Letters To The Editor

Not just names

Wow! What a wonderful community service MidWeek‘s Voters’ Guide to Non-incumbent Candidates provides! So often those candidates with less name recognition are relegated to being a name on a sign on someone’s fence. We seldom get to know who they are, and what their agenda might be.

This special section has given us all an opportunity to get better acquainted with these individuals, and to perhaps take a chance on voting for some of them.

Nancy Calhoun

A useful tool

Thank you so much for putting forth the effort to create this non-incumbent guide for our community. There are people running for office in my district who I didn’t know anything about, and now I do. What a useful tool this will be!

Thank you also for your wonderful newspaper. I have been one who has enjoyed MidWeek since its “shopper” days, and whether I agree or disagree with what’s on its pages, I can never say that it’s boring!

Barbara Gum

An alarming story

Larry Price’s speculation regarding the unintentional sounding of eight Oahu outdoor warning sirens on “June 14, 2012, at 5:25 a.m.” is alarmist and unwar-ranted. In his column “False Alarm Sirens Must Be Fixed,” Mr. Price speculates: “Here is a possibility that we are witnessing a power struggle over who has the right and the responsibility to push the button that makes the sirens send their message.”

This is definitely not the case. County governments have, and will continue to have, the responsibility and right to sound warning sirens. He also incorrectly identifies the event date and time as June 15 and 5:15 a.m.

State Civil Defense coordinates the installation and maintenance of the Outdoor Siren Warning System but currently does not have the ability to activate the sirens. Modernization of the siren activation system will allow multiple points to sound the sirens, ensuring backup in case the primary location is incapacitated. The modernized sirens also run their own internal diagnostics and use two-way communication to repost any problems with the systems.

As it stands now, we have to rely on public reports of siren problems.

Siren activation modernization is in the developmental stage. The sirens at Diamond Head, Kamiloiki, Makiki, McCully, Moanalua Valley and Waimanalo are the first of the modernized sirens. We needed to run tests before implementing modernization of the Statewide Outdoor Siren Warning System. The new activation system has met all of our requirements, and we will install the systems statewide in the coming years, dependent on continued funding. Throughout this process, we will continue to test the sirens and have worked with the contractor to prevent unintentional activations. Once we are in full implementation, the contractor will not have access to Hawaii’s Outdoor Siren Warning System.

Doug Mayne
Vice Director of Civil Defense

Cut health costs

Fareed Zakaria presented some very interesting information on high healthcare costs in the U.S. compared to Europe. But he never once mentioned the word “profits.”

Surely the fact that our entire system – insurance, hospitals, labs, pharmaceutical companies – is based on for-profit has something to do with high costs. Unfortunately, “Obamacare” does nothing to solve that problem.

Regina Gregory

Rail doubts

There is one issue regarding the rail system which has not been thoroughly addressed: Will the City be able to maintain it after it has been built? The City and State have a less-than admirable record of maintaining the streets, sewers and public school buildings. The technology for repairing these has been known for a century. But rail technology is brand new to Honolulu. What guarantee is there that the City has the capability of repairing the rail?

Ten years ago the State bought a pothole patcher machine which has never been used because, as DOT chief engineer Martin Okabe stated:

“The machine may have been a little too high-tech for my people.” (Advertiser, Feb. 26, 2003)

The City should first demonstrate to us taxpayers that it is able to maintain the present infrastructure before acquiring a new, high-tech toy.

Garrett F. Saikley,M.D.

From the heart

Mahalo for Jade Moon’s “Moonlighting” column that ran in the July 4 MidWeek issue. It was a wonderful tribute to two artists who recently passed. The column was written from the heart and rather than feel saddened by the loss of John Koko and Nora Ephron, I enjoyed experiencing their art once more through Jade’s writing.

Eleni Davis

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Letters may be edited for clarity and space.