones who have the ability to look at the past, ask the hard questions, and then take the right course of action. Case has shown his ability to do this even when his candor is not popular. I believe that it is exactly this type of candor that Hawaii needs in the U.S. Senate.
Peter A. Carson
Maybe we should let peasants build our rail
A recent newspaper article reports that China has completed construction of a train system that travels from Beijing to Tibet, a distance of 710 miles. The train travels through mountain passes at elevations up to 16,500 feet and passing over ground that is frozen year-round. The cost of this rail system? $4.2 billion.
The rail system that the mayor is supporting here in Honolulu is 23 miles. Yes, 23 miles from West Oahu to Central Oahu, at a cost of $3 billion. Why would a rail system going only 23 miles cost $3 billion and another system traveling 710 miles cost $4.2 billion dollars? Perhaps we should consult the Chinese for our proposed rail system. Incidentally, it took just four years to complete the Chinese rail system.
Francis Y. Toyama
Make rents lower so poor can afford them
The escalating homeless crisis has been the subject of heated debate lately. Certainly, there are some bad people among the homeless, but the majority are law-abiding, hard-working citizens who deserve to be helped.
The government needs to build multiple low-rent high-rises for the thousands of poor people who can afford to pay only a few hundred dollars a month for rent. The problem is finding any compassionate builders or developers who are willing to take on this challenging project for a very small profit to benefit the poor and the homeless people in Hawaii. They should charge rents that even the minimum-wage workers and retired senior citizens can afford.
Meanwhile, the government can double the capacity of the homeless shelters by installing bunk beds in those facilities. They can convert more unused buildings into homeless shelters, and allow the homeless to camp out in undeveloped government lands while the low-rent high-rises are being built.
Kids have gotten lazy about fundraising
What ever happened to the traditional fundraisers -- selling Huli Huli chicken, Zippy's chili tickets, sweet bread and so on?
Auwe! Those kids and parents standing on the medial strips or on corners of intersections with their fishnets -- what kind of fundraising is that? Who knows if this is legitimate?
Allow students more ownership of learning
Ruth Tschumy's education column on the editorial page of the July 2 Star-Bulletin
, "S. Kona principals take leadership challenge," is inspiring as far as it goes, but I fear that it will result in only a limited improvement in our public schools, and not the exciting promise her comments seem to envision. My reason for this is that while this represents a collegial effort on the part of the complex superintendent, a school renewal specialist, principals of K-12 schools and teachers, it fails to include a vital and essential player in this effort -- namely, students!
The traditional model of the classroom is essentially adversarial, or didactic in nature. Whereas real changes in our schools will take place only when teachers and students work together in a collegial relationship, and students are part and parcel of the learning process. When they are so included, the results can be spectacular in terms of their output and performance (and I have samples of the latter to support this assertion, if anyone is curious.)