The article, “Answers on spending backlog sought” (Star-Advertiser, Jan. 6), didn’t explore why state agencies have difficulty spending federal funds. Reasons may vary between programs. We would like to point out one fundamental cause — internal red tape.
With combined 60-plus years of experience managing state budgets and contracts, we saw procurement and contracting become much more complex.
In the 1980s, contracts could be executed in about a month. When we retired, it would take many frustrating months. No wonder federal agencies are losing patience with Hawaii.
Yes, checks and balances are essential when expending public funds. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to “fix” every problem by adding rules instead of simplifying the process and addressing problems directly. Rules are no substitute for good management.
In our experience, most government employees make a concerted effort to meet the goals of state programs, often going above and beyond. Unnecessarily adding to the administrative burden doesn’t support these efforts.
Liz and John Corbin
Maybe now Island Air will get up and fly right
Island Air, after a significant reduction in service, cutting routes, postponing the expansion of its fleet, reducing personnel and implementing other drastic measures, has now announced that a controlling interest in the company will be sold.
This should not be a surprise.
The airline has endured several consecutive quarterly losses and it appears to be a black hole for cash. The lack of vision and decisiveness of previous and present management must have been quite alarming, even for a billionaire.
Two consecutive CEOs failed to see the need to move rapidly and reach a “critical mass” of aircraft fleet, route development, workforce buildup and other necessary structures before Island Air could have been financially viable.
I hope that the new owners have the financial capability, the vision and the will to become a relevant force in the interisland air market.
To bring meaningful competition, they need to expand quickly and offer what air passengers are looking for: variety of destinations, punctuality, reliability, frequency, friendly, efficient staff and affordable fares. These things, so far, the Island Air’s management has failed to do.
GOP dinner speaker notorious union buster
We are lucky to live in Hawaii, where we have a long and strong history of protecting worker rights.
But we must not be complacent and think change cannot happen here. Our middle class is already struggling with some of the highest costs of living in the nation.
Shockingly, the Hawaii GOP is bringing anti-labor Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to Oahu as its keynote speaker for a Lincoln Day Dinner in February.
Just ask any worker in his state how Walker’s policies are working out for them.
We can’t afford to have the gap between the super rich and everyone else continue to escalate.
Additionally, an anti-worker case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, could make all states “right-to-work,” which is a sly misnomer. Studies show workers in so-called “right-to-work” states have lower pay and fewer benefits.
We must all speak up to keep anti-worker policies out of Hawaii.
Executive director, Hawaii Government Employees Association
Obama blew chance to wear aloha shirts
Mike Eberle wants a picture of President Barack Obama in aloha attire (“Let’s help Obama buy aloha wear,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Jan. 7). He may have forgotten about our president’s track record.
It is a tradition for all the attendees to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to take a group picture dressed in local attire.
When the conference was held in Hawaii, at Obama’s behest, a local vendor produced special hand-made limited-edition aloha shirts for the attendees. When it came time for the picture, Obama ditched the aloha shirts for coats and ties.
It was one of the most curious ungracious gestures I have ever witnessed.
Don’t let city lease park space for parties
What is the Department of Parks and Recreation thinking to allow private parties at Queen’s Beach (“Chief of parks wants to allow booze service for events at Queen’s Beach,” Star-Advertiser, Jan. 6)?
The park is a public space that is enjoyed by families for beach and picnics, sporting and community activities.
The proposal is more concerned with alcohol consumption by an exclusive group instead of preserving the uniqueness of Queen’s Beach as a family venue. It is a direct violation of the public right to accessibility of the whole park.
What is the purpose of serving alcohol, which may endanger other park users, possibly leading to drunkenness and unruly behavior?
Are we worshipping the god of tourism and selling Hawaii’s soul?