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DLNR making rules for Ahu O Laka

Two recent letters to the editor assumed there were already rules in place for Ahu O Laka to allow for enforcement of drinking, drugs and disorderly conduct. Not so.

In 1932 Ahu O Laka was designated as a bird reserve, along with Kapapa island, under the Department of Forestry and Agriculture, which at statehood became the Division of Forestry and Wildlife in the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Wildlife sanctuary rules adopted in 1981 and 2010 designated specific parcels as sanctuaries, where alcoholic beverages and intoxication are prohibited. However, Ahu O Laka was specifically excluded since the periodically submerged sandbar did not warrant designation as a wildlife sanctuary.

State boating rules do allow drinking alcohol on private vessels and prohibit boating under the influence, but they don’t apply to submerged lands, like the sandbar.

DLNR will now begin a public rule-making process to suit Ahu O Laka’s sometimes wet/sometimes dry nature and guide public behavior for enjoying this special location.

William J. Aila Jr.
Director, Dept. of Land and Natural Resources

Blame government for unemployment

David Chappell’s letter is chock full of wrongheaded statements ("Business elite have duty to pay taxes," Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 7).

Take this whopper: "… I couldn’t help but think of the many people without jobs or homes because our business elite caused the recession."

The vast majority of people manage to have a job and a roof over their heads, whether there is a recession or not. Chronically having neither is due to one’s work habits and initiative. The poor economy is due primarily to idiotic governmental economic policies. Just one example — raising the minimum wage during a recession made it illegal to hire anyone whose job skills do not yet allow them to be productive enough to earn that wage, creating by government fiat the homelessness and joblessness Chappell bemoans.

Jim Henshaw

Laws protected citizens on Fourth

I read with interest the letter from Jim Poole ("Excessive laws interfere with our independence," Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 6). I have an entirely different view of the situation. For the first time in my over 30 years in Hawaii, the air was clear and breathable, and the neighborhood was quiet. I and many of my neighbors would cringe with the cannons, the fireworks that began well before the Fourth and continued after for several days. The lack of consideration and irresponsibility of some people are what necessitate the enactment of some laws. It seemed as if our freedom from the smoke caused by fireworks and the right to clean air were usurped for the celebrating of a few.

The option to be able to drink an alcoholic beverage was taken out of control, again by a few. I think there will be fewer drunken drivers on the road because of the law and I, for one, am grateful.

Deborah Aldrich

State’s action shows weakness of HSTA

Honolulu Star-Advertiser writer Mary Vorsino recently quoted two authorities on the precedent set by the Department of Education’s decision to unilaterally impose a contract proposal on teachers ("State move on contract novel," Star-Advertiser, June 20):

» Former Hawaii State Teachers Association executive director Joan Husted: "Neither the state nor the counties have ever imposed their last, best offer unilaterally," adding if the DOE is given the go-ahead to impose its last, best offer, it could dramatically change public employee contract bargaining in Hawaii.

» UH Professional Assembly executive director J.N. Musto, who suggested HSTA members could vote to strike.

My fellow teachers may well be asking themselves why have an HSTA — indeed, any representation — if the state can simply impose contract terms by fiat. What a waste of union dues.

As for Musto’s suggestion, I will not under any circumstance walk a picket line because HSTA has become so feeble and dysfunctional as to have rendered itself irrelevant.

Thomas E. Stuart

Suspend union dues

I suggest that the Hawaii State Teachers Association could lessen the impact of the teachers’ pay cut by suspending collection of union dues for the duration.

Ira Burnett

Strengthen school nutrition standards

As a retired Navy flag officer, I am worried about the low percentage of young adults who qualify for military service.

According to the Defense Department, being overweight or obese is the leading medical reason why young adults cannot enlist, with one in four too overweight to join. In Hawaii alone, more than 50,000 young adults are considered overweight. With child obesity rates tripling since 1980, clearly we need to act so that the military has an ample pool of qualified applicants.

Last December, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to improve school nutrition standards, but on June 16, the House took steps to roll back these new standards. Given that many children consume as much as half of their daily calories at school, Congress must reconsider this action and provide its full support for new school nutrition standards so our child obesity crisis does not become a national security crisis.

Stuart Platt

Put higher priority on pedestrian safety

As I attended a Department of Transportation meeting on June 30 in Kapolei, I watched the city and state presentations with disappointment. For two hours, road projects and improvements were discussed, but not once did I hear any mention of pedestrian safety.

It was worrisome that in spite of the alarming numbers of pedestrian fatalities in our state year after year, it seemed to me that the priority is to have our roads motorist-and-cars friendly rather than pedestrian friendly and safe for both the motorists and pedestrians.

I ask that all transportation officials to please think about pedestrians (most importantly) as they work on traffic or road projects; that both motorists and pedestrians to think safety first; that the media, schools, parents and families educate our loved ones about traffic and pedestrian safety, and let us all be patient for each other, especially in the next few weeks when our children go back to school.

Lolita Rongcal-Takeda

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