Lei presenters lacked proper attire, respect
Last Saturday evening's presentation of the Faure and Durufle requiems at the Blaisdell Concert Hall was spectacular. Not often does an audience enjoy such a faultless performance.
However, one extremely discordant (pun appropriate) note occurred to tarnish an otherwise perfect evening: Whoever is in charge of the lei presenters who appeared at the end of the concert must set down and enforce some rules about tasteful and appropriate garb on the stage. The very revealing shorts and ratty jeans were completely unsuitable and disrespectful of the tone and compositions of this concert.
Helen E. Rummell
'Card check' bill would hurt Hawaii's farmers
House Bill 2974 would essentially eliminate an employee's right to a secret ballot in determining whether they want representation by a labor organization. The bill would replace the current secret ballot system with a "card check" procedure whereby employees would simply sign a card certifying their desire for representation.
This bill has a fundamental flaw: it eliminates the most basic tool we have in a democracy -- the right to vote in private by secret ballot. This "card check" system will allow individuals to influence the way employees vote to organize.
This bill not only will affect small business owners, but also our local farmers, ranchers and employees. Notable farmers like Dean Okimoto of Nalo Farms, Richard Ha of Hamakua Springs, Larry Jefts of Sugarland Farms, Alec Sou of Aloun Farms and many other small family farms will be harmed.
Hawaii's farmers already face exceptionally high cost of land, water, energy, fertilizer and pesticide inputs, supplies and equipment, transportation, food safety requirements, high labor costs and a shortage of agricultural workers. This is in addition to trying to produce a quality crop, being competitive in a global market economy and meeting the challenges of the natural elements.
HB 2974 will have serious economic ramifications that will force the closure of some of our most progressive and productive farmers and ranchers and will further contribute to the demise of Hawaii's agricultural industry.
Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation
Emergency powers must remain intact
Thank you for the April 12 editorial
urging the Legislature not to limit the emergency powers presently available to the governor to deal with disasters. I want to amplify some points included in the editorial.
Gov. Linda Lingle's use of emergency powers to provide shelters for the homeless is little different from providing shelters during natural disasters. For those who are homeless, it is a disaster. Besides, sanitation problems in crowded homeless camps on beaches and in parks present a public health threat.
Not all disasters are widespread. A sinkhole that opened up on Likelike Highway during heavy rains in February 2004 caused cascading water and mud to damage two homes and several cars on Ahuahu Place in Kalihi Valley. For affected residents it was a disaster, but the governor, through State Civil Defense, was able to respond quickly to their needs.
Recovering from a major disaster often takes several years. Much more is required after meeting the immediate needs of victims; there is also the restoration of roads, bridges, public buildings and other infrastructure. The recovery effort, including paying for it, requires the coordination of federal, state and county governments and often nongovernmental organizations.
The measure passed by the Legislature would hamper these efforts with the result that those who suffer most in a disaster would suffer even more.
Maj. Gen. Robert G.F. Lee
Director, State Civil Defense
State isn't up to job of running Turtle Bay
While I feel the massive expansion plans at Turtle Bay are too much, I have to say that there must be some middle ground that allows a private operator to earn an acceptable return on their investment.
Government acquisition of the facility would be a mistake. Have you seen the ongoing ruin that the Department of Land and Natural Resources has inflicted on its facilities at Keehi Lagoon? While more than half of the piers are derelict and unusable, the employees enjoy a new office facility and spend their time (and your money) painting curbs in their private covered parking area. Can you imagine unionized state employees operating a resort property? "Eh, Brah, no can check out now, I stay on break."
Please don't ask the public to finance something else that is much better left to the private sector. I thought our governor was Republican.
We should revolt over rail spectacle
The Wednesday failure of the City Council to select a technology for the rail system is indicative of the signal failure of this entire enterprise; namely that the voters were never asked if they wanted it. As a result, their Council representatives fear taking a clear position. As a result also we see the extraordinary spectacle of an at-least-ambivalent public being lobbied for support at its own expense.
There is something decidedly venal about using tax dollars paid by people who know they do not support this project to convince them to do so. The voters should be outraged. They should demand a vote on the project and also an inquiry into the award of contracts to the interlocking entities of Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas and PB (as in Parsons Brinckerhoff) Americas. Many questions, including ones regarding process, propriety, cost and value, hang over this project now. What can we look forward to in the future? Caveat emptor.
Residents spending too much on rail PR
Phew! It's a good thing we taxpayers have City Councilman Charles Djou watching our backsides or the mayor and his cronies would be emptying our wallets for his rail transit project.
Fortunately, according to a mayoral spokesman, they're spending only a mere three and a half percent of the entire project cost on this PR blitz (Star-Bulletin, April 17). According to my Monroe calculator that's only a paltry 210 million (drop-in-the-bucket) dollars.