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Special funds need protection

Lowell Kalapa doesn’t seem to understand that each of the state’s many special funds gets its revenue from a particular source and is used for a related purpose ("Bill seeks seizure of special funds," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 12).

For example, the Student Activities Revolving Fund gets its revenue from a fee that all University of Hawaii students must pay, and is used for an array of student activities.

The judicious management of any special fund requires that there is always at least some money in it. But just because there is some money in a special fund at the end of the fiscal year, Kalapa suggests that it should be transferred to the state’s general fund and used for something completely unrelated.

If Kalapa is willing to put his money where his mouth is, he should take the money in all of his personal accounts that is unspent at the end of the fiscal year and transfer it into the state’s general fund.

John Kawamoto
Honolulu

 

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

Library needs its special fund

The Legislature is trying to balance the state budget by seizing special funds.

I don’t know how other state departments use those special funds, but the library system uses funds generated from overdue book fines and DVD rental fees to buy new materials.

For two years, no state general funds have been used to buy new library materials. If the special fund is taken away, public libraries will have zero dollars to buy new library books. Do you really want that? It’s not much of a public library system if we have no new books to offer to library users.

David Thorp
Branch manager,
Koloa Public/School Library

 

Pension system misunderstood

While I did not vote for Gov. Neil Abercrombie, I must applaud his stepping up to some of the financial realities our state faces with regard to public employee pay and benefits. The Medicare Part B reimbursements issue seems a logical and comparatively minimally painful place to start.

Incredibly, Randy Perreira, executive director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, actually stated that "our country is premised on the foundation that we that work pay for the ones who have already worked before."

Really? Did I miss that in history class? Or is that more of a union manifesto?

Isn’t any business model that relies on new contributors and money coming into the system to pay off obligations made to the earlier participants commonly thought of as a pyramid scheme?

Jim Wolery
Kaneohe

 

State retirees need to chip in

I am a state retiree and, no, I am not happy about possibly paying more taxes or losing benefits I thought I could count on.

But if not me, who?

It is not as if our state is the only jurisdiction dealing with fiscal crisis due to poor planning related to public employee compensation packages. The governors of California, Illinois and New York are all proposing similar actions.

It will take real leadership on the part of our elected officials, union leaders and community members to develop solutions that are realistic, fair and distribute the burden across a broad base, not just retirees and public employees. I am watching to see who will do what needs to be done, not just what is popular. That is how we got into this situation to begin with.

Barbara Tavares
Honolulu

 

Peacocks better than people?

In 2006, a pickup truck crash resulted in the death of four farmworkers thrown from the pickup’s bed. In May 2010, one woman was killed and others injured when a pickup carrying eight passengers crashed.

Since 2007, a bill has been introduced every year to make it illegal to carry passengers in the bed of a pickup, and each year the bill is ignored by the Legislature.

But now, within months of the death of a peacock, the Legislature is fired up to protect the peacocks from being killed!

So here is a hint to passengers in the bed of a pickup: If the pickup crashes, be sure that your body doesn’t land on a peacock.

Roger Van Cleve
Honolulu

 

Rail plan defies common sense

Common sense is always the best way to determine complicated issues. It is no different when deciding on Hawaii’s rail system.

First of all, who will use the rail? Answer: People who ride the bus.

Why do they ride the bus? They either don’t drive, don’t want to drive or can’t drive.

Right now, for the most part, they get on the bus by their home and get off by work. With the rail, they will catch a bus to the rail, catch the rail, get off the rail and catch another bus to work. Then reverse the process to go home. Do you really think that makes sense? It doesn’t.

Danny Rose
Wahiawa

 

Drivers should use turn signals

Hawaii drivers are by and large very courteous. Yet we are dangerously lazy about using our turn signals. I have seen many close calls over the years when folks do not use their turn signals when changing lanes. How hard is it to just flick the turn signal prior to changing lanes?

That would show aloha to the other drivers by letting them know your intentions. I bet that simple act on every drivers’ part would make our roads a lot safer.

Dick Rankin
Hawaii Kai

 

Kauai police ignoring the facts

"Never let the facts stand in the way," could be the slogan for Kauai’s law-enforcement rally tomorrow against pending marijuana bills in the Legislature.

One of those bills would decriminalize possession of one ounce or less. The police and prosecutors are ignoring projections, in the bill itself, that Hawaii could save more than $6 million annually in enforcement and court costs. Decriminalizing pot would prevent young people from getting criminal records. And most important, the history in the 13 other decriminalization states show no increase in use.

Another bill they oppose would establish a dispensary system to provide safe access to their medicine for the 8,000 patients registered with the state Department of Public Safety to use the medical marijuana program. We have a chance to design dispensaries correctly from scratch. This is the No. 1 change that patients are asking for; they want to be in compliance with the law.

Pamela G. Lichty
President, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii

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