Letter writer should rethink his tax logic
I think D.M. Jahn (Letters, June 24)
is on to something in saying he shouldn't have to support the rail project with his taxes since he lives on the Windward side. I don't have any kids, so I shouldn't be paying taxes for public schools, and I never go over to the Windward side, so I don't think my taxes should go for upkeep of the Pali and Likelike highways, or H-3 that I never use. And since Hawaii voters passed a constitutional amendment forbidding same-sex marriage, my partner of 18 years and I can't legally marry, so we definitely shouldn't have to pay for the state office that issues marriage licenses.
In fact, if we divided up the whole state into small segments, each one could pay for what they want and not for what they don't, and put up tollgates between each neighborhood to make sure outsiders pay on entering for using "our" streets. It might slow down getting to the airport or emergency room, but surely that's a lot better than paying taxes for a transit system only others would use.
Not! Maybe instead we should agree that we all have to live together on these small islands and work together for what is best for all instead of thinking only of our own selfish interests, and then there might be a lot more aloha to go around.
Why worry about Stop Rail movement?
Regarding the article "Mayor slams media and 'attack' over rail," (Star-Bulletin, June 26):
If Mayor Hannemann "is not worried at all" about Stop Rail Now succeeding in attaining the nearly 45,000 signatures, why is he making so much noise with his media blitz? Sounds to me like he's afraid to let the people make their own decision about rail.
Rail system foes ignore transit reality
The very first sentence in the Hawaii Highway Users Alliance anti-rail column (Star-Bulletin, June 26)
misstates the reason to build a transit system, which is to create an alternative to driving and contending with traffic.
The rail system will connect the Second City with Oahu's primary employment center and communities in between. Commuters will have a choice -- drive and eventually sit in traffic, or take transit and shave dozens of minutes off their travel times.
Next, the column's signers, who all depend economically on continued use of cars and buses, ignore the rising price of gasoline. The cost of driving is higher than ever, and the Alliance's solution -- regressive toll roads -- would increase the cost of commuting.
While brazenly claiming travel advantages for the companies they own, the writers ignore the obvious fact that buses and taxis are caught in traffic, too, something rail riders will avoid.
Their claim that rail is an "energy hog and pollutes" is so 20th century. Honolulu's rail project eventually will run on abundant renewable energy, including ocean thermal energy conversion. Think of it -- riding a train energized by ocean power.
Finally, the Alliance is shocked -- shocked, I tell you -- that "in 2030 congestion with rail will be much worse than it is today." With 200,000 more people living on Oahu in 2030 than in 2005, what would you expect?
Truly shocking would be cancellation of this rail project, which will let commuters avoid congestion by getting them out of their cars. It won't be for everybody, but for those who choose to ride, their quality of life will be dramatically improved.
We need to optimize trash disposal system
Marcus Owens (Letters, May 31)
stated that a third boiler is already planned for the H-POWER garbage-to-energy plant, which will dispose of an additional 300,000 tons of solid waste annually. I do not believe that this is true, as the already installed boilers operate the turbine generator at its optimal electric load.
In order to utilize steam generated by a third boiler, an additional steam turbine generator will be required. Optimally the second turbine generator and its condensing and feed systems would be sized the same as the original unit and built to enable operation of any combination of the units. In order to maintain disposal of waste utilizing the boilers in the event of loss of a generating unit(s) installation of a "dump" condenser as part of the plant would enhance the overall plant flexibility and efficiency. Sizing the turbine generator and its accessories the same as the original would allow addition of a fourth boiler for even more disposal of waste and generation of more power.
Remember, funds invested in improvements such as these give us equity in long-term solutions, where putting our opala on barges and making it someone else's responsibility will give us nothing but grief and expenditure of a lot of our valuable taxpayer funds with nothing to show for them.
We should think about using nuclear power
As the rising cost of oil causes more price increases, we are re-examining the way we live. According to the CBS newsmagazine "60 Minutes," we can recycle most of our nuclear waste like the French. I want to encourage Hawaiian Electric to study the feasibility of having nuclear energy here in Hawaii. We could desalinate the seawater and all have hydrogen cell-fuel cars; the cheap energy would permit this.
Ethanol might stretch each gallon of gas, but a lot of good farmland and fresh water go into growing the sugar cane or corn for the ethanol.
Nuclear power isn't worth the big risk
Regarding the call for nuclear power in Hawaii, perhaps I can add a unique perspective. I am from Harrisburg, Pa., which is 10 miles away from Three Mile Island and the nuclear reactor accident that happened there in 1979. I was there at the time.
The very idea that the accident was small or harmless is shocking to me. Within hours of hearing about it, the entire city left and major gridlock ensued (in Hawaii we wouldn't even be able to escape). The radiation from the accident was vented into our air for more than 20 years and the people who lived within a two-mile radius of the accident saw their cancer rates skyrocket and had major health problems.
While I'm all for encouraging alternate forms of power in this age of expensive oil, it's not worth it to gamble with nuclear power.
Isle Olympian shines in a great sport
Wow! Kudos to Natasha Kai, Olympian, for being named to the U.S. Olympic soccer team (Star-Bulletin, June 24).
This young woman has unbelievable talent and instincts that make her great. She is the leading scorer on the U.S. Women's National Team playing fewer minutes than her teammates. If she can stay healthy she can be as well known as Mia Hamm around the world. No doubt.
And a tip of the coconut hat to the Hawaii Youth Soccer Association for hosting the successful USYSA regionals that brought more than $14 million in to our community. That's not all, AYSO will be hosting its National Games next month at the superb Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex, expected to bring in another $9 million in tourism dollars. Wow! indeed.