We need strong food safety laws
The article by two nutritionists from the University of Hawaii highlights the importance of the landmark legislation ("Food safety law increases FDA’s authority over food supply," Star-Advertiser, July 19).
However, without adequate funding, the protections outlined in the article will never be fully realized.
Five years ago, my niece Rylee became very sick after eating contaminated spinach while on a trip to celebrate her 9th birthday. She almost died from this foodborne illness, and as a result became a tireless advocate for food safety reform.
In July, I accompanied her to Capitol Hill to ask U.S. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka to ensure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has the support it needs to fully implement its new responsibilities. Her message was simple: "I am a living example of why the nation needs strong food safety oversight."
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Crack down on red-light runners
As a daily newspaper reader and frequent jogger, bicyclist, motorcyclist and — in the spirit of full disclosure — jaywalker, I have a serious problem with the failure by the Honolulu Police Department to aggressively enforce laws on the books prohibiting running red lights and failing to signal turns and lane changes.
A yellow light doesn’t mean speed up. Sort of slowing down as you pass through a stop sign or red light to make a turn is a citeable offense.
Please put the red-light cameras back up and station some traffic enforcement officers at the intersection of King and Alapai streets. That’s an easy 20 citations an hour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
And please check citation statistics for moving violations that endanger pedestrians and bikers, and put that into the news stories.
At-grade rail not less costly
While rail opponents insist at-grade light rail transit (LRT) would be "much less costly" than elevated rail transit ("Mayor should get off train to disaster," Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 25), facts contradict them.
I recently studied the 2009 proposal sponsored by Kamehameha Schools for an LRT line built at-grade in town and Waipahu, and elevated elsewhere, finding that the need to buy more than double the land and three more rail cars (due to the slower service), would almost wipe out savings from at-grade construction.
Building an at-grade rail line would save barely 8 percent in capital costs, but carry 26 percent fewer riders (86,300 weekday daily riders in 2030) than the proposed elevated rail line.
Maintaining more cars, more brake wear and auto collisions would raise operation and maintenance costs.
Furthermore, because at-grade rail would do little to improve current bus service, few drivers would choose transit instead.
Rate hikes fund needed upkeep
This is in response to Michael Englar’s letter saying that our water and electric utilities should hold off on rate increases for another two years ("Utilities seem to be in their own canoe," Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 26).
As a former electric utility engineer, I know from experience that the first things to get cut during hard times are ongoing maintenance and replacement of worn-out equipment. Further postpone- ment means increased and more severe service outages, with inconvenience and financial loss for customers.
Utilities approach requests for a rate increase with great trepidation. They require a major effort. Their entire operation is opened up to close public scrutiny, and they stand the chance of losing as much as they hope to gain.
I feel confident that the recent rate increases granted to our electric and water utilities are justified and, if anything, fall short of what is actually needed to provide customers with safe and reliable service.
James B. Young
Labor fight is for our families
If the media wants to mislead its audience to think that the Local 5 dispute with the Hyatt Regency is all just an ugly labor fight, Hawaii can say goodbye to its children’s jobs in the future.
With the continuous refusal to fight for what the people want and standing for what belongs to us — our family’s futures — these big businesses will continue to dominate and destroy Hawaii’s culture.