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Letters to the Editor


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Sunday, March 6, 2005



UH is pricing fans out of their seats

I think that the University of Hawaii is going the wrong way on football ticket prices ("Regents approve luxury football proposal," Star-Bulletin, Feb. 18). They can go ahead with their elite seats with the elite prices, but they should sell the rest of the seats at a bargain rate. Wouldn't it be better to sell 30,000 seats at $10 per seat, than 100 seats at $250 per seat? And there would be an almost full stadium to yell in support of the Warriors. It was sad to see the sea of empty seats at the games. Wouldn't the players appreciate the roar of the crowd? It might make a difference in their performance, as well.

I would love to be able to attend the football games, but couldn't afford it this year and now they are talking about an increase. I guess I will be content to watch the delayed game on TV. Pay-per-view is also too pricey.

Pat Altenhof
Kaneohe

What do we get for increase in fees?

Increase in vehicle registrations (Star-Bulletin, March 2)? After just having raised those fees approximately a year ago, what have we got to show for the monies received from the past raise? More potholes, higher gas prices and freeways that are hazardous to everyone's health. The repair jobs allegedly to repair potholes are done poorly and wash out with the next heavy rain.

Also, what happens to senior citizens on fixed incomes who don't commute daily to work, but must be penalized another 3 percent tax on registration? Is there never going to be relief for those who still drive, maintain their older cars and need them for shopping and medical appointments, to say nothing of social use to church, clubs, etc.?

Sorry, I can't agree with Mayor Hannemann that "this has been very well thought out." What's the answer?

Hazel Yamada
Wahiawa

Superferry wouldn't be worth the problems

The problems of a Superferry from Oahu to Kahului far outweigh the benefits. And there is not much country left in the state; let's keep what we have. Write or call Senate Transportation and Government Affairs Committee Chairwoman Lorraine Inouye at 808-586-7335 (fax 808-586-7339) about Senate Bill 1785, relating to the Superferry and its Environmental Impact Statement.

Dot Buck
Kahului, Maui

Superferry would save travelers money

I whole-heartedly agree with Ray Pendleton's "Water Ways" article in the Feb. 26 Star-Bulletin on his endorsement of the Superferry. It makes sense, it's more efficient, it's one more option to go to the neighbor islands for play or business. Efficiency: Do you know what that translates to in plain English? The bottom line is it would save you money! Remember Mahalo Airlines' $10 one-way neighbor island flight? The free market is always the most efficient.

Competition breeds innovation and new and better ways of doing things. That's what America is based on. Hawaii deserves to be a leader and move into the 21st century, we have been waiting for much too long. Go Superferry! Why pay more?

Richard Mori
Pearl City

City, state should leave excise tax alone

The taxpayers of Hawaii need reminding that Hawaii's 4 percent general excise tax (GET) collects as much funds as an equivalent sales tax of 10 to 11 percent, according to the Tax Foundation of Hawaii.

Both the Honolulu City Council and the state Legislature are now trying to raise our GET by 25 percent (an increase of 4 percent to 5 percent is a 25 percent actual increase in the tax). That tax increase would mean an equivalent of as much as a 13 percent sales tax. Where else in the country do they have a 13-percent sales tax?

Hawaii is also the worst tax environment for businesses in all 50 United States, according to the Tax Foundation (federal level). And Honolulu is also currently the fourth-most expensive place to live in the United States.

I urge all Hawaii taxpayers to let your elected officials know we are fed up and won't take it anymore. Call or write your elected officials today.

Darci Evans
Honolulu

Former mayor lives in different world

So, now there are two city agencies investigating whether there were ethics or possible criminal violations in using taxpayers' money to print former Mayor Jeremy Harris' book, "The Renaissance of Honolulu" (Star-Bulletin, March 3).

Harris was, and is, living in his own little world.

And you know, a funny thing happened on the way home from work one day; I thought that I had seen a copy of "The Renaissance of Honolulu" floating across Kalanianaole Highway in a disgusting slick of spilled sewage. Hmm, I wonder if it was a first edition, signed by the author.

