Military budget must be cut back
It is critical that we scale back on defense spending now. Although I don’t agree with all that the Deficit Commission argued for, I applaud its recommendation to cut $100 billion out of the bloated defense budget.
We already spend more on our military budget than every other major developed country in this world. Finally, a government panel is advising us to rein in defense spending. This country should focus on feeding, educating and supporting our American communities.
It is insane how much we spend meddling in other countries’ issues and affairs while not taking care of our own. I am surprised that more Americans are not speaking out about this injustice.
If we don’t make this critical change and focus on our children and our job shortages, America will not remain a powerful nation for long.
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Use rail money for the homeless
Construction of an elevated rail transit system would solve only a very small part of Honolulu’s traffic congestion. The system would cost $5.5 billion and create temporary construction jobs. Operation and maintenance of the system would be very expensive and, like TheBus, require that the government subsidize most of the passengers’ ticket costs.
The homeless population is growing. Many of the homeless have no place to erect their tents; soon, even the sidewalks will be off-limits.
The government should forego construction of the rail system and use the money to provide housing for the homeless. Any leftover money should be used to pay for the federally required sewer system upgrades. This would greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the need to charge property owners for the upgrades.
Crosswalk law is fatally flawed
As we just suffered our 18th pedestrian traffic fatality on Oahu this year, it is obvious that the pedestrian crosswalk law is flawed.
When the law was promulgated in 2005, I believed that it would give some pedestrians a false sense of security. Since then, I’ve witnessed just that. I actually saw a guy walk right in front of an oncoming car and get hit. It appeared that he felt because he was stepping from the curb into a crosswalk, he somehow had the right of way.
There are some pedestrians who cross in front of cars with almost a sense of empowerment or entitlement. The law does not provide for pedestrians to carelessly walk into the path of oncoming traffic. The law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians already in a crosswalk and on the driver’s half of the road.
A law is never going to shield a person from a 3,000-pound, oncoming car. We must all use good, common sense and listen to what mom taught us as toddlers: "Look both ways before crossing."
I see thoughtless folks everywhere
As I walk around I see you everywhere.
» You are the smoker who doesn’t think anything about flicking your cigarette butt out the window of your car or onto the sidewalk or sand.
» You are the dog walker who doesn’t bother to pick up after your dog.
» You are the fisherman who expects the ocean to provide enjoyment and food, yet you leave your empty lunch boxes, fishing tackle packages and tangled line at the last place you sat.
» You are the person who enjoys the outdoors but tosses plastic bottles and bottle tops on the ground and sometimes even snack wrappers.
» You are the people who use our beaches for drinking with friends and just leave your bottles.
Make a New Year’s resolution to produce less waste, take care of our precious natural environment, recycle, pick up after yourself, encourage others to protect the environment and teach your children and grandchildren about the importance of helping our environment by setting an example.
Iwamoto stands firm for keiki
As a keiki advocate and parent who chose public education for the academic value offered in one of the best public elementary schools, I have the privilege of knowing which politicians were there at the grassroots from beginning to end.
I attended many of the last-minute public hearings throughout the Furlough Fridays process and made note of who still cared in deed and word.
Board of Education member Kim Coco Iwamoto was vocal, caring and passionate about the need for a student-friendly resolution. The new BOE needs Iwamoto to link past to present as we turn the page on past choices and move into a new day for Hawaii.