Will homes be torn out to make room for rail?
Pablo Wegesend raised an important concern in his Jan. 28 letter to the editor
, but we have yet to see anyone address it.
Wegesend said, "With all the talk about light rail, there is one question that needs to be answered: Who's going to be forced out of the way to make room for light rail infrastructure?"
Good point. What assurance do we have that the City & County of Honolulu won't exercise eminent domain after selecting a route for the fixed-rail system? I find the very idea that the city might have to resort to condemning people's houses far more unsettling than any increase in the general excise tax.
We shouldn't rest easy until the City & County publicly promises us, in this newspaper's op-ed pages for everyone to read, that it won't forcibly confiscate anyone's private land when the time comes to construct the rail.
Stuart K. Hayashi
Can't traffic lights be synchronized?
My usual 20-minute drive home took me almost two hours on Tuesday afternoon. I know not much can be done about the freeway traffic, but what about the major highways like the Nimitz and Kamehameha? If the traffic lights on Nimitz eastbound into Honolulu can be synchronized in the mornings, why can't they be synchronized westbound in the afternoon? And the same with all the major roadways in and out of Honolulu and all other major cities on the islands. It doesn't take a traffic engineer to see that synchronized traffic lights keep the traffic moving.
I'll bet most drivers would vote for a bond that would pay for the lights on major arteries to be synchronized.
'New' KHON will miss producer's expertise
I am outraged and saddened that KHON has let go of a great treasure in morning show executive producer Wally Zimmerman
. As a publicist -- and I know I'm really putting myself and my clients at risk of any future coverage on the station -- I cannot help but speak out.
Wally was the consummate professional to work with, a real news man, and a gentleman. Whenever I pitched guests for the morning show, he suggested ways to make their appearance more interesting, impactful and informative. He could have just gone by the numbers and saved himself a lot of extra time and work, but he always looked for the extra punch to tell the story well. He dug up old clips, Googled the Web and even challenged me to make the interview a better story.
I'm hoping the station's new management will reconsider and bring him back, because he is a great asset to KHON and adds to the overall quality of their news programming.
Mona K. Wood
Some on Council changed landfill votes
In 2004 the Honolulu City Council voted 6-3
to keep Waimanalo Gulch landfill open, but last month they voted 7-2 to close it
. Yet eight of the nine Council members are exactly the same -- what gives?
I looked and found Charles Djou and Nestor Garcia both voted previously to close Waimanalo Gulch and they stayed consistent, voting again last month to close that landfill. Similarly, Barbara Marshall and Rod Tam voted in 2004 to keep it open and again voted against the bill to close it.
But what about the rest of them at the Council? For the rest of the Council, I guess it just depends on the direction of the political winds. No wonder why no one respects City Hall -- it's a den of deceit.
Jones Act helps keep American ports secure
The debate about ownership of ports in American cities brings to the forefront an issue of utmost importance to our country and Hawaii specifically that has somehow managed to fall off our radar screen -- the Jones Act. Now, more than ever, we must preserve this federal law, which was designed to protect America's workers and our environment but also helps protect our nation's ports.
The Jones Act ensures that American waters are protected, and as an island state this law has even greater value for Hawaii. The law ensures that goods and passengers transported between U.S. ports are on ships registered and built in the United States, and perhaps most importantly, for national security reasons, crewed by U.S. citizens.
It was with great foresight that Congress passed this act in 1920. As we steer our way through the uncertain waters of international diplomacy, it behooves us to keep vigilant and protect this important law.
Rep. Brian Schatz