Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Saturday, March 14, 2009

City shouldn't raise zoo, parking fees

Looks like Mayor Mufi Hannemann is really looking after his golfing buddies and the golfing public. He wants to raise green fees and golf cart rentals at public courses only 19 percent - from $16 to $19. But the poor kids who want to check out a tiger in the zoo or catch a wave at Queen's Beach are going to have to pay more to go to the zoo (admission will go from $1 to $3) and 500 percent more to park their cars there (from 25 cents/hour to $1.50/hour).

I'm not voting Hannemann anything anymore.

Liana Petranek

UH spends too much on med school deans

How many “;deans”; does it take to administer the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine? Answer: four. Last autumn, the university posted job listings for three new associate deans (for medical education, research and clinical affairs). My estimate for salaries and benefits of these new positions, plus the dean's, might well exceed $1.5 million, which, for perspective, is more than the entire budget of the former School of Public Health when demised in 2000!

Where did the funds likely come from for this jumbo-level of administration? The Legislature agreed in 2007 to allow the JABSOM to use, in additional to the initial $150 million to purchase bonds, the difference between the UH tobacco settlement money for debt service and the actual debt payment, which was estimated in 2007 by the House Finance Committee to be $3.9 million for just this year. As a point of reference, the first cohort of medical students was 62.

Given new social priorities driven by the economic downturn, the Legislature should revisit the use of these funds and debate anew the need for an accredited and independent school of public health - as promised when the bond deal was made. Tobacco settlement funds should be used, foremost, for prevention and core public health initiatives (especially for underserved populations).

Bob Grossmann

Bill 444 should go to the whole Senate

In his letter to the editor Tuesday, Dennis Arakaki of the Hawaii Family Forum argues that House Bill 444 (civil unions) should not be sent to the full (25 members) Senate from the Senate Judiciary Committee (six members) because “;it flies in the face of the democratic process of allowing citizens their voice and feeds the perception of an elitist attitude that legislators know better than the public or their constituents.”;

Whoa! The six senators of the Senate Judiciary Committee represent six districts. The 25 members of the full Senate represent all 25 districts! In my calculation, there are more citizens in 25 districts than in six districts.

Yoshie Tanabe

Let police officers bid on their former steeds

News of the upcoming sale of the Honolulu Police Department's horses has already generated a lot of discussion, from those claiming they'll be sold as dog meat to others who stress their bonds to their current keepers. There was even a campaign to have them sent to a “;Forever Home”; on the Big Island. Some think there will be a dearth of qualified buyers due to the economy, but folks are always on the lookout for sound and gentle trail horses. Obviously these horses are healthy and well trained.

While I agree that bidders should be required to verify their ability to properly care for the horses, I think it only fair that HPD officers (who have been excluded from police auctions in the past) be allowed to bid. If the horses' former riders are willing to pay the highest price at the auction, allow them the opportunity. If they're not, then let the horses go to those who will buy them and give them good homes.

Linda Blagrave
Kahuku Kai Horses

Put city rail money toward state budget

The news just gets worse and worse regarding future state tax revenues. Down, down, down, the money goes. The state will have to cut programs and lay off people. Unfortunately many of the people hurt the most will be the more helpless ones, such as the mentally ill who are cared for by the state. And laying off state workers will remove consumers from the state economy, causing even more layoffs at the places where they would have spent their money. This is a huge disaster.

Whether you like it or not, the state must take the money that would go to rail. The rail system will not improve traffic (will mostly take people from the bus) and would be a huge tax burden at a time when the public cannot afford it. We simply cannot have massive layoffs of state workers and deep cuts in state programs. The pain would be too great. Take the rail money - it would delay the rail system, but the immediate needs are just too great.

Mark Terry




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