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Monday, June 17, 2002

Sign-wavers are doing their patriotic duty

Mel McKeague (Letters, June 13) wants to outlaw political sign-holders because he calls it a distraction, trying to compare it with basketball game hecklers.

That is a pessimistic view. Sign-holders are doing a civic duty by participating in a democracy; they aren't even coming close to heckling drivers.

Outlawing sign-holding would be unpatriotic and unconstitutional.

Todd Wetmore

East Honolulu needs Waahila Ridge project

In anticipation of a favorable decision in July by the state Board of Lands and Natural Resources to HECO's Waahila Ridge project, I submit the following to awaken the still-silent, fence-sitting majority affected by this installation.

The completion of this project will enable the Pukele substation to provide a vital need: emergency back-up power to about 50 percent of the residents of Oahu. This area includes Manoa, Makiki, Moiliili, Kahala, Ala Moana, Diamond Head, Kapahulu and Kaimuki. The underground portion of this line will run along Kapiolani Boulevard from the Kamoku substation (Date Street) to the University of Hawaii (Dole Street). From there, the lines go overhead along the ridge to the Pukele substation.

A failure at Pukele would result in a major blackout in East Honolulu. All electrical power would be down to residences, businesses, Waikiki hotels, gas stations and traffic lights. E-mail would be unavailable, and cell-phone use would be disrupted.

If the failure involved a break in the main lines in the remote Koolaus, repairs would take a long time, requiring the use of helicopters, heavy equipment, and replacement poles and lines. Business and personal losses would accumulate. Remember, HECO will not be liable for damages due to the forces of nature.

Denial of this project could mean a reassessment of any future development and hotel expansion in East Honolulu.

Leonard K. Chun

Rent controls aren't needed in isle markets

William Kester's letter urging the Legislature to foist price controls on rental housing (Star-Bulletin, June 15) ignores the consequences of such foolishness.

I own a rental house. I like the renters. I haven't raised the rent since they moved in, nor do I plan to do so anytime soon. But if it appears likely that politicians will pass price controls on rental housing, in self-defense I would promptly evict these pleasant people and sell the house. So would most other sensible owners. Construction of new rental housing would all but cease.

The real dirty little secret, the one Kester doesn't understand, is that the marketplace has all the power. If a rental owner tries to price gouge -- charge more than the market can bear -- he or she winds up with a vacant property, zero income and an unprotected house ripe for vandalism. If renters try to collectively price gouge -- try to get the Legislature to force owners to rent below market rates -- they'll wind up with no places to rent. If you doubt that, call a Realtor in New York City and ask to see a printout of available rent-controlled apartments.

If the Realtor has a sense of humor, he'll fax you a blank sheet of paper.

Jim Henshaw

Family money is ours, not the government's

Attitudes like Jay K. Evans' make me angry ("Estate tax should still apply to super-rich," Letters, June 10). It's OK with him for the government to take other folks' hard-earned money through estate taxes so long as the government keeps its hands off his.

Evans believes some people's money belongs to the government rather than the individual. He asks, "Can we really afford to give the wealthiest 2 percent of estate holders an extra $850 billion over 20 years?"

We are not giving them a nickel. It's their money, not the government's.

One of the problems American taxpayers have today is that too many of our representatives in Congress think just like Evans.

Kelly D. Corns

Lingle's looking out for Big Business

Gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle has publicly stated that she wants to repeal the cap on gasoline prices charged to Hawaii consumers. That bill was passed by the Legislature last session and signed into law by the governor to take effect next year.

Consider this: One, just one, of the major players in the island retail gasoline market made a modest 3 percent nationwide profit over a span of 8 years. Of that 3 percent profit, almost $1 dollar out of every $4 for 8 years running came out of Hawaii's pockets (23 percent).

Lingle states she wants to realign Hawaii's economy. The question is, at whose expense, and for whose profit?

Vote for anybody but Linda Lingle. We can't afford her orientation favoring Big Business.

Martin Rice
Kapaa, Hawaii

How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

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