Isle contractors earn their bad reputation
I recently was at the receiving end of a local electrician's amazing irresponsibility, having made six definite appointments with me, not keeping one and not bothering to call to cancel. Having experienced this, it recalled the many complaints I have heard from my local friends, quite similar in nature. But I was still amazed when my sister reiterated a story she had heard from an Oregon contractor who was considering getting some Hawaii jobs. He told her he would send his own men, and pay for their housing, rather than hire local Hawaii help, as he knew in the end it would be cheaper as you could not get dependable help in Hawaii.
Wow! I think we need to take heed. Apparently this shameful reputation has snaked its way to the mainland.
We locals do not lay claim to the aloha spirit. The mainland has it, too, just not so tropically, or commercially, wrapped. But if the mainland outshines us on the solid attributes of responsibility and dependability, we are left wanting.
Rail rust and noise aren’t big worries
The "steel on steel" rail technology selected by the city comes at the recommendation of numerous experts who have life-long experience in building modern mass transit systems. More importantly, it is evident that most U.S. cities are employing this technology for their new systems for both economic and reliability reasons.
I have heard that people are concerned that steel rusts. However, you will notice that rail tracks built by the Oahu Railway and Land Co. more than 100 years ago are still in remarkably good shape, and you can even take a train ride to Ko Olina from Ewa on these same tracks operating today.
Some also wonder if rail is noisy. Modern rail systems are much quieter than highway noise, or being next to a city bus. And unlike automobiles, buses and trucks, rail runs on electricity which is less polluting.
Modern rail or "steel on steel" is the transportation infrastructure we need for the 21st century. Most modern cities across the world have good rail systems and so should Honolulu.
People consistently favor rail transit
Contrary to anti-rail propaganda, the people of Hawaii have always shown strong and consistent support for rail transit on Oahu. On Feb. 25, 1999, the Star-Bulletin reported, "More than half of those polled in a recent Honolulu Star-Bulletin/Hawaii News 8 poll say rail transit is a good idea for Oahu" (starbulletin.com/1999/02/25/news/story4.html
Close to 10 years later, the results are practically the same. The Honolulu Advertiser (July 28) reported that "61 percent of respondents would vote in favor of rail. About 33 percent said they would vote against." 808talk.com (Aug. 11) shows that 58 percent of respondents think rail is a good idea for Honolulu. The Star-Bulletin/KITV4 News (July 27) reports that 60 percent of respondents would vote to continue development of rail transit on Oahu.
Our support for rail transit on Oahu is still going strong.
Movie demeans people with disabilities
The Star-Bulletin carried a review of the film "Tropic Thunder," opening this week ("Kauai co-stars,"
Aug. 10). If this movie is "funny," it is so at the expense of millions of persons with intellectual disabilities. Actors repeatedly use the pejorative word "retard" and other demeaning and disrespectful descriptions of people with intellectual disabilities. They ridicule a character with disabilities. The film signals that it is acceptable to make fun of people with intellectual disabilities.
Fun at the expense of people who did nothing to deserve ridicule is not fun at all for the butt of the joke. It is time for our community to recognize that the "R-word" is as derogatory and dehumanizing to these people as the "N-word" and other epithets are to other target groups. Your readers can learn more by visiting www.r-word.org. And we can all stop before the R-word reaches our tongue.
The way to stay cool is all around us
The City and County of Honolulu should be congratulated for keeping its increase in energy consumption down to 5.7 percent at a time when demand for its services rose dramatically, as indicated by Hawaii's Gross State Product increase of 19.1 percent during the same time, but it is imperative that we take active measures to continue this positive trend.
Fuel oil is not only becoming more expensive, it also contributes significantly to global warming and increases Hawaii's vulnerability to shifts in oil demand. The city and all building owners in the downtown area can now shift from dependence on fuel oil to the use of our own resources, such as cold deep seawater.
Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning, in its final stages of permitting and design, brings infinitely renewable, cold, deep seawater to a heat-transfer station on land. It then distributes the cold through a treated freshwater piping system to cool high-rise buildings downtown, eliminating traditional air-conditioning equipment and almost half a building's electrical consumption.