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Sunday, November 2, 2003





Are tax breaks, hikes really beneficial?

Governor Lingle's request for a tax increase for a transportation system brings to mind the $75 million tax exemption she allowed for Ko Olina. Is this exemption being used in the manner in which it was given?

Should the taxpayers OK a tax increase to help pay for a transit system that will traverse a very short route?

These are questions and answers that Governor Lingle should be thinking about before burdening consumers with more decisions that have such negative effects on the masses.

Nancy Jeffs
Honolulu

Muzzling protesters was disgraceful

Someone once said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." What happened at the Stryker brigade "public" hearing at the Honolulu Country Club was shameful.

I don't agree with the protesters because I believe a strong military presence is necessary to preserve the freedom we cherish. However, a public hearing should be open to all opinions, and there should be no attempt to muzzle any peaceful demonstration. Public hearings should be held in a place where the public is welcome and not at a country club that can claim private property rights. Seems like the actions of the military and the security at the country club was more in line with something Saddam Hussein would condone.

If this is the direction our government is heading, we need to put a stop to it immediately! The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, but that also would include vigilance within our own.

Royle Kaneshige
Honolulu

All Hawaii's peoples contribute to aloha

Governor Lingle's statement that without Hawaiians there would be no Hawaii (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 30) demeans the contributions of the other 90 percent of the people of Hawaii.

As the grandson of four immigrants, I appreciate the tolerant and caring people of this wonderful melting pot. It's like my childhood home, where immigrants learned to care for each other because no one else would. That tolerant and caring spirit was called neighborliness. But there, that caring spirit feels lost today.

Here it is called aloha, and it still lives in the people of Hawaii.

It is the varied and friendly people of Hawaii who make it special. They greet, transport, shelter and entertain the visitors on whom we depend. The weather comes from God. The visitor shows feature the fire dancers of Samoa and lively dancers of Tahiti and Fiji. Pacific Rim and European countries provide an endless variety of cuisine, and the ancient cultures of Asia contribute to art, architecture and philosophy.

No, our Hawaii does not depend exclusively on any single part. It is like an alloy forged from separate metals. Different from and better than any of its parts, yet still showing each one's contribution.

George L. Berish
Honolulu

Beautification projects aren't affordable now

Have you taken a walk down Waialae Avenue recently? The sidewalks are wider, the electricity poles have disappeared and greenery is more abundant, all thanks to the $2.6 million Kaimuki Revitalization Project.

Many residents and visitors like the new look, while others ask, was it really worth the money?

Sure, nobody expects things to come cheap, and as a tourist economy we need every neighborhood looking its best. But why now? With a recovering economy and a demand for pay raises by the police force, was this really necessary? Many neighborhoods could use a bit of tidying up, but for such a steep price we could make a real difference in other places.

The police pay demands might require an increase in taxes, and the city is spending the money planting trees?

Maybe city officials should think twice and start using government money more wisely in the future.

Megan Morisada
Iolani School, Class of 2008

What about those tax exemptions?

Former Gov. George Ariyoshi's Oct. 19 letter, which explained that Kamehameha Schools does not use any taxpayer funds, was a real eye-opener.

It was my understanding that the Kamehameha Schools was a charitable trust and as such has received tax exemptions amounting to millions -- or even billions -- of tax dollars.

Governor, thank you for setting the record straight.

Jim Growney
Honolulu

UH shouldn't shut out average students

Perhaps University of Hawaii Chancellor Peter Englert should consider raising his own standards for grammar. In the Oct. 25 Star-Bulletin story he's quoted saying, "When you have higher standards and a more challenging environment, it's not less students who want to come, it's more students who want to come."

He should have said "fewer students" instead of "less students." "Less" is used for uncountable items. I hope he does not see students as an undifferentiated mass but as individuals seeking an education that will prepare them for more meaningful lives.

Jackie Matsumura
Class of 1972
University of Hawaii
College of Education

Hey, who's that by the side of the road?

There are many idiotic individuals who like to rubberneck on the road for all the wrong reasons. Let's say that someone pulls over to change a flat tire on the H-1 East freeway by the University of Hawaii cutoff. He pulls over to the shoulder lane and turns on his hazard lights. He proceeds to change his tire. Nothing that interesting, right? Wrong! Many reckless people will find this an exciting event. These people will slow down beside the parked vehicle and rubberneck.

