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Letters to the Editor

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Let people make their own choices

Patti Callahan’s recent letter is the quintessential liberal’s solution to a perceived problem: Let’s let the government solve it ("Government should discourage junk foods," Star-Advertiser, May 21). And while we’re at it, why don’t we use sin taxes to adapt behavior?

Whatever happened to self-discipline and responsibility for one’s own behavior? Whatever happened to parental control and responsibility? And why don’t we limit the use of taxes for what Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States intended in the first place?

Please keep the government out of my private life and stop preaching to me what you think is best for me.

Rich Greenamyer
Mililani

How to write us

The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~150 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 Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published.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 your area of residence and a daytime telephone number.

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

Groups can still feed the hungry

How utterly predictable a reader would write to the Star-Advertiser using a Bible quote threatening eternal damnation because our governor and his homeless coordinator are asking organizations, many of them religious, to stop feeding the homeless in parks ("Groups feed the hungry, not the homeless," Letters, May 21).

Here’s the deal: You can still feed hungry people. They are everywhere.

Many of them live in state-sponsored homeless shelters. Teachers I know say some of their kids come to school hungry. Others live in almost shantytown conditions, working their tails off to put what little roof they can over themselves and their loved ones.

The point is they don’t want it done in public areas like parks and sidewalks because doing that provides disincentive for the homeless to move to an available shelter. Certainly a benevolent and all-loving God would not throw anybody into hell for helping the homeless find a cleaner, safer and more hospitable place to live.

Keep up the great work, governor.

Pat Kelly
Honolulu

Real solution is more housing

I’m afraid the Star-Advertiser’s headline on May 18 summed up the governor’s nine-point program for combating homelessness best: "State aims to clear out homeless." A sweep by any other name is still a sweep — only this time, with the governor’s appeal to caring people not to feed the homeless out of shelters, the steps look more like a "starve them out" campaign reminiscent of a Middle Ages siege.

The real issue is that the governor has suggested a 10-point program with only one specific point: Stop the feeding. The other nine points are vague and nonspecific and therefore nearly impossible to actually implement and certainly impossible to evaluate.

The governor and his homelessness coordinator, Marc Alexander, must recognize what the research shows about effective anti-homeless programs all across the country: The only effective program is permanent housing with supportive care. Until we implement such a program in Hawaii, we will continue to fail in the goal of really helping the homeless.

Joel Fischer
Honolulu

Road paving seems misplaced

Ward Avenue in places is so rough that speeds in excess of 15 mph will damage your shock absorbers even as you dodge the really rough spots. So what was the city repaving the other day? The parking stalls on Kalakaua Avenue fronting Kapiolani Park.

What is with that?

Gerrit Osborne
Honolulu

Charter schools need scrutiny

Standardized student test scores indicate that some charter schools are very successful, while others are not.

The state auditor says it’s time to determine how accountable charter schools have been. But more should be done.

Another accountability issue is why certain charter schools that have had low student test scores for years have been allowed to operate. The state Department of Education is supposed to monitor charter schools and terminate those that underperform.

Still another accountability issue is why charter schools are funded at such a low level. According to its most recent financial report that is available, the DOE expended $12,407 per student on average in 2008-09. However, funding for charter schools stands at only $5,560 per student.

Although it is important to determine how accountable charter schools have been, it may be just as important to determine accountability with respect to how the charter schools have been treated.

John Kawamoto
Honolulu

Governor not being responsive

I wonder just how many other Hawaii voters who supported Neil Abercrombie last November are as disappointed as I am in his performance to date.

I am a long-time small business owner and have been working in the renewable energy field in the islands since the 1980s.

In December and January, I tried repeatedly to reach Gov. Abercrombie by phone, email and fax in order to try and get some brief face time with him to discuss my serious concerns about moving the state toward greater energy self-sufficiency.

And I was in effect blown off by his nonresponsive staff.

Granted, I’m not the head of Hawaiian Electric or Bank of Hawaii or the Hawaii Government Employees Association, but I would have thought that I deserved something of a response instead of being ignored.

I realize that the governor cannot meet with all who wish to meet with him. At the same time, governor, your staff is failing you by not being responsive to business owners like myself.

Marco Mangelsdorf
Hilo

Prison food actually pretty good

If the article about prison food hadn’t been on the front of the local news section, I would have thought it should have been in the entertainment section as it appeared to be fiction (“Inmates lose weight, call prison food inadequate,” Star-Advertiser, May 22). 

Are these folks kidding me?

Any food that is served at all in prison is adequate. Inadequate food in prison should be the least of Ms. Gemmi Rowan’s problems and she should be more concerned about why her husband and daughter are both incarcerated.

The food served in prison — I once worked there — is far better than many working people can put on the table for their families.

The state could learn much by visiting the country jail in Phoenix, Ariz., and see how to save money on implementing that type of meal service. 

Having dropped more than a 100 pounds since being incarcerated, George Rowan will be off to a better start upon his release.

Now if only the state would cut out the cable TV, free weights and allowing inmates to just lounge around all day, our correctional system would be on the road to progress.

Gregory Poole
Mililani

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