Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, January 14, 1998

Stop funding B-2 bomber; help the homeless and vets

The cost of a B-2 bomber has escalated to $2 billion a plane! It is a waste of taxpayer money, it can be detected by radar, its "sensitive skin" must be protected by hangars, and bombing of targets is more effective and less costly by other means.

Terminate the B-2 contract and use the funds for more humane and useful ends. For example, President Clinton is seeking $1.5 billion to help shelter the homeless and to provide other assistance to them.

Second, we have neglected our war veterans. They need food, shelter, counseling and jobs.

It is long overdue for Congress and the Defense Department to reassess the need, cost and effectiveness of our multibillion-dollar armaments, and instead channel these astronomical funds to programs and projects that are productive.

H.T. Chang

State office is not trying to suppress right to records

Your Jan. 2 article, "State office overcharged public for records," neglected to give all the facts regarding requests for researching public records for the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH).

For the most part, inspection records are and have always been available for review free of cost. Anyone can access these records during regular office hours in the HIOSH library, Room 424, 830 Punchbowl Street, and through the Internet via www.osha.gov.

The exception is when a request involves extensive searching of hundreds of pages of inspection reports and files, or when the request is for a particular format such as for a certain time period, or if the nature of the information requires, by law, that it be redacted or partially suppressed to protect the rights of complainants.

In the majority of cases, HIOSH has gone beyond the minimum availability of records required by law and has provided extra service as requested by the public. We believe in customer service.

Your article give the impression that the public's access to government records was compromised when the primary effect was to stem the potential misuse of governmental resources for private interests.

We believe the public has an unrestricted right to these records to a reasonable degree. However, we cannot perform research and compilations of analysis services. Such services are costly and take needed resources away from HIOSH's primary mission and priority functions. Perhaps a better way would be to allow researchers to have access to all records under conditions of professional accountability and civil liability for proper use.

Lorraine H. Akiba
State Dept. of Labor
and Industrial Relations

Catholic Charities helps needy in efficient manner

In their Jan. 6 letter, members of the Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church say "churches are extremely inefficient and wasteful compared to legitimate charities, such as the Red Cross and United Way."

Catholic Charities is an efficiently operated nonprofit organization that serves tens of thousands of Hawaii's neediest people, regardless of their religion.

In their letter, the HCSSC members also note that the Red Cross and United Way average an 85 percent charitable return on every dollar. That equates to 15 percent for administrative costs. Catholic Charities is equally efficient, with management costs of 11.7 percent. Catholic Charities provides services to children, families, the elderly and immigrants. These services would increase the state's budget dramatically if implemented by state agencies.

Some of our programs are contracted by the state, making us a partner with government. Administrative costs are included in the total contract fee.

We can't envision any service agency or program operating without administrative and overhead costs.

Jan Estioko
Public Relations Specialist
Catholic Charities
of the Diocese of Honolulu

Stop complaining about people with food stamps

I have heard so many stories like John Pritchett's (Letters, Jan. 10) and, frankly, I am sick of them.

Pritchett has no idea about the life of the well-dressed man he saw buying sashimi with his food stamps. Maybe the guy ate Spam and rice for weeks in order to have ahi for his daughter's birthday party. He may have been wearing one of the only two outfits he owns.

Last fall, I helped to coordinate a conference for low-income people. The media pressed to know the cost of the conference (it was privately funded on a shoestring budget) and they photographed participants eating bento lunches.

I have yet to hear the amount the public paid to fund the Governor's Economic Revitalization Task Force. What meals and snacks were its VIP members served?

The poor are certainly held to different standards in this society!

Nancy Aleck

Bishop Estate Archive

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