People should take voting more seriously
The Oahu Democratic Party chairwoman was on target saying that the crowds were too large for volunteers at the Democratic caucus (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 20
). However, anyone can line people up instead of allowing them to swarm like bees over a hive.
It was ridiculous and embarrassing for a Democratic caucus to be run like herding cattle. I saw would-be voters leave due to frustration, some people turned away and some who grabbed more than one ballot, marked the ballots, and turned them in. This is not fair to either candidate.
While patiently waiting to vote, I asked a lady sitting next to me why she was voting for Obama. Her answer: "Because he is from Hawaii and a minority." She could not discuss his position on any issue. Is this what Hawaii voters have turned into?
This is a presidential election. The Hawaii Democratic caucus should be scratched and redone.
Go! should explain why flight wandered off
On February 13, a Go! flight to the Big Island over-shot its destination by 15 miles. As of yesterday, the public still does not know what happened. It's been eight days, and there has been no definitive reason given by the airline for the mishap.
I am appalled that there is no public explanation yet. I read there are investigations going on, but seriously, the company should have known by the next day what happened. If there were communications or equipment problems, say so. However, if pilots fell asleep or passed out, let the public know. This lack of information in a timely manner is unacceptable.
The traveling public has a right to know as soon as possible why the plane missed its landing. Any further delays should not be tolerated.
Member, Senate Transportation Committee
A nice place to drive, but that's about all
I read with some amusement Sandra Fujii's Feb. 20 letter
regarding her recent visit to Vietnam, in which she noted that Vietnam has better roads than Hawaii.
Vietnam has about 58,000 miles of road, of which about 25 percent are paved. A new highway was built from Hanoi to the international airport. Traffic jams are from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. -- yes, 12 hours of rush hour.
Vietnam has no free elections; per capita per household is about $16 a day. You cannot drink the water and you have to be careful of what and where you eat due to the high amount of food and water contamination. Vietnam continues to deny access to independent human rights monitors, including Amnesty International and the United Nations. Religious practice remains under strict control; church members seen as opposing state policies are harassed, arrested and imprisoned. Church property is routinely destroyed.
Vietnam has passed a series of laws in recent years that limit freedom of expression to include Internet. Individuals have been harassed, detained and imprisoned for expressing their peaceful political views online. Fear of prosecution fuels widespread self-censorship. Internet caf owners are required to monitor and inform on customers. Vietnamese-language Web sites that deal with democracy and human rights are increasingly being filtered and blocked.
Vietnam may have better roads then Hawaii; however, I would rather live in Hawaii with our potholes than live in Vietnam with a nice road.
Transit column left out important details
Gabriel Roth's "Transit Matters" column (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 21
) told only half the story -- the half that establishes that bus rapid transit and/or high-occupancy toll lanes are unsuited for connecting Kapolei to downtown.
Any bus short enough to operate on a street can't carry enough people to economize on labor. With a light rail system, for example, one person can operate a train carrying up to 600 people standing or 180 people sitting -- triple that of an articulated bus.
Also, if you want a light guideway, use a smaller vehicle. Quite a few automated rapid transit systems, e.g., Vancouver's Skytrain, use smaller vehicles. However, the most cost-efficient vehicle is wider rather than longer; that's why subway cars are 9-10 feet wide.
Finally, people that think adding HOT lanes over H-1 is cheap or quick know nothing about road construction. H-1 is already congested most of the day --imagine shutting half of it down on a regular basis for several years. No HOT facility has been built along a road like H-1.
As a civil engineer and a former transportation policy researcher for the Public Policy Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, I fully support Mayor Mufi Hannemann's plans for rail transit.
Homeowners will pay to keep train fares low
Gabriel Roth makes excellent points about the cost of transit options. To add to his point, readers should consider the following:
The current bus fare is set by the City Council assuming that the fare box will supply 27 percent of the total operating costs of TheBus. Expect the train subsidy to be about the same.
If the operating cost of the train is the same as TheBus (doubtful, the train will cost more) then city taxpayers will pay $130 million for TheBus plus $130 million for the train -- a total of $260 million in transit subsidies.
This total subsidy is equal to 100 percent of all the property taxes paid by 173,000 homes assessed at $500,000. Look out homeowners; taxes must go up to keep fares low!
Paul E. Smith
Legislation targets uninsured drivers
Hey, it's not that difficult to get uninsured drivers off the road (Letters, Feb. 18
).There is a law that requires drivers to have automobile insurance. By definition the police are there to enforce the law. If a police officer catches an uninsured driver, the car gets immediately removed from a public roadway. It has to be. It gets towed to Sand Island or wherever. It gets released only after actual insurance is proved to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
There will be a fine sufficient to cover he police work, the clerical work of the DMV and the towing charge. Upon release, a daily storage charge will also be collected. Wow. That will be a proper stimulus to comply with the law.
There also will be further stimulation, after the second offense the license plates will have to be surrendered for, say, half a year. And every further offense will take the license plates for one year. Oh, would that make for law-abiding citizens. Fast. It also would reduce your own insurance bill by the extra charge for "uninsured drivers."
Without any doubt, that Senate Bill 1259 has to be passed. No ifs or buts. And when there are any fewer scofflaws on the road, so much the better --for all of us.
Legislators, get with it. Now!
Gerhard C. Hamm