Letters to the Editor

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Friday, March 4, 2005

Homeless don't cause community's problems

As for the homeless ("Sweep set to brush Oneula homeless elsewhere," Star-Bulletin, March 1), just where are they going to go? Some are from the Ewa and Ewa Beach community. It is a shock to recognize people among the homeless who attended Campbell High School decades ago when I was in school.

Drugs and crime? It's easy to blame the homeless, but any crime in the area is a reflection of what is happening in the community as a whole and not exclusively a homeless problem.

Hau Bush is the small area just Diamond Head of Oneula Beach Park -- it's called "Hau Bush" because of the hau growing there.

The beach park? It's been a mess since long before the homeless moved in. My late father and I used to fish along that beach starting when I was a kid more than 45 years ago. The park became a dumping ground soon after it was created and was never properly maintained.

Shame on all of us for blaming the homeless for problems we are unable or unwilling to deal with.

Michael W. Sawamoto

Raise property taxes or change sewer rates

The city has spent $340 million from the sewer fund. The sewers still need to be fixed, but the money is gone. Now the mayor and City Council members have said that we must make up that shortfall by raising the sewer fee. Having to pay the $340 million again seems bad enough, but the problem is even worse than that.

The sewer fee rate is the same for homeowners as it is for hotel, commercial and industrial uses, but the property tax rates are different. Single family homes and apartments are charged $3.75 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation, while hotel, commercial and industrial uses are charged $11.37 per thousand. Homeowners and renters, including seniors and the disabled, have paid about three times the proportion of the $340 million than they would have if it were raised from the property tax.

Now the city wants to collect the $340 million again on the same basis. We can do nothing about the fact that it already has spent the $340 million, and that the sewers desperately need fixing. But we should assure that the money collected is based upon the differential rates, and not the single sewer rate.

This can be done in one of two ways: Either raise the money via the property tax or change the sewer fee to have rates similar to the property tax rates.

Charles A. Prentiss

Yes, taxpayers must support Honolulu

After reading an article ("Drivers cringe at vehicle tax hike") and a letter in Wednesday's paper about looming increases in taxes and fees, I wonder if the people of Hono-lulu realize that they ARE Hono-lulu.

One gentleman asks about the vehicle weight tax fees, "You gotta do what you gotta do. But does it have to come out of everybody's hide?" The answer is yes! I remember hearing a fable in my youth of a hand complaining about bringing food to the mouth. Why should the hand do it when he doesn't get to taste the food? Surely we know the answer. The moral of the story is evident in our growing taxes and fees. If the citizens do not feed the government, the government cannot nourish our city, and our city can not continue to be a home to the citizens.

Jeffrey Tillson

Rail transit will be better for Honolulu

Having traveled almost exclusively by public transportation in various cities, I find the adversaries of rail transit in Honolulu quite short sighted.

Honolulu, as an island location, has a huge drawback in transportation most other cities do not experience -- that is, the corridor effect of having the ocean parallel with the mountains allowing only equivalent route development. Our parallel route allows most transportation east to west and little north to south. Everything is crammed into only three or four routes, namely Ala Moana Blvd./Nimitz Highway, Dillingham Blvd., the freeway, and King/Beretania streets.

To add more traffic lanes to complete the population increase and the relative additional traffic, we primarily need to add more lanes to the H-1 freeway or add two lanes of light rail. That decision is not complicated.

Yes, it going to cost us money, but success does not come cheap. We have a choice in later years of being able to travel between, say, Waikele and downtown in 20 minutes during rush hour or sitting with 1,000 other cars idling away our precious fossil fuels for more than one hour.

It's time to move on from discussion to implementation and make some decisions that not only make Honolulu a better transportation place but also a planet-friendly place for us now and for future citizens of this tropical paradise.

Frank Denton

Churchill's visit leaves bitter taste

As residents of California who visits your island every year, we are greatly saddened that the University of Hawaii has opened its arms to University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill. Your university has chosen to offer a platform to a man who is pushing hate and division.

My husband and I have always enjoyed the aloha spirit of the islands. We have always felt that the Hawaiian Islands were very strong backers of our military and very patriotic, especially when the people there suffered through Pearl Harbor. You would have thought that especially in Hawaii where people have suffered war that you and your university would understand how upset the people on the mainland are about your decision to allow this man to spread his hate.

To say that there were people in the twin towers who deserved 9/11 is to say that the people in Hawaii deserved what happened to them. Now UH has showered him with love, as shown on the television here in California, with leis and chants of agreement. It has truly put UH in a different light for us.

We have always looked forward to attending a football game every October when we stay in Oahu. We always proudly display our Warrior shirts. So proud of being University of Hawaii fans. Not anymore. We are now ashamed to wear them.

Esther and Carl Belknap
Thousand Oaks, Calif.

UH exposed its hatred of America

Ward Churchill's speech at the University of Hawaii was cast as a freedom of speech issue. I think freedom of speech is quite safe. The issue was the wisdom of giving a platform for such pathetic drivel.

The support Churchill received from some on the UH faculty should alert people to a much more serious concern. If the taxpayers of Hawaii and the patriots in this community really knew what is being taught within the corridors of "higher learning" in Manoa, there would be an outcry.

Several years ago, I was speaking with one of our UH instructors. When I asked what he taught, he responded, "I teach the backside of American history." When I inquired what he meant by that, he said he taught the ugly side of America, the problems in America and the terrible things this country has stood for. I was incensed. This man happened to be German, as is my ancestry, and I had so many questions. Does he ever refer to the "backside of German history" in his classes? Does he ever detail the long list of beautiful gifts America has given to the world, like freedom and democracy, for instance? Does he realize his freedom to speak here has been paid for by the blood of soldiers who died to rescue his country from Nazi tyranny?

The support of Churchill by some on the UH faculty reveals not their valuing of free speech, but their hatred for America. If Churchill's rantings serve to expose the radical teachings espoused on our campus and to awaken the populace, then it will have been worth all the commotion.

Ron Arnold

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