Letters to the Editor
POSTED: Monday, October 20, 2008
America comes up short on oil blessings
"God has so richly blessed this land, not just with the oil and the gas, but with wind and the hydro, the geothermal and the biomass." So said vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin at a recent political rally (Associated Press, Oct. 17).
That America has only 3 percent of the world's proven oil reserves, while more than 50 percent of those reserves are located in Muslim countries, just proves that God moves in mysterious ways.
Palin is right in expecting us to count our blessings, even when they come in small amounts.
Lingle administration abandons kids in need
This is a sad day for children who have no health insurance and don't qualify for other government programs. The Lingle administration abruptly pulled out of its agreement to fund the Keiki Care program, even though the Hawaii Medical Service Association has partnered with the state to pay half the premiums (Star-Bulletin, Oct. 17). In August, the Legislature expanded Keiki Care to cover kids whose parents were laid off from Aloha Airlines, Molokai Ranch and other business closures.
HMSA was surprised by the administration's move, and so was the Legislature. We're proud that Hawaii became one of the first states in the nation to ensure that every child has access to health care. Human Services director Lillian Koller has not provided us with any information on why the program is ineffective. HMSA contends that it's working well, that more than 2,000 children may be impacted, and it has stepped up to the plate to take over the entire cost until the end of the year.
At the very time her administration is abandoning local children who have no other options for health insurance, Gov. Linda Lingle is on the mainland poisoning audiences with lines like Barack Obama is "not really from Hawaii." She's the very one who seems to have lost her way and her aloha spirit. Even in bad economic times, those who fall through the health care safety net should remain a core priority.
House of Representatives
Hard look at EzWay reveals deep flaws
There are two big reasons why mayoral candidate Ann Kobayashi's "EzWay" plan won't work. First, Kobayashi would funnel carpools, buses and drivers in cars with over 32 mpg efficiency into two special lanes at the H1-H2 junction. The 2006 Alternatives Analysis on traffic between Ewa and Honolulu predicted that by 2003, 3,457 carpools and 93 buses would use a two-lane reversible HOV lane in the peak hour, or 93 percent of capacity. Therefore, even if no driver-only cars are permitted, average speeds will be 30-45 mph at that point, and prone to breaking down to stop-and-go. Her "effortless 60 mph" trips are fantasy.
Although Kobayashi plans to run Ewa Beach and Kapolei service in an exclusive third lane, and require carpoolers to have three persons per vehicle instead of two, if anyone in an economy car can use these special lanes, the EzWay will be more congested than H-1 now. The exact level cannot be predicted without data Kobayashi has not released.
Second, Kobayashi plans to load and unload perhaps 100 more buses an hour on Hotel Street than now. The sidewalks on Hotel Street cannot accommodate 10,000 more people an hour, in addition to riders on current routes.
Rail is a serious answer for real problems. Vote "yes" for rail Nov. 4.
UH-Manoa graduate student
Rail bidding process could have been better
We have had 7.5 years of federal no-bid crony contracts with Cheney's Halliburton, Kellogg-Brown & Root, and a plethora of other born-again neoconservative corporations who footed the campaign bills to get Bush-Cheney elected in 2000 and 2004. It ill behooves Mufi Hannemann and Co. to allow "even the appearance of conflicts of interest" if he wants to retain the confidence of the electorate.
That would be difficult enough with former Parsons Brinckerhoff employee Wayne Yoshioka as the city transportation services director, without permitting the bidding process to be limited to two bids. It would not have been untoward for the city to either extend the duration for bidding, or to be more active in pushing the RFBs (request for bids) to other possible sources, if for no other reason than to avoid "even the appearance of conflicts of interest." I say this from my experience as a retired contracting officer with a $10 million warrant at the Defense Contracting Command-Washington at the Pentagon for 16 years.
Con Con could retool our school factory
Our schools have become a processing plant without quality controls. They function like an oil refinery. They take a resource (students) and process it to create a product (productive, caring citizens). Ever had any bad gas in your car? The car sputters and misfires. This is much the case with Hawaii public schools and their end pro-ducts. It is a huge Goliath that merely processes students without regard for the results.
Variations in budget force them to care for the processing plant first without regard for the students. In order to protect their own jobs, huge systems are built up to insulate the Hawaii Government Employees Association and Hawaii State Teachers Association from having to take the brunt of these variances on themselves. Variations are applied to the student, where it does not undermine the system.
A smaller, less central Department of Education is the answer. Legislators are biased toward unions, therefore unable to implement a decentralized system. The only way is to break up the DOE into smaller and more manageable elements through a Constitutional Convention.
University of Hawaii-Manoa
Kakaako marine lab must be preserved
The Hawaii Community Development Authority is ruining everything. The Kewalo Marine Laboratory is a much-needed lab, and it is in a perfect spot for its work. The HCDA wants the lab gone so it can develop the land, not for the expansion of Kakaako Waterfront Park, as it has recently stated, but for more hotels, condos and shops. That was its 20-year plan for that area anyway. If it wants the lab gone, then HCDA should find a suitable site in that area, and build a new lab so that it doesn't lose federal funding.
The HCDA is turning all the areas of Kakaako and Waikiki into a Miami Beach. It should be trying to preserve the land, not build it into another any-coastal-city-USA.