Rail critics want city stuck in reverse
I am amazed that some letter writers still want to revisit the City Council's decision to build a much-needed fixed guideway transit project for Honolulu.
Some even want to scrap the entire effort and start over with buses instead. This comes after a year of public hearings and countless studies and analyses. It's beginning to sound like deja vu again.
We've debated the need for mass transit for more than 30 years, and talk has gotten us nowhere. We studied buses in express lanes, called bus rapid transit or BRT, and the public did not want it, so it failed. Now that rail is planned, they want to try buses again?
These obstructionists don't want traffic solutions. If they did, they would join in efforts to get the city to build the best rail system possible, not second-guess decisions again. That is the road to nowhere.
Terry Ann Yamamoto
Unions work to protect Hawaii's best interests
Ensuring our workers are protected at their workplace has long been one of the key drivers for Hawaii's progressive labor unions. It has taken a tremendous investment of time and energy to improve working conditions, negotiate proper compensation, upgrade health and retirement benefits, provide safe working conditions and ensure fair treatment for Hawaii's workers.
The Hawaii Government Employees Association represents nearly 30,000 state and county employees who fulfill important roles, many which are transparent to the public or taken for granted, to provide the vital infrastructure that allows our island state to operate smoothly. Therefore, we must keep pace with rapid technological changes and an international economy, which threatens American jobs every day.
In the very near term, many experienced and valuable public employees will be retiring. This will challenge all of us, especially the HGEA. The pay, benefits and terms and conditions of employment must remain competitive to attract and retain the best and brightest talent for government to function efficiently. HGEA's participation in "Hawaii 2050" and the Council on Sustainability hopes to address these challenges and other issues relating to Hawaii's future.
As we observe Labor Day tomorrow, we are thankful that many more citizens in our community understand the important role of public employees in our local economy, and that we are moving forward together to collaboratively address concerns and aspirations important to Hawaii.
Russell K. Okata
Hawaii Government Employees Association/AFSCME Local 152
Merchant mariners deserve late mahalo
There is a bill in the U.S. Senate that, if passed, will provide compensation to those who were in the Merchant Marine during World War II. Bill S961 is titled "Belated thank you to the merchant marines of World War II Act of 2007."
During World War II, merchant mariners worked the most dangerous details and suffered the highest casualty rate of any branch of service. At the end of the war, the Merchant Marine was the forgotten branch of the services.
Anyone who served in the Merchant Marine during those years or who is interested in the bill, please call me at (808) 875-7404.
John G. Roberts
Good riddance on Gabbard acquisition
I can't imagine why anyone would be surprised or disappointed that Mike Gabbard changed parties (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 31). I, for one, couldn't be happier to be rid of him. I say good riddance and condolences to the Democratic Party.
Increase efforts to bring peace to Iraq
Why is there a nagging fear that we are never going to get out of Iraq? We have been there since 2003 and things have deteriorated to a point where no place is safe.
Since the conflict is mainly a sectarian one, shouldn't there be double the efforts made to get the leading clerics to initiate a cease-fire and seriously come up with an interim plan to stop the fighting, so that a more permanent one can be made? I can't see how they would not be included in any peace plan for the future.
Involvement of the United Nations is welcome, for we could use that international body to help us resolve this ongoing war. We could use their aid to get our troops home. May it happen soon.
Roy E. Shigemura