Remember vision for public waterfront
I’m grateful to the Star-Advertiser editorial board and Richard Borreca for highlighting (pun intended) the folly of leasing nine acres — one-third — of Kakaako Waterfront Park to the underfunded Illuminage Group, which not only asksto use public land, but wantspublic money to finance the venture.
Hawaii Community Development Authority administrator Tony Ching states that the parcel under consideration is underused, but that will hardly remain so with the unprecedented mushrooming of new high-rises shooting up.We’re already suffering under light pollution; now we’re being asked to payup to $18 for the privilege of visiting illuminated public land?
Former Gov. John Waihee had a vision of a walkable waterfront from Honolulu Harbor to Waikiki. I’d like our community to work onactualizing that vision, instead of agreeing to commercial enterprises on park land.
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HCDA doesn’t listen to people who testify
"Public testimony … was nearly unanimously supportive," reported the Aug. 22 Star-Advertiser article, "State approves 2 Ward towers," which appeared on Page B8.
My guess is people who oppose the Hawaii Community Development Authority’s development plans have stopped going to public hearings because they know expressing their opinions won’t change the stance of the authority.
Making money, for developers and the state, is the first commandment of the HCDA.The second commandment: Grant variances one after another; acquiesce to the HCDA rule loopholes discovered (or written) by developers.
Hawaii’s unique sense of place is being further diminished by the numerous skyscrapers in Kakaako.
A few questions remain: Even though the first buildings have now acquired approval, why not more high-rise housing in the second city of Kapolei? Isn’t that why we have a "second city"?
Why is rail being built to Kapolei if the vast majority of the high-rise development is in town?
Maybe the governor should listen to his wife, who has in the past opposed similar development in Kakaako.
Bruce A. Fink
Pursuit of happiness includes marriage
Our Declaration of Independence states that Americans have "certain unalienable rights," including "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
My right of marriage and my wife are the most precious gifts I have.I might be happy in a civil union, but certainly not as happy as in our marriage.To deny same-sex couples the same right to marry hinders their pursuit of happiness.We can no more discriminate against them than discriminate on the basis of sex, color, age, disability, ethnicity or faith.
Religious institutions must have the right, under the separation of church and state, to bless marriages consistent with their beliefs. But, this protection is independent of equal rights under the law.
Neither the sanctity and specialness of my marriage nor the institution of marriage itself is diminished, or threatened, by legalizing the right of same-sex couples to marry.
It’s not about safeguarding the will of the majority, but that the majority will safeguard the equal rights of all.
We must legalize marriage equality.
Disabled parking meant for disabled
The criteria for obtaining a sticker to park in a disabled parking place in Hawaii require the patient to have one of the following: unable to walk 200 feet; unable to walk without a brace, cane or crutch or without holding onto someone else; severe restrictive breathing; a need to use portable oxygen; or a significant heart condition.
If you have one of these conditions, speak with your doctor to get an appropriate sticker. But if you do not, then why do you have a disabled sticker?
We all see people park in the disabled parking places, walk into the store and return with multiple packages without any hint of illness.
As a physician with 45 years of experience, I have encouraged those who are truly disabled to obtain a sticker, and those who do not meet the criteria were refused. All physicians and patients should do the same.
Gary R. Johnson
Kamamalu building to start new life soon
Among the top priorities of the Abercrombie administration is to consolidate state offices for efficiency, reduce commercial lease rent costs and optimize the use of state facilities.
In his Aug. 23 column, Richard Borreca wrote about state buildings, but never contacted me ("State inertia illustrated by surfeit of empty buildings," On Politics, Star-Advertiser).
It’s important to note that the design phase for the Princess Ruth Kamamalu building is nearing comple- tion. We expect bid opening by April 2014. The renovation plan includes consolidation of the Department of Human Services, as well as the Disability Communications Access Board and Developmental Disabilities Council from the Department of Health.
The new infrastructure will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act’s accessibility guidelines. We’re also targeting a "silver" rating from the U.S. Green Buildings Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Standards.
By relocating state agency offices from private-lease space and into Kamamalu, we anticipate a potential annual savings of $2.2 million gross lease rent.
Dean H. Seki
Comptroller, state Department of Accounting and General Services
UH regents have their priorities mixed up
Monday was the first day of the new academic year at University of Hawaii-Manoa.
When I reported to my office in George Hall, I found a sign outside announcing that the building elevator, which had been out for several months, would not be fixed until November. The stairs on which I walked up to the office were worn and peeling. An hour later, the water in the building (including bathrooms) was shut off.
Unfortunately, this is no anomaly: Across the UH system, we see a failure to address the problem of keeping existing buildings such as George Hall functional. The gigantic backlog of urgent repairs evident years ago still remains.
Meanwhile, as several Star-Advertiser columns have pointed out, the UH Board of Regents have semi-secretly been planning to appropriate huge sums of money to fund a spanking new (and wholly unnecessary) Daniel Inouye Center at UH.
One must ask: Why are the regents’ priorities so lolo and why have we, the people of Hawaii, permitted them to so misgovern our state university system for so long?
UH-Manoa professor / Kaimuki
Build a cheap tunnel, charge fee at Laniakea
As someone who respects the ocean and its inhabitants, here is a simple solution to the North Shore Laniakea Beach congestion problem: Dig a trench across the road and install a sturdy roof — that is, a cheap tunnel.
Close this tunnel at night and during storm surfweather.
Cordon off the Turtle Beach area and charge a fee for controlled access of tourists. Allocate the bulk of thefee revenue to the University of Hawaii Oceanography Department.