The Rail Controversy
Traffic congestion on H-1 near Pearl City is reflected in a driver's side-mirror.
For cyclists, congestion is bliss
When I ride my bicycle in traffic I enter a euphoric state of mind.
On any given day there are thousands of cars on the Kuhio Highway between Safeway and The Coco Palms. Every night between 4:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., I ride my bike home to the Wailua River area.
The traffic is bumper-to-bumper, which for a bicyclist makes for safe and comfortable driving on the shoulder.
The experience of passing car after car after car after car is mind stimulating; the cars are at a standstill in their lanes, and I am passing 36 cars every minute. The safest time to ride a bike is during peak traffic.
I am hoping everyone reading this buys another car or two, and I encourage the convention and visitors bureaus to never stop promoting Kauai. Last but not least, with the arrival of the Superferry, traffic will be everywhere! Then everyone should be able to bike safely anywhere on the island.
Like a surfer catching a wave, my wave is caught when my own power is more powerful than the giant refineries and petroleum companies.
I beg of everyone to do nothing to stop this wonderful traffic.
James "Kimo" Rosen
Train is already revving up -- get aboard or be left behind
Lots of letters have appeared on your pages recently from people who want to stall mass transit progress by exploring other alternatives.
Here is a news flash for them. Last year, the City Council thoroughly evaluated a series of transit alternatives and picked a fixed guideway system as the most beneficial and cost effective.
This came after lots of community meetings and City Council hearings where we all had a chance to weigh in on the matter. The train, folks, has left the station and not a moment too soon.
I don't want to stay stuck in traffic. I don't want to go backwards. I don't want to become a joke in Washington, D.C., where our city is already known for walking away from hundreds of millions of dollars that could have gone to building a mass transit system more than a decade ago.
It's time for the chronic complainers to stop and for us to build the mass transit system we so desperately need.
Bus fixed guideway is better option than rail system
City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi's Aug. 19 letter
illustrates the Hannemann administration's effort to ram rail down our throats. Well-positioned developers, unions, construction companies and their pols will benefit. The rest of us will be saddled with additional financial burden. The city would have one more thing to maintain -- to the same standards as the sewer system, the streets and the parks.
This train to nowhere is not a done deal. The City Council could choose a fixed guideway used by public vehicles of all kinds that could also run on city streets. Federal funding would be available. This flexible project would develop, with time and experience, into a fully integrated, appropriate and affordable public transit system.
Experienced Council members, such as Kobayashi, are trying to find the best solution for our traffic nightmare. The administration should be assisting them. The Council has the power to rescue the taxpayers from this too rigid, too expensive, high maintenance boondoggle. But do they have the courage?
School jam makes drivers long for rail alternative
We've been bombarded with suggestions and recommendations for "Beat the School Jam." No matter what, I find myself wasting my valuable time and money in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
But while I sit in my car, going 10 miles an hour at best, one thing clearly comes to mind. If we had built a rail system 20 years ago like we should have, we wouldn't be debating its merits or its cost. We would be planning for additional rail lines to Hawaii Kai and the Windward side. Rail will work, and rail will save us time and money in the long run.
Book's allegations warrant probe
In a new book, "Once a Warrior," former University of Hawaii receiver Ian Sample describes the UH football program as rife with sex parties, heavy drinking and academic cheating -- allegedly all condoned by June Jones and his coaches. As might be expected, the UH Athletic Department has gone into damage control mode: Jones labels Sample "dishonorable" and the announcement is made that the UH Athletic Department will hold its own "review" ("Jones: Sample wrong," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 21
This will satisfy no one who is concerned with the integrity of our university. As a longtime professor at Manoa, I call for a full and independent investigation by the university. If Sample's charges are substantiated, then Jones and the other coaches should no longer be employed by this institution and should be dismissed immediately.
Noel J. Kent
Hurdles remain for fruit irradiator
The article on Pa'ina Hawaii's proposed fruit irradiator ("Irradiator gets federal license
," Aug. 21) leaves your readers with the inaccurate impression the irradiator is a done deal. It is not.
