Tern a terrific bird for Honolulu
Hats off to Honolulu Hale! The white tern is a wonderful bird to represent our city (Star-Bulletin, April 3
My pet platinum cockatiel sits on my shoulder and agrees. Looking down from Punchbowl, we watch white terns soar in pairs, threes, fours and more. They are a mesmerizing sky ballet troupe that disappears and reappears from altitude.
I once tracked them back to their nesting place in trees on the lawn of a school nearby. They don't build nests; they lay a single egg on a branch and guard that egg. With their nearly three-foot wingspan, I imagine they deter cats easily.
Peter Lee Cronburg
It took courage to kill anti-biotech taro bill
Hooray for the courage of House Speaker Calvin Say and Rep. Clifton Tsuji to stand up to a small band of activists pushing for an unnecessary bill to kill taro research. I encourage them to continue the fight for reason over emotion ("Farmers protest over genetically modified taro," Star-Bulletin, March 31
There are many reasons why a ban on biotech taro research is bad, but I find this irony telling: biotech insulin, e.g., which is saving the lives of many native Hawaiians everyday, is a blessing, but the use of biotech where it might help to save ancestral kalo is claimed to be a curse.
Rapidly declining ancestral kalo varieties may likely be lost forever in the decades ahead unless new cultivars can be produced to restore vigor and improve resistance to pests and disease by using all the tools of research available. Biotech is not the problem.
Kudos to all legislators with the courage to stand up for the people against activists who seek to prevail with fear and ignorance.
'46 tsunami survivors still don't feel safe
My family and I survived the 1946 tsunami while living in Laie. If it weren't for George Akina, the bus driver who stopped to pick up my father, we would have lost our lives.
Sunday was deja vu for me, waiting to see if we were going to have a tsunami or not. Many of us are required to have tsunami insurance, but when there are 147 tsunami alarms that don't work, we are right back in the days of April 1, 1946.
I would like to know why the state can't get its business on track with regard to the sirens. We need so much around the island. Repair the alarms that aren't working, and put alarms where they don't have any. One of the 147 alarms that doesn't work is in Waimanalo.
Lazy Leeward summers are gone; embrace rail
Small kid time in the '50s: Being a Kailua boy, I'd look forward to the summers with my Aunt Nancy and cousins in Maili. We'd beach the days away; at night we'd go to movies in open air theatres. Later we'd come home to their Quonset hut and drink hot chocolate, then sleep to the crickets' serenade.
When I think of the fixed guideway system, I remember my aunt and other family members friends who live on the Leeward side of the island. Certainly they, and islanders living near or in the Second City, who can't afford a car, much less two, will find helpful a second transit option for their daily commute to jobs.
I understand the system as bringing more equity to laborers moving back and forth between our population hubs. While there are critics of the current option, it is clear that no single option will solve all our traffic problems. I think we need to move forward with what we have.
For those who think we got stuck with a lemon, climb aboard and make lemonade! For those who wish we could have dedicated the funds to more worthy causes, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride them!"
Transit study couldn't be done sooner
I'm writing to clarify the apparent confusion over an item in the city's proposed 2008 budget, the integrated multimodal transit financial analysis.
The budget provides up to $1 million for the study, which will refine and elaborate on financial data that is included in the Alternatives Analysis for the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project that the City Council received last October.
The data in the Alternatives Analysis helped us recommend an affordable minimum operable segment -- out of a full, Kapolei-Manoa transit system -- that the city would construct with federal help. The Council recently approved a variation of that MOS.
Among the subjects of the proposed study will be interim construction financing for the fixed guideway project as work begins in a few years. The study would be overseen by the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services precisely because it requires the financial expertise of our department.
This study could not have been done earlier in the planning for the fixed guideway system because the City Council had not yet selected the minimum operable segment for the project. There were Council members, for instance, who wanted a more-expensive minimum operable segment that would have required interim construction financing even sooner.
The proposed analysis is a logical next step toward building a mass transit system for Oahu without wasting taxpayer money.
Mary Pat Waterhouse
City Director of Budget and Fiscal Services