Congress members, staff can pay for gyms
It appears that U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie has been in Congress too long. The fact that he thinks Congress should be spending $8 million of taxpayers' money to renovate Congress's gym is shameful and irresponsible (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 9
If our public schools had everything they needed and we were not $8.9 TRILLION in debt and the country was not in the midst of an unending war that adds $12 billion a month to all of our debt, then spending the $8 million might sit better with me.
Remember members of Congress make a minimum of $165,200 a year, so they can afford to pay for a membership at a private gym. As for their staff members, what other employer provides a private gym for their employees, especially when their business is in debt? None that plan to stay in business or in the good graces of stockholders -- in this case the American taxpayers.
If Neil wants to be remain useful in Congress he needs to stay in the game by working to get our troops out of Iraq, end wasteful spending and remember the taxpayers are paying for everything in Washington, D.C.
Michael Golojuch Jr.
Money could better be spent elsewhere
I've been a fan of Rep. Neil Abercrombie for years (and would vote for him if I lived in his district), but I've got a problem with his effort to spend $8 million to upgrade the gym for U.S. representatives
. I'm all for health and fitness and believe that gym access for House members is a good idea. The problem I have is with the price tag.
Eight million dollars seems like a pretty hefty price tag, especially since there is already a newly renovated gym for congressional staff assistants. Is it just me or couldn't the representatives use the other gym, and then the $8 million could be used for pre-owned exercise equipment for inner-city schools, Boys and Girls Clubs or other such worthy causes?
Macho mallards strut in Hawaii Kai
C. Richard Fassler's wonderful description of the "noble flying creature" in his Aug. 4 "Gathering Place"
column seems to describe our Hawaii Kai mallards.
Hawaii Kai's many miles of waterways are home to zillions of mallards and many of us have wondered where some of them were going at night. To confirm that these are indeed Hawaii Kai mallards, you simply need to look for a special swagger in their waddle and and a "GQ" look in their feathers. The Hawaii Kai mallard is a fashion statement.
I can understand why our cool Hawaii Kai mallards could be interested in Manoa's classy koloa ducks. I went to Roosevelt High School, and my classmates were always interested in Punahou girls. The offspring from these encounters of the duck kind, or "hapa ducks," have to be really super ducks. We should avoid calling them feral ducks.
The noise these ducks make when they want food is easily controlled by simply not feeding them. All of my neighbors know this. For the most part, the only folks who feed the ducks in Hawaii Kai are visitors staying in vacation rental homes and underground B&Bs. Maybe Manoa has this same problem. If so, this is where the Manoa Neighborhood Board should direct its efforts to quell the duck noise.
It appears Manoa does have an infestation problem with pigs, dogs, hunters and goats moving in; however, you folks should give a great mahalo that Manoa does not have the frog problem yet. The Big Island folk are spending $750,000 for coqui frog eradication.
Biofuel refinery, plant need PUC approval
Only part of the story was told in "HECO biofuel generator gets OK" (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 7
). The $143 million price tag covers only engineering costs and excludes interest payments.
Eighteen would-be parties have requested getting into the new Public Utilities Commission wheeling docket, which will look at leasing arrangements for electric grids to transmit renewable energy. Energy efficiency programs are being taken away from the utilities and transferred to a new Energy Efficiency Utility in January 2009, which might sharply reduce demand and flatten the load. Either of these might eliminate the need for the proposed power plant.
By law, Hawaiian Electric Co. can bill the ratepayers only for construction and interest costs if the plant is built, used and necessary for utility operations. If the plant is PUC approved and built, but not required, the stockholders and not the ratepayers would pay for it.
Life of the Land sponsored the only biofuels expert at the PUC evidentiary hearing last December. Tadeus Patzek testified against the proposal and HECO refused to cross-examine him. In uncontested testimony, Patzek noted, after accounting for all effects, that burning biofuels at the plant was environmentally worse than using some fossil fuels.
Both the proposed power plant and the proposed BlueEarth Biofuel Refinery need further PUC approvals before either of them can be built.
Life of the Land
If troops are heroes, so are bike messengers
I wish people would stop using the "they're risking their lives fighting a war" rational like Eric R. Daido did in his Aug. 9 letter
about how military personnel "get a jump" on real estate in Hawaii.
The fact is that far fewer than 1 percent of U.S. military personnel die in combat -- around .002 percent at last count. Yeah, they're risking their lives. But we all are just by living.
In fact, some of us risk our lives more than people in the military, and do we get discounts, hero status and all the rest?
Lobstermen, bike messengers, truck drivers and farm workers all have dangerous jobs (maybe even more dangerous than people in the military), but are they heroes?
No. This should change.
University of Hawaii senior
Restaurant deserves better than bad review
One of the pleasures of living downtown is the good restaurants; old favorites like Murphy's, Little Village and newcomers like Downtown and Epic. We take exception to Nadine Kam's disparaging review of Epic ("The Weekly Eater," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 5
). Since the reopening, friends and neighbors have had many fine lunches and dinners at Epic. The snide review trashes Epic in order to direct diners to a nearby restaurant.