Road signs reflect lack of education
I do not fully understand the implications of the public school test scores reported. A neighbor of mine, however, pointed out that the flashing road sign on the town-bound lane of the Pali Highway provides an excellent measure of educational standards. The sign reads "Expect delay's" (sic). The fact that no government employee has apparently noticed speaks more loudly than the test results.
HSTA doesn't seem to value teachers
The Hawaii State Teachers Association doesn't believe that teaching is an important job, and it doesn't care much about the status of the profession of teaching. At least, these are my conclusions based on HSTA's recent objection to random drug testing, to which it agreed a year ago.
Many people will view HSTA's objection as an attempt to hide something -- even though the great majority of teachers have nothing to hide. In this regard, HSTA is acting like a typical trade union by trying to protect its most incompetent members.
HSTA might say that teaching is important, but its actions show otherwise. If HSTA really believes that teaching is important, it would be doing everything in its power to ensure that teachers are unimpaired and fully functional while on the job.
Enlightened unions now favor drug testing for their members, especially in the public safety arena, because they realize that lives are at stake. In the education arena, the lives of children are at stake. Apparently, HSTA does not place such a high priority on children.
Teachers once occupied a high status in society. But over the years, that status has steadily declined. HSTA is making sure that the decline continues. Teachers deserve better.
If it's good enough for the Amish ......
What is with all these "whiners" who want trains and ferries? Why can't they be happy with a horse and buggy and rowboat? I'm sure that Cliff Slater would be.
Nancy Bey Little
We, too, should have a good transit system
I was born and raised in Hawaii and attend college on the mainland. I recently came home for a visit. I am amazed at how quickly the island has grown and changed in such a short time. There are so many new condo buildings in Ala Moana, and lots of new homes in Ewa. It seems traffic has gotten much worse. Something has to be done about it. People need other ways to get around.
On the mainland I don't own a car and I take public transit everywhere. Like many modern cities, Pittsburgh has a good system of buses and trains and you don't need a car to get around. Honolulu can learn from other cities that have built successful transit systems.
The effort to stop the rail project is unfortunate and regressive thinking. With gasoline more than $4 a gallon, more people will want to leave their cars at home and start taking transit.
People should realize how important good transportation infrastructure is for our future, and how we accommodate the growth and changes that will surely come. Hopefully when I am back home in a few years, Honolulu will have started the rail project.
Steel-wheel vibrations must be factored in
Fred Harris and Eric Dodson's comment that magnetic levitation can't defy the laws of physics (Letters, July 20)
seems to have neglected vibrations while only examining mass. Granted, I'm a simple university writing instructor who once took a course in physics, but I recall something about transmission of vibrations through solids, which I would assume to be the case here since steel wheels and steel rails are solids. Vibration transmission is also an issue for the support structure, something that transmits those vibrations into the ground.
Steel-on-steel support structure must be engineered to absorb vibrations so that they are not transmitted from the wheels to the rail, through the support structure into the ground, and finally into homes. Engineering must also counter any destructive harmonics that might result and cause increased strain and wear on that support. Mag lev, riding on a magnetic cushion, does not have to account for creation and transmission of vibrations, thus would be a system that uses lighter and less support structure material, as Amarjit Singh argued (Gathering Place, July 17).
Department of English
Hawaii Pacific University
Legislature didn't pass taro moratorium bill
Don Blakeley ("The Many Meanings of Taro,"Gathering Place, July 20)
mistakenly wrote that a five-year moratorium on genetically modified taro took effect July 1. The bill on the proposed moratorium, Senate Bill 958, was sent back to the Committee on Agriculture and it is essentially dead for this year. While Mr. Blakeley makes some thoughtful points on the issue, it's important that your readers know that a moratorium was never approved by the state Legislature.
Rep. Clift Tsuji
Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture