Letters to the Editor

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State and city can't do anything the right way

Regarding Steve J. Williams' letter, "We can't trust them with tax increases" (Star-Bulletin, May 22): Right on! It appears that the city and state governments cannot do anything right the first time. How many projects have had to be done over because of lack of planning? How many projects have been finished on time and/or on budget in the past 30 years?

When is the city going to finish the beautification of Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki? After all of these years, a number of the new "period" street lighting fixtures still do not have their decorative base.

When are they going to finish Ala Wai Boulevard? Placing a 1-inch layer of blacktop over the bad parts is not the answer. This was done before and shortly thereafter the blacktop was breaking up. This is just another waste of money. When are they going to repair the pot holes properly?

Oh well, the city and state can afford to do things twice or more times, the taxpayers have plenty of money!

John C. Laughlin

Founders would be proud of protesters

A big mahalo to the student activists and other visionaries who had the courage to occupy the University of Hawaii president's office in protest over the U.S. Navy's research funding proposal.

The late Martin Luther King once stated that a country that continues to increase its military budget year after year is approaching spiritual death. With the Pentagon budget over $1 billion a day, the United States is spending almost as much on our war department as every other nation combined. Do we really need 12 nuclear submarines? Why should UH get involved with a government agency that disregards environmental laws such as the Navy's insistence to continue sonar testing that harms species such as whales and dolphins?

The recent letter writers criticizing the "illegal" peace activists remind one of the "law and order" advocates against the civil rights and anti-war activists of the '60s and '70s.

In communist or military-corporate complex governments like the United States, university students are usually the first to press for progressive change. Founding Father "radicals" like Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson would be proud.

Jeffree Pike
Hilo, Hawaii

Research protesters are the lunatic fringe

In regard to the protesters at the University of Hawaii, I attended UH Maui, Manoa and West Oahu Extension. I find nothing wrong with having federal naval contracts with the schools. With the way the campus has been run in the past administrations, they are lucky to get any research grants. This small but vocal anti-military crowd doesn't represent the vast majority of students and graduates of the university. Why pay them any mind at all?

We have the same problem here on Maui with the so-called Peace Action Committee. They are the lunatic fringe that tries to dominate the discussion on many topics and cloak themselves in Hawaii issues and civil rights.

They don't represent anyone I know.

Robert Young
Wailuku, Maui

Lingle should veto 'anti-family' bills

Two anti-family bills, forced gay housing (House Bill 1715) and employment (HB 1450), were quietly passed by lawmakers this session and now sit on the governor's desk waiting for her signature. Clearly lawmakers are stealthily pushing a homosexual agenda without trying to get caught.

These two bills use language like "gender identity" and "sexual expression" to grant special civil right status to the first-ever category that is not morally neutral. Such legislation is reverse discrimination against those with religious or sexual morality standards.

Employers statewide will be forced to subsidize a costly and dangerous lifestyle. This means employees can expect their benefits and wages to erode. The right balance needs to be struck in the work force. Companies shouldn't be forced into the position of appearing to dismiss the deeply held beliefs of any employee by picking sides on social policy issues.

In the area of gay housing, let us not forget how this bill was passed in the first place -- allowed to bypass the Senate Housing Committee, eliminating important testimony in the process. Gay housing legislation violates the First Amendment and property rights.

Passage of these two bills by state lawmakers is alarming and leading Hawaii down a very slippery slope. A veto will force lawmakers to reintroduce this type of legislation during an election year.

Garret Hashimoto
State chairman
Hawaii Christian Coalition

Sub teachers' raise is actually pay cut

Amid much political pomp and hoopla, the bill regarding substitute teachers' pay was given more spin than the clothes in my washing machine. Substitute teachers have never asked for a raise, nor have they gotten one with this bill. They asked only that the Department of Education stop violating the law as they have done for the past nine years.

The report accompanying this bill said that the Legislature, in 1996, intended the substitute teachers' single rate would increase as licensed teachers' raises were negotiated, ensuring the pay for subs would increase fairly over time.

That never happened. While teachers' salaries have gone up well more than 40 percent since then, substitutes received only 11 percent.

Using the statutes' formula, substitute teachers should have been paid $157 a day this year; they were paid $112.

When the teachers' 5 percent raise for this upcoming school year goes into effect, all substitutes should be getting $165. But this bill provides three pay rates: $119, $130 and $140 --rates that are far, farther and farthest below what was due. This "raise" the governor lauds is really a pay cut.

More important, this bill de-links substitute teachers' pay from the regular teachers' pay, thereby eliminating any future raises. Goodbye to "ensuring fair increases."

We ask for help and fairness. In return we get thumbed noses and continued abuse. Substitute teachers are not happy with this bill. Now you know why.

Allan Kliternick

Seat belt campaign a government intrusion

I find this "Click It or Ticket" campaign to be a gross infringement on my liberty, and it's absurd that no one else says anything about it. It's as if we've all, including the media, been inured to a too-powerful government.

It is no business of the government, the police or anyone else (save for my insurance agent) if I wear a seat belt. It's up to me if I want to do something stupid. We all seek to protect ourselves whenever possible. Not to do so is wrong. But this is a consensual crime, and the government should stay out of my life when I'm not harming anyone else. I'm tired of the government presuming that it knows best how I should live my life.

What I find even more appalling is that no one in the media seems to be bothered by what this represents: a one-sided devil's bargain. By living in civilization, we give up certain freedoms when it is necessary to get something more important in return. We pay taxes for services and infrastructure, or we agree not to hurt anyone else so we can be assume that others won't hurt us.

But what do I get out of this despotic law? Socialized health care? Safer roads? Anything positive? Nothing save for one more unwelcome, unneeded intrusion of government.

Justin Hahn

Let UH regents pay for tuition hike

I believe that the University of Hawaii Board of Regents should pay for Evan Dobelle's severance package instead of raising tuition. It was their mistake, and they should pay out of their pocket.

Curtis Lau

Costco gas station will cost more than dollars

Thank you, City Councilman Charles Djou. It looks like the much-needed left-turn traffic light at the entrance to Hawaii Kai Shopping Center on Keahole Street is going to become a reality.

The fact that it will cost $150,000 to install the extra light on a system already in place is a grim reminder of the price of anything done in Honolulu. But that is a reality.

So with due respect, Mr. Djou, get ready for the next costly improvement, whatever that might be, for all the additional traffic on Keahole Street when Costco builds its new gas station on that same street.

If we think congestion is bad now, just wait. The price we will pay in dollars and aesthetics is going to be enormous.

I would love to save a few cents on a gallon of gas, but at what cost? Isn't my quality of life worth something?

It is my understanding that a zone change is needed before the station can be built. It will require changing what is now zoned open and green area, to a new commercial zone. What a travesty and what a shame.

Mr. Djou, are you going to stand behind the East Honolulu Sustainable Community Plan, which specifically states that the commercial developments should stay within the current footprint of the Hawaii Kai Town Center? Or are you going to allow the threats and dictates of big business interests to decide our future?

James Longwell
Hawaii Kai

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