Newspapers haven’t supported unions
I took great interest in your recent editorial ("HSTA hard line is unproductive," Star-Advertiser, Our View, June 30) in which you state, "Union leaders should take the longer view, that by helping the governor meet his budgetary goals they can buy some goodwill that could pay off when fiscal fortunes improve."
If past history is any indication, I doubt that you will be standing in support of government employees when the state economy improves. During the early 2000s, when business was booming and the state had a huge budget surplus, the Hawaii Government Employees Association sought modest wage increases and I clearly recall that Honolulu daily newspapers implied we were greedy and asking for too much.
Government employees — your readers — will surely remember this editorial and will pay close attention to what you say during contract negotiations when Hawaii’s "fiscal fortunes improve."
President, HGEA/AFSCME Local 152
Follow DoD’s lead in early education
Nicholas Kristof raised a great point that our military’s most impressive achievement is its quality child care system ("Americans could learn a thing or two from ‘socialist’ military," Star-Advertiser, June 18). The Department of Defense is ranked No. 1 in the country (beating all 50 states and the District of Columbia) by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies for child care program requirements and oversight. DoD’s excellence is not an accident; it stems from a strong commitment to excellence from its senior leadership as a mission-readiness issue.
This type of leadership in making children a priority is something that should be adopted by our Legislature by reallocating funds into a quality early childhood system. The state Early Learning Council and Good Beginnings Alliance launched a campaign called "Be My Voice Hawaii" to convince lawmakers that our keiki must be a top funding priority. If Hawaii’s keiki are to succeed and Hawaii is able to compete in the global economy, Hawaii’s lawmakers must prioritize keiki at the top — just like the DoD. Failure to do so is not an option.
David A. Tom
Director of public policy, Good Beginnings Alliance
OTEC contributes to surface warming
Excellent article on ocean thermal energy conversion in the Money section ("Hui revives plan to get electricity from water," Star-Advertiser, July 10); however, the concept that OTEC is environmentally benign is thermodynamically incorrect. OTEC contributes to surface global warming, in contrast to several other technologies that are warming-neutral.
Take two glasses, one with iced tea and one with room-temperature tea. Take a spoonful out of the iced tea. Then replace it on the surface of the iced tea with a teaspoonful of the room temperature tea. Repeat. The iced tea will achieve room temperature sooner than if it were left alone.
OTEC does exactly that to the ocean. It’s not negligible if OTEC becomes widespread. The deep ocean is not an inexhaustable supply of cold water, just as the polar ice caps are not inexhaustable air coolers that never run out.
Richard C. Stancliff
Akaka still a strong advocate for Hawaii
Regarding Richard Borreca’s column about forcing Sen. Daniel Akaka into retirement, I’m reminded of the saying that opinions can differ, but facts cannot ("Political wisdom suggests Akaka should take early retirement," Star-Advertiser, On Politics, July 10). Referencing anonymous sources who question the senator’s "ability to function" is unfair and incorrect.
As for being given a "decidedly less strenuous" chairmanship, the fact is that the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) is one of the most active. Under Akaka’s leadership, SCIA holds hearings and roundtables nearly every week on issues like education, economic development and land rights.
On June 23, Akaka introduced the Native CLASS Act, an effort that strives to improve the education of Native students nationwide through a research-based, holistic approach that is rooted in culture, language and identity.
The fact is that Akaka is functioning quite well and continues to be a strong champion for the Native Hawaiian community and a tireless advocate for the state of Hawaii.
Danny Cup Choy
Director of policy and outreach, National Indian Education Assn.
‘Quality of life’ won’t help business climate
It seemed a bit of a paradox seeing "quality of life" cited in the recent ranking of Hawaii as 48th in terms of state business friendliness ("High quality of life cannot buoy isles in business rankings," Star-Advertiser, June 29). Are we to assume that nice weather and beautiful beaches put food on the table?
Maybe for those in the service industry, but not for the population as a whole. Our state leadership’s disdain for the private sector and its utter ownership by public unions are crippling.
Neighborhood park in Waikiki welcome
As a Waikiki resident, I found Allison Shaefers’ article on the Waikiki community park definitely interesting ("Man’s dying wish was Waikiki park for kids," Star-Advertiser, July 7). Kudos to community activist William Lee Sweatt and the Waikiki Neighborhood Board chaired by Bob Finley for fervently fighting for it. I hope that 2015 rolls along fast and we will have this park next to the Royal Kuhio condominium for Waikiki residents, particularly their children.
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HART must be free of anti-rail Council
Perhaps the Honolulu City Council feels it is its duty to control all of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s finances. Maybe it’s just a straight power play. Regardless, it’s a horrible idea for one simple reason. What if somewhere down the road the Council majority is anti-rail? The rail issue may not be the reason that anti-rail candidates get elected. But that future Council could gut HART’s budget, which would be a disaster if we are right in the middle of building the $5.4 billion rail system. That’s why the voters wanted HART to be independent from the Council and mayor.