Michael Lauck
Honolulu

Government should look after homeless

Government has a duty to provide its homeless citizens with the basic necessities of life. Eviction, the government's response to the plight of the homeless, is thoughtless. Government should open homeless campsites equipped with the basic necessities of life: running water, bathrooms and barbecue pits, and issue camping permits to regulate their use.

While providing homeless families some stability, the campsites would give government the opportunity to plan a more effective response to the homeless situation.

Richard Hoke
Honolulu

Kahoolawe could pay for transit system

I have a modest proposal to pay for, and maintain, a world-class transit system without more taxes. Sell the rights to develop Kahoolawe into a first-class destination resort. The bids for the development rights alone would pay to build a wonderful system, and the lease rents thereafter would maintain a transportation system for the people of Hawaii that the world would envy.

The United States did after all return it to Hawaii and all its people, despite the spin put on the return by the governor.

And if the community ever decides to consider gambling restricted to that island, I am sure the additional fees and taxes would pay for university-level education for every child in Hawaii, so Hawaii's children would no longer have to share textbooks.

Restoration and re-planting could be another condition of the bid, so the island would be quickly returned to the people of Hawaii with parks and nature preserves as well as hotels and amusement centers for all to enjoy.

Kahoolawe is Hawaii's second-greatest asset after Pearl Harbor. It's too late to ever have Pearl Harbor back as the base for an economy as successful as Hong Kong's. But not so for Kahoolawe.

George L. Berish
Honolulu

New arterial would solve transit problems

Much is being said about solutions to our transit problem, from rail to increased taxes as a means to reduce the number of motor vehicles on our highways. Any effort to discourage residents from using motor vehicles is doomed to failure. Our affinity to our cars is comparable to a Catholic marriage -- no divorce.

A rail corridor is discriminatory as it favors only those along or near the corridor. Residents in the windward areas are disadvantaged as they do not derive any direct benefits but are nonetheless compelled to pay for its cost.

A more reasoned solution would be to consider a mauka arterial to provide an alternate corridor. The arterial can be constructed on the fringes where population is sparse. It requires tunneling but this can easily be done with the machinery developed by the Dillingham Corp. for use in Australia and the English Channel. The cost is expensive but not prohibitive, and should not be much more than rail transit.

The mauka arterial connecting the H-3, Likelike and Pali highways running to Hawaii Kai would certainly relieve the congestion and avoid the morning and evening gridlock that is in the immediate horizon. It is beyond reason that all the leeward traffic has no dispersion route coming off the H-1.

T. Bruce Honda
Honolulu

Narconon program has proven success

For years an enemy has insidiously attacked us in Hawaii -- drugs and drug abuse. Our keiki, neighbors, co-workers, our ohana have been grabbed by this monster and dragged down into the depths of human experience. No one is immune.

It is hard to confront. Confronting a family member strung out on meth, I would not wish on anyone. Watching children get lured by advertising into the clutches of "innocent drugs" such as alcohol or marijuana is hard to confront. Drugs and drug abuse are damn hard to confront. Not dealing with them would be even harder.

Narconon Hawaii was formed by a couple of brave souls confronted with a hard choice -- either do something about it or get the hell out of the way. We chose this program to introduce to Hawaii, clear and simple, because it works. Its rehabilitation component is second to none. Its prevention program works equally well with literally reams of success stories from kids around the world who have benefited from it. Children, teachers, parents rave about the successes of Narconon drug education.

How do I know it works? I have studied the materials and reports on the program for more than 10 years. I have visited its international headquarters and talked to the people who have dedicated their lives to confronting this epidemic. I found that their understanding of the problem is superior to anyone that I know. Most important, I have seen the program in action. I have seen children learning something that will help them protect themselves from the ravages of drugs.

Some time ago I was shocked to discover that a cousin was living in a Matson container, being eaten alive by crystal meth. It took some doing, but we got her to a Narconon center. The moment I saw her again changed my life forever, looking at someone radiating life, full of hope. There is no one on this planet who can convince me that Narconon Drug Prevention and Rehabilitation does not work.

I urge the people of Hawaii to find out about Narconon first hand, and you be the judge (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 25). I also urge you not to take the advice of Californians who criticize Narconon for failing to acknowledge that "drug use is not drug abuse."

Finally, the San Francisco Chronicle got it wrong. There was no letter banning Narconon. It is delivering throughout the schools in California.

