Maui Rep. Joe Souki listens to testimony Thursday on the Superferry bill that would allow the interisland ferry to resume operations.
FERRY TO AND FRO
Hawaii can't afford to miss the Superferry
Kauai and Maui environmentalists keep talking like the Superferry is other people's money. It isn't. Its $40 million of our money (for harbor improvements) -- enough to build a school -- and 309 jobs. The potential economic impact is about 500 jobs, plus the tourism boost. It will cost a few million more of our dollars just to tear down what has been built. Hawaii doesn't have too many jobs, or millions of dollars to waste. Let's move forward on Superferry, and not cripple the ship with discriminatory restrictions.
Don't bow to wishes of the powerful interests
I am not against the Superferry. I support integrity of process and equal application of the law to all entities in our state. And I am against the conscious corruption of process, politics and the rule of law.
The kind of decision-making legislators are contemplating can only lead to anger, apathy and division. We should apply a significant dose of the precautionary principle, especially since several huge environmental issues have been raised.
As humans, should we rush to abandon our principles because powerful people wish us to do so? I want to travel to other islands and experience the unique aloha of each place. But I do not want to have this convenience at the expense of our people's integrity and unity.
Specious arguments against ferry caused mass hysteria
The saga of the Superferry is another sorry chapter in our state's history. The arguments against it are specious at best.
Drugs? Look at the location of the state's two biggest drug busts this year: Kauai. Invasive species? They can walk right off the airplane on my shoes or come tucked into the crate I might send via Young Bros. barge.
Whales? Might as well embargo all water craft in our channels capable of going more than 10 knots. Take it a step further. Why not demand that engines be replaced by sails?
And traffic? Let's see -- I drive my car onto the Superferry and exit on another island. Add one car. But I don't rent a vehicle on that island. Subtract one car. One minus one equals zero.
Besides uniting families, helping farmers market their produce and small businesses expand into new areas, the Superferry can save lives and improve medical care.
Millions of dollars are spent yearly on medivacing patients by plane to Oahu because there are not enough facilities or physicians anyplace but Oahu, and neighbor island doctors feel they have no choice but to send patients to Honolulu when they have concerns about treatment. Emergency medical vehicles could ride the Superferry, taking more than one patient at a time, going directly from hospital to hospital at greatly reduced cost.
Last year our newborn grandson was medivaced to Kapiolani Medical Center at a cost of $7,000 for the plane ride alone. It wasn't an emergency. He just needed neonatal monitoring for a few days. How sensible it would have been for all if he could have ridden in an EMT vehicle from Kona Hospital to Kapiolani.
Mass hysteria was whipped up against Superferry by hypocritical environmental elitists, aided by a judiciary that did not rule in a timely fashion. Shame on you all.
State was negligent in managing biosecurity
I worked for several years in the field of invasive species. It's grueling work -- yanking out sharp pampas grass and scouring hot landscapes for seedlings, fire ants or contraband animals. These efforts feel futile when confronted with the lack of biosecurity at our harbors and airports.
Aggressive new species waltz undetected into our islands on a daily basis, threatening our economy, health and way of life. We have nearly lost our wiliwili forests to the gall wasp; now mountain apples are dying because of ohia rust. The varroa mite threatens to extinguish the honey industry. Hawaii's natural resource managers can barely hold back the tide. Adding fast-ferry transit is akin to opening the floodgates. We will lose the small gains we have made.
Invasive species can be stopped with proper preventive measures in place.
It is irresponsible of legislators to allow fast-ferry service without first attending to infrastructure. It is not Hawaii Superferry's responsibility to build roads and inspection facilities, hire enforcement officers and devise protection for our natural resources. It is our state government's job.
These necessary measures need to be in place before ferry service begins. Otherwise, we are sabotaging the work of many dedicated natural resource managers. Worse, we are neglecting to safeguard the very things that make Hawaii a paradise.
Counties can't block traveling interisland
Bill Brundage says he'll vote for any legislator who will do something to limit tourism and development (Letters, Oct. 23
). No lawmaker can do that because this is a free country and American citizens can travel anywhere freely.
Hawaii would have to secede in order to keep visitors out, and that won't happen. Kauai and Maui by their actions regarding the Superferry and against visitors give the appearance of wanting to secede from the state, and that won't happen either.
Apparently our lawmakers made a mistake by not requiring an environmental impact statement. They can't now compound that error by making the Superferry suffer for their mistake.
