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Letters to the Editor

For Friday, November 11, 2011

LAST UPDATED: 8:42 p.m. HST, Nov 14, 2011

Don’t defile isle schools with ads

Recently, the state Department of Education announced that it would support a plan to allow limited ads on school campuses in order to fund Hawaii’s public school system.

A decision to invite corporations into the classroom is injudicious and an admission of an unsettling reality: Our state is willing to expose one of its last sacred public institutions to corporate America for a check.

As a former middle school teacher, I understand that our schools are facing hardships in order to provide quality education for our children. However, in-school advertisement is not the fiscal answer.

Before our state converts schools into corporate billboards, the DOE should consider this: Where will corporate influence stop if big dollars are at stake?

Ads have no place in our schools.

Zach DiIonno


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


HART is, indeed, being diligent

We appreciate former Gov. George Ariyoshi’s support for rail and its importance to Hawaii’s future (“Leave no stone unturned before passing rail’s point of no return,” Star-Advertiser, Nov.9).

Unfortunately, there were errors in his commentary.

The bidder selected did comply with the request for proposal, which required bidders to be licensed at the time of the award.

The contractor’s qualifications were also carefully considered.

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs upheld the city’s procurement process, and found it to be proper and in accordance with state law.

A state Circuit Court judge also ruled in favor of the city, in response to an appeal filed by a losing bidder.

Additionally, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board reviewed the contractor’s finances and will have a third-party review of the contractor’s bonding documents. Bonds provided by the contractor guarantee contract obligations will be met.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is committed to delivering a world-class transit system and will continue to be diligent in its procurement on behalf of taxpayers.

Simon Zweighaft
Chief project officer, HART


UH doesn’t have to hike tuitions

It makes no sense to keep raising tuition at the University of Hawaii and pass on the added cost to students.

I would offer another option: As professors with Ph.D.s retire or leave, they should be replaced by instructors with masters degrees. Professors, at a lesser amount, are needed to teach and mentor graduate students. Instructors can teach undergraduates, which they already do at community colleges and Manoa. Professors and instructors should be required to teach five to six classes a day. Those who publish should be given appropriate bonuses or royalties. As this transformation occurs, tuition should be reduced accordingly.

Russel Noguchi
Pearl City


Aquarium fish overharvested

Looks like state Department of Land and Natural Resources aquatic biologist Alton Miyasaka neglected to review department reports on aquarium trade impacts before issuing his statement that “tropical fish are being taken sustainably” (“Aquarium fish industry proposes collecting rules,” Star-Advertiser, Nov. 4).

Either that, or “sustainable” now includes the concepts of collapse, extinction and major degradation.

Since 1998, at least 15 University of Hawaii, Chaminade and DLNR experts have reported that the aquarium trade is major source of real and potential coral reef degradation on Oahu. They’ve described aquarium overharvesting to the point of fishery collapse on reefs between Honolulu Airport and Kaena Point. They’ve described many endemic species threatened with extinction by the trade. They’ve shown that aquarium targeted species are down by 90 percent on collected versus protected reefs.

If that’s DLNR Chairman William Aila’s definition of sustainable, we’re in trouble.

Rene Umberger
Director, For the Fishes, Kihei


Waianae farm has broad effect

First lady Michelle Obama is visiting MA‘O Organic Farms on Saturday. Dennis Egge claims the farm only caters to the wealthy 1 percent (“Organic farm caters to the rich,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Nov. 9).

MA‘O's produce is available at the Waianae Farmers Market — which accepts EBT cards — and Tamura Superette, also in Waianae. Not just at Alan Wong's.

More important, MA‘O guides Waianae youth through high school and provides full scholarships for them to pursue a college education.

The farm also strives to preserve the Hawaiian culture, build a sustainable economy and ultimately empower the Waianae community. I’m not aware of any other local farm that strives for or does this much.

This is not the behavior of an organization that serves just the 1 percent.

Liberty Peralta

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