Review of the project is not at an end, as the article suggests. On behalf of Concerned Citizens of Honolulu, Earthjustice is pursuing the challenge it brought in 2005 to the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, with a hearing scheduled for early 2008.
Should the board conclude Pa'ina failed to demonstrate the safety of its irradiator to Hawaii's people and environment, and/or that the environmental review was inadequate, the board will pull the license.
Moreover, Pa'ina cannot begin to build its facility, much less receive radioactive cobalt, unless and until it secures a lease from the airport and an shoreline management permit. Those processes provide additional opportunities to hold the responsible agencies accountable for protecting our health and safety.
Notably, before it issued the license, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff concluded the irradiator would not significantly benefit Hawaii's economy. Given the risk of radio- active releases in the event of a natural disaster, airplane crash or terrorist attack, this irradiator is hardly in the public's interest.
David L. Henkin
Residents have control of progress in Kailua
For all his talk about wanting to protect the interests of Kailua residents, Don Bremner's commentary
in last Sunday's Star-Bulletin came across as rather insulting and condescending. He seems to suggest that Kailua and its vibrant community are in jeopardy of being lost to Kaneohe Ranch's "progress" in redeveloping Kailua Town.
As a 20-year resident of Kailua, I have witnessed many changes -- everything from the loss of Andy's Drive-Inn, to the renovation of Foodland and Longs, to the arrival of Starbucks and Jamba Juice.
While I was sad to see some of these businesses leave, I have been elated to watch the ever-increasing success of other local businesses, such as Morning Brew and Lanikai Juice, which face direct competition across the street. And it is this that makes Kailua unique: the ability of the community to support a variety of businesses.
Bremner should be hesitant about pointing an accusatory finger at Kaneohe Ranch. Yes, Kailua has visibly changed over the past decade. However, Kailua and its residents are not the blind mass-consumers, motivated by greed, like Bremner seems to think they are.
Progress means adapting to the times, which may mean another grocery store, or a new parking garage to get cars off the street and more people walking. So just as Kailua isn't under the control of Mitch D'Olier, neither should it be under the control of Bremner. It has been and will continue to be under the control of its residents, as they have proven time and again.
Watada deserves honor as brave soldier
I was shocked to read Conrad Cablay's Aug. 22 letter to the editor
exhorting the media to mention 1st Lt. Ehren Watada as little as possible.
He and many other former and retired military men seem to have no interest in Watada receiving fair and just treatment. They want only to read about an imposed sentence.
What they fail to understand is that a mistrial created by the prosecution is double jeopardy and this should be over with, justice having been served. Watada should serve no time as he was right for refusing to serve in an illegal war. The United Nations gave President Bush no approval for this war.
I apologize and feel ashamed for my fellow countrymen who have ill will for a brave soldier. I salute Watada.
Watada right to refuse a war based on lies
As a veteran, I think that contrary to Conrad Cablay's preference (Letters, Aug. 22), 1st Lt. Ehren Watada's name should be mentioned often as he is an outstanding American.
Watada is standing up to the lies of the Bush administration in his refusal to go to Iraq and fight in Bush's lie-based war.
I get a lot of heartaches when I read and think about all the soldiers who have been killed or wounded in Iraq because of Bush's lies.
I get a lot of heartaches when I read and think about the lives of all those soldiers and their families being disrupted because they are sent into a lie-based war in Iraq.
Not one soldier should have to fight in a lie-based war. Not one soldier should have to give his or her life for lies.
It is President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice who should be on trial, not Watada. Maybe just tell us what sentence Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice receive when they are found guilty of lying our country into attacking Iraq.
Sorry, homeless problem is homegrown
Had columnist Charles Memminger read recent reports or looked at statistics on homeless people in Hawaii, he would have known that the majority are local or longtime residents (Honolulu Lite
, Aug. 19).
The homeless problem is not an outsider problem. It is our problem.
Homeless people are not all lazy drug users. Many of them are people down on their luck who might have lost a job, had medical expenses they couldn't handle or just become lost in an uncaring bureaucracy. Some were just like we are, a paycheck or two from losing everything.
The column denies we have a problem, undermines public empathy and any serious attempts to understand and begin to do something.