POSTED: Wednesday, October 15, 2008

People keep paying for bad government

Now we know who and what the U.S. government supports. How sad that when the people of New Orleans were faced with a life-and-death situation our government waited for days to get assistance to them. Our children kept seeing tuition going sky high, and school teachers use their own money to pay for their students' supplies.

Government continues to take its sweet time to assist the common people, but it moves very quickly to cut budgets from us. And poor Hawaii, we will suffer more than mainlanders. If our government does not help to create enticing “;travel packages”; for tourists, we are doomed.

Now we have Wall Street, filthy-rich people being bailed out by government, and little people with pockets already empty must figure out how we'll contribute to the highly educated people who made the mistakes. Figure that out.

Iris Arakawa
Ewa Beach

Con Con could address unicameral legislature

Special interests have lined up to kill the proposal for a Constitutional Convention. Those long in power (Democratic Party, government employees unions and Office of Hawaiian Affairs) are spending big bucks to defeat any citizen constitutional review.

But your paper exposed a dirty little secret over the weekend, namely that when our beloved 76 legislators (66 Democrats and 10 Republicans) go back to work after the '08 elections, they will receive a 36 percent pay raise! Legislative salaries will go to $48,708 (from $35,900) and expense allowances to $10,000 (from $7,500). The total increase will cost taxpayers $1.17 million.

Given the declining state of the economy this is not the time to be raising compensation by such extreme amounts.

Voters can fix this. Vote for Con Con and then push for a unicameral (one house) legislature made up of not more than 35 “;senators.”; Our current two- house set-up creates a mirror image of representation based upon population. This results in expensive and counterproductive jockeying between houses at the end of each session.

Our city and county councils are all unicameral - and they seem to work more openly than the Legislature.

While they're at it, do you suppose nonpartisan Con Con delegates could also fix our ineffective public school system?

Don't be pushed around by the big spenders and special interests. Vote “;yes”; on Con Con.

Fred Rohlfing
Kula, Maui

A blank vote shouldn't count as a 'no' vote

At work I wouldn't get credit for turning in a blank piece of paper. But apparently that's what is happening with our votes. Blank ballots are being counted as “;no”; votes when it comes to the question of convening a Constitutional Convention.

That just illustrates how upside-down our local political system has become. It is common sense that people don't like to vote on issues they don't know enough about. We should not have thousands of people voting against a Con Con who simply don't want their vote counted.

I am disappointed that chief elections officer Kevin Cronin has done almost nothing to educate voters on blank ballots up to this point. It's just more of the same. We need a Con Con to change the status quo and put the power back in the hands of the people.

I urge all of Hawaii to vote “;yes”; on Con Con.

Chris Hossellman

Not all teachers are against Con Con

I am an employee of the Hawaii Department of Education; I teach in a 5th-grade classroom. I am a member of Hawaii State Teachers Association because I teach in Hawaii, but the HSTA leadership does not speak for me. I was not asked if I support a Constitutional Convention before the leadership began its campaign against the Con Con. Please make it clear to your readers that what HSTA president Roger Takabayashi says does not represent the entire membership of the HSTA.

James Bray

Capping speedometers might reduce speeding

An Associated Press story in last Tuesday's Star-Bulletin says Ford in 2010 will offer parents a computer chip in the ignition key to keep their children from driving the family car over 80 mph. It might be simpler for Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Honda, etc., to modify their speedometers so they don't read above 80 mph.

There's nothing like a 120 mph, or 140 mph, indication on the speedometer to tempt a teenage driver to see “;if dad's car can really go that fast.”;

My Honda Pilot SUV shows a top speed of 140 mph. Whom are they kidding? It would go that fast only if I drove it off a very high cliff.

I wonder if the Legislature would consider barring the sale of new cars in Hawaii with speedometers that show any higher than 80 mph, seeing as 60 mph is the top speed anywhere in the state.

The downside is that the foolish motorist clocked doing 140 mph couldn't argue: “;Hey officer, I was only doing 100.”;

Bruce Dunford
Ewa Beach

We need to build rail to boost economy

I work in retail and I am for rail. I have been seeing fewer and fewer customers because the economy is hurting. With tourism way down, we need to pump up the economy and building rail will do that. I remember how hard times were in the 1990s when no one pumped up the economy during the recession. Haven't our leaders learned anything since then?

The sooner we vote for rail and start building the rail system, the better off our economy will be.

Matt Choy