Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Thursday, June 25, 2009

Closing polls is a good idea

I commend the Office of Elections for plans to close some precincts on Election Day. I think it's a great idea to save money by closing some of our polling locations. There are enough polls nearby that voters would not be traveling far to vote.

Voters who are “;creatures of habit”; need to check their yellow reminder cards and go to the correct polling place. It's no excuse for them; if they are cogent enough to vote, they should be cogent enough to check where to vote.

The numbers of absentee voting by mail are increasing with each election, so there is less need for so many polls to be open. I have been voting by mail for several years now, and find it very convenient. More voters should use this option, and save time and energy by mailing in their ballots. Then they won't be confused by the changes in polling places.

Laraine Yasui

Pearl City

There are options outside of furloughs

Being a retired state employee, I feel compelled to speak regarding the wrangling, not negotiating, between the employer and public sector unions amidst the greatest budgetary crisis in state history.

“;Company Hawaii”; provides employees with sound, even envious, wages and benefits. Personnel costs constitute the bulk of state operating expenditures presumably with high performance standards and expectations.

There are better options than mandated furloughs amounting to personal leave without pay to do whatever on company time. Workers do not enter jobs to be furloughed, and all of Hawaii need not suffer because workers are forced not to work. Times are already hard without being enhanced by slowdowns in state services.

Workers station front lines daily, not the union or state leaders with jobs and pay. Have public employees themselves decide whether to work or not by way of a negotiated contract that includes a work without pay provision. Negotiating non-pay work hours will offer public employees the chance to “;walk the talk”; and serve the public good by working and doing right. Exempted employees should also be part of the exchange.

The strongest force on Earth is people working together for the common good.

Y. “;Joe”; Tanaka


The music is there if you really look

As a musician I feel I must respond to Art and Lorene Ruymar (”;Where has all the music gone?”; Letters, Star-Bulletin, June 21). The answer is simple. Everywhere!

Mr. and Mrs. Ruymar must not have looked very far or very hard as there are more venues playing Hawaiian music than ever before. In fact it is reaching a saturation point and that's doubly true for local “;Jawaiian”; music. That said, yes, there are places that play a wide variety of music. Why? Because not everyone likes Hawaiian music.

If all they come for is the music — not the scenery, food, sea or the people — then sorry, but perhaps they should just buy a CD and stay home?

Tom Patrick


Use of tax dollars can be disagreeable

In a recent letter (”;Time to cut wasteful government costs,”; Star-Bulletin, June 22), Janae Rasmussen states that the use of tax money to refurbish the Waikiki Natatorium constitutes theft, because she opposes this project. But this, for lack of a better term, is crazy talk.

According to Rasmussen, each taxpayer should only allow their tax dollars to be used for projects they personally support. And, how would this work exactly? Does every taxpayer submit a customized form designating where his money goes? And what size bureaucracy would be needed to run that program?

Taxes are not theft, just like getting pulled over for speeding is not harassment. Calling taxes theft is incendiary but empty rhetoric that ignores the plain fact that taxes are based on laws made by a representative government.

Todd Shelly


Scrimping on police jeopardizes safety

The decision by Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Police Chief Boisse Correa to end police recruitment due to a shortage of city funds is both short-sighted and a “;pay me now or pay me later”; mentality.

With Hawaii's unemployment at a 20-year high, this is the time when educated, highly qualified police recruits are most likely to apply. This recession will not prevent the loss of 150 or so officers each year, but in the “;penny wise and pound foolish”; approach by the city, they will not be replaced by the 150 or so new police officers through recruit training.

With Honolulu ranked among the safest cities in the United States, do we want to jeopardize this record to save a few dollars that will have to be spent by the next mayor to ensure our safety?

When was the last time you called 911 and couldn't get an officer to respond? It happened to me just last week.

Earl Arakaki

Ewa Beach





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