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Job should come first with school trustees

I read your Jan. 13 article about raising the salaries of Kamehameha Schools trustees with interest. I realize that being a trustee is a full-time job, as the Probate Court report states. If this is the case, then trustees should divest their interests in other jobs, including banks, law firms, other schools and any job that may detract from their ability to operate Kamehameha Schools to their fullest capacity.

Glenn Ioane Teves
Kamehameha Class of 1970

Hawaii needs to learn how to build roads

The major cost of roadwork is labor. Labor costs are the same whether poor or good materials are used. There are no savings from using low-grade materials, only higher costs to the city, state and its residents. Costs include repairing roads more often, more frequent automobile repairs and paying for accidents that result in death, human suffering and increased insurance prices.

When Hawaii had more money to repair its roads and build new ones, low-grade materials were deliberately used. Once this policy was entrenched, poor roads became the norm. Now that's all our road workers are trained to do. Anyone can see this when potholes are repaired or streets are resurfaced. The size of the gravel, which is mixed with asphalt, is too large. This provides ample space between the gravel pieces for rains to quickly wash away the asphalt binder. The asphalt and gravel are not well compacted, either. The rollers are small toys, too tiny for an average-size man to sit on them. And hand-filled potholes are given only a pat or two with the back of a shovel or banged a few times with a thumper.

If the roads were built to last, repairs wouldn't be needed so often. Good roads and streets would relieve traffic congestion. The money to build a light-rail system, which we don't really need, could better be used to construct more good roads.

I favor the city and state contracting with a firm in Hong Kong or Malaysia to teach our workers here how to build and maintain roads like theirs.

Ed Cesar
Hawaii Kai

Rail transit will be expensive boondoggle

Government officials who are pushing for rail transit need to look at other cities where billions have been spent on rail complexes with ridership insufficient to repay the construction loans. How are we going to feel after we fund a costly, ugly complex that makes limo-riding developers rich, average taxpayers poorer and people chose not to ride the rail cars?

We already have paved paradise and put up parking lots to a large degree. To finish off our island, all we need is the image of a carnival-ride rail monstrosity blocking out the majestic Koolau and ocean views.

On second thought, the rail system may solve traffic problems. Tourists disenchanted about the loss of breathtaking, panoramic ocean and mountain views will tell others when they go home. Then tourists will choose other tropical island destinations, Oahu hotel occupancy will go down, some workers won't have to drive to work since there won't be much tourist-related business, the ripple effect will cascade across the island and presto -- the rail system makes the freeway traffic congestion disappear, along with billions of your dollars.

Smoky Guerrero

S. Korea's trade policy hurts U.S. economy

As a fellow American of Korean descent, I thought Glenda Chung Hinchey's Jan. 13 "Gathering Place" column was interesting, until she mentioned that she bought a Korean-made Hyundai and the reasons why she chose it.

I suppose it did not occur to her to support the American economy by buying a Chevy or a Ford, or that the South Korean economy is largely protectionist in nature.

As an American, she is free to buy any car she wishes, even a Toyota, but I hope that she understands that South Koreans largely are not able to buy Chevys or Fords because the South Korean government does its best to protect its home market and its local companies.

James Ko

Hawaii's polite drivers frustrate mainlanders

In answer to Michael Spinella's Jan. 11 letter, it is amazing to me that he has had four accidents in 10 years of driving on Oahu. I've been driving on Oahu for more than 44 years and have had only two accidents, both of which were partly my fault. This means that Spinella has had one accident every 2.5 years, and my record is one accident every 11.5 years. Could it be that Spinella is at fault and not other Oahu drivers?

I, too, have seen the traffic violations in the same location that Spinella describes in his letter and agree that these are problems that should be addressed, but these same problems can be found in all urban areas of the country and some much worse than here.

I have had mainland colleagues tell me that driving on Oahu is frustrating because drivers here are too polite. Could it be that politeness is causing accidents because of the frustrations of mainland drivers who are not used to polite drivers?

I would be particularly interested in where Spinella plans to move that driving is safer than here? According to studies, Hawaii is one of the safest places in the country to drive.

Otto Cleveland
Pearl City

'Croc wrestler' was doing his parental duty

"Honolulu Lite" columnist Charles Memminger must have had one too many lites when he wrote his Jan. 11 "croc wrestler" column, because it is perfectly rational for Steve Irwin, a man living on a crocodile farm, to teach his son how quick and high a crocodile will jump for just a small piece of chicken.

Lucky for me my grandfather "lacked the common sense" not to put me at risk, because by teaching me how high black widow spiders and rattlesnakes can jump and how to ride a horse before I could walk, I was able to become a grandfather with all my body parts intact, and in good working order.

Rico Leffanta




What should the city do with
the elegant old sewage pump station?

It's empty and fading, and now it's taking a beating from all the construction going on around it. The O.G. Traphagen-designed sewage pump station on Ala Moana Boulevard, more than a century old, is a monument to the glory days of municipal architecture, when city fathers took such pride in their community that even a humble sewage station became a landmark structure. Millions of tourists drive by it every year, and it's an embarrassing reminder of how poorly Honolulu treats its historic landmarks. Over the years, dozens of uses and excuses and blue-sky speculations have been suggested for the striking structure. Now we're asking you, Mr. and Mrs. Kimo Q. Publique, what should the city do with the elegant old pump building?

Send your ideas and solutions by Jan. 15 to:

Or mail them to:
c/o Nancy Christenson
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

c/o Nancy Christenson


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
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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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