Homes aren't worth as much as city thinks
Here we go again! How can the City & County of Honolulu Real Property Assessment Division
come up with the value of a 1-bedroom leasehold apartment with no parking as $317,100? I cannot even get $120,000 in the market.
The general excise tax is going up soon; the property tax rate will go up, too. "Lucky you live Hawaii," huh?
Symphony, supporters deserve more respect
For more than 30 years we have been Honolulu Symphony season ticket holders ... 30 years that represent our loyalty to the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and their music, plus our considerable financial commitment over those three decades. The suggestion now is we can all go to the Waikiki Shell ("Bumped by Broadway show, symphony seeks new venue." Dec. 12
This snub, this nasty slap in the face to our renowned orchestra and to all its loyal supporters is appalling. Only after the concert series is planned and published; only after patrons have purchased 2007 season tickets are the symphony and its supporters informed of the city's intention to dump a most valued cultural asset of Honolulu for an imported musical stage production that supposedly will garner the city more cash than our talented musicians can.
Quality of life ought to be a high priority for city officials. Maybe Mayor Mufi Hannemann can fill the gap by crooning Christmas carols when the symphony is no more?
This magnificent Honolulu Symphony is the envy of cities around the world, yet this city government is treating its own residents with such a monumental lack of respect, with such scarcity of aloha. It's mind boggling. Who and why, Mr. Mayor?
Watada should be awarded, not punished
I feel that 1st Lt. Ehren Watada should be thanked instead of prosecuted ("Watada looking forward to trial's end," Star-Bulletin, Dec. 19
). He was only standing up for international, U.S. and military law by refusing to deploy to Iraq in support of the ongoing illegal war and occupation. It should be those who encouraged this war who should be brought up on charges.
From the pre-emptive invasion based on deception, to the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and more than 3,000 U.S. troops, to the infamous Abu Ghraib torture cells and the recent Haditha massacre, no more evidence is required of how very wrong this war is. It is refreshing that at least one person is willing to stand up and follow his conscience. It is a shame more haven't done this.
I would like to see the following:
» All charges should be dismissed.
» There should be congressional hearings on the legality of the Iraq war. Any court-martial should be delayed until after these hearings are held.
» Watada should receive no confinement as punishment. In fact he should not receive any punishment. He should be given an award.
Watada a bad example of a service member
After reading yesterday's Star-Bulletin with the interview with 1st Lt. Ehren Watada
, it became crystal clear to me. Watada says he left Punahou School and entered Kalani High School to escape the academic pressures of Punahou and enjoy his remaining years of high school.
Well, school is now out and it is time for Watada to receive his report card. Personally, I believe he deserves a failing grade. Why does this man think he can join the military and pick and choose whether or not he wants to deploy? The example he sets is a very poor example of the many brave Americans who have served and are now serving our great country, and the great many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live in a strong, free and independent America.
ACLU helps homeless, but mainly helps itself
You have just got to love the American Civil Liberties Union! The ACLU gets $37,500 in reimbursement for getting the homeless case settlement from the city ("City settles homeless protest suits," Star-Bulletin, Dec. 15
). That amount is more than all the litigants are getting combined.
Of course, the ACLU is doing all this for the general good. Hmmm, maybe they are in this for just the money? Naahh, the people at the ACLU wouldn't do that, would they?
Michael G. Lindo
Former Hawaii resident
Dedicated 'busway' better than rail
The Washington, D.C., subway system is already heavily subsidized by the federal, Maryland and Virginia governments. Yet the D.C. Metro is poised to raise its maximum rush hour fare to $6 per each way. Why? Despite its full trains, the D.C. Metro is facing a $136 million dollar deficit. (The D.C. Metro has run in the red since opening in 1976.)
Contrast this situation to Honolulu's proposed train system -- a system that won't achieve full use for years. The experience of mainland cities assures that if we build the mayor's train, we on Oahu can anticipate a financial black hole that will perpetually demand ever-growing bites out of our wallets.
However, if we are to get stuck with this financial turkey, a dedicated high-speed "bus-way" makes much more sense than a train. A bus, say from Wailua or central Oahu, could operate on existing highways and then enter the dedicated busway at numerous points along the "track" and then zip into downtown Honolulu, the airport or the University of Hawaii. For many people, this would save the substantial amounts of time involved in transferring from bus or car onto a fixed train system -- thereby enhancing ridership and system flexibility.
Chinese sailors coming from behind
The Associated Press article "Chinese Setting Sail" (Star- Bulletin Dec. 14) was rather pointless; a team of misfits from a yacht club located near the marina where the sailing event of the 2008 Olympic Summer Games will be held (Qingdao City, Shandong Province, People's Republic of China) is "wallowing near the bottom of an 11-competitor field" in the America's Cup trials.
I attended the Qingdao 2006 International Regatta late in August. I'm a big fan of Xu Lijia, who had an off day.
Earlier in the month, Xu had outstripped the field in the Laser Radials Worlds held at the California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey. Xu won the championship on points without needing to compete in the final race. She was then a 19-year-old.
She also won a gold medal in the recent Asian Games. She was the only female in her sailing category, yet she raced the males and beat them all.
The America's Cup, that "most prestigious sailing event," won't be won by the People's Republic of China anytime soon. Yet that country beat its nearest competitors -- Japan and South Korea, combined -- by half again as many gold medals in the Asian Games, held Dec. 1 - 15 in Doha, Qatar. And China is obsessed with being "faster" "higher" "stronger" within the next 600 days than the only team that beat it in the Athens Olympics: the United States of America.