The New Police Chief

Susan Ballard deserves more respect (March 18, 2018)

HPD’s new chief of police, Susan Ballard, finds herself already challenged by the men under her command, with the lawsuit by the State of Hawaii Police Officers Union’s Tenari Maafala (“Honolulu Police Chief Defends Reassignment Of Union Leaders”).

None of the prior chiefs were subjected to this. It has always been that “Number 1” decides who works where and in what capacity. Those assigned outside of patrol sometimes come to consider themselves “special” and above working in uniform on rotating shifts.

Chief Susan Ballard at HPD headquarters during a Civil Beat editorial board interview in February. Chad Blair/Civil Beat

I doubt this would have occurred if the chief were a local male, rather than a Caucasian woman.

Having experienced mistreatment during my career there, as did others of like background, gender and ethnicity, I can tell you that, generally, we were not welcome in positions of authority. I hung in there long enough to retire and get my pension.

Chief Ballard should be accorded the same respect given her predecessors. If men are unhappy working for a woman, retire already.

— Linda Blagrave, retired detective, Papaaloa   

Student Walkout

Proud and pleased (March 16, 2010)

Your story brought tears to my eyes (“Hawaii Students Join Walkouts In Wake Of School Shootings”). I am so proud of those students reaching out to their fellow student’s grief in another state and one they may have never even visited.

I walked out a junior in high school in 1968 to support the civil rights movement. I didn’t have a clue. It just seemed like the right thing to do. In college I was an advocate in the woman’s movement and as a professional  social worker we successfully won the the Americans With Disabilities Act.

In the beginning I was one of the students just joining the crowd. I became a seasoned activist. Don’t count those clueless students out.

I am so proud of all of you. With so much bad news these days, your story was a pleasure to read.

— Deborah Coleman, Makawao

HART ‘Placeholders’

Ignore the spin master (March 16, 2018)

The new buzzword out of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation today is “placeholder” — to lie when you do not have the answer and need to finish the report (“Original Rail Budget Included Bogus Numbers For Station Designs”).

The spin master is not fooling anyone with saying that they came out even because they saved money on one hand and lied and have enough to cover the lies so it is OK.

The job of Andrew Robbins, HART’s executive director and CEO, should be to save money and cut spending not covering for past lies.

— Bobby Chang, Honolulu

Russell Wozniak

Priced out of the market (March 17, 2018)

I love Russell Wozniak, a perfect combination of compassion, intelligence and can-do spirit and an ethical, just person (“This Honolulu Architect Designs Low-Cost Housing, Often For Free”).

I worry daily that we will all eventually be priced out of the housing market. I marvel at the disconnect of friends who say, “Yes, my folks bought this house for $45,000 in the ’70s.  Can you believe I can get a million for it now?” 

The smallish four-bedroom home my folks had built in Niu Valley in 1956 cost $20,000. Mom loved the monkey pod tree! When Dad’s job took the family to New Jersey in 1967, we sold it for $33,500. Recently it sold for $962,000; they demolished the home and beautiful tree (the neighbors held a memorial service for the tree).

All this money for an empty corner lot? Where’s the sense of a reasonable price for a buyer? The house next door in McCully recently went for $700,000. It had not been renovated for 40 years.

Folks paid cash for it, and now rent it for $2,700 a month.  Three women lived there, each paying $900 until they couldn’t. The house one block down is listed for a million dollars. They say there is a small rental downstairs that could easily rent for $1,500.  Really? That was my entire two-week teacher’s paycheck!

Up the street, developers hope to build a high-rise. Squatters occupy the two-story walkup before it is demolished. Why not use city/state/federal money to fix up this building and offer it to low income or homeless folks? That is what I hoped would happen to the apt. building on Beretania near Isenberg. But it was torn down and is now a parking lot.

Each of us must play creative roles in this housing crisis.  Mahalo, Russell, for seeing and doing!

— Lee Takagi, Honolulu, in McCully for the past 40 years but grew up in Niu Valley

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