Thielen doesn't need to march in lockstep
Rich Figel ("Thielen, GOP don't jibe on environment," Letters, Sept. 28
) is under the mistaken impression that all Republicans walk in lockstep the way Hawaii Democrats do. Cynthia Thielen has a long history as an environmentalist, working tirelessly on important issues that affect all of the people in Hawaii. She would take this same tenacity to Washington, sharing her concerns for the environment with senators on both sides of the isle. I would think Mr. Figel would be excited that a strong environmentalist is finally stepping up since our current senators are particularly weak on environmental issues
Perhaps Figel is afraid that Sen. Dan Akaka cannot stand up to a Republican with a better environmental record and a strong grasp of the issues. In fact, I'm sure that the Akaka camp has already considered this. That is why the senator will not debate Thielen.
Iraq's chaos should not be U.S. concern
Cynthia Thielen's weak position on Iraq is not acceptable. She states that she favors U.S. withdrawal of troops from Iraq only "when Iraq will be stabilized," not wanting to "leave that region in chaos."
Well, it's been 31/2 years, more than 2,700 American troop deaths and almost 20,000 wounded with no timetable for withdrawal or any kind of exit strategy. Yes, we lost similar numbers on 9/11, and now we've doubled that count. We are further away from stabilization than when President Bush declared "mission accomplished" in May 2003. Not to mention the financial cost and burden on Americans to support the war.
Sen. Daniel K. Akaka has emphatically stated that U.S. troop withdrawal by July 2007 must be a target, regardless of the chaos.
Americans are or should be tired and fed up with the Bush administration's policy on Iraq. I ask, for whom will you vote to represent us in the U.S. Senate? Without doubt, Akaka is my choice.
Lingle could be state's ace in the hole
In view of the fact that at the completion of another six-year term in 2012 Sen. Daniel Akaka will be 88, the Star-Bulletin notes Gov. Linda Lingle "is expected to easily win re-election in November (and) finish her second ... term as governor in 2010, giving her two years and an enormous campaign chest to run for the Senate." ("Election places Lingle in ideal spot for 2012 Senate race," Our Opinion, Sept. 25
In politics, time is precious when attempting to navigate a fast-moving, unpredictable event stream. Why then should Lingle spend two years of dead time waiting to run for the seat held by Akaka when she could run much sooner ... for the seat now held by Sen. Dan Inouye?
The sooner a Republican is invested with the power to represent the state in the U.S. Senate, the better positioned Hawaii will be to ride out the turbulent state of affairs in the wake of what promises to be a humdinger of presidential election in 2008. Indeed the Star-Bulletin makes the point that our state's "leverage has been limited by being represented solely by Democrats in a GOP-controlled Congress."
And of course, Lingle has amply demonstrated her ability as a seasoned pro, well positioned for high office, regardless of which party has a congressional majority.
How much longer can Hawaii afford to bet the farm by putting all the eggs in one basket? A wise man knows when to hedge his bets. Lingle is an ace. How and when to play this ace is a decision fraught with consequences.
Thomas E. Stuart
Lingle, Aiona always get out to meet public
At last we see the Iwase campaign strategy -- pushing new myths about his opponent. The typical fabrication about the Lingle-Aiona administration is that they are "all spin and no substance," but now Randy Iwase is saying that they are inaccessible to the people.
At the Democrats' unity breakfast following the primary election, Iwase was spouting off about how we will only see Gov. Linda Lingle on TV and hear her on the radio, but we'll never meet her. Lingle and Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona are anything but aloof. There is not a day that goes by that I don't hear of them traveling to some public event where they take time to meet with the people and hear our concerns. Lingle and Aiona are constantly accessible. They have made their schedules public since the first week in office, so that everyone can know when and where they can meet the two leaders of our state.
If the only criticisms that Iwase can drum up are flat-out lies, then the choice for this general election should be pretty obvious: Re-elect Linda Lingle and Duke Aiona!
Rail opponents want us to drive even more
OK, so now the transit critics and highway users and highway huggers are saying that they don't trust our government and lawmakers to do the right thing if a rail system is built. They say this will be the biggest public works project built on Oahu, and point to potential cost overruns. They neglect to acknowledge that the biggest and most expensive public works project this state has seen so far was in fact a highway project, the H-3 freeway. And the main reason for the cost overruns was the delays caused by critics and opposition.
Light rail would have been much cheaper if it were approved in 1992, and it would have been built by now. But some of these same rail critics stopped it, citing the same reasons for their opposition today. They prefer we invest in more highways to accommodate more cars. Now they even want to charge drivers a toll to help pay for the highway. At $10 a day for round-trip use of this toll road, that's a whopping $2,600 a year for every toll road user, over and above the cost of your gas, parking and maintenance of your car.
