Rail route decided by old-boy politics
So the City Council has squandered our most expensive public works project in history, for a few political crumbs. Due to political cronyism and last-minute threats, we now have a rail route that starts in a vacant former sugar-cane field, bypasses three of the largest activity/employment centers in the state (airport/Hickam/Pearl Harbor, Waikiki and the University of Hawaii) and ends at a mall (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 28
Should we be outraged? Yes. Should we be surprised? No. As long as we continue to elect the self-interested, provincial, good ol' boys network to our City Council, we will never have a world-class city or transit system. Feels like 1992 all over again. Had enough yet?
Waikiki Neighborhood Board
Don't charge more for basic city service
Mayor Mufi Hannemann proposes to actually charge taxpayers for trash pickup in exchange for picking up alternating varieties of recyclable waste (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 23
). Huh? Really, Mr. Mayor? Are you sure you want to go there?
First, why not set up designated drop sites for recyclable waste? Then let those who choose to participate get off their rumps and dump it themselves? Or, and this would make the most sense, charge $10 per month to those who want their recyclables picked up and have the city pick up the trash, as presently scheduled like it is supposed to be doing in the first place. Either way, charging taxpayers additional monies for doing what we already are paying for is absurd, idiotic and downright criminal!
There are plenty of other ways to be environmentally conscious without burdening taxpayers more for things that have always been the city's responsibility. Besides, if nobody pays for it, it will look bad for the mayor and the city will pick it up eventually anyway. I expect my trash to be picked up. As for recyclables, I give my bottles to my friends and they cash them in and that's the extent of my contribution.
Marshall G. Rieth
Visitors not only ones who feel unsatisfied
"Visitors feel less satisfied, study finds," according to Friday's Star-Bulletin
. Well, just look at how many senseless racial attacks happened this week against nonlocals. How many people got run over in the crosswalks? Not even counting a wife being stabbed 100 times, which was surely nonracial, but society better try to get along better than this.
Hard to believe this is called an aloha state. I wouldn't come here as a tourist.
Catholics should side with the underdogs
Thank you for your March 2 editorial
"Civil unions' death an affront to gay couples." Shelving the bill is indeed an affront to gay couples, but it is also an affront to all of us in Hawaii who believe in equality of justice.
It is so disappointing to watch and listen to our elected officials as they engage in their various employment preservation routines.
It is also disappointing to listen to the Catholic hierarchy. The Catholics were on the receiving end of disrespect, intolerance and discrimination in these islands not so long ago. One would have hoped for more from them. Do we reap what we sow? It is certainly not surprising. One has only to examine the firestorm in the Episcopal Church surrounding this issue. Talk about no good deed going unpunished.
I'm guessing there are Catholic bishops in Africa who would love to go trolling for parishioners in Rome as their Episcopal counterparts are doing in the United States at the moment. And how unfortunate that there are not more Desmond Tutus and Edmund Brownings in the world.
Hawaii voters did not reject civil unions
The comments of Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona ("Civil union supporters upset at bill's death," Star-Bulletin, March 1
) are repulsive: "What you have before you is a bill that ... circumscribes that triumph of the principle of marriage that was put before voters 10 years ago."
The voters chose to amend the state Constitution to prevent same-sex marriage. The current bill is not marriage. It is a civil union that should not offend Catholics or Mormons or any other religious group. It is none of their business.
Our state prides itself on its diversity and acceptance of all. Aiona's position is completely at odds with this. He should apologize to all of Hawaii's people for promoting discrimination against lesbians and gays.
Mark A. Koppel
Vote out merciless taxers in Legislature
"Hawaii continues to be among the most merciless states in taxing the working poor," says a Star-Bulletin editorial (Feb. 25)
Indeed, Hawaii is so merciless that it imposes a tax on of all things, food and medicine, two things necessary for all the people of Hawaii to stay alive.
Not only is Hawaii so merciless as to tax the two things needed for the population to stay alive, Hawaii also taxes medical services, which are necessary for everyone in Hawaii to keep from dying.
What is so amazing is that the people of Hawaii keep on voting into office these merciless politicians.
Gov. Linda Lingle has proposing tax relief on certain foods and medicines. Now will the people of Hawaii hold accountable all those in the state Legislature who oppose this tax relief?
Ruben R. Reyes
Don't turn into path of motorcycle or moped
I am appalled by the number of accidents, often fatal, caused by an automobile turning left into the path of an oncoming motorcycle or moped ("Accident leaves boy critically injured," Star-Bulletin, Feb. 28
The official rule of the road is "A vehicle turning left MUST yield to all oncoming traffic that is so close as to be a hazard."
The Star-Bulletin's reports on this type of accident could be a public service by mentioning this rule to help educate drivers.
Linus Pauling Jr.
Repeat this before crossing the street
As the baby-boomer population ages, there will likely be fewer and fewer automobile drivers ... and more and more pedestrians.
Since we pedestrians are still in the minority, it would be wise to remember this childhood rhyme:
Look to the right,
Look to the left,
Before you cross the street.
Use your eyes,
And use your ears,
Before you use your feet.
Carol A. Holt
Mobile homes would fulfill a huge need
The homeless situation on Oahu is rapidly passing from "crisis" to "tragedy." Given the severity of the situation, I cannot understand why an obvious (if perhaps temporary) solution is never mentioned: mobile homes.
Definitely not wonderful for long-term residences but far superior to living in tents or in a car, mobile homes have running water, toilets, cooking facilities, and protection from the weather and from bad guys who are problems in shelters.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has thousands of these mobile homes sitting empty after the New Orleans hurricane crisis. They could be acquired cheaply, stacked on container ships and ready for occupancy in months, not years.
The state has thousands of acres of land at Kalaeloa (Barber's Point) and elsewhere, and the Hawaiian Homes Commission has thousands of acres more, where mobile home communities could be located.
Mobile homes seem to be accepted in many, if not most, states. So why are they kapu here in Hawaii? Because we think that we are a superior community, and our civic pride prevents us from stooping to allowing a type of housing that works elsewhere. The price for this pride is destroyed families, kids without childhoods or education, and an abundance of misery.
It's time that we eliminated the zoning restrictions that prevent use of mobile homes in Hawaii.
Beating should be tried as a hate crime
I could not agree more with Sarah Yamanaka's letter, "Unwarranted violence begins in the home" (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 23
). First off, $20,000 bail is just an insult to any reasonable person. Why is Hawaii so soft and forgiving when it comes to violent crime?
This should be treated as a hate crime because it was, and so as to get it out of the state's lenient court system. And why does the local prosecutor's office want to keep the case? They are the ones who can't ever seem to get tough sentences for the worst crimes against our citizens. It's true that if the victims were a noticeably local-looking couple the outcome would most likely have been different!
And what is to be made of all those who were witnesses to such a horror, did no one to come to the aid of this young couple?
It's a sad commentary all around. Let justice prevail, in the federal system. And why not move the hotheaded son into the adult system as well?