Where can houses be built on Oahu?
My question to Bob Volkwein is: What about the other farm lands on this island that are not being used ("Farm lands must be kept in agriculture," Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 25)?
We need homes to be built for our children and their children to be able to continue to live here.
In order to not have the price of homes rise even higher than they already are, we must have more homes built.
Where do you suggest these homes be built?
James D. Navarro
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In-flight film could help avert accidents
The recent death of visitor David Potts near Nakalele Blowhole on Maui is a tragic one that could have been prevented.
However, the fiancee’s request that there should have been more signs warning people of the dangers of the blowhole is misguided ("Blowhole site needs warning signs, says Maui accident victim’s fiancee," Star-Advertiser, July 16).
More signage at Hawaii’s beautiful places is not the key to increased safety. Increasing the signage at our natural attractions spoils the beauty of this place. The ridiculously abundant signage at the popular Manoa Falls hikes, that hikers routinely pass by, comically illustrates this.
The state cannot be held accountable for every steep precipice and rogue wave that comes along. At some point, citizens need to be held accountable for their own actions.
One possible solution is to include a short in-flight film on the dangers of Hawaii’s oceans and mountains (while passengers are filling out their Department of Agriculture declarations).
Special ed tests don’t serve the kids
As a special education teacher, I can safely say that the Hawaii State Alternative Assessment for severely cognitively challenged students is a very flawed assessment tool ("Mentally disabled kids’ test scores plummet," Star-Advertiser, July 25).
Each test is created for students by their special education teachers using confusing, vague yet mandatory guidelines that illogically require very specific outcomes.
The teacher must spend an inordinate amount of time creating the test and testing each student, and then send the testing evidence to another state, where a person who has never even seen the student gives the evidence a thumbs up or down.
These students need to learn everyday skills that will help them function as adults. Requiring a disproportionate amount of time and energy on this ineffective, poorly designed assessment tool, just so the state can win a juicy grant, is not in the best interest of Hawaii’s severely cognitively challenged students, their families, or of the community at large.
Homeless people deserve respect
It was an affront to see the photo of an elderly homeless man with your article ("Roundup of homeless feared during APEC," Star-Advertiser, July 17).
You need to show basic respect for this homeless man. Just because he is homeless does not entitle the Star-Advertiser to treat him like a criminal.
This man is not in an ideal situation but he is still a human being. Every human being, prince or pauper, deserves basic respect. He has to be somebody’s son, or brother, father, uncle or cousin. Who knows?
Tea party activists are sabotaging GOP
If the impasse of the raising of the federal debt ceiling is not resolved, President Barack Obama will be the one to take the blame.
But not so fast …
The tea party of late has become more politically active than ever and is fracturing the Republican Party.
I am a loyalist conservative Republican who will not tolerate any fanatical grassroots party sabotaging and ruining the GOP. Let the tea party form its own political party.
Tea partyers don’t realize that if the United States defaults, it would have worldwide financial consequences. In Hawaii, we will feel it as a second recession, not even having recovered from the first. Obama could have taken charge, but has nonchanlantly let it get to this point.
As we have no time, Obama has to use the Constitution to protect the life, liberty, property and happiness that were fought for and make the U.S. a nation of opportunity.
‘Strategic reform’ going on at DOE?
The lieutenant governor’s brother, Stephen Schatz, was appointed to the state Department of Education’s Office of Strategic Reform ("Schatz’s twin will implement Race grant," Star-Advertiser, July 21).
Strategic reform? What’s that? I consider this to be another unnecessary state position, as the DOE itself is an overblown, bloated department.
Those DOE employees who have been farmed out from former teaching positions should be returned to teaching.
Education board has the right stuff
Finally we have a state Board of Education chairman with the guts to make hard decisions.
No partisanship, no procrastination, no complaints, no soap opera, no drama.
This nominated school board is doing what needs to be done.
This business approach acknowledges the financial reality our state government faces.