It is like deja vu all over again as the state Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) continues to be deeply underfunded (“Pension reforms would boost state,” Star-Advertiser, Our View, Jan. 22).
In 2005, Gov. Linda Lingle signed a law that forbade the Legislature from skimming from the fund investment profits over 8%.
Now that the ERS is shakily returning to health, the editorial states that, again, there might be looming big-ticket expenses that are of far greater importance than paying what is owed by a constitutional mandate to retirees.
There have always been more important reasons to take money from what looks like a pot of gold in order to buy something new. Keep the politicians out of our pockets and require them to make hard decisions.
Berms around canal would be a blight
Teri Skillman called it out (“Remove berms from Ala Wai Canal plan,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Jan. 26).
Everyone I’ve talked to considered the notion of earthen dams and berms around the Ala Wai Canal a threat to Hawaii’s ohana, lacking in morality, ethics and kindness to the aina. It’s as though “the open space and clear visual fields” don’t matter. Ugh.
Cyndi Van Tassel
Congestion pricing for Honolulu a big burden
With all the shortcomings of city services, one has to wonder what the mayor thinks are his money-spending priorities. He should look around the city he is responsible for maintaining. Its condition and resident services are a disgrace.
So making it more costly for local families to drive to and from work will reduce the cost of road resurfacing (“Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell proposes study of traffic congestion pricing,” Star-Advertiser, Jan. 16). Does the mayor realize that most of the commuter miles driven are on state and federally funded roads, and not funded by residential property taxes? Most local families are hard-pressed to pay their essentials, but the mayor thinks it’s OK to add to their very high cost of living.
To compare Honolulu to London and New York is mindless. Those cities have high office-employment concentrations in their Central Business Districts (CBDs), with lots of well-paying jobs, heavy use of taxis within those CBDs and with extensive subway and bus systems. Honolulu’s CBD workforce is small and being hollowed out for multiple reasons, and that trend has no prospect of changing.
Gregg W. Robertson
Bring Guardian Angels here to help fight crime
There has been an increase in street crime in the islands lately, from shootings to elderly citizens attacked and robbed. Some of our young men should start a chapter of Guardian Angels here on the islands.
Guardian Angels was initially started in New York by Curtis Sliwa. This organization trains volunteers to make citizen’s arrests for violent crimes. If we have street patrols to walk our streets and ride our buses, then islanders should see a reduction in crime.
There are chapters in New York, Washington, D.C., California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Georgia, Texas, Oregon, South Africa, Japan, Italy, Mexico and the Philippines. Recent research shows that citizen patrols may reduce crime and make citizens feel safe.
The Guardian Angels are not concerned with the gender, age, race or sex of volunteers. They only seek out committed individuals to help make our local communities safer. We hope to see our young people wearing red berets and red jackets as they patrol and protect our streets as Guardian Angels.
Pentagon budget shows American militarism
Whatever happened to diplomacy? Why must we rely on the Army to fan out across the Pacific to “win allies” (“U.S. Army fans out across Pacific to win allies, counter China,” Star-Advertiser, Jan. 27)?
We learn that 1,500 Schofield Barracks soldiers will soon head to Thailand, kicking off Pacific Pathways 2020 — a new wrinkle in the Pentagon’s “places, not bases” mantra. As the campaign escalates during the year, the Philippines and other island nations will feel the heel of our military’s “light but persistent footprint.” I doubt, however, if the “not bases” part of the policy will result in any downsizing of our existing hundreds of bases in dozens of countries throughout the world.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy describes these efforts as “a battle of ideas … warfare by other means.” If this is so, it seems that a corps of diplomats and scholars would offer a better alternative to the 16 helicopters, and hundreds of Humvees and soldiers, headed for Thailand and beyond.
Americans are reluctant to regard the U.S. as a militaristic nation. The evidence indicates otherwise. Our bloated Pentagon budget and neglected State Department clearly demonstrate our addiction to military solutions.
Laniakea barriers needed to protect kids
“If the barriers were in place when that kid got hit, it wouldn’t have happened,” said Ed Sniffen, deputy director of the state’s Highways Division (“Hawaii explores realignment options for Kamehameha Highway at Laniakea to ease traffic jam caused by turtle watchers,” Star-Advertiser, Jan. 25).
Why are we letting a small group of people hold the residents of the North Shore hostage? The simplest solution works. Put up the barriers (guardrails).
The next one hit may not survive.
Marilee Y. Lyons