Myron Thompson Jr.
Chairman of the board
Narconon Hawaii

Hemmings speaks for many in Hawaii

The people of Hawaii should be thankful to Sen. Fred Hemmings for sticking up for the silent majority ("With freedom of speech comes responsibility," Star-Bulletin, Feb. 27).

As a taxpayer I agree with Hemmings that the University of Hawaii should not have provided the extreme radical Ward Churchill, a lying and despicable man, a platform to spew his hateful venom. Let the likes of Churchill step on a soap box and spew his hatred to all that will listen but not on the taxpayers' dime.

People from Hawaii who I consider heroes died in the twin towers on 9/11, and we do not need this evil person to detract from their ultimate sacrifice. The UH administration should give more thought to who has access to the campus. If UH continues down this path, finding more funding could be difficult. I have the list of groups who sponsored Churchill and I will not spend my time or money supporting them, including the Matsunaga Peace Institute. I will also make it a point to tell my family and friends to do the same.

Mahalo, Sen. Hemmings, for looking out for us, and keep up the good work.

John Ornellas
Lanai City, Lanai

Hawaii's schools aren't the safest

Recently, Board of Education member Karen Knudsen stated that Hawaii's schools are among the safest in the nation. Her statement, although optimistic, is not at all accurate. According to the Accountability Resource Center of the state Department of Education, although disciplinary suspensions have consistently declined in Hawaii's schools since 1995-96, there are other factors to consider. Its study shows that schools have experienced an increase in harassment and assault incidents on campuses from 2000-2001 to 2001-2002.

Violence is on the rise, the BOE cannot deny that. The numbers of such incidents increased from 2,710 in 2001-2002 to 3,412 in 2002-2003. None of Hawaii's schools meet federal requirements to be labeled "persistently dangerous" schools, but this does not mean that our schools are anywhere near the safest.

A study by the Report on the Implementation of the Gun-Free Schools Act in the States and Outlying Areas showed that from the year 1999 to 2000 several states had fewer students caught with firearms on campus than did Hawaii. Our school crime problems can be decreased, but they haven't been yet.

Eliza Talbot
Honolulu

Oil industry takes advantage of Hawaii

Mahalo for your Feb. 24 editorial regarding the gas rent-cap law upholding the right of the state to protect its interest, and that of its citizens, from what can only be called the most badly behaved bunch of capitalists in the country: the oil industry.

Recently Kauai's gas prices were $2.68 (using the Lundgren method of price averaging) even though it only costs 5 cents a gallon to ship gas from Oahu.

Outrageously, Hawaii exports refined gasoline to California, Australia and New Zealand. Gas taxes are not so far out of line as to make up the vast disparity between what islanders pay for gas vs. what mainlanders pay, which, by the way, sails past us en route to the West Coast from Indonesia and the Middle East.

Six truckloads of fuel a day are currently required to run our island's new power plant above Hanamaulu. I have been able to cut corners in my business, which includes deliveries island wide, but that can only go so far. Soon I will have to raise my prices to my customers to cover energy costs for delivery and production.

There was a time when individual capitalists supplied electricity to customers through privately held companies. Eventually the citizens around the nation took over production and distribution of that utility. It is time to start thinking about the oil industry in terms of a public utility and act accordingly.

Enough is enough.

Martin Rice
Kapaa, Kauai

Hawaii's marinas are an embarrassment

Ala Wai Yacht Harbor is falling apart. The February issue of Sail, the premier national periodical for sailors, has an article highlighting the deplorable state of our major marina. Several months ago, the organ of the Boat Owner's Association of the United States also ran an article about the sorry state of boating facilities here in Hawaii. Now boat owners around the country know our dirty little secret.

Hawaii is the hub of the Pacific Ocean. As such she is the terminus for two major long-distance races. The sailing conditions here are some of the best in the world. Her marinas should be sparkling jewels in the crown that is this awesome archipelago. Yet, the truth is that our Aloha State is singularly unfriendly to boaters. Her marinas prove it.

The article in Sail ends, "What about the state of the State of Hawaii? Hello, out there?" As an avid sailor and boat owner myself, I would like to ask the same question.

Chip Wheeler
Kaneohe



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