Gov being consistent by signing petition
Democratic Party Chairman Brian Schatz's partisan letter in Tuesday's Star-Bulletin says he is surprised that the governor is not taking a position on rail, yet signed the petition to put rail on the ballot. I am surprised that he doesn't understand that the governor believes it is for the people of Honolulu to decide, and that is why she supports putting the decision on rail on the ballot.
The governor believes in home rule, which is why she did not obstruct the City & County's desire to raise the excise tax for a potential mass transit program.
Today she continues to support home rule -- by signing the petition to put the rail issue on the ballot. Virtually every community in the country where rail was an option put the issue to a vote. We should expect and insist that Honolulu voters have the same opportunity.
Willes K. Lee
Hawaii Republican Party
Ask McCain if torture results in the truth
The current trial of Osama bin Laden's driver as a terrorist, after he was tortured by his captors, reminds us that if you defend torture as a weapon against terror, you should remember the case of John McCain. He endured abuse and a long imprisonment in North Vietnam, and the result shows clearly that defenseless captives will pretty much say whatever the torturer wants to stop the pain.
McCain undertook 23 dangerous missions over North Vietnam, until he was shot down in 1967, bayonetted twice, struck by a rifle butt and denied medical treatment for several days while being beaten.
When the Vietnamese learned he was the son of an admiral (who would soon command all U.S. Pacific forces), they took him to a hospital, and there he became what the New York Daily News called (unfairly, I think) a "POW Songbird." He gave multiple press interviews detailing U.S. military data and saying he had bombed civilian targets, and then tried to commit suicide.
We would probably have done the same thing in his terrible situation, even if we had to confess to lies to stop the pain. He was in prison for more than five years, like many of those at Guantanamo.
U.S. really getting after those terrorists
The Bush administration's current court trial of Osama bin Laden's car driver is in the best tradition of the post-World War II Nuremberg trials. As then, when Nazi figures such as Hitler's second in command, Hermann Goering, were being brought to justice, America is now rooting out major terrorists.
Once this chauffeur has been convicted, we can then move on to other important enemies like bin Laden's tennis coach and his hairdresser.
John A. Broussard
Ala Moana dancers, band wowed the crowd
I'm a resident of Japan and I always visit Hawaii many times. This last Sunday my colleagues and I had done some shopping at Ala Moana Center. We heard that there was going to be entertainment at the main stage. So we asked who was going to be performing. A band and a group of attractive female dancers were going to perform.
Arsenio the Band was in full swing with four lady dancers dressed in yellow costumes gyrating to the tempo of the music. What a treat! More fabulous music with two female singers belting out familiar tunes that wowed the crowd. Even more fabulous music that hits the soul when Arsenio and the band members sang.
Then it was hot salsa time with a couple dancing some cool and flashy exhibition moves that excited the audience. Almost like watching "Dancing with the Stars" except it was fast and furious and a lot of continuous spinning for the lady dancer. Good showmanship and terrific dancing!
Arsenio the Band closed the half-hour show with one of his great renditions that brought thundering applause from an appreciative audience.
This performance has made my memories of Hawaii more enjoyable and memorable. Arigato gozaimasu.
If it weren't rail, we could be in rickshaws
University of Hawaii professor Amarjit Singh argues (Gathering Place, July 17)
in favor of magnetic levitation over the mayor's proposed steel-on-steel rail system. From an engineering viewpoint he is probably 100 percent correct; and further, we have technologically advanced from the 19th into the 21st century. But somehow the good professor is missing the basic point.
See, if some prosperous rickshaw association came up with enough deep-pocketed lobbyists and heavy political contributions, guess what? Our mayor and City Council happen to work on a different level. Never mind outdated rail, and never mind the incomprehensible-sounding mag lev system of the future. They would heavily favor mass transit by rickshaws. Our future would rest on rickshaws. Hurray!
No more: "Go Rail, Go."
It would be: "Go Rickshaw, Go."
Gerhard C. Hamm
Government is both cause and solution to traffic problems
With school out and traffic flowing smoothly, we see once again that we don't have a traffic congestion problem in Honolulu -- we have a stupidity problem. Obviously, all we need to do to clear our traffic congestion is reschedule school and work times.
We don't do that for several reasons. One, it's hard to see how anyone can make a buck by rescheduling, while it's easy to see who profits from mass transit and highway construction projects. Two, some of the entities causing the problem don't see themselves as responsible for solving it. We have five major employing entities -- state government, county government, the Department of Education, the University of Hawaii and private employers. Four of the five are government agencies that are obviously not coordinating efforts to deal with the traffic congestion that strangles us when school is in session. Two of those agencies, the DOE and UH, are content to be a big part of the problem and don't take any responsibility for being part of the solution.
My suggestion is the establishment of a super agency -- the Office of Transportation Management -- with authority over all aspects of transportation, including work schedules for government and school employees as well as highway and mass transit construction, the bus system, traffic light coordination -- basically everything having to do with traffic that government can control.
Imagine the possibilities if one agency could coordinate all aspects of our transportation system. Just by scheduling government workers to work four days a week, we could reduce congestion by one-fifth. That, together with starting UH classes at 9 a.m., might be all we need to do to get traffic flowing. The cost of these solutions would be minuscule compared to building a rail system or even building new highways.
Unfortunately, we cannot expect the Legislature to establish such an agency, even if it were possible under the state constitutional grants of authority to the Board of Education and Board of Regents. However, a constitutional convention could establish this super agency by direct constitutional enactment.
So for those of you wondering why we need a Con Con, here's another reason.
Tom Pico Jr.