Interisland passengers finally getting a break
The execs of both Hawaiian and Aloha airlines should quit complaining about unfair competition and concentrate on providing good service and competitive fares. The public supported their airlines and workers during the difficult times of bankruptcy. After all, we have family and friends who work for them.
For five years, however, those of us who fly regularly to Hilo had to put up with limited availability of seats, sometimes flying to Kona and driving across the island to get home.
What about their high fares? As recently as a year ago on Labor Day weekend, when I planned a weekend visit to Hilo, I was put off by the "lower Web fares" of $290 round-trip fare on Hawaiian and $320 on Aloha. Who believed fares would get that high? Back then they said it was supply and demand.
The present fare promotions are also about supply and demand. And after years of high fares and long drives home, the public should benefit from the available seats and temporary fare relief that competitive promotions offer.
Miles N.L. Matsumura
How will rail fare during power outage?
Before people look to a light-rail transit system as a way to avoid traffic problems such as that created by the recent damage of the overpass in Aiea, they might check the route of the proposed system and how the trains will be powered in the event of a utility failure.
I did not see any renderings that showed the buildings enclosing the diesel-electric back-up generators that would be required to power the rail cars or the systems. The cost for back-up generators couldn't be more than a few million dollars -- and maintaining them would cost only about as much as the back-up generators at the sewage treatment facilities.
Cost will go higher for shrinking rail route
The mayor keeps insisting that he can build a no-frills rail transit for "around $3 billion" and this system can go somewhere in West Oahu to somewhere in town. Just a few weeks ago, this same $3 billion was going to get the system all the way to the University of Hawaii.
The mayor was the only one in town who thought the route all the way to UH would come in at $3 billion. After all, that was the cost in 1991 ($2.5 to $3 billion) stopping in Iwilei. Even the engineering firm the city has paid $10 million to, and are paid to spin this in the best possible light, said it would be north of $4 billion. Now, suddenly, $3 billion is the cap. What has happened?
Apparently the numbers, which the public have seen, have been crunched and they must be rather scary. How many large city projects come in at budget? A few overruns could cost millions. It will take extreme vigilance to keep the system viable. Who will provide this oversight? Hopefully not a bunch of politicians.
Anti-war candidate still likes defense dollars
Since the Akaka camp has shocked the world by declaring that his opponent doesn't deserve a debate, it appears we voters will have to create another venue to air our own questions for the candidates. I suggest we begin right here.
My first question is for Senator Akaka: Senator, you have presented your opposition to the Iraq War as proof of your adherence to values of peace and diplomacy ahead of military action. However, you also have a long history of supporting the U.S. military buildup in Hawaii, including H-3, missiles on Kauai, the Stryker Brigade. Senator, can you name even one Hawaii-based military project you have ever opposed?
If I may follow-up, I'd also like to ask if, in your view, Hawaii's dependence on defense spending actually contributes to the defense of Hawaii (particularly as the troops purporting to defend the isles are from the same nation responsible for the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom about which you spearheaded an apology bill through Congress), or do you merely support an unlimited flow of DoD pork as a home-grown jobs program?
Richard A.I. Weigel
Valet parking unfairly restricts public access
The very limited parking spaces in public parking lots should be available to all taxpayers at one set price and on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Introducing valet parking at the Honolulu airport, Blaisdell complex, etc., is to install a system that caters to those with the ability to pay at the expense of those who just want an equal chance at getting a space at a public parking facility.
Removing a portion of the parking spaces and reserving them for valet parking severely reduces the number of spaces available to those who park their cars themselves no matter how early they arrive or how empty the valet section may be.
This two-tier system discriminates against the taxpayer who expects equal opportunity at a parking space without having to contend with those who are able to pay a expensive valet fee for an assured space.
Valet parking may be OK on private property, but on public property, one would expect the general public to be on an equal footing with the privileged.
Richard Y. Will
Improving charter schools got Shon fired
I was astonished to read that the Board of Education fired Jim Shon for not "taking charter schools in the direction they needed to go."
Chairman Randall Yee told reporters, "But in terms of the board's decision and deliberation, we felt that we were ready to go in a different direction."
The direction Dr. Shon was taking the charter schools was UP! For the first time since their creation charter schools are receiving more equitable funding; they have access to federal grant money; and charter school employees are receiving health insurance, workmens' compensation, and all of the other benefits guaranteed to all other state employees.
Mahalo, Jim, for moving charter schools in this direction. Sorry it cost you your job!