Prisoners should pay their own way
I have heard from people who have been in prison that prison life is more relaxing than outside of prison. That means something is wrong!
I agree with Francis K. Ibara (Letters, May 20); prison should not be a place that people want to stay. They need to have responsibilities as they would if they were outside in the real world. Wouldn't that also help them when they are released? Why can't the criminals pay their own way by cleaning public bathrooms, freeways, parks and growing their own fruit and vegetables? I'd rather see criminals giving back to society than doing nothing.
Those of us who choose not to be criminals are paying into the system that provides TVs, couches, food and maintenance for criminals to have a basically cost-free life.
If the politicians really cared about saving money, they would start with the prisons.
Government should do little, but do it well
In most of life you can choose between someone who is highly competent in what they do versus someone who just does OK. The main difference in this country is not left versus right, or Republican versus Democrat as limited versus unlimited government. Unlimited government can be expected to do OK in a lot of things, perhaps even do a few things well. Limited government can be just as large but be required to do everything within its limited sphere of influence with a high degree of competence.
Personally, I would think most people would prefer a limited government that performs a fewer number of services very well than the handyman, do-everything-for-us approach to government we now endure.
We're stuck with same old pols, unless ......
Regarding the letter "Hawaii needs better elected officials" by Jim Delmonte (Star-Bulletin, May 15)
: The people who Jim Delmonte wants to run for office can't. They don't have the money or the funding from special interest groups. Until campaign spending is reeled or term limits set, we are stuck with the same old story. Hey, or maybe more people would vote? Nah, that would be too easy.
Few drivers forget to renew licenses
In response to Ted Meeker's May 16 letter
regarding the driver license renewal process, I'd like to clarify that drivers have several options and responsibilities.
Drivers can apply for a renewal six months before their licenses expire, and must renew by their birth date renewal deadline. If renewed within 90 days after expiration, there is no penalty or reactivation fee. After 90 days, the reactivation fee is $5 for each 30 days late or fraction thereof.
Unfortunately some drivers mistakenly conclude that this constitutes a 90-day "grace period" in which the driver's license remains valid after it has expired. This is not the case. A license is no longer valid once it expires on the birth date renewal deadline. It is unlawful to drive with an expired license.
The state Department of Transportation, which oversees the statewide driver licensing program, eliminated the cost of printing and mailing renewal notices because the percentage of noncompliant drivers is so small, and the process is so straightforward.
Providing important information to citizens is paramount at the City and County of Honolulu Customer Services Department, but we cannot justify increasing motor vehicle fees to subsidize providing nonessential driver's license renewal information.
Jeff J. Coelho
City Department of Customer Services
Let mag-lev back into the competition
The Star-Bulletin's May 18 editorial
on the City Council dropping its resistance to steel-wheel technology is wrong on two counts. The debate is not over because the enabling legislation for the transit guideway specifically states that: "The city administration shall not issue the request for proposals or invitation for bids until after the specifications are approved by the Council." There is no technology bill because only four Council members have supported steel wheels. If the mayor cannot find that fifth supporter by his declared issuance date of July 16, the RFP faces a delay.
The second error is the so-called experts' claims that other technology options are just as noisy as rail. In fact, the city does not dispute the considerably lower (than steel wheels) decibel level noise measurements of the elevated magnetic levitation system. If the city were to prepare an RFP specification for "steel rail system technology" (i.e., leaving the nonwheeled mag-lev in the competition), that needed fifth vote will materialize in the Council and that might take a lot of the "wind out of the sails" of the anti-rail movement.
With a fully open competition now unlikely, the mayor and the Council should compromise enough to allow the mag-lev system to compete with the steel wheels suppliers.