Get your money back and more for bottles
We all know that when you buy beverages, under Hawaii's bottle bill law, you pay an extra 6 cents per container at the checkout, 5 cents of which is refundable at designated redemption locations, and a penny goes to the state to run the program.
But here's something you might not know. If you buy beer or mineral water in the large glass bottles, like the 24-ounce or 750-milliliter size, then ask them to weigh the bottles instead of counting them at the redemption locations, you get more than 10 cents per bottle. I calculated it to be $.10625 per bottle. So, you get back your nickel and your penny, plus an extra 4 cents or more. In other words, the state will actually be paying you! Imagine that.
One voter's flip-flopper is another's bold leader
John McCain is now in favor of drilling for oil off our coasts. Barack Obama is opposed. Critics have called McCain a "flip flopper." To flip- flop means "to change direction, attitude, or policy ... suddenly." The word is used to paint a political opponent as a person willing to change direction or policies suddenly for selfish political gain. On the other hand, a person willing to change direction suddenly because of a sudden change of circumstances, such as a threat to national security or a danger to our economy, is a bold leader.
In a period of one year, the cost of oil has doubled and the cost of gasoline has become burdensome, particularly for the most economically vulnerable. Our economy is declining, unemployment is rising and the cost of air travel and other goods and services will follow. Soon prices will become prohibitive. It does not take much foresight to see that only the rich will be able to drive on our streets and fly in airplanes, and the poorer of us, whose ranks will swell, will warehouse our automobiles in garages and in back alleys alongside the airplanes that are now being grounded.
The greens will be happy. There will be less traffic congestion, less pollution and less trash in this country, if indeed, there is still a country.
If reordering priorities and changing direction to save our country is flip-flopping, then let us vote for a flip-flopper.
Nelson S.W. Chang
Rail alternatives were tested and discarded
The anti-rail commentary by Dennis Callan and Michael Uechi (Star-Bulletin, June 29
) is full of it. The transit alternatives cited by rail critic Panos Prevedouros are outdated alternatives that have been considered in the past and deemed not feasible or insufficient. If Stop Rail Now members claim that most people in Honolulu support their position, why don't they have 100,000 signatures by now? All they do is coerce folks into signing the petition, and many folks are gullible.
In the end, their effort will be for naught because most intelligent people realize that rail is the best alternative to give people a reliable, environment-friendly and efficient means of transportation.
Their plan for an elevated highway is really stupid. It will only move the congestion from the freeways to the surface streets. Their plan does not provide for increasing the surface streets, so it does not alleviate traffic congestion, it only moves it from one area to another.
To build more surface streets, especially in the Honolulu area, will be cost prohibitive because there are no open spaces and land will need to be condemned. This will upset many people and businesses.
Petition seeks to give voters a choice on rail
I sincerely want traffic relief for the Leeward part of our beautiful island as soon as possible, and I am willing to pay taxes to support it. But the rail system that is planned and being forced on us will not solve the problem.
Furthermore, at more than $4 billion, not allowing for overruns, it is going to bankrupt our city. It will ruin an estimated 200 peoples' lives whose property will be condemned along the route.
I have lived in Hawaii for 45 years and I deeply resent Mayor Hannemann's implication in his newspaper ad that I am part of a mainland conspiracy and part of a national ultraconservative group with ulterior motives. I have been collecting signatures to get the rail issue on the ballot because I believe it is wrong.
The mayor's ad refers to "a mode of transportation that runs on renewable energy." Since this sounds wonderful and was something new to me, I looked at his Web site and found that this proposed train "could" run on solar power, wind power, or H-POWER. None of this is possible now, nor do we know when it ever will be. The rail system will run on electricity and our electricity comes from imported fossil fuels.
The mayor is wrong about the Stop Rail Now petition not giving citizens a choice. Getting the issue on the ballot gives the voters a choice that they do not now have.
How can lawmakers give away ag land?
Once agricultural land is gone, it's gone forever. It's incomprehensible to me that our Legislature and governor would give away 15 percent of our agricultural lands to entities that will profit enormously from their sale. Setting aside possible conflict of interest such as campaign contributions, have you given any thought to the effect of this sale on posterity?
Looking ahead, every inch of agricultural land will be needed to feed our people. We should be encouraging agriculture, not so-called development. Where is your vision?