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Letters to the Editor

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U.S. Sen. Akaka should retire

In the past few weeks, six U.S. senators have announced that they will not run again in 2012: Joe Leiberman of Connecticut, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, Jim Webb of Maryland, Jon Kyl of Arizona and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico.

Sen. Daniel Akaka should follow their lead and make the same announcement. He has served Hawaii with distinction and he should retire with honor. And, he should announce it soon so that those Democratic candidates who seek to succeed him can plan and organize their campaigns.

Delaying the announcement gives only Republican candidates who are planning to run for the seat an advantage in time. It could also be viewed as an attempt to anoint his successor.

Linda Estes
Koloa

 

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

Oahu roads are in terrible shape

What has happened to our road maintenance program? Our tax dollars are not being spent wisely when you see hundreds of patched potholes in one-eighth-mile stretches.

This issue needs to be put back on the front burner.

I’m not voting for anyone who doesn’t make this a real issue in his or her campaign. We need to send a message to our local government that we aren’t going to stand for this any longer.

Have you driven through Kapolei lately? The tire ruts and patch jobs are atrocious. Ewa Beach is littered with potholes. It’s starting to look like the roads in Third World countries.

Is the rail project to blame?

Russ LaPierre
Ewa Beach

 

Public workers indeed earn less

The Star-Advertiser’s Feb. 19 editorial ("Benefits reform critical") bases its opinion on the observation that across the country state and local governments surpassed the private sector in total compensation in the early 1980s.

The editorial reports data from the federal government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis that in 2009 private sector workers in the U.S. averaged $50,462 in annual salary and $10,589 in benefits while state and local government workers averaged $53,056 in salary and $16,587 in benefits.

The Star-Advertiser did not consider why average total compensation differs in the two sectors. A large part of the difference is due to the fact that the two sectors do different things requiring workers with different levels of education and skills. On average, public sector workers tend to be much more educated.

There is overwhelming evidence that, adjusted for job and skill requirements, state and local government employees in the U.S. earn less, not more, in total compensation than workers in the private sector.

James Mak
Honolulu

 

Airport message just more clutter

A welcome message is fine, I suppose, but when fewer than one in 100,000 travelers will have a clue to comprehending the message, it seems like just one more unintelligible airport announcement ("Hawaiian- language greetings begin at Honolulu Airport," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 19).

I have loved the Hawaiian language and culture for 65 years, but this seems like the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s cultural initiative run amok. The purpose of language is to communicate: That the announcement had to be translated even for kamaaina Star-Advertiser readers makes the point.

Bilingual announcements add nothing to the airport noise pollution from repetitious non-smoking and other annoying announcements. Wouldn’t a brief, sincere welcome in English, over a background of Hawaiian music, make more sense?

John Corboy
Mililani

 

Don’t give Lingle any more money

According to news reports, former Gov. Linda Lingle and her staff are owed more than $350,000 for unpaid vacation time and other expenses.

Lingle herself is allegedly owed over $17,000. This is the same Linda Lingle who made the argument that the state deficit needed to be addressed by laying off and reducing the salaries of state workers by 9 percent through furlough days. The same Linda Lingle who preached that we all need to do our share.

We state workers have done our share, plus some.

And now Gov. Neil Abercrombie wants the Legislature to cough up money to pay Lingle and her staff.

I say, let her do her share and eat that vacation time. After all, this is the same woman who enjoyed a free mansion, free car and an annual salary of around $200,000 for eight years.

Shawn Lathrop
Waikoloa

 

Speeding drivers endanger others

Kudos to the police for keeping speed limits enforced. I drive on our freeways from Ewa to town to Kaneohe every day and every day I am passed, while going the speed limit, by a driver who evidently can’t follow the same laws I am trying to obey.

I absolutely love seeing the police waiting to nab these drivers. Not only do they make me feel that our road rules are being enforced, but that they are protecting my life as well as the life of the driver who just passed me.

I wish I saw them around every corner, but the ones who are currently around are good for now.

Kris Hartley
Ewa Beach

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