Revamping primaries will improve campaigns
I believe Richard Port's column "Hawaii voters deserve constitutional primaries
" (Gathering Place, Dec. 13) is accurate but misses a practical side to making our system legal. No one would be denied the right to vote, but the party would get to see which voters chose their ballot.
This would provide for more efficient campaigns. Candidates would spend less on mailers because they would naturally target. I would (I hope) get less campaign literature that I find distasteful.
Practically speaking, whether any registered voter would be denied a ballot of their choosing would be up to the Legislature, and I doubt any politician would want to restrict anyone's ability to vote their way. It's just that now that politician would know whether you pulled a Republican or a Democratic ballot the last time you voted in a primary. I would want anyone asking for my vote to know that.
Winner's desire to help others will pay off
Congratulations to Maui resident Brad Falcon for his success on the TV game show "Deal Or No Deal" (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 11
). It is great to hear a story like his. Motivated to help others, his winnings will reap rewards many times over. Way to go, Brad!
Caldwell's remarks were irresponsible
Members of the public expect our elected officials to be responsible and to lead by example. Unfortunately, Rep. Kirk Caldwell, the House majority leader, failed miserably on both counts by doing the ultimate disservice to the important problem of pedestrian safety in our state by using tragic pedestrian casualties to serve his own political agenda.
In a recent Associated Press article on funding for projects including pedestrian safety, Rep. Kirk Caldwell says, "Since (Gov. Lingle) has failed to release the money, we've had several other senior citizens die. There is an issue of blood on someone's hands."
This is a despicable statement on a couple of different levels. First, it politicizes an issue that shouldn't be politicized. Rep. Caldwell should be ashamed for twisting the unfortunate instance of pedestrian casualties to serve his own selfish purpose.
Second, it clouds the underlying issue. The governor supports using $3 million to make important pedestrian safety improvements, and testified in person to advocate for the appropriation. However, the Legislature changed the funding source to have the appropriation come from the state Highway Fund instead of the General Fund. This is not responsible fiscal management as the state Highway Fund receives federal money (4 to 1) for critical road projects throughout the state. The governor asked the Legislature to change the funding source back to the originally proposed General Fund, but legislators refused. Instead of making this simple adjustment, legislators closed the door on collaboration and senselessly squandering an easy fix.
Attempting to score cheap political points through the use of human tragedy is absolutely disgusting and Rep. Caldwell should be ashamed of himself and should apologize to the families of the victims.
Senior Adviser Communications
Office of the Governor
Community must raise funds to fix UH
Nearly every University of Hawaii Warrior supporter acknowledges that the program's facilities need major upgrading. Their poor condition is said to be the primary reason for Coach June Jones' leaving.
Unless fixes are made, future coaches will face the same situation Jones did. It is easy to blame the Legislature and the UH administration, including now deposed fall guy Herman Frazier.
Renovating the facilities, however, requires the Warrior fan community, including local corporations, to take responsibility for their football program by donating serious money. An organized, sustained tax deductible facility fund-raising project can be run through the UH Foundation.
For example, Jones believes $25 million is required. Supporters might start with a specified target and deadline of, perhaps, $2.5 million by June 30. In each of the 41/2 subsequent fiscal years, another $5 million in donations per year would be targeted so as to raise $25 million over five years.
For UH football the private sector needs to take charge, as it does at other public universities with successful teams. The Legislature can complement this effort by coming up with serious funds to begin addressing the rest of the university's needs and stave off the departure of many talented faculty members who promote and engender academic quality.
Koolaus supply enough highway landscaping
Not everyone in Kaneohe supports the wasting of more than $4 million to "beautify" Kahekili Highway (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 7
). Yes, it is ugly. No, the state's project will not succeed. I have lived in Hawaii nearly 50 years (most of it in Kaneohe), and I have never seen a public roadway beautification with landscaping succeed.
Why? Because in Hawaii plants takes an enormous amount of maintenance. I have seen both the city and the state attempt these projects repeatedly. Not one has succeeded because once in place they are ignored and become weed patches or worse.
A better and free solution is to simply lift your eyes up from the road and gaze at the majestic Koolau Mountains. Nobody is going to mess up that view (so long as government doesn't allow some developer to block the view or plant big trees that will do the same). The Koolaus are clearly visible now over the entire distance of this misguided beautification project.
James V. Pollock
Public health training on the mend in Hawaii
I am responding to Charles Hardy's Jan. 10 letter
, which expresses dismay in the money tradeoff with Coach June Jones, rather than putting the monies toward funding the School of Public Health.
I and many others share Mr. Hardy's sentiments regarding the need for more support for public health training and education in Hawaii. I would like to point out though, that public health training and education is moving steadily forward, and is not gone forever.
Our Department of Public Health Sciences is now in the process of rebuilding a School of Public Health by 2012, and we are on-track with more faculty, students and innovative collaborative opportunities. There will be a new doctoral public health program starting this fall, and expanded public health educational programming in the near future as well.
For all of our public health supporters in the community, we thank you and welcome your kokua in helping us rebuild a school that will serve the needs of Hawaii's communities and neighbors, and revitalize public health practice in Hawaii as well.
Director of Public Health
University of Hawaii