Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Monday, August 17, 2009

Workers' lives stuck in limbo

As a state employee I am appalled that contract negotiations are at a snail's pace.

It seems the negotiating parties have forgotten that furloughs and layoffs will begin in September and November. People's jobs, families and homes are in jeopardy in the middle of a world recession. It seems to me personality conflicts and too much partisanship (tied to the 2010 gubernatorial election) are major factors in the breakdown of collective bargaining.

State employees are the forgotten people. It doesn't help that we are the source of ridicule and sarcasm by the public because of unproductive, rude, angry, politically favored co-workers. These people are a minority. Bad experiences with a lazy or unsympathetic public employee color public opinion of all employees. I believe most are productive, aim to help and are patron-friendly. We want to do our fair share of sacrifice in closing the state deficit, as long as we don't have to carry an excessive share of the burden.

Public employees and the community need leaders to put aside personalities and politics and do the right and fair thing: a quick, fair and reasonable contract agreement.

Theodore Taba

Makua vital to military training

It must be so frustrating for the Army to continually deal with the legal wrangling over the use of Makua Military Reservation (MMR). It was granted a permit to use the land by the Territorial Government of Hawaii in May 1943 and has been struggling to be able to use it as a live fire range every since.

After a ruling that the Army had to cease operations in 2004 until an environmental impact study was completed, it completed the study only to have another lawsuit levied during the same month the Army was hoping to actually use the MMR for what it was designed for — live fire exercises.

I knew as soon as I read about the impact study completion and hope to reopen the ranges that it was only a matter of time before some group threw another obstacle in its path. All of this, sad to say, is playing out against a backdrop of Hawaii-based soldiers and Marines being lost in battle overseas.

All of my past sports coaches and military leaders always preached to practice the way you want to play or fight. That's almost impossible to do for those military men and women stationed in Hawaii, who can't even fire live ammunition except on a static firing range. There's more realistic shooting going on at the Honolulu Shooting Complex than is allowed on our military bases.

I'd hate to think American military lives are being sacrificed needlessly to protect the rights of the same groups that won't let them practice with live ammunition and under realistic scenarios. I wouldn't blame the military for deciding to relocate its forces to a location that allows troops to train realistically. With the military being the second-largest income producer in the islands, second only to tourism, I'd love to see the reaction of all those who joined the unemployed with the loss of the military.

Gary Stark

Study resources before building

Mahalo for the editorial concerning growth on the Ewa Plain (”;Caution needed in Ewa Plain development,”; Star-Bulletin, Aug. 13). Some of these developers should have their heads examined.

The housing problems on the mainland have caused the current recession but the development industry wants to build more homes. Foreclosures hit a record for Hawaii last month. Where are all these qualified home buyers?

Also, I think we need more reliable information on our water-usage here on Oahu before we build much more. If we eventually are going to desalinize on a large scale, then we need the cheap energy that nuclear energy would be capable of providing. Building too many homes got us into this mess.

Phil Robertson

Government had to intervene

Letter writer Richard Webster (”;Keep government out of private business,”; Star-Bulletin, Aug. 8) says government shouldn't be involved in business decisions. Maybe he missed why government is involved. Billions of your tax dollars went to bail out Wall Street, insurance giant AIG and credit card companies.

The same people that profited from the bailouts are teaming up with drug companies and health care insurance companies that made billions in obscene profits last year. To maintain those profits, they're orchestrating protests against help for middle-America's health care.

Republican policies during the Bush years, without much regulation, created the current financial crisis. When the Obama administration took action to fix their problems, Republicans complained, offering only old, failed solutions. Obama's plan shows early signs of a recovery.

Smoky Guerrero

Rental limits are outdated

Your editorial “;Don't delay short-term rental bill”; (Star-Bulletin, July 18) attempted to give a history on short-term rentals on Oahu since 1989. I have a concern because your view did not report an accurate report of the situation.

Oahu is not the only county that has had to study and update ordinances that have been placed on private property rights. One of the most important rights given to U.S. citizens is the privilege and rights attached to that right.

The ordinance that Oahu adopted that limits rentals to 30 days or more is anachronistic given the acceptance of the vacation rental industry worldwide.

When the 1989 ordinance was passed, you stated, there were 141 permits issued. Also issued were 2,235 nonconforming use certificates for vacation homes (TVUs).

Norris Sandvold