More importantly, a tollway just puts more cars on the road, which will only bring more gridlock, especially in town. Our only logical choice is light rail.
Keep oil interests out of local elections
Chita Caindec-Stewart's claim (Letters, Star-Bulletin, Sept. 25
) that the gasoline price cap "cost consumers money" is flat out not true. The writer is quick to defend the governor for doing away with the gas cap and also paints a scary picture of people waiting in lines for gas, getting stranded on the freeway and so forth.
What Caindec-Stewart fails to take into account are the following:
» The oil corporations hired a fancy PR firm to spin the gas cap as a detriment to consumers and well-paid trade representatives went on radio to talk stink against the gas cap, claiming their interest was in protecting consumers.
» Chevron, Tesoro and Aloha Petroleum gave almost $700,000 during the last three years to elected officials, including significant amounts of money to the Lingle campaign.
Recent reports have concluded that consumers would have saved money if the cap were still in place. How much more evidence does it take for us to realize we've been "had" by the oil companies' high-priced PR spin machine?
This is another reason why we need to tell our candidates and legislators to sign the "Voters First" pledge to fight for voter-owned elections (aka "Clean Elections"). A Clean Elections system would allow candidates campaign without having to depend on money from oil companies and other large corporations that aren't much inclined to consider the public good when such large profits are involved.
Voter Owned Hawaii
Charter schools thrived under Shon
As parents of a thriving student attending Innovations Public Charter School in Kona, my husband and I have witnessed the progress made on behalf of all charter schools over the past two years.
We are angered and disappointed to hear that Jim Shon, head of the Charter School Administrative Office, was terminated. We are offended that the Board of Education did not ask the charter schools for their input.
Shon would have received high marks for his performance. During his tenure, test scores improved, funding increased almost to that of other public schools and administrative guidelines were developed. It is because of Shon's leadership and skills that charter laws were rewritten and clarified, funding for facility leases were secured, charter schools were able to move out from under the state's financial management system to their own personnel system, charters began receiving grant moneys intended for public schools, and a host of other improvements.
We are extremely proud of the students, teachers and staff who give so much to our school. We value and respect each effort and can't imagine firing anyone without notice or a proper evaluation. We feel the BOE's actions were disrespectful and unkind to Shon as well as to the entire charter school community.
My question is, why did the BOE choose to fire success? It's very difficult for me to understand why no one from the BOE bothered to ask the charter school community what we thought of how things are going.
Turn sewer pipes into tourist attraction
In our so-called "paradise on Earth" in the middle of the world's largest and deepest ocean, we should be well pleased at our "state of the state," outstandingly visible, humongous black sewer pipes running through our midst. However temporary, they surely could be looked upon by our curious visitors as a one-of-its-kind main attraction. At around 6 feet in diameter, perhaps portholes every 20 feet could be installed with genuine brass rims for a nautical effect.
Then the City & County might call on our surreptitious graffiti artists, who could finally put their worthy talents to good purpose and paint familiar landscapes, seascapes, bright yellows, blues, tropical fishes, corals and serene waterfalls to further complement our surroundings.
After all, I feel its going to be with us until 2010, or even longer, as we continue to study alternatives. And let's face it, much easier to fix.
John L Werrill
'Loser president' should stay out of Iran
"Failures in Afghanistan snowball" (Star-Bulletin, Sept. 24) was a saddening report. It revealed that we are "fighting a resurgent Taliban at the highest scale since the government was toppled in November 2001."
Along with the disastrous rise of killings and torture in Iraq, George W. Bush is not just a war president. More specifically, he is a "war-loser president" -- the only American president in history to lose two major wars. Hopefully, he will not involve us in a war with Iran in his last two years as president.
Jerome G. Manis
U.S. is spending too much on Iraq war
I just can't believe it. The U.S. House of Representative has voted to allow $70 billion more for the war in Iraq. This is not all, they also have projected more in the spring. They are just as bad as President Bush. Most of our country would like to stop the war in Iraq and spend money more wisely at home, on Social Security, Medicare, stopping the illegal immigrants from crossing the Mexican border, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, financial aid for needy students, helping the poor and homeless people, research and more.
Are we spending money on the war that is not in our books or is it being borrowed? Makes you wonder what "democracy" means. Maybe the "terrorists" have a legitimate reason for fighting this war. Perhaps in reality, the United States (President Bush and his administration) is the terrorist.
We need to make sure we can afford to spend this kind of money on this war in a faraway land instead of using it where it's needed, at home.
Francis K. Ibara