It sure is great to be a millionaire
Thank you, Mr. Mayor! Your property assessment people just made me a millionaire ("Oahu property values up 26 percent," Star-Bulletin, Dec. 16
). I'd write and thank you personally but I'm not sure I can afford the postage stamp, because my property tax is going to increase by more than $80 a month. So I'm using the newspaper instead and saving my pennies.
I'm on a fixed income, two years into retirement. So I'm property rich and cash poor. Thing is, my wife and I bought this house 30-odd years ago as a place to live, raise a family and eventually retire, not to make ourselves millionaires, and we have no intention of selling.
Our assessment has just gone up 47 percent. It went up 48 percent last year. Surely the cost of government services didn't go up that much.
I'm glad to hear that the city is hoping to do something to ease the burden for those of us on fixed incomes.
Smoking poll didn't represent majority
In "Smoking gets no voter sympathy" (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 14
), it appears that the majority has spoken on this topic.
Yikes -- since when can a survey group of 605 of Hawaii's registered voters be considered to be a MAJORITY of Hawaii voters?
Aside from questioning the validity of the survey concerning the changes to Hawaii smoking laws, I really question that a handful of people represent the state opinion on any matter. I shudder to think that the fate of our state laws could be swayed by such a powerful group of people as the 605 surveyed. For such a hot topic, one would think that the survey group, in the seven days it took to take the survey, could have contacted a bit more registered voters than it takes to fill a couple of airplanes.
Let's see ... figure it takes about 15 minutes to call and talk to a person about this survey. So, at least four people per hour could have been successfully contacted. In an eight-hour day, that would be 32 contacts per day, or 224 contacts in the survey week. OK, they worked night and day on this one, so that would be 672 contacts.
It appears that 67 contacts wished to remain anonymous or were really upset with the 3 a.m. Question of the Week, "Are you a registered voter?"
I only hope that these 605 voters are old enough to remember a former country called Russia, where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was a dream but now a reality. I can live without another totalitarian state.
Is it a transit plan or a big money pit?
The letter from Kristi Sue-Ako (Letters, Dec. 11
) raises some excellent points about the wisdom of committing to an expensive project before knowing what that project looks like and without community support. I'd like to add the observation that recent actions by this city administration don't instill confidence about how this expensive mass transit project will be managed.
Whatever one's position on rail transit, there are billions of dollars involved and we all expect the contracting process to be ethical and lawful. We certainly don't want any more Ewa Villages. But here at the birth of this large, expensive project, the very first contract has been tainted by a questionable selection process. When City Councilman Charles Djou challenged the selection process, both Mayor Hannemann and Rep. Abercrombie immediately resorted to name-calling and attempting to demean the Councilman. That tacky response spoke volumes to me, a taxpayer who doesn't want my money being used as "walking around" pocket money for politicians. I applaud Djou's courage and diligence in pursuing this.
But where are the other Council members? Why the silence? There can only be two reasons, and neither is very flattering.
I think Sue-Ako is on the right track. The city is jumping into a deep pit because there is no plan for the transit project. But there might be other plans for how that money is used. Miss Sue-Ako, the pit might be a whole lot deeper than you think. Let's support Councilman Djou.
Robert R. Kessler
Should we ban talking on cells while driving?
As a state senator, I am very much concerned about traffic laws, and particularly the issue of banning cellular phone usage with driving. Thus, I noted Chad Morikawa's recent letter, "Driver cell phone ban would make streets safer." (Letters, Oct. 4
) There is ample and mounting evidence that the use of cellular phones while driving creates a distraction that contributes to an increasing number of traffic accidents. I have witnessed on numerous occasions the hazard of such cell phone use.
I introduced a bill in the 2005 legislative session to address this issue, with exceptions for traffic emergencies. The bill passed out of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Government Operations, but did not go further.
I would like to know if residents in Hawaii would support a total ban on cellular phone use while driving. I would ask the public to contact my office 586-6131,* e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax 585-6131 with their opinions.
Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland
Telling the truth is always the best choice
Not long ago, the Star-Bulletin published a very interesting article about 10 Paradoxical Commandments created by Kent Keith ("View from the Pew,"
Oct.15). Here's a suggestion for the 11th Commandment:
"If you tell the truth even though your boss orders you to tell a lie, you may be fired. Tell the truth anyway."
Actually, in the early 1920s, when I was still a baby, my father experienced that kind of challenge. While working in a grocery store, he and the other employees were told to lie to customers about a certain product. However, Dad told the truth and, as a consequence, lost his job!
Providentially, he soon found a much better-paying job elsewhere.
Armin H. Kroehler