The rubbernecker seems desperate to find out what is happening. He has never seen someone with a flat tire before. The very sight of this amazes him! But his slowing down causes a chain reaction of cars reducing their speed that goes all the way back to Aiea.

Does he know the person changing his tire? Does he drive by slowly, muttering to himself, "Hey, isn't that Cornelius from work?" He ponders this question for about 30 seconds while at the same time creeping past the car before discovering that it isn't Cornelius from work. It's a person he doesn't even know! Oh, how silly of him!

We need to get these people off the streets now, before they start causing people to commit suicide while waiting in traffic.

Elia Tanga
Kaneohe

Monorail users should get free parking

Justin Tanoue's Oct. 29 letter to the editor suggested that one way to raise revenues to pay for a monorail system is to charge a parking fee at the monorail stations. This is outrageous! In the San Francisco Bay area, free parking is provided at BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) stations as a measure to encourage people to drive less and use mass transit more. Charging to park at a site of access to public transportation will only be construed as an additional penalty for using mass transit, something that we want to encourage. Don't we?

I am in favor of raising the general excise tax to fund mass transit, as long as it applies to all products, not just to certain things like gasoline. This way everyone will pay their fair share.

Mariea Vaughan
Ewa Beach

Bush's visit was worse than inconvenient

I am glad to be rid of President Bush. His trip here was proof of his arrogant attitude toward the little people.

It started with no street parking being allowed in my neighborhood (Makiki, where parking is the cause of fights) until 8 p.m., which shut many of us out of our homes. I was told by someone at the mayor's office to have some drinks and not go home for a while. This while being told by everyone else to stay off the streets -- and I don't drink.

I did walk to the spa and on my way home had the misfortune to arrive just as police closed off Punahou Street. They yelled at everyone and refused to let me or my neighbors walk the last two blocks to our homes. While they blocked traffic at the Punahou offramp, an ambulance with its siren blaring got stuck and the cops yelled at the drivers on the offramp to get out of the way. Where they were supposed to go, I don't know.

After an interminable wait, the president's motorcade appeared, with Honolulu's finest grandstanding down Punahou where everyone made an illegal left turn onto the freeway -- the very place where the cops will ticket you for doing the same thing. I thought the president was not above the law.

As a taxpayer, I am outraged. To be treated this way is inexcusable. And the topper: I found out that they do not shut down Washington, D.C. when he goes out. So why do we?

President Bush, if you must come back, do us all a big favor and use your helicopter.

Kawika Aki
Honolulu

Baby's death was a tragic accident

Susanna Hunt, the mother who left her baby in the car, should be given our prayers and sympathy to ease her heavy burden ("Overheating likely killed infant forgotten in car," Star-Bulletin, Oct. 16).

It was purely an act of obliviousness, and not malice.

Tetsuji Ono
Hilo, Hawaii

Trying to kill enemies is never-ending battle

Whether it is Islamic extremists, the Taliban, al-Qaida, Hamas or just plain nuts, the terrorists' mission is fundamentally religious: a jihad against America, the West and our allies. Add martyrdom and you have a formula that is impenetrable.

With thousands of members, terrorist organizations are breeding grounds for their ideological psychosis, and the United States and its meager coalition forces cannot kill or capture them all. It's like a hornets' nest: you kill 100 and 125 will reappear. Destroy the hive, and they will build a new one.

I don't know the answer, but the Bush administration's ill-fated plan to capture or kill each and every terrorist is absurd. Witness the tragic daily casualties in Iraq, useless color-coded alerts, and exorbitant expense this commander in chief brought on all of us!

Paul D'Argent
Kihei, Maui


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[ BRAINSTORM! ]


Historical markers?
Other cities have permanent markers signifying historic sites or locations. Shouldn't Hawaii be equally accommodating to students and visitors? What should such markers look like in Honolulu? Design one! Remember, markers on walls require the owner's permission, but markers in the sidewalk belong to the city.


Send your ideas, drawings and solutions by Thursday, November 13 to:
brainstorm@starbulletin.com

Or mail them to:
Brainstorm!
c/o Burl Burlingame
Star-Bulletin
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Fax:
Brainstorm!
c/o Burl Burlingame
529-4750


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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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