Train, higher taxes en route?
The March 8 Star-Bulletin story
about the mayor's plan to proceed with construction on the mass transit project without either the Federal Transportation Administration's record of decision or full funding agreement makes one wonder what all the urgency is about.
The city has chosen a route but hasn't yet picked the type of system it plans to buy. Depending upon the method chosen, there is going to be a lot of design work performed and then reviewed before any work can be done. And land will have to be acquired. I suppose they could save some time by skipping the review process and then hand out some generous change orders as the project progresses.
I hope the city isn't planning to enter into any contracts it can't pay for. From some of the comments made by City Council members in the article it sounds as if they are ready to borrow money against the grant they are expecting from the feds. But no one knows how much the feds will give. That could conceivably leave the taxpayer holding the bag again. Could they be laying the groundwork for an additional increase to the general excise tax?
PAUL MINCZER 2007
This edition marks the 11th anniversary of this Web site, starbulletin.com. The first edition was published on March 18, 1996
. Many times over the years, Paul Minczer has commemmorated the occasion with a Cartoon to the Editor. This is his 2007 cartoon. CLICK FOR LARGE
Drug test a start to ending welfare fraud
I am thankful for my public service job, which requires me to take a random drug test. I agree, the drug test is a must.
Donald G. Micco ("First the urine test, then a welfare check," Letters, Feb. 22) has an excellent idea. I think requiring welfare recipients to pass a drug test is a beginning to exhaust another avenue of public assistance check abuse.
If we are serious about dealing with our island problems, we must attain a mentality of intervention at all levels of income and act on it.
Hawaii ignores reality of racial discord
The fact that the Waikele Center beatings are being prosecuted as simple assault rather than a racially motivated crime is another example of Hawaii trying to hide this unpleasant facet of island life for the sake of the tourist industry.
It was a decision motivated by politics and business, not by the facts of the case.
As long as Hawaii buries its head in the sand regarding local-haole relations, the violence will continue to get worse.
Think about words used in front of kids
Regarding the Waikele assault case: Whether or not the Paakaulas committed a hate crime, one thing is for certain. Hawaii's dirty secret of institutionalized racism has been exposed for all to see.
Perhaps it's time for the parents of Hawaii to take this moment to think about the words they use and teach their children. It's long overdue for the "H" word to go the way of the "N" word. Just substitute the "N" word next time you hear someone use the "H" word and you'll get an idea of how it sounds to those to whom it's directed.
San Jose, Calif.
Hawaii justice will let the accused off easy
So the bullies who are accused of beating the couple senseless in Waikele are sorry (Star-Bulletin, March 16
Sorry might cut it if you accidentally cause harm to somebody, but not if you beat a woman unconscious and kick a defenseless, unconscious man's teeth in. But just watch, all it will take is a tearful apology in court with the defendants surrounded by a bunch of weeping relatives and our gutless judicial system will let them walk.
Make all port users treat environment right
Your March 15 "Big Q" survey on the Hawaii Superferry
asks the wrong question. It ought to ask "Should an environmental study be a condition for the operation of any heavy ships using Hawaii's ports?"
To such a question I would vote "yes." Hawaii's environmental health is paramount to both the happiness of its residents and visitors, and the health of its tourism-based economy. Recent events such as the sewage spill last year and the ongoing development rush make such legal safeguards imperative for conserving Hawaii's natural resources -- the very reason people choose to vacation and live here.
However, the bill before the state Legislature, to which this poll refers, currently singles out Hawaii Superferry only for a potentially costly, last-minute environmental study. This appears to be more of a delaying technique being cynically used by the Superferry's enemies than a legitimate law designed to protect Hawaii's environment. For that reason I must vote "no," even though I do believe that Superferry, and all other heavy port users, should be required to submit periodic environmental studies as a condition of continuing operations here.
Waikiki should not be friendly to dogs
Honolulu is going to the dogs, on the grass at Waikiki Beach where the tourist sunbathe. Its time for me to leave.
Dogs belong home in the back yard, not in a tourist metropolis such as Honolulu. Do not ruin a good thing.
Crossing the Line
Hi-tech engine disabler might be the answer
Education alone will not solve the problem of slaughter in our crosswalks. Most drivers observe the rules of the road, but some do not and never will.
Therefore, I challenge researchers at the University of Hawaii and elsewhere to come up with a practical hi-tech solution, possibly a magnetic device implanted in the street to disable the engine of an approaching vehicle or slam on its brakes if it "crosses the line," or a radar-activated device in an approaching vehicle to produce the same result.
Until researchers and lawmakers come up with something, pedestrians should approach each and every intersection and crosswalk as a life-threatening situation.
Red light should stop all vehicular traffic
The continuing death toll on our streets is a shame and disgrace. Anytime government pits humans against vehicles, it's evident that the humans will come up on the short end of the stick. Do we want to reduce pedestrian fatalities, or do we want to keep pointing fingers, with tragic results?
It's not brain surgery. At traffic signals, delete the right turn on red after stop. Once that is accomplished, alternate the traffic signals between traffic and pedestrians. Traffic moves, then pedestrians move, but not at the same time. When the walk signal illuminates, all vehicular traffic is at a stop. When the "don't walk" signal illuminates, traffic flows normally. A simple reprogramming of traffic signals should do the trick.
Now how do we handle those who would rather tempt fate by crossing outside a crosswalk? Last week on my daily travels on numerous streets throughout Honolulu, I counted 53 people who tempted fate by crossing in the middle of the street, walking out from between parked vehicles without looking, or crossing the street within 10-15 feet of a crosswalk. The law can protect some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all of the time. Cross stupid, pay the price, stupid!
In these instances my sympathy leans more toward the driver than the pedestrian, as he or she attempts to stop a 2,000-plus pound vehicle traveling at 15 mph before it strikes a human who stepped out 10-15 feet in front of them. And remember pedestrians, not all drivers speed.
John L. Shupe
'Cross-runs' don't allow time to for safety
We need to rename crosswalks to "cross-runs."
The time allotted to cross is way too short. One needs to be almost at a fast walking pace to get to the other side before the caution light starts blinking ... and that's for those under age 50!
Eight out of 10 pedestrians killed since January were over 65 years old; doesn't that send a message out to our law makers and law upholders? If we have to increase the time to cross the street from 15 seconds to 1 minute just to save a life, so be it. One minute should be standard time for one to cross a street; those in vehicles, regardless of whether you are trying to get to an appointment or in a rush to beat the traffic, can and should wait.
I am all for stiffer penalties and hope it comes sooner than later.