BOE erred in limiting drug-sniffing dogs
It's unbelievable that the members of the state Board of Education fail to understand that public schools must be drug free by not allowing trained dogs to detect drugs without limitations (Star-Bulletin, Oct. 23
Once entering state property all vehicles, purses, bags, lockers, backpacks should be subject to search. Any illegal substances found on any administrator, teacher, student or employee should be cause for immediate termination and expulsion. Maybe then, in a safe, drug-free environment, children may actually learn something.
Don’t believe scare by transit opponents
With Halloween only a few days away, we might prepare ourselves for a spooky letter or two from critics of the city's high-density transit project.
One favorite goblin used to scare your readers is that the project will be plagued by Superferry-like "oversights" and H-3 freeway-like construction delays. Like a good ghost story, this yarn raises the specter of a disaster with no supporting evidence.
Critics give the impression they're whistling past the graveyard when they deliberately ignore transit's underlying purpose -- to give commuters an alternative to sitting in traffic. Grade-separated transit does that better than any other mode of transportation, but the critics won't admit that and would rather shout about phantom monsters hiding in the shadows.
Transit's opponents will continue to spin their ghost stories. Like a cackle in the night, they want to scare you. You just can't take them seriously.
HOT lanes are better than rail transit
Linda Lacaden (Letters, Oct. 23
) will be happy to know that High Occupancy Toll lanes are the solution she is looking for. I suggest that she go to the honolulutraffic.com Web site and read the HOT lane description by Panos Prevedouros.
All commuters will use less gasoline if we choose HOT lanes rather than rail. That is because HOT lanes can shorten the travel time for cars as well as buses. With rail, the travel time for cars will increase.
The powerful daily transit pass she recommends can be used on HOT lanes (Express Buses) as well as rail. The difference is that transit commuters on the HOT lanes will travel at twice the speed of rail commuters.
Finally, building HOT Lanes will not introduce more cars into Honolulu. When H-3 opened, did more cars appear coming over from the Windward side?
Mayor accomplished much in a short time
I'm curious about what constitutes achievement in Richard Borreca's book ("On Politics," Oct. 7
He claims that Mufi Hannemann has not done much in his two-and-a-half years as mayor, but in the very next paragraph opines that Hannemann is virtually guaranteed re-election. There's a good reason for that.
In his short time at Honolulu Hale, Mayor Hannemann has:
» Made mass transit a very real possibility for our traffic- choked island. This is something no one's been able to do in 40 years of failed transit attempts;
» Instituted a commuter ferry that's up, running and well-received by our community;
» Tackled the repair of our long-ignored sewer system;
» Cleaned up our parks, making them safe for families again;
» Brought both financial discipline and long-term financial planning to City Hall, resulting in an upgrade in the city's bond rating;
» Instituted public-private partnerships resulting in cost-savings to the city and benefits to communities such as the corporate sponsorship of the very popular Sunset on the Beach programs;
» Made environmental sustainability a real priority, enlisting corporate, community and civic partners and embracing our island's young people in this effort.
While Borreca may not think these things are important, I do. I hope that we'll have the benefit of Mayor Hannemann's leadership for many, many years to come.
School uniform policy has loopholes
I am an eighth-grade student at Kailua Intermediate School. I am not the kind of student who wants the uniform policy done away with completely. This is just about a flaw that should be fixed.
Our uniform policy allows no designs or logos, supposedly to stop gangs, but there is no rule about designs or logos on backpacks and you can attach anything you want to them. Also, anyone could hide some form of gang identification whenever a security guard comes around.
Patients, doctors will suffer without nurses
Members of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii should be outraged at the recent layoff of registered nurses and nurse practitioners as a way to reduce expenses ("Ailing Kaiser to cut 90 jobs," Sept. 29
Some of these nurses have been loyal employees of the company for over 20 years and their expertise and service to the members are invaluable.
What are newly diagnosed diabetics to do when there is no diabetic educator to walk them through the complicated and often confusing road of testing, diet, oral medications and insulin? Where will this leave new parents who depend on the special delivery program nurse to guide them through those difficult first few days at home with the new baby?
How will parents of school-aged children manage without the nurse practitioner who examines their children and spends time counseling them and answering parenting questions?
Of course, all be added to the duties of the physicians, who are already overloaded. The result will be fewer services, longer waits, more emergency room visits.
Exclusionary attitude inherently unfair
On Oct. 22
, you ran a letter from a new-to-the-island Hawaii Pacific University student who thinks we should boycott development (specifically Disney's proposed hotel
) at Ko Olina to stop the commercialization of Oahu.
Let's apply that to a different area, shall we? As a graduate from the University of Hawaii system, I think we should not allow anyone in UH schools who is not a resident of the state because they are taking up a valuable spot that some local kid could have used.
Pretty silly argument when you think about it, isn't it?