Anti-drug task forces are a waste of money
Your April 9 editorial encouraging the restoration of federal funds to local drug task forces was a call to throw good money after bad. The objective of the task forces is to reduce drugs in our community. After decades of the "war on drugs" there should be a smaller supply of drugs in our community and, at some point, fewer drugs to seize. Success is not a perpetual cycle of arrests and seizures.
Federal funds should go toward shutting down large, violent drug cartels and prevention and treatment programs. Instead, only one-third of the federal drug control budget goes to prevention and treatment.
Federal funds must be re-prioritized. We should not reward repeated failure with more funding.
Jeanne Y. Ohta
Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii
Losing election vendor did promise upgrades
The article "State snagged on elections protest" (Star-Bulletin, April 5)
included inaccurate information attributed to a state official. As the article stated, a state-appointed hearing officer ruled that state officials did not comply with the law when awarding a contract to Hart Intercivic -- a voting system vendor who plans to charge Hawaii taxpayers $52 million for voting equipment. Our company proposed a solution that will fully met the needs of Hawaii voters for $34 million less. The hearing officer ruled that the Office of Elections failed to perform the legally imposed duty to confirm that the price to be paid to Hart was reasonable.
In your story, a statement attributed to another state official indicated the winning voting system vendor was the only vendor who offered to update voting equipment during the life of the contract. That is not accurate.
Our proposed voting solution did include planned upgrades. Our proposal was determined to be acceptable by state election officials. Our system and upgrades still would have cost state taxpayers $34 million less.
We hope state officials will comply with state law and fairly review the two proposals to ensure Hawaii taxpayers and voters get the best value.
Election Systems & Software
Maui officials lack science understanding
I have worked in Hawaiian agricultural production for more than 40 years. Your April 8 opinion on genetic research
further illustrates why the recent Maui County Council's resolution on a moratorium on the genetic engineering research of taro is so ridiculous when most of them don't know the difference between a gymnosperm and an angiosperm.
The Legislature is where these decisions should be made, where honest scientific facts can answer the scientific questions presented and be properly evaluated -- and the fearmongering about genetic engineering can be shown for what it is.
I do support, but might not agree with all of them, the current compromises that are taking into account the cultural significance of Hawaiian taro while allowing essential agricultural research to move forward under SCR206 and SB2915.
Genetically engineered crops are planted on more than 200 million acres every year in the world. The United States has the EPA, the USDA and the FDA overseeing the safety of these crops before any field plots are even planted. And now you're telling me that the counties in Hawaii can do a better job of regulating? They can't even supply us with sufficient drinking water.
Don't block education for special needs
I hope that the upcoming conference committee members for Senate Bill 2004 will not think of the 140 due process requests filed last school year by parents of children with special needs as requests for money to pay for their child's special education but rather as the identification of 140 school IEP teams having potentially broken the law by not providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE) entitled to these students in the first place by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.
Whether it be for inflexible policies and procedures, inadequately trained decision-makers, poor law interpretation, lack of sign language instruction for children who have speech difficulties or no knowledge of the learning characteristics of children with Down syndrome, the decisions made by a school to not provide FAPE must be addressed by the Board of Education, the Department of Education and the Legislature.
I support a two-year timeline for a parent to file due process for all reasons when a child's FAPE is at issue.
Legislative committee representative
Hawaii Down Syndrome Congress
High gas prices lead to explosive feelings
I feel "huhu auwe" anger that we now have $4 gas price at the pumps here in Hawaii. I feel like Madame Pele, Hawaii volcano goddess, spewing forth angry molten lava toward the high gas price situation and the bankruptcy loss of Aloha and ATA airlines as a result.
I want an affordable hybrid electric car soon if gas prices keep going higher.
Franklin "Frankie" Kam