Letters to the Editor
Thursday, December 19, 1996

Mainland firm is doing
terrible job buying books

The out-sourcing of book selection to a North Carolina company is supposed to deliver dramatic savings to our public library system. Instead, it is ruining it. As Sylvia Mitchell pointed out in her Nov. 30 letter, only one-third of what we are getting should be in our blue-ribbon collection; two-thirds are mediocre shelf-fillers.

Many of these are thin paperbacks with prices ranging from $4 to $8 but being billed at $20.94 each. To top it all, as of the Dec. 3 shipping date, the library system received 1,878 duplicates of children's books for which there are 3,662 copies already in the collection. A whopping 77 percent of these duplicates are thin paperback reprints.

It is clear that the victims of the outsourcing are our innocent young readers. They do not need shelf-fillers or duplicate books. They need quality new books to nurture their inquiring minds. It seems that our young readers are being given what makes the most money for the vendor.

Is this how we prepare our children for the 21st century? Cancel or amend the library book contract. Our children deserve better.

Pat Matsumoto
(Via the Internet)

What’s so newsworthy
about low SAT scores?

For some reason, the Star-Bulletin considers the Dec. 11 article, "Grades 6-8 need help, Hawaii SATs show," worthy of a front-page headline. Why?

Don't we see a version of this same headline on the front page every four to six months without fail? Why then is it considered news?

Until there is an actual change from the status quo, you should relegate stories and headlines such as "Honolulu rent highest in nation," "Hawaii cost of living 40 percent greater than national average," and "Democrats retain control of Legislature" to the statistics column on the sports page.

Ron Boyer

Legislature is lagging badly
in Internet access

Regarding the Dec. 6 View Point column by state Sen. Rosalyn Baker and Rep. Tom Okamura in response to my criticism of the Legislature's lack of speed in providing Internet access for the public:

My intent was to urge the Legislature to get online with its statutes, bills (including methods for the public to subscribe to legislation online), hearing notices, voting records and legislators' home pages.

I do not fault the Joint Legislative Access Committee, which was appointed by the leadership of both houses. I do, however, fault the archaic thinking that it will take until 1998 for that committee to set up the Legislature's system.

Many state governments already are providing online public access. Idaho and Iowa have their state budgets online; Arizona enables people to subscribe to government updates and information; Massachusetts has its list of state jobs online; Pennsylvania lists its administrative staff and their responsibilities, showing the public whom to call; and several states have their statutes online.

The fact that Hawaii's Legislature is only now establishing "guidelines" for the creation of web sites for use by legislators is just one example of how out of touch it must seem to the public.

At least four of us didn't wait and created our own web pages. Saying the Legislature's online system will be operable prior to the 1998 session is ridiculous and ignores readily available technology.

Rep. Cynthia Thielen
Minority Floor Leader
Hawaii State Legislature
(Via the Internet)

City erred by not
holding contractor responsible

There is an article in the Dec./Jan. issue of the Mililani News, published by the Mililani Town Association, which is difficult to believe. It concerns a tree-root pruning project which has just been completed.

Briefly, the article points out that tree roots were causing problems with streets and curbing. The city accepted responsibility for the problem and hired an outside contractor to handle the problem, which was corrected.

During the repair, however, the contractor damaged the sprinkler system. Under the terms of the contract, the contractor is not responsible for repairing the sprinklers. Therefore, the city will attempt repairs, completion date unknown.

I am no expert on contracts. Yet if I were to hire a contractor to dig up my yard, I would certainly insert a clause holding the contractor responsible for damage to my sprinkler system or any other portion of my property.

Why didn't the city insert such a clause?

William G. Burlingame

Same-sex ruling renders
public opinion meaningless

Government no longer represents the will or the majority of the people. With Judge Kevin Chang's decision in favor of same-sex marriage, the courts have indicated that the traditional institution of union between man and woman is not sufficiently sacred or meaningful.

The voices of 70 percent of the population have no power, and Hawaii has again been used as an experiment to promote the influx of liberal lifestyles and the acceptance of monied interests to determine our future.

Lawyers, who permeate the executive and legislative branches of government, create and interpret laws as guided by their special-interest supporters. The state knowingly presented weak arguments opposing same-sex marriage.

Hawaii has made a grave mistake in passively accepting the judgment of a select few who have succumbed to short-term material gain and long-term spiritual decay.

Melissa Yee

Want to write a letter to the editor? Let all Star-Bulletin readers know what you think. Please keep your letter to about 200 words. You can send it by e-mail to letters@starbulletin.com or you can fill in the online form for a faster response. Or print it and mail it to: Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802. Or fax it to: 523-8509. Always be sure to include your daytime phone number.

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