Louder pipes can save motorcyclists' lives
When a car driver is asked why he hit a motorcyclist, his response is almost always along the lines of "I didn't see him." It's true motorcyclists don't always have the ability to be seen, which is why they hold so dearly their ability to be heard.
State lawmakers are trying to pass a "muffler bill," stating that motorcycles should be restricted to their stock exhaust systems, in an attempt to control the noise level. Isn't it obvious that by lessening the sound of a motorcycle's exhaust, you only put the rider in more danger?
The aftermarket exhaust is a life-saving resource to anyone on two motor-powered wheels, and that's why I'm against this bill. On a busy freeway, a quiet biker is in immediate danger. A car driver's eyes will often pass through the slim silhouette of a biker because his mind is telling him only to watch out for other cars, not motorcycles. The biker's ability to be heard not only alerts others to his presence, it also keeps him safe.
Volcano offerings have religious significance
Regarding the unhappy ranger at Kilauea Volcano complaining about material being left at the summit ("Park: Gifts to Pele rot at volcano's rim," Star-Bulletin, April 20
It might be true that some of the material is nothing more than litter, a visitor by-product. It also appears obvious that some of the material has religious significance and should be treated with sensitivity.
Volcanoes spokeswoman Mardie Lane is quoted as saying that leaving offerings is against federal law. In this case, however, she should consider the First Amendment related to freedom of religion. It would be wise for park superintendent Cindy Orlando to consult with a Hawaiian kupuna before starting the planned program being called "Leave No Traces."
Senators were right to reject Young
I would like thank the senators who rejected Peter Young's confirmation
as Department of Land and Natural Resources director. These senators stood up for the local people who don't have a voice, who don't do press conferences or get equal air time in the media.
Fishers saw the failure of the department under Young first hand. Whether it is consistent and effective enforcement, access to our fishing grounds or even meaningful public input and participation in decision making, the department has taken these things away or let them be taken away from us.
The people who are dissatisfied with the management of the DLNR are not who Young's supporters would lead you to believe. They are the local people and their families who think about the places they used to go to fish but cannot anymore because there's a hotel, a wall of multimillion-dollar homes, Marine Protected Areas, homeless encampments, rampant crime, pollution, communities trying to protect "their" piece of the ocean, a nature preserve, commercial operations, and on and on.
And when we ask why, Young and his supporters say the problem is because it is overfished! We often wonder who it is that is doing the overfishing because we simply can't get to the fishing grounds anymore.
Brian F. Funai
Young has led DLNR in right direction
As a Department of Land and Natural Resources employee, I can tell that not all here are fond of Peter Young's personality and his zealously diligent work style. But most people I talked to agree that he has done a good job. His policy calls were hailed both within the Kalanimoku Building and around the islands. His resolve in protecting Hawaii's resources and environment was questioned before, but has now been proved. His administration has improved efficiency of the divisions and promoted public access in the decision-making process. His outreach efforts have brought more support and funding for our mission.
His vision has led us to several meaningful new programs and better services to the public. We are on the right track.
To shoot down his nomination is unfair not only to him, but to the department and the people of Hawaii.
Bin C. Li
State adds drug tests to abuse of teachers
Any drug testing in the Department of Education
needs to begin with the top administrative levels, not the teachers' level. Hawaii's educational system is dysfunctional and broken -- "broken" being the very word used by State Superintendent Pat Hamamoto in 2005. The DOE under her supervision is being managed very much like Enron. Our Department of Ed-ron is incapable of delivering a product, education, that taxpayers are investing in.
Our Department of Ed-ron's extortionate managerial policies and practices include withholding state legislated wages from a regularly abused segment of the educational system, substitute teachers. Even after a Hawaii court ruled in favor of substitute teachers' class-action lawsuit awarding them $15 million, the state avoids paying by appealing the judgment.
With a $700 million tax surplus, our elected and appointed officials can't find $15 million to pay subs' back pay? This is leadership? Perhaps we should revert back to a monarchy.
Another substitute teacher leaving the profession
Testing of teachers is long overdue
I don't know why teachers think they should be exempted from drug testing
If they worked on the mainland, whether as teachers or in some other capacity for a corporation, drug testing would be a prerequisite of being hired.
The mainland corporation I worked for not only required a drug test for hiring, it required one if you were injured or had an accident on the property or in connection with the job.
Frankly, I'd rather put up with that minor inconvenience and have the peace of mind that I was working in a drug-free environment.
To put the shoe on the other foot, the students in our schools have nearly no expectation of privacy in these increasingly dangerous days. On the mainland, open locker searches are becoming the norm, more and more schools have full-time security officers, and some schools now require entry through metal detectors.
Random drug testing is only the tip of the iceberg. In days to come, teachers and other employees, governmental or private sector, will be seeing mandatory annual drug tests of all employees.
With the recent news of several teachers being arrested on drug charges, apparently this is a long-overdue requirement.
Regents shouldn't be chosen by governor
The Star-Bulletin's April 23 editorial
"Lingle right to reject power play at UH" is off the mark. That the University of Hawaii Board of Regents has always been mediocre is no secret. The root of the problem is that governors like Ben Cayetano and Linda Lingle have routinely selected their big campaign contributors and political cronies for the board. Expertise and knowledge about the university has never been considered a necessary qualification.
This might explain some of the idiotic decisions this board has made in recent years -- witness the ham-handed fashion in which ex-President Evan Dobelle was fired and current president David McClain hired, the go-ahead given to a University Affiliated Research Center alliance with the Navy, and the decision to fund a spanking-new West Oahu campus when the rest of the UH system is decaying for lack of adequate funding.
We need to diversify and democratize the regents with people who possess real knowledge of the challenges the university faces and the possibilities of what it can be. We need a BOR that will voice the needs of our university community. The Legislature should override the Lingle veto and begin a long- needed reform of the BOR selection process.
Noel J. Kent
Professor, Ethnic Studies
University of Hawaii-Manoa
Regent posts have been political plums
Harvard University has long been governed by a Board of Overseers elected by persons holding degrees from that institution. Selection of University of Hawaii regents by governors, past and present, has been mainly rewards to political supporters, too often resulting in the appointment of people with little or no notion of what it means to be "in the company of educated men and women."
Police better responders than campus security
In response to Arsenio Ramirez Pelayo's April 19 letter
, "Armed security could stop campus shootings":
I respect Mr. Pelayo's opinion about arming University of Hawaii security guards. However, we need to control the knee-jerk reaction to the horrific shooting in Virginia. The campus police in Virginia were armed, and that did not prevent the massacre. Where do we draw the line? Do we arm all security guards for all schools? Do we arm security guards at shopping centers? What about public libraries? Or any of our public gathering areas? How about we all just arm up?
We cannot prevent those who are determined to do mass acts of violence. Japan has some of the most restrictive laws on guns and yet the mayor of Nagasaki was shot dead just a few days ago.
I believe that money should be spent on a mass notification system for UH, and better equipment and training for campus security guards. Professional planning for criminal and other incidents at UH also would be money well spent. Let's leave law enforcement to the experts. Honolulu has a superb police department capable of handling any problems at UH if called upon.
Eric R. Daido
To protect, serve and transfer
Veto maligns integrity of police, emergency workers
Recent statements by county managers (Star-Bulletin, April 26
) asking the Legislature not to override Gov. Linda Lingle's veto of Senate Bill 1642 because passage "would be a threat to public safety, delay emergency services and cost taxpayers more money by hampering their ability to move workers where they are needed" is not only grossly irresponsible, but unfairly maligns the integrity of Hawaii's dedicated emergency services employees and all county and state employees.
In all of Hawaii labor history, there has never been any circumstance where an employee has refused to act or perform during an emergency or natural disaster citing collective bargaining concerns; quite contrarily, emergency services employees have always overextended themselves and performed with professionalism, dedication and heroism.
What managers greatly fear with SB 1642 is that they would not only be forced to comply with recognized collective bargaining agreements, but also be forced to treat employees in a fair and open manner and no longer have the ability to use personal preference for promotions, transfers or assignments.
Our legislative leaders should stand firm in their commitment to fairness by continuing to act in the best interest of our community and move to override the governor's veto of SB 1642.
Honolulu Police Department
Don't override governor's veto on law enforcement
The four county police departments strongly oppose Senate Bill 1642
, SD1, HD1, because its passage will jeopardize public safety.
The bill's purpose is to amend the law relating to collective bargaining by making certain subject matter areas that are currently excluded from negotiation into permissible subjects of collective bargaining. The bill proposes to allow the negotiation of procedures and criteria for promotions, transfers, assignments, demotions, layoffs, suspensions, terminations, discharges or other disciplinary actions. It also will allow the current grievance procedure to be utilized in the event of alleged violations of negotiated and agreed-upon procedures and criteria.
As law enforcement agencies, our ability to provide optimum service to the community is dependent upon our ability to direct the workforce as the need arises. During daily operations and especially during an emergency, the police departments need to be able to assign officers and dispatchers when and where they are needed most.
» Requiring negotiation for the assignment of personnel due to understaffing from employees on vacation, sick, court, training and so on will greatly affect 911 emergency response times for service.
» Requiring negotiation for suspensions, terminations and other disciplinary actions will reduce employee accountability by delaying the departments' ability to remove police authority from officers who are being investigated and to terminate employees who should be discharged.
The four county police departments believe that the public is best served by existing law that aptly ensures an environment that allows management to direct its workforce and oversee operations while respecting employee and union rights at the same time.
We strongly urge the Legislature not to override Gov. Linda Lingle's veto of SB 1642, SD1, HD1.
Chief Boisse P. Correa
Honolulu Police Department
Chief Thomas M. Phillips
Maui County Police Department
Chief Lawrence K. Mahuna
Hawaii County Police Department
Acting Chief Clayton K. Ariaga
Kauai County Police Department