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Letters to the Editor

Online voting has been a flop

The Neighborhood Commission should not rush to toot its horn regarding the recent election.

In 2005, the last year of all-mail balloting, 25 percent of ballots were returned. In 2007 when online voting became an option, the rate fell to 19.1 percent; that year, 90 percent of ballots were returned by mail.

In 2009, with no mail balloting, participation crashed to 6.5 percent. This year, turnout was 8.5 percent.

Contrary to what Executive Secretary Tom Heinrich said ("Neighborhood boards attract 13,264 voters," Star-Advertiser, May 27), this is not proof that the digital election method is viable.

There were problems with the election. Ballots were required to be sent no later than the fourth Friday in April (April 22) but were not sent until May 2. The return date was not extended by a similar period, although without authority the deadline was extended a day because of city website problems.

Voters received packets that included their contested race plus that of several other boards. It was confusing.

Some voters did not receive the password in their mailing.

Clearly, if you want turnout, you need to return to the all-mail system.

Lynne Matusow
Honolulu

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Feed prison food to schoolchildren

I read with great amusement the local news article about malnutrition in prison ("Inmates lose weight, call prison food inadequate," Star-Advertiser, May 22) and the letter by Gregory Poole ("Prison food actually pretty good," Star-Advertiser, May 25).

Prison is not supposed to be a positive experience; if you don’t like the conditions, stay out.

When I was young and dumb, I spent a weekend as a guest in the "Cross Bar Motel" in Norfolk, Va. That was in January 1983: I learned my lesson; haven’t even had a traffic ticket since then.

Also, after reading the prison menu, I think we should give that food to the schoolchildren and give the prisoners public school food.

I find it odd that in our enlightened society, we treat our schoolchildren like convicts and our convicts like schoolchildren.

Bill Schroeder
Kaneohe

Grassroot critic misplaces blame

John Yoza blames a busted economy in the U.S. on free-market ideology propagated by the Grassroot Institute ("Free-market ideology helped bust market," Star-Advertiser, Letters, May 10).

He says "this ideology infected the minds of government regulators," and then goes on to blame Grassroot for doing that in order to generate enormous amounts of "wealth for themselves."

Gosh, the enormous power over U.S. government regulators and the wealth of the Institute are news to me.

As a matter of simple fact, the regulatory failure Mr. Yoza cites is a major error committed solely by the U.S. government due to laxity and non-attention to duty. To correct that, he wants the guilty party to get bigger, not better.

Thomas Paine said: "It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government."

Measure that against Mr Yoza’s remarks.

Richard O. Rowland
Founder/acting president, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

Grant numbers don’t compute

There was a recent article stating that Native Hawaiian educational programs are to get more than $41 million in federal funding this fiscal year ("Native Hawaiian educational programs to get $41 million," Star-Advertiser, May 24).

I support the purpose behind the funding; however, I cannot seem to find any information on where this "new" funding is coming from — except, results from an Internet search linking the same amount, $41 million, awarded back in November 2009 through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This $41 million is divided into two pools: $21.6 under new grants (back in 2009) to 118 tribes and Native American organizations (including Hawaiians) and $19.1 million awarded to 99 grantees to continue multi-year projects (often three-year projects). Approximately $34 million has been appropriated to Native Hawaiian Education through the Native Hawaiian Education Act for fiscal year 2010-2011, awarding applicants/grantees who provide needed educational services to Native Hawaiians.

How, if at all, does the $34 million appropriation factor into the $41 million "federal dollar" funding for this fiscal year?

Alice K. Holt Taum
Kaneohe

Clarence Ching continues to help

The tragedy of Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami has thrust concern for the plight of others to the forefront in our community. Indeed, Hawaii has a history of amazing philanthropy in responding to emergency human needs.

The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation is an outstanding example of benevolent strength and inspiring charitable giving in our community. Mr. Ching, a humble and caring land developer and banker, died in 1985, but his philanthropy has greatly benefited many educational institutions here. The foundation’s recent $2 million gift to Sacred Hearts Academy will help build a much-needed student center for about 1,100 students on its all-girls campus.

Mr. Ching serves as a role model for leadership and charitable giving in today’s challenging world.

Betty White
Head of school, Sacred Hearts Academy

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