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City is making progress on handling
volume of waste disposal

Your Sept. 18 editorial about Honolulu's solid waste program deserves clarification, particularly your assertion that the city should be proceeding on multiple fronts to find a sustainable solution to this dilemma.

In fact, we've been proceeding for a number of years on such an approach, and working assiduously both to expand landfill capacity and pursue emerging technologies for waste disposal.

We began the Environmental Impact Statement process in December 1999. It is true that we extended the public comment period seven times at the request of the community, which resulted in greatly increased input -- a total of 66 additional comments were received to supplement the original 27.

That's a good thing, and certainly the Star-Bulletin would have been the first to castigate us if we had limited the public's right to comment.

The city has moved forward with the expansion of the H-POWER facility, providing for the sorting and reduction of mixed loads to limit the amount of these materials going to landfill, purchased the land for the alternative disposal technologies park, and begun to cautiously proceed with the new plasma-torch technology for waste that can't be handled at H-POWER. All these efforts are directed to significantly reduce our reliance on landfills.

However, it is very clear that, even with all of these innovations, we also need to expand our landfill capabilities. We are proceeding to establish a landfill advisory team to review our landfill siting criteria, the 40-plus sites that have been previously evaluated and the possibility of locating new sites.

This imperative (the need for continued landfilling) would not have changed if we had not extended the public comment period, so your argument that this is the critical delay is untenable.

The only real politically motivated decision that has slowed the process down has been the City Council's proviso in this year's budget to do yet another study before we can expand H-POWER by adding a third boiler. Mayor Harris vetoed this proposal and the Council over-rode his veto.

The city processes approximately 40 percent of our garbage to electricity at H-POWER, recycles approximately 32 percent, with the remaining 28 percent going to landfill.

We're increasing the first two percentages, and lessening our dependence on landfilling. Those are the simple facts, and the public needs to know that Honolulu is a leader in the nation (and in fact the entire world) in solid waste disposal, recycling and integrated waste management.

Far from fiddling, we've been thinking, planning and building.

Timothy E. Steinberger
City Department of Environmental Services


Voters must not reward negative campaigning

I am not thrilled with either of our choices for governor. Therefore, I will simply vote for the candidate who can tell me why she is the best person for the job without telling me why her opponent isn't.

This goes for all candidates in all races. Tell me where you stand on tough issues, not just why your opponent's stance is wrong. Tell me your solutions for Hawaii's problems instead of just bashing your opponent's ideas or record. Tell me what makes you good, not why your opponent is bad.

I know this is idealistic, but I believe it is right. Candidates, stand on your own merit and be pono. Then you will win a true victory, regardless of whether or not you win this election.

Adam T. Kahualaulani Mick

Democracy is worth spending money

Rep. Patsy T. Mink's unforgettable legacy was cut too short. Unbelievably, there are people saying that the request to vote for her as a show of respect is "politicizing her death," "a waste of money" or even "disgusting"! Mink was far from ending her career and had so many more issues to address. To vote for her is to support those things that she wanted to do but which fate denied.

People are simply being asked to honor a woman who did so much for her state as well as her country, a woman who fought long and hard for the right to equal opportunity for minorities and women. Spending money on a special election to replace her is the only means we have to ensure democracy. Democracy allows all people the chance to voice an opinion. This is a freedom every American must treasure.

Only a few weeks ago Americans voiced their allegiance and patriotism on Sept. 11. There was not a cry of disgust at the millions spent to demonstrate this allegiance to country. The message to the world was that there is no limit to what Americans will do to preserve the virtues of American democracy. Two million dollars spent on a special election to perpetuate the virtues of democracy is a sound investment. It is also the greatest tribute we can offer to the late Patsy Mink.

Kevin K Hirano
University of Hawaii-Manoa

Mink made Hawaii and world a better place

She made a difference on the world stage. More importantly she made a difference here at home.

She was not afraid to help those for whom others believed it was too late to try. She was the only politician who answered and acted to help the kids at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility. Because of her influence, the Department of Health is creating a family guidance center within the facility to get some desperately needed mental health services to our incarcerated youth. I hope they name it for her.

Thank you Patsy. The world is a better place because of you.

Pauline Arellano

Plenty of praying goes on at city hall

Your Sept. 24 story "'God' dropped from HPD oath" shocked me.

In addition to no 'God' in future oaths, also noted was: "The organization (Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church) demanded earlier that the Honolulu Fire Department recall a safety guide because it includes a firefighter's prayer with the word 'God.'"

Heaven forbid! I've always thought of prayer as being communication with God; my God or some other god. This announcement, coming on the heels of public ceremonies on Sept. 11 at Honolulu Hale, with prayer after prayer by officials of our public service agencies (including the Honolulu Police Department), should make us all wonder what new definition might be crafted for the word and act of prayer.

Are we now going to have godless prayers by Hawaii's governmental agencies, or no prayers?

Gene Leupp

Small landowners are under attack

This is a reply to Michael Pang's column on Sept. 29: Chapter 38 (the City's Leasehold Conversion Ordinance) would not fairly compensate land owners for taking their land. The compensation would be a value estimate under threat of condemnation. Fair market value is arrived at through negotiations between seller and buyer and not through values set by an appraiser or by the courts.

What really happens is that the land owner is intimidated by the condemnation process and would rather not face legal fees and court costs but would settle at a value far below what a negotiated value would be.

To all property owners out there, today it is the condominium land owners affected; tomorrow it might be your property.

H.T. Zerbe

Dem's union backers aren't so average

The International Longshoreman Union endorsement of Mazie Hirono for governor should be a wake-up call for all people in Hawaii. While they endorse Hirono, they also are preparing a strike that will cripple the our economy and hurt the average, local person in Hawaii that Hirono purports to represent.

A longshoreman's average income is $87,000 a year. Is that the elite wage-earner that Hirono is so eager to protect so he can make even more income off the backs of the working poor?

How about the low-income, multi-job work force that will have to pay higher shipping costs for 90 percent of the goods that enter Hawaii?

If Hirono wants to appeal to the working-class people who she claims are the mainstay of the common folk in Hawaii, she should be more concerned about who endorses her. When SHOPO, the police union, endorses a candidate like Linda Lingle, I am more inclined to see things their way.

Fred Gartley

How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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