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Schools should require economics

Dick Rankin’s letter is right on the kini popo ("Economics is useful to know," Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 22).

My labor force of more than 40 full-time employees is for the most part local kids from Hawaii’s public schools. I personally went to Pearl Harbor Elementary, Roosevelt High and the University of Hawaii (public schools all the way) and I share their educational background. Because we are predominantly watermen and waterwomen, for the most part beach boys and lifeguards, we do not use tools like algebra.

My labor force needs life-affecting tools like the economic tools that Dick Rankin spoke of, tools that help us make important life decisions like what affects interest rates, how to do banking and how to work with mortgages.

In the ’90s, almost all of my employees were paid with a paycheck signed by me. Now 95 percent of my employees have automatic deposits.

Make the school system more relevant to our labor force by requiring economics in the curriculum.

Bob Hampton
President, Waikiki Beach Activities

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 Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published.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 a daytime telephone number.

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

A lot of water being wasted in Honolulu

It’s time the Honolulu Board of Water Supply and/or other government agencies were challenged on their wasteful water practices around the city.

On the one hand, they ask residents to conserve water and to not water lawns between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., since most of the water is lost to evaporation. On the other hand, they don’t follow their own advice.

Last week I drove past Kapiolani Park in the middle of the day on two occasions and I saw the automatic irrigation system operating in the blazing midday heat. Recent visits to Honolulu International Airport’s commuter terminal revealed that same practice, and I’m told it happens every day. There are many other examples, such as the median grass strip on Nimitz Highway being watered for long periods during the heat of the day, with excess water simply flowing into the drainage system.

I’m sure other readers will be able to share many more examples of this senseless practice.

Paul Skellon

Robotics program imparts useful skills

I was pleased to see the letter to the editor regarding robotics programs in Hawaii ("Robotics programs help Hawaii students," Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 21).

My husband and I mentored robotics teams in Southern California and enjoy assisting with local programs in Hawaii, as we know the benefits they offer students.

Our involvement with robotics programs has shown that the enthusiasm of students coupled with the support of skilled professionals is a powerful recipe for success. These programs enable students to immediately apply lessons taught in school, increasing understanding while stimulating interest in learning more.

We have seen 100 percent of robotics team students continue their education beyond high school and into careers in diverse fields they might not otherwise have sought. These students gain real skills that stay with them long after graduation.

This sport for the mind is the only one in which every student can turn pro. Let’s give it our full support and backing.

Andrea Wagner

Not all cups of tea qualify as ‘sacred’

The "first sacred tea ceremony" that took place on July 19 at the USS Arizona Memorial was an elaborately staged public-relations event ("With tea ceremony, hope rises to heal wounds of war," Star-Advertiser, July 20).

But was it sacred?

A couple of years ago David Shapiro, one of your columnists, called attention to the intrusion of the "religion card" in public affairs ("Religion should not influence legislation," Honolulu Advertiser, Oct. 7, 2009).

"The religiously loaded word ‘sacred,’" he wrote, "is invoked a lot in local political disputes, on issues from astronomy development on Mauna Kea to military training in Makua Valley to Halloween blowouts in Lahaina and Labor Day parties on the Kaneohe Bay sandbar."

We should seriously wonder when a cup of tea is just a cup of tea and when it becomes a sacred cup of war-wound-healing tea.

Warren Iwasa

Mayor should get off train to disaster

I am really disappointed in Mayor Peter Carlisle. He is taking up where Mufi Hannemann left off, trying to ramrod this rail system through, going to Washington to drum up support for it before he was even officially mayor.

Thank you to Ben Cayetano, Cliff Slater, Panos Prevedorous and others who are fighting this financial disaster, and also the members of the City Council who are questioning the funding.

While we do need an improved transit system, this is not it, and it will cost much more than the original estimate. If we must have rail, make it ground-level light rail, which would be much less costly and quieter than the elevated system being promoted.

Robert Kruse

Farm lands must be kept in agriculture

Farmland (Hoopili and Koa Ridge) must be preserved for our keiki and their keiki. We cannot be short-sighted and say we need jobs and affordable housing today by building on prime farmland. To do so limits our future generations’ ability to feed themselves at a reasonable cost.

The world population is expected to reach seven billion this year, and is projected to reach nine billion by 2050. All those mouths will need food.

There is still plenty of land on Oahu that is not suited to agriculture that can be used for homes. Once the farmland is paved over, it is gone forever.

Bob Volkwein

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