Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Kudos to support during furloughs

I share the community's concerns regarding the 17 teacher furlough days and the impact on families, teachers and, most important, our students. While the federal government, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provided more than $157 million to Hawaii to help address the shortfall in educational funding, these federal funds apparently weren't enough to forestall these cutbacks.

As Congress continues to explore ways to encourage and boost states' efforts to support student learning, I am encouraged by the efforts of many in our community to meet this current furlough challenge.

Complex-area superintendents throughout my district have informed me that steps are being taken to maximize instructional time, including their teachers' willingness to sacrifice much-needed planning days so that our keiki do not lose more class time than is absolutely necessary.

Kudos to our communities and teachers for coming together to address the need to preserve instructional time, provide safe and affordable child care, and find alternatives to help children continue to learn, even outside the traditional classroom setting.

Mazie K. Hirono

Member of Congress Hawaii — 2nd District


All-elevated rail is best choice

As one of the architects working on Pearlridge Station portion of the Honolulu rail transit, I am writing in support of this excellent project and its positive effects anticipated for Honolulu.

As we are all well aware, the Department of Transportation Services proposes an all-elevated urban rail system for Honolulu for very good reasons — speed, reliability, greater carrying capacity and traffic safety. In short, this is best value for dollar.

Unlike trains running at street level, or “;at grade,”; an elevated system operates at faster speeds, without the need to slow down for stoplights, pedestrian crossings and automobile traffic. Frankly after a few “;fender benders”; or worse, physical injuries or death, in an on-grade system, there will undoubtedly be an outcry for why the rail system was not elevated.

Architects all strive to design projects that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing, ... (and) would like to have utilitarian transportation primarily concealed from view, such as the subways we know in the San Francisco Bay area, Tokyo, London and Paris. The reality is that we cannot afford the extraordinary high cost of this, given today's construction prices and Hawaii's water table. At grade is another choice, but, as previously stated, it is very problematic. Therefore Honolulu's elevated system must balance functionality with its visual appearance within the context of an urban setting. I believe that this can be achieved within the current development scheme for Honolulu's rail transit project.

Mel Choy



Let's bring back the Superferry

As we all know, all of our four great representatives in Congress can summon billions of dollars to Hawaii, for such things as rapid transit, highways, airports, and harbors. Yet they did nothing with all their power to bring back the Superferry. Hawaii invested millions in new dock loading ramps and provided employment — for what?

The one system that works over other systems is the Superferry. It can move and serve the general public much better than all the money for rapid transit. If our representatives in Washington really have that much power and really want to do something to help Hawaii, let's get the Superferry running again.

The people of Hawaii want the Superferry.

Bill Littell





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