HECO will get theirs one way or the other
We taxpayers, through our electric bills, paid Hawaiian Electric Co. $19.2 million for energy-saving programs. This is our money they are giving back to us. HECO kept $11.6 million for their shareholders. Their logic is that we paid them less on our electric bills so they needed more money for the electric power we did not use.
Haven't we read several times recently that HECO wants us to save electricity because they have no power?
I believe this means that if we save power, as they say they need to avoid blackouts, they have to raise our rates for lost power sales. If we use less electricity, they need money to cover their loss.
Does the governor's energy program to have a third party receive these funds to give our money back to us make sense? We will have to see. HECO wants to keep control of the money we pay. What would their poor shareholders do if we got our money back to save on our electric bills?
Council isn't cutting, it's raising taxes
The story "Tax cuts top Council's to-do list" (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 27
) was misleading. In reality, the City Council is raising taxes again, and your reports make it sound the opposite! Lowell Kalapa of the Hawaii Tax Foundation hit it on the head when he called all the forthcoming plans "gimmicks." The Council did not do its job for this year when it raised property taxes an average of 28 percent. There was little or no resistance from our two daily newspapers or the public.
Now, if the City Council adopts the same tax rates it will raise property taxes another 26 percent next tax year. All this when the price index is increasing at a rate of around 4 percent. Any of the "gimmicks" adopted by the Council will still result in a tax increase much greater than the ability of people to pay. The only fair solution is to lower the tax rates so that the city collects the same amount of money next year as it collected this year.
Akaka's aloha reached New Orleans
I was watching the Hurricane Katrina Senate hearings the other day, and was quite moved by your Sen. Daniel Akaka
's sincerity and compassion toward the suffering in our state. To think that we are thousands of miles apart, and yet your elected representative pronounces New Orleans correctly -- we are honored.
After this tragedy, I came to realize we also live in an island, and in more senses than one.
I would like to thank our new brothers and sisters, the people of Hawaii, for all the prayers and support.
New Orleans, La.
Don't vilify Sheehan, she speaks for many
Cindy Sheehan was arrested at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., before the president's State of the Union address. I can hear the chorus of voices:
"There she goes again. Grandstanding. Using her son's death for her own selfish reasons."
Check out the Web site for the Gold Star Families For Peace. It's an elite group you don't want to join. Each has had a relative killed as a result of war. Take a moment. Go down the list of those killed. Here are brothers, a sister, grandsons, fiances, nephews, a cousin, a mother, a wife, many, many sons, a father, a daughter, a husband. Most died in the current war.
You'll also find the names of those who died in Afghanistan, Desert Storm, Korea and World War ll. Are these families grandstanding? I don't think so. Many of these families are fiercely angry. They are proud of their brave men and women who died in uniform. These families are resolute. They call for an end to the war -- not next month, not next year. They call for an end to the Iraq war NOW. It can be done. It must be done. Let's do it!
Military Families Speak Out-Hawaii
Let's get rid of those pennies and nickels
I have a brilliant, easy way for the United States to save billions per year. I hereby give it to Congress in return for a mere 2.5 percent finder's fee, and I assign that fee to Hawaii's public school children.
Eliminate pennies and nickels. The government's cost for the metal in these coins, and the manufacturing cost, is huge and unnecessary.
It's long overdue. When I was small, a candy bar cost 5 cents. That means the smallest amount into which we divided a dollar -- the penny -- was one-fifth of a candy bar.
Today candy bars costs more than 50 cents, and one-fifth of that is a dime, not a penny. Since we decided that one-fifth of a candy bar was a small enough division of the dollar when I was small, a dime should be the smallest division today.
It's easy to do. Most cash registers are digital and only need a simple new chip. Actually, just putting a little tape over the last digit would be close enough for most uses in the meantime.
George L. Berish
There's a reason you can't find a space
Wednesday's article about parking woes at Ward Centers
highlights a root cause of our island's traffic problem and highlights a misplaced priority in today's society.
