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Letters To The Editor

For Tuesday, July 26, 2011

LAST UPDATED: 5:09 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Utilities seem to be in their own canoe

It’s funny how Gov. Neil Abercrombie talked about all of us in Hawaii paddling in the same canoe.

He asked state workers for 5 percent cuts in pay, and to pay more for medical coverage.

However, when it comes to the utility companies, he doesn’t say a word to them about paddling in the same canoe as the rest of us and holding off on rate increases.

Being a governor means being someone who is not afraid to tell anyone or any company what should be done in the best interests of the state. Yet, Abercrombie is silent on these increases.

Spokespersons for the Honolulu Board of Water Supply and Hawaiian Electric Co. talk about how the extra money is needed for this and that. The truth is, those things can wait for two years just like everything else that has been put on hold.

Everyone needs to learn to live with less — including the utility companies.

Michael Englar
Pearl City


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

Boost fines for distracted driving

I wonder why Hawaii counties settled on such low fines for violating the ban on using cellphones while driving? It can be as low as $100 for the first offense.

I wish the fines were much higher, like $400. That would help get the point across that it is dangerous to violators and others (on and off the road). It would also greatly help the state’s financial position. Did you know that the fine for violating the HOV lanes can be more that $200?

I believe driving while holding a phone or texting is certainly more dangerous.

Stephen Yanyecic


Debt negotiators need to stick with it

“Compromisers may not make great heroes, but they do make great democracies.”

That quote is from Benjamin Franklin’s biographer, Walter Issacson. Writing about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a different heroic individual, William McKenzie observed that “sometimes adjusting your principles for the larger good is the only way forward” (“Sometimes adjusting principles for larger good is only way forward,” Star-Advertiser, Commentary, July 23).

Walking out of talks with the president and refusing to take telephone calls from him, as House Speaker John Boehner has done, is childish and ridiculous in the extreme. It is indicative of the disregard and contempt in which he and Republicans have for the office of the president, President Barack Obama personally, and the citizens of our country. Walking away from the debt limit issue solves nothing.

The party of “No” has now gone too far.

Robert S. Sandla


Better teachers deserve better pay

It is hard to imagine the audacity of Gov. Neil Abercrombie and this school board attempting to have us believe that things will improve in the years to come (“United leadership ready to do what it takes to improve education,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, July 24).

When the trio in the article discusses mentoring and rewarding good teachers, how exactly does each propose to do that? This is more talk about feel-good plans, but what are they going to do to actually reward these excellent educators? Great teachers should get paid for their skill levels, but the teachers union will not allow for that.

Why do students begin to fail? They are not built this way. Someone has to teach them to do it.

Art Laubach


Be sure children ready to go it alone

Another school year is about to begin. To many, this brings relief. This year, I am thinking more seriously of the safety of our children after reading about the family in Brooklyn, N.Y., whose 8-year-old son, Leiby Kletzky, disappeared in one of their safest, tight-knit communities.

Still so fresh in my mind is the story of the young Kletzky, whose parents ultimately reluctantly agreed to allow him to walk home alone from day camp. Sadly, he never made it, though they had practiced and memorized the route together. He got lost.

Would carrying a cellphone, having a trusted relative or family friend, or having a group of children travel together have been safer alternatives?

This school year, as I watch children depart from schools — walking, bicycling or riding the bus — I will be hoping parents will be asking themselves, “Is my child ready to go it alone?”

Alexis Friedman


Tighten laws about alien plants, critters

The state Department of Agriculture and our legislators must get together and come up with a better plan to address illegal reptiles, animals and insects in our state.

It’s obvious the present law and penalties are not working. Within the past month, more than two dozen illegal creatures have been turned in or confiscated.

This is unacceptable. Why anyone would want to jeopardize our beautiful environment is beyond me.

Our present penalties should be doubled. The violating owner of a python seized by police in Waialua was allowed to surrender the snake under the state’s amnesty program, which raises the question: Should our amnesty law be reviewed?

The violating owner did not voluntarily turn in the snake; it was seized by the police.

If the amnesty law allows this type of action to happen, then this law needs to be reviewed so that violators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Hal Omori

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