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POSTED: Friday, May 01, 2009

Budget bill lacks bipartisan touch

All of yesterday's hoopla was over Barack Obama's 100th day in office. Little noticed was the passage of the $3.4 trillion ($1.2 trillion deficit) federal budget blueprint.

This legislation also put universal health care on a fast track that will limit debate and allow it to pass the Senate with 51 instead of the normally required 60 votes. For something as major as universal health care, is ramrodding it through Congress with limited debate and little or no opportunity to entertain ideas from the minority really in the public interest?

In what is now becoming a pattern, all 176 Republican and 17 Democratic congressmen voted no, and all 40 Republican and three Democratic senators voted no.

Given the president's pledge to pursue bipartisan legislation, you would think there would be at least some degree of bipartisan support if the legislation was any good.

Bill Hicks

Kailua

Mokulele offers solid airline alternative

Coming right after announcing first quarter profits of nearly $24 million, Hawaiian Airlines' CEO Mark Dunkerley's statement that "Mokulele Airlines' inter-island expansion into jet service through its partnership with Indianapolis-based Republic Airways has precipitated a return of unsustainable pricing to the market" is both ironic and regrettable ("Hawaiian Air flyin'," Star-Bulletin, April 29).

That partnership took interisland travel to a whole new level. It allowed Mokulele Airlines to offer luxury jet service at an affordable price. That's good for the people of Hawaii and it's good for tourism.

At a time when people need all the price breaks they can get, Hawaiian should be celebrating competition and the choice it fosters. There's room for both established players and newcomers with a quality product to thrive. Mokulele's presence is good for the economy in ways that should be obvious to anyone who cares about what's good for Hawaii.

The people of Hawaii are better able to connect with family and business associates at a competitive price because of the presence of Mokulele Airlines.

Mr. Dunkerley might wish us away.

Our passengers don't.

Scott Durgin

CEO, Mokulele Airlines

City clarifies process in water revisions

It's unfortunate that the Sierra Club chose to use false and misleading statements, and failed to disclose its vested interest as litigants against the city in its April 28 piece ("City water moves must respect isle's unique ecosystem," Star-Bulletin, April 28).

To set the record straight, the state Department of Health (DOH) admitted its standards were out of date and that it was unable to bring them up to snuff. Mayor Hannemann directed the city to go to the Legislature to seek relief, and the deputy director of DOH, in testimony before the legislature, agreed this was the best option available.

The proposed revisions to water quality standards have been subject to rigorous public processes open to the Sierra Club and everyone else. These standards have been in the public rulemaking process of DOH for more than four years, and have been before the Legislature for months.

Despite these extraordinary opportunities for public input, the Sierra Club has failed to point to any scientific or technical basis for its opposition and ignores the extensive rationale prepared by DOH. When the time came to offer technical comments at the rulemaking public hearing, Mr. Harris and the Sierra Club offered nothing.

Second, the Sierra Club article grossly overstated the city's legal fees, which were incurred largely to respond to meritless claims and motions by the club that were either dismissed or defeated. The aggressive and wasteful litigation tactics of the club and its California attorneys have advanced nothing, and are only contributing to the increased cost to local ratepayers, many of whom are Sierra Club members themselves.

Ross Tanimoto

Deputy Director, Department of Environmental Services

Stifle the squabbles, build the rail already

Honestly, this squabbling over rail technology caused by Duke Bainum is ridiculous. I am no transportation planner and I doubt Duke Bainum is either, so I have no idea why he is sticking his nose into this.

I know the city has been working on rail for at least two years and we voted for rail last election. We have talked enough about rail. Let's get busy building it.

Blake Miyasaki

Hawaii Kai

Restored Natatorium has lots of potential

Seems like people forget that even with a flawed circulation design — one that would be fixed under the full restoration plan — the War Memorial Natatorium was actively in use for about 60 years. That kind of performance without any reasonable maintenance attests that we can get at least another 60 years out of a properly restored and maintained pool.

A restored Natatorium would be a huge asset to Oahu providing a great place for swim lessons, swimming for the elderly and disabled, water aerobics, water polo, triathlon training, lap swimming, open water training, etc.

Its primary use would be for locals but it would also provide economic benefits by enhancing Waikiki's sense of place and attracting international swimming and water polo events.

Let's fix it so we can all swim!

David G. Kim

Kailua

Don't abandon morals over torture

I find it distressing there are Americans out there who don't seem to understand that torture is illegal and has been for a very long time.

Are we Americans going to give up our moral compass so easily that we support our government even when it breaks our laws? Not in my name, America, not in my name.

Robert M. Lloyd

Ewa Beach

Let the dogs sniff out dangerous drugs

The answer to your question: Should schools be allowed to use drug-sniffing dogs on their campuses?

YES, YES, of course. First, it might find some drugs, which we certainly do not want to be there.

Second, it impresses all students with the danger of drugs anywhere and especially in our schools. Schools are where young people learn things and drugs can ruin the lives of many of them if the danger is not exposed.

I wonder about the good sense of anyone who would question the exposure of drugs in our schools.

Cliff Coleman

Honolulu

               

     

 

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