The cause: Once all those cars get off the H-1, where are their drivers going to leave them? According to your article, drivers are spending 40 minutes looking for a parking space. It's time for Honolulu's drivers to realize that is 40 minutes of blocking someone else from entering the lot, of blocking someone else from turning onto the street, of someone else exiting off the freeway and of someone else rolling into town on the H-1. Our citizens should use their 40 minutes to improve traffic by getting on the bus instead and supporting mass transit. Another plus, they will save the 10 minutes it takes just to remember where they left that car!
The misplaced priority: Developers are using money and space to build new places to put cars. At the same time we have a shortage of industrial space for our growing economy. Even worse, we have such a shortage of affordable housing that the city has to run the homeless off the beaches and out of the parks. We should be doing something more productive than storing SUVs with our resources.
Do critters a favor, clean up beaches
Much of the accumulation of plastic debris on Hawaii's beaches washes in from the ocean. While there is an international treaty forbidding the dumping of plastics at sea, some ship operators disguise their litter by pulverizing or burning. Plastic debris poisons, chokes and entraps marine mammals and sea birds. Scraps of rope and net clump together causing entanglements, which can result in drownings or slow death through starvation.
I urge Hawaii's beachgoers to pick up plastic trash when they see it on the sand. The simple act of filling a grocery bag with plastic beach litter will make the ocean safer for all marine life. Last spring, concerned by what we have seen here and on beaches in the Pacific Northwest, my husband and I established a Web site to inform people about this worldwide problem: www.CleanBeach.org. We volunteer at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif., and know first-hand the detrimental effects of ocean litter on marine mammals.
Walnut Creek, Calif.
HPD's firearms logic is somewhat faulty
According to its Web site, the Honolulu Police Department wants to ban .50-caliber firearms in Hawaii because they "are capable of shooting down low-flying airplanes." Given that reasoning, all men should be banned because they have the potential to be rapists. All women should be banned because they have the potential for being prostitutes.
As to enforcement, we all know that running red lights and speeding are banned. Yet we rarely see red light runners and speeders caught ... even if they do it in front of a marked police vehicle.
Neighbor isles should jump on ethanol
It may be too late to bring back sugar cane planting on Oahu for ethanol production; so much of the land has already been re-planted in houses.
When the European Union ended its sugar subsidy, Belize cane production became ethanol. Dedicating cane production to ethanol in the neighbor islands should definitely be considered before the construction workers get their hands on the land. The savings in fuel costs will certainly improve their quality of life there.
Oahu has H-power and doesn't quite know why, even with Hawaiian Electric's Chinese coal-fired electric power plant and distribution facility so close, but that's another story for another letter.
Don't call emergency for parking complaints
While reading the Kokua Line question-and-answer article in your Jan. 31 issue
, I found one of the answers disturbing. Regarding what to do of you find a taxi or limo in a parking spot with an expired meter, the article states, "Next time you see this, call 911."
While I do not support taxis and limos hogging these parking stalls, the 911 service was created and should be used for emergencies and to report crimes. These lines should not be tied up for parking violations. While someone is complaining because they cannot find a parking spot, there might be another citizen having a heart attack and needing an ambulance. How about calling a nonemergency number to report the violation? Get a phone book.
Nothing's ever done about homelessness
For the past 30-odd years the major Oahu newspapers have printed and reprinted the same (redundant) articles, editorials and opinion pieces regarding the "homeless crisis" and the need to raise property taxes to cover costs. Why is this so? Why haven't the city, state and federal governments gotten together and at least tried to solve these problems?
Several years ago the Neighborhood Boards on Oahu got together and lobbied the Legislature to give them the income from the hotel room tax. This was done and the city didn't need to increase the real property taxes. Why did the state dry up this funding?
The "homeless crisis" could have been minimized if the federal government had transferred a closed-down military facility (i.e., West Loch Naval Repair Facility) to the state. The homeless would than have had a housing, medical, recreational and food service operation, off the beaten path and conducive to their treatment and training. Why didn't that happen?
I can only guess that the bureaucrats didn't want to talk to each other and, at the same time, were not competent to work out long-range solutions. Nothing has changed. I liked it better when we were a territory.