Taxpayer money is never 'manini'
We, as Hawaii residents, should be outraged by the mayor's callous remark about $1.5 million (for public relations) being a "manini" part of the $86 million contract (Star-Bulletin, April 18).
No matter what the context $1.5 million is never "manini." With his thinking $86 million is a "manini" part of $5 billion.
As an elected official, he should be careful and value every taxpayer dollar spent. Many families have both spouses working longer and longer hours just to get by. Please explain to us again how $1.5 million is "manini."
Informing the public is money well spent
I've been following the city's transit meetings and workshops over the past two years and I find them valuable. Public participation is very important as rail transit will affect our city for the next 50 or 100 years and shape our future one way or the other.
These public involvement efforts are worthwhile and I give a lot of credit to the public involvement consultants. I see them all over the place, at neighborhood board meetings, town hall gatherings, at community functions, and many other events. You have to go where the people are and let them ask their questions and give accurate answers. This is much better than the one minute you get at the City Council meetings where you listen and testify, but are not part of the discussion.
The briefings, town meetings and newsletters really help to clarify facts and information on the rail project. There is lots of misinformation out there, and we need to know fact from fiction before construction starts. Given the $3.6 billion price tag for the project, in my book money spent to educate the public is money spent wisely.
Shouldn't mayor hire people he can trust?
I don't see the logic behind "Mayor's backers get big rail jobs" (Star-Bulletin, April 18).
Does it not make more sense to hire people that you already have a good working relationship with, people who have already proven to be competent professionals rather than hiring people or companies that you know nothing about? If you need an attorney, are you going to look in the yellow pages or would you seek an attorney whom you already know and approach them first?
If you ask me, the mayor is being smart and better yet, fiscally responsible with our money.
Laid-off workers should be treated equally
How come when regular employees get fired or laid off, they are afforded COBRA insurance coverage? Hawaii insurances companies by law must provide 18 months at a cost to the former employer + 2 percent handling (cost + 2 percent.)
In "Unemployed urged to get kids on QUEST" (Star-Bulletin, April 18), former employees of Aloha Airlines are among those encouraged to enroll their children in the state health insurance plan. Why offer employees making $73,000 annually who can afford $450 or slightly more per month to the insurance company directly to cover them, their spouse and children? They should pay the COBRA, not get welfare!
I'm all for helping these employees in general. But affording them welfare, instead of bucking it out like the rest of us, is not fair.
Len Withington Jr.
It's not much, but it's ... well, it's not much
If I had a dollar for every time the Hawaii state Legislature has passed meaningful, much-needed tax relief, why I'd be ... broke! Good thing they're giving me a dollar tax credit!
Hawaii must not let tree snakes take hold
Your April 19 article "Snake report sends hunters into the bush to avert crisis"
is highly alarming. How can federal authorities take such a cavalier attitude toward a No. 1 threat to the ecology and the economy of the Hawaiian Islands? It is only a matter of time when our precious islands are infested with those vile, nasty snakes. Once the evil genie is released, there's no bottling it up again, ever!
We all know what happened to Guam -- infants being bitten in their cribs, songbirds wiped out, electric wires shorted out, causing power outages by the day. Imagine the harm on our local tourism.
Our members of Congress and governor need to speak up urgently. Brown snakes are a far more serious threat than any foreign terrorists. This is our homeland security. If we can't stop military transports from Guam, then employ more dogs to sniff and snuff out those snakes before our islands are snuffed out for good. Please act before it is too late.