Lifting drilling bans is smart choice
I don't like President Bush, except for this one topic: He has issued an executive order to lift the ban on offshore drilling for oil. It might take years before we have any results, but better late than never. We also should drill for oil in the national forests in Alaska and Pacific Northwest. The environmentalists have gotten their way, and now we are suffering. Many people are affected by high gas prices and we need to do it right away. In the mean time, we can explore other possibilities, like hybrids, electric, solar, etc. We have to get away from being controlled by Mideast oil moguls!
Francis K. Ibara
Native government should pay its own way
Regarding your July 14 article, "Cancer center hinges on Kakaako lease,"
concerning the proposed Cancer Research Center to be built on ceded land:
Presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama has stated that if he is elected president, he will favor the Akaka Bill. Passage of the racial Akaka Bill will eventually lead to the creation of a new, fourth arm of government in our islands, a Native Hawaiian government composed of citizens with Hawaiian blood.
The cost to Hawaii taxpayers leasing real property from this government will finance its operating costs and spending to benefit its citizens, and will increase the already heavy financial burden on the majority of Hawaii's residents. Therefore, in the future, all state and county government taxes should not be spent on expenditures for infrastructure on ceded lands. To do so will only increase the value of a racial government's property at the expense of the majority of the taxpayers who will have to pay a higher cost for the use of these lands and improvements.
Wilbert W. W. Wong Sr.
Delaying rail vote could be beneficial
Getting the mass transit rail proposal on the November ballot may be a moot point, but when we vote on the largest, most expensive public works project in the history of Honolulu isn't important. What is important is that the registered voters on Oahu have the choice to choose and that they do their homework.
That means ignoring the emotionally charged TV ads, the politicking by Mayor Hannemann and the Carpenters' Union and other groups that will profit by the construction of the rail system. With the added time to reconsider this massive undertaking will come clarity, good judgment and reason. I'm sure if all who have signed the petition need to sign a new one, they will because they believe and trust in the Democratic process. Now if only the mayor and the pro-rail groups would prove to us that they do, too. What are they really worried about here?
We, too, should have a good transit system
I was born and raised in Hawaii and attend college on the mainland. I recently came home for a visit. I am amazed at how quickly the island has grown and changed in such a short time. There are so many new condo buildings in Ala Moana, and lots of new homes in Ewa. Traffic has gotten much worse, and something has to be done about it. People need other ways to get around.
On the mainland, I take public transit everywhere. Like many modern cities, Pittsburgh has a good system of buses and trains, and you don't need a car to get around. Honolulu can learn from other cities that have built successful transit systems.
The effort to stop the rail project is unfortunate and regressive. With gasoline more than $4 a gallon, more people will want to leave their cars at home and start taking transit.
People should realize how important good transportation infrastructure is for our future, and how we accommodate the growth and changes that will surely come. Hopefully, when I am back home in a few years, Honolulu will have started the rail project.
Honolulu looked better couple of decades ago
Back in 1989 when I first came to Hawaii I saw one of the cleanest cities of my life compared to New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and others. Nowadays while driving around the island, all I see is garbage, tall grass, untrimmed trees and bushes.
Plus, with the deteriorating roads and bridges pitted with potholes, this island is beginning to look like a big dump.
What were the city and state doing differently back then? They would rather build more houses, which causes more congestion on the roads, so they can force us to accept rail transit. Four billion dollars for rail, yet they can't take care of what we use right now?
The only thing I can do is vote against everyone in office. Our leaders have failed us. Sure, we can do better by not throwing trash out of our vehicles and picking up trash we see laying around. The state also could create jobs to clean up our island. But if this current regime doesn't start taking better care of taxpayers, we will have no choice but get rid of them just like we do our garbage. Throw them out the window.
Listen to the experts: Honolulu needs rail
I commend former state transportation directors Rod Haraga, Kazu Hayashida, Fujio Matsuda and Ed Hirata for telling people what they need to hear about the mass transit system (Star-Bulletin, July 15).
During their tenures, each of these individuals weighed the pros and cons of rail, worked with experts, convened with businessmen, taxpayers and politicians, and all came to the same conclusion - we need rail. With more than 40 years of experience among them, shouldn't we listen to the experts?
We should explore other alternatives
Our mayor needs to stop, think and consider alternatives to a rail system. As a senior citizen, maybe I'll try the rail to get to town - Ala Moana Beach Park to go walking or shop at the center - only if it's convenient. I know it won't be often. Seniors shop near their homes. Ridership by retired seniors will not be large.
Here are some options to a rail system. But first create a creative committee to improve traffic and increase city departments efficiency.
» Create a second shift for city departments.
» Stagger hours. Work four days a week and encourage businesses to do the same.
» More buses. Yes, you will use more energy, but costs can be decreased, as we have done in our homes.
I foresee a little-used steel-rail system, higher taxes to support it, and all of us still using our cars, hybrid or not. Cars give us independence and convenience.