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TSA enforces privacy of scans

I am responding to Lee Cataluna’s column ("Airport body scans bring everyone closer," Star-Advertiser, July 11). I can assure you that while Advanced Imaging Technology brings state-of-the-art security to Hawaii, Transportation Security Administration officers at Lihue Airport are highly trained and held accountable for guaranteeing passengers’ privacy.

The officer viewing the image never sees the passenger, and the image (similar to a chalk etching) they do see allows us to determine whether a potential threat is hidden on the passenger’s body. The officer in the private viewing room is prohibited from possessing any photographic or recording devices and knows that disciplinary actions will be taken immediately if this is violated.

We will continue to enforce our strict privacy standards as outlined more thoroughly at

Sharlene K. Mata
U.S. federal security director, Lihue Airport


How to write us

The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~175 words). The Star-Advertiser reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813


Kalihi curfew like China’s

The story "China is locking up villages as a way to prevent crime" (Star-Advertiser, July 17) sounds an awful lot like the curfew at Kalihi Valley Homes. Even the residents are not protesting in China—sounds familiar.

The only notable difference between the programs are the hours –10 p.m. to 6 a.m. at Kalihi Valley Homes versus 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. in China—and the fact that China is a totalitarian state.

Do we treat the poor the same way China does, by locking down a low-income community? How can we as a "free" society accept this?

Jory Watland


Mayor confused about civil unions

Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s strained explanation for why he would have vetoed the civil unions bill sheds a lot of light on why he dodged the issue so long. He apparently doesn’t understand what he is talking about.

He questions why the Supreme Court "punted" the issue to the Legislature. The Supreme Court only interpreted the state Constitution and declared that the state could not discriminate against gay couples.

The Legislature has decided the marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. HB Bill 444 confirmed that. There is no confusion: Civil unions are not marriage. The only confusion is in the mind of Mayor Hannemann, who seems to be focusing more on positioning himself to get elected rather than what is right and legal.

Francis M. Nakamoto


New fee a burden for many students

I think the vote at the recent University of Hawaii Board of Regents meeting was a win for athletics but a loss for education.

I am a UH graduate student who came here for the sole purpose of an education, and I usually do not attend sporting events. I am receiving a small partial scholarship, but like many other students I am taking on a great deal of student loan debt to pay for my education. I cannot accept a forced fee that supports a small group of students to pay for their tuition, support trips for games, etc. Furthermore, I cannot accept this fee when our computer labs have outdated computers, printers that rarely work and classrooms that are falling apart.

This vote shows me where the university’s priorities are: improving its image to attract more students and make more money.

William Coremin


Sewer bill hikes misrepresented

Mayor Mufi Hannemann has underplayed the federally mandated sewer upgrades of $4.7 billion to a mere 3 percent to 5 percent sewer fee increase per year for 25 years.

Since 2005, when Hannemann became mayor, he increased our sewer fees incrementally. I now pay twice as much for sewer as I do for water.

With the new agreement, I will pay 300 percent more (more than $290 per month) for sewer than now, due to the compounding effect of the yearly increases. Since Mayor Hannemann is leaving this mess to a new mayor, only an irresponsible administration would burden citizens with both a $4.7 billion sewer upgrade and a $5.5 billion rail project.

The sewer fees at least offer a pay-as-you-go solution. Rail offers only a pay-as-you-go-nowhere non-solution.

Pam Smith
Ewa Beach


Fixing sewers has to be done

I support the agreement that Mayor Mufi Hannemann facilitated regarding sewer issues because the problems with our sewers should have been fixed a long time ago.

If the city had not fought for a long-term renovation plan, the Environmental Protection Agency would have given it five years, which means many people’s sewer bills would have tripled or even quadrupled.

This repair plan will be a little easier on taxpayers, and our environment will be better protected. Our sewer systems are falling apart and if we do not fix them now, future generations will have to deal with the problem.

Ashley Moser


Hanauma facilities in disrepair

The city has allowed the facilities and equipment at Hanauma Bay to fall into unconscionable disrepair. Touch-screen computers have been out of order for 16 months. The video projector is malfunctioning again, displaying a huge yellow stain on the screen—the first time for eight months, now again for four months. The beach desk is literally falling apart around the volunteers who man it. Metal railings are rotted with potentially harmful jagged edges.

The Hanauma Bay fund has several million dollars, but monies are difficult to access because of inefficient financial procedures and questionable decision-making. Budgeted funds were diverted from touch-screen replacement, ensuring they would remain out of order. Requests for equipment to support a backup projector and railing repairs were denied.

The city did the right thing responding to citizen complaints and changing the Hanauma Bay furlough plan. Now it’s time for the city to make long-overdue repairs and procedural changes to ensure the nature preserve is respected and properly cared for.

Bob Kern and Micki Stash

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