Letters to the Editor

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Indictment ought topple elected leaders

The House of Representatives will vote Jan. 4 on a rule that would make it mandatory for elected leaders to step down if they are indicted. This vote would effectively overturn the "DeLay rule," a party rule the Republicans recently changed to protect the House majority leader, Tom DeLay of Texas, who was in danger of being indicted by a Texas grand jury probing alleged campaign finance violations. DeLay is one of the biggest political crooks inside the Beltway. Surely, lawmakers won't allow him to continue in his job if he is eventually indicted.

Robert G. Devine
Ocean View, Hawaii

DOE ready to take over maintenance

On behalf of the Department of Education, I would like to publicly acknowledge Gov. Linda Lingle and her decision to fast-track the transfer of authority of $50 million in repair and maintenance funds from the Department of Accounting and General Services to the DOE.

We are hard at work developing the most expeditious way to deliver the repair and maintenance projects to the schools, even in advance of the transfer of other resources required to manage the projects. The DOE is ready, willing and able to accept both the resources and the responsibilities for school repair and maintenance because, without a doubt, a school's physical environment is critical to the creation of a safe, supportive learning environment.

Meanwhile, as mandated by Act 51, the Reinventing Education Act of 2004, we are now in negotiations with DAGS to develop a transition plan to bring more than 300 employees and other resources to the DOE by the next fiscal year that begins in July 2005. It is a change of great magnitude, but all of the agencies, organizations and individuals involved, within and outside of government, are motivated by a single goal -- improving the achievement and well-being of public school students throughout Hawaii.

Rae Loui
Assistant superintendent of Business Services
Department of Education

Caught off guard by new towing policy

The municipal lot on the corner of Beretania and Alakea streets used to have parking meters. Now there is an arm that goes up and down where you get a ticket instead, during the week.

We have always parked free on weekends to go into the nearby acupuncture clinic. On Saturday, Dec. 11, I took my disabled friend into the clinic after parking the car where I usually park. The arm was up, no one in the booth, and we were assuming it was still free on weekends. A half-hour later, we came out to find the car towed away. There was a line of Tow Jams tow trucks waiting on the side. They watched people walk away from their cars, then drove up and towed their cars away within minutes.

We were told we didn't read the sign. Apparently, there has been a parking-lot takeover where there was a sign 20 feet in the air in the middle of the parking lot: "If you don't put money in the box, you get towed away." This was the most unscrupulous experience we have ever had. No warning at the entrance of the lot.

While we waited for someone to take us to the Tow Jams Impound on Waimanu Street, we watched eight cars get towed away. The tow drivers were laughing as though they had won the lottery.

We had to pay $115 cash to get our car out, which was scratched up on the side. Someone has to stop this corruption on the weekends and nights.

Annie Mitsue

Overseas troops deserve fast response

Isn't there some way the heads of the Department of Defense, Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and the companies that produce the armored panels and ballistic glass can get together to decide on emergency shipments of those materials to our troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan? The troops there can install it themselves and help in their security and protection.

The recent town meeting in Kuwait of our national guardsmen from Tennessee and the Secretary of Defense left a sour taste in our mouths, for the troops did not get a reassuring answer that help is on its way now and quickly.

The troops do not have to wait for new reinforced Humvees and trucks, but can work on what they have now to meet the dangerous situations they encounter daily.

Let's hope that something is done soon for their sakes.

Roy E. Shigemura

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