One day rail system will be part landscape
After statehood, developers flocked to Waikiki to put up high rises replacing the mostly one-story buildings. There were cries of protest against the despoiling of the landscape, the blocking of the view of the ocean. We were shushed down with claims of "It's progress."
Soon the Moana Hotel and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel were hidden, and large areas of Honolulu that had views of the ocean saw only the high rises. People got used to them; they became part of the landscape.
Now we have similar cries of protest against the building of the overhead train way, and the new mix of citizens isn't so easy to shush down. But something has to be built, and the same thing will happen. People will get used to it; those who grow up with it will see nothing wrong.
Anything new is considered an eyesore: wind turbine farms, power poles, whatever. It was really funny when activists knocked down Hawaiian Electric Co.'s proposal to install tall shiny steel poles along Harding Avenue as being "eyesores" when the street is lined on both sides with rows of ratty, wooden poles, not considered eyesores by the activists because they grew up with them there, as part of the landscape.
Rail will endanger property values
Honolulu City & County property owners should ultimately decide if the steel-on-steel rail transit system should continue. When cost overruns begin to spiral past $5 billion, they will be hit hardest with increased taxation because that's where the money is. Everyone will be at financial risk of no longer being able to afford their residences on top of escalating utility and cost-of-living expenses.
Home resale values near the rail line will plummet due to noise, spoiled views and urban blight. The immaculate architectural renderings of the elevated rail never illustrate the tagged graffiti that will adorn the pillars and trains.
Let's require two check boxes be printed on C&C property tax forms -- a simple "yes" to build the rail or "no" to kill the project. Before they sign and mail in their taxes, property owners will be thinking twice whether to support or reject the rail and the long-term personal financial implications involved.
It's not too late to stop the train
Regarding the April 25 editorial, "Petitioners arrive late to the train station"
I beg to differ. We are not late at the train station! In fact, the tracks have not been laid and, as yet, there are no wheels on the train. (Steel or otherwise.)
Stop Rail Now is getting up a head of steam that will travel around Oahu gathering signatures very rapidly. It matters little if $100 million is wasted on the project to date -- especially if you save $2.7 billion by not having a train that serves too few people in too small an area where no one can agree about where the stops should be placed.
How will salt air affect steel rail system?
The recent controversy over the traction system of the new proposed rail system on Oahu seems to have left out a consideration that concerns our unique tropical environment -- salt. If Oahu opts for an all-steel system, both wheels and tracks will be exposed to salt air year round, which will result in an accelerated rate of corrosion.
This is all too reminiscent of another public works engineering fiasco that has turned around to bite us -- the Aloha Stadium. The structure was made of a hybrid steel whose specially engineered surface oxidation creates a protective, impervious coating that eliminates the need for painting or coating. But not in a salt-laden environment like Hawaii's.
The Aloha Stadium kept on rusting and rusting and eventually cost (and will cost) taxpayers millions of dollars in remedies. Let's not condemn ourselves to repeat history before a thorough study of all implications.
U.S. should keep its vow to Filipino soldiers
The U.S. Senate is finally getting around to keeping a promise made years ago to the Filipino soldiers who fought alongside Americans during World War II (Star-Bulletin, April 25
). The Senate passed a bill 96-1 to give them veterans benefits, and what's unbelievable is that some Republicans are opposed! They should be ashamed of themselves not to keep a promise made by their own fellow Americans.
President Bush says he will veto the bill. Congress should impeach President Bush so that he will not continue to go his ruthless way. I hope our Congress will not again just complain about a veto, and instead do something that will provide results.
The Filipino soldiers who fought with the American soldiers deserved better treatment a long time ago.
Francis K. Ibara
Don't reduce funding for charter schools
I am a student attending Kihei Charter High School. The small school environment helps me to concentrate better and get more help from the teachers.
We are a technology-based school, reaching toward the future as it were. Since I started here I have learned Word, Powerpoint, Publisher, Photoshop, Movie Maker, most Adobe programs and more.
If we want to support any of our student committees or activities, we end up having to fundraise due to lack of student committees and activities funds.
We don't receive the same amount of funding as regular public schools.
Even though we may score better on tests and are recognized as a great school, the state Senate and its committee want to reduce our funding even more.
This year we got $8,149 per student, but if the Senate gets its way then we will be reduced to $7,100-$7,600.
Regular public schools will get double what we get ($14,000 per student) if they pass this proposal.
Just because we are a smaller school, it doesn't mean we deserve less. All we want is equal funding, a safe learning environment and a great education. Is that too much to ask for?
Tranquil setting would benefit homeless
If they can build dog parks around the island, why can't they build homeless parks around the island? All that's needed are shower and toilet facilities. Then all those who care about the homeless can provide the food, bedding and toiletries for them until they get tired of giving.
The purchase of Turtle Bay could provide both a mental hospital and rehab facility that's badly needed in our state. What better place than in the country where things are slow-paced and tranquil?
It's just what these people need!