Don't blame police for your traffic violations
To the letter writer (Letters, Star-Bulletin, Feb. 3
) who complained about the Honolulu Police Department's use of Segway vehicles -- don't get mad at HPD's choice of tools for the officers just because you didn't stop at a stop sign.
I see the Segways in patrol use downtown and can see that they are a useful device. They increase the range and speed of officers, and the stealthy, quiet and raised view they afford sure must come in handy as well.
Just obey the basic law and they won't need your signature on the ticket form. Stop means stop. For all of us.
Now if there was only some way to be rid of noise-maker exhausts, monster-truck tires, unlicensed, uninsured and just plain old bad drivers.
Let bicycle riders have elevated lanes
Regarding Monday's article about connecting bikers to the new transit
by allowing bikes on the train: I have been thinking for awhile about a novel approach for the new elevated transit line. One of the problems with riding a bike in Hawaii is that our roads are very dangerous for the cyclist.
Solution? Attach biking lanes to the elevated transit. This could be as simple as doing a "double deck" either above or below the train itself. It would not need to be heavily reinforced like a regular road. This would allow many residents of Oahu to get to their destinations in a safe and healthy way.
Don't spend tax money for a few bicyclists
The lead story in the Feb. 5 Star-Bulletin
, "Transit factors into plan for bikes," was quite interesting -- comical but interesting, nonetheless.
Because a few cyclists want to commute to work on their bikes, Mayor Mufi Hannemann is going to spend the taxpayers' time and money to perpetrate a pipe dream. The city administrator will be requesting $200,000 just to conduct a study, and the projected cost -- undoubtedly way low if this project is ever started -- is $80 million.
The kicker here is that any multimillion-dollar project paid for by tax funds should be for the benefit of the masses of the people, not for a miniscule percent of the total population! Here on Kauai a white elephant bike path is being shoved down the people's throats and so far $50 million has been spent and of the proposed 20 miles of path only 2.5 miles has been completed and the roadblocks ahead for the rest of the path are too numerous to mention.
The major means of transportation is and always will be the automobile. No bus or billion-dollar rail system will ever replace the car, as documented evidence has shown. So, Mr. Mayor, use your time, effort and money to make traffic flow as smoothly as possible and don't waste it on a bike path.
Don't direct protests toward the troops
As I was driving my son home from his gymnastics class this week, I passed the entrance to one of the several military bases located on Oahu. There were about 20 protesters standing outside the base entrance with signs
that primarily said, "Stop this illegal war." Whether I agree or disagree with that statement, I could not help but believe that these men and women could have chosen a better location for their protest. The people who enter and exit military bases are primarily the military personnel who serve there, and their families. These individuals are not lawmakers with authority to either stop the war in Iraq or change U.S. policy in that country. While I hope and do not believe that the protesters intended to convey that they do not support the military personnel or their families working and living on the base, this was, I believe, an unintended consequence of their message.
By choosing to voice their disapproval of the war at a location where the vast majority of people actually seeing their message were members of the military community, these protesters were, in effect, picketing against military personnel and their families, instead of directing their remarks toward people with the authority to effect change in U.S. war policy.
I suggest that the only signs that we should be waiving outside our military bases are those that unequivocally support our troops whether or not you agree with the war. If you feel the need, raise a sign that reads: "We support our troops, but let's stop this war!"
I urge those who are calling for change in Iraq to target their protests toward the proper audience to effect change -- our elected officials and members of the voting public at large -- rather than soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and their families.
Power, cable lines belong underground
It's time Hawaiian Electric Co. started looking to long-term profits instead of short-term bottom line. Historical analysis has shown that it takes about 28 years to break even on the cost of putting electrical lines underground. That should be less with the cost shared by the telephone and cable companies.
On the Windward side from Kaneohe to Haleiwa, they could combine the project with a sewer line and start eliminating some of the thousands of cesspools that have not been upgraded to septic tanks. How many have walked our incredible beaches along that coast only to be hit in the nose with the stench pouring from the streams? Who wants to walk through the wastes people put down their drains and toilets? I know sea life would appreciate the relief.
Think of the enhanced beauty by eliminating those unsightly poles, overladen with cables as big as your leg. Think of the public's safety (we were almost hit by one of the 20 poles that fell all at once by Whitmore Village in January of 2004). Think of the space saved by eliminating poles that could be paved over for a dedicated bicycle lane or possibly a center turning lane in busier areas. Think of the savings in trees not having to be cut down. Think not just of the long-term profits, though that should be enough for HECO and Oceanic Cable. Think of the future. Think of our island home.
Alan R. Wehmer
Member, Outdoor Circle
Mainlanders also like cheaper housing
Discussions of "affordable" housing miss an important consideration. How many people freezing in Indiana or Kansas (for example) would move here tomorrow if "affordable" housing were available? They certainly wouldn't have a problem getting a job. I seriously doubt we want to spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidize more people moving here from the mainland. But there is no way to restrict subsidized housing to those already here.
The hard truth is that there will always be more demand for below-market-priced housing than any program, private or public, can possibly supply. That's just Economics 101.
Drift racing no boon to the community
Have you heard? The city has allowed street car drift racing at Aloha Stadium! Isn't that awesome?
Of course the race cars now need to roar frequently through once-quiet neighborhoods after midnight so they can get in training for the next stadium events. But that's OK. Another side benefit is that ambulance jobs will increase to meet the supply and demand of picking up dead and maimed bodies. Racing also keeps families more alert as they look in their rearview mirrors on the H-1 and elsewhere in fear of the racers weaving in and out of lanes, then quickly whizzing by.
Yes, we are truly lucky to have city and state leaders with such impeccable vision. What's next? How about passing bills to sponsor garbage truck racers from places such as the Amazon and Antarctica? Again, our city is so blessed to have such insightful leaders ... for each step forward, two steps backward? At that rate, maybe we will unequivocally advance to caveman status, and be the envy to the rest of the world!
Are our city leaders proud of approving such races at the stadium? The results are that more danger on the streets and noise complaints result in outlying neighborhoods before and after these new drift races at the stadium.
State needs more appropriate motto
If we move quickly, I think we still have time for a last-minute submission for the new Hawaii quarter. My suggestion for the design: Put an image of the state's new proposed private jet for elected officials on one side, and an image of one of Hawaii's dilapidated public school's on the other side. Include the new revised state motto: "The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Politics."
Cynthia Oi's "Under the Sun" column, which normally appears Wednesdays, will return next week.