Hawaii needs total ban on killer gill nets
Each year our local news reports that endangered monk seals, shark pups, turtles and all types of fish are killed by illegal lay gill nets. Gill nets, which are banned in every coastal state on the mainland, are allowed in Kaneohe Bay, which is a known nursery for sharks. Baby hammerhead sharks are not aggressive or dangerous to humans.
A statewide ban on lay gill nets is needed. These curtains of death must be banned on our overfished islands and fishermen should realize that with a complete ban this will increase fish populations and help them in the long term. Read the Pacific Fisheries Coalition Web site for more info on this subject (www.pacfish.org).
The selected gill net ban must become a complete gill net ban as it has been reported that 75 percent of Hawaii's reef fish are depleted or in critical condition. I assume the Department of Land and Natural Resources is for a complete ban. I would like to know why there is not a complete ban like the rest of our country.
Building toll roads is the way to go
I am a supporter of toll roads. What we can do is to charge high fees during rush hours and lesser fees after that. This should exclude public transportation such as TheBus. Those who persistently drive solo should pay high toll fees. These fees should pay for the maintenance and usage of our freeways.
Car registration should be reduced as well. Why should I be charged a high registration fee for my weekend car that sits in my garage all week long; I don't use the freeways and streets often. I take TheBus or TheBoat by choice. They are uncomfortable at times, depending who you sit next to, but in general, I have had good experiences for the past 15 years. What we need is some improvement for TheBus by adding more buses during rush hours, especially now that ridership has gone up.
Beware false numbers when assessing rail
In Saturday's letter, "Numbers on rail just don't work out,"
a CPA educates us on the true cost of the mayor's rail transit plan (as she understands it).
She converts the $3.7 billion budget (of which 20 percent is contingency funding) in 2006 dollars to $6.6 billion in 2018 dollars assuming a 5 percent inflation rate. Inflation, as measured by the CPI, has hovered around 2.5 percent for the past decade. Why double it for the coming decade? She then divides year 2018 dollars by the current 900,000 residents to get a cost per resident. Converting dollars to 2018 figures but not the population? The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism forecasts a Honolulu County population of 1,010,400 in 2020. I'd re-do the math, but it's meaningless. Not all the costs will be paid by residents.
About $900 million will be funded by the federal government. Most of the remainder comes from Oahu's half-percent surcharge on the general excise tax of which nearly one-third is collected from tourists and other nonresidents. Every purchase, not just those by kamaaina, contributes to rail's funding.
Our CPA then shocks us with the cost of servicing the debt for rail - assuming the whole thing is financed by municipal bonds. It's not, so another meaningless (but inflammatory) calculation. Nearly a billion will come from the feds. And the city's Alternative Analysis states, "the GET surcharge is expected to yield between $2.6 billion and $3.2 billion in 2006 dollars." No debt financing for any of that.
Come November, we all need to decide if the mayor's rail project is a good value. Choose your sources of information carefully, and vote responsibly.
Don’t trust your health to the government
There is much chatter this election silly season about universal health care - all at the expense of the honest taxpayers. Why are we supposed to believe that if government ran the health care it would somehow be better than the current system? There are plenty of historical examples of government screw-ups and bungling things really bad, like the current war in Iraq.
HCDA isn’t trusted by commercial boaters
I am disappointed that your recent articles failed to make a critical observation about the problems at Kewalo Harbor. That observation is simple: The commercial operators at Kewalo are strongly opposed to Honolulu Community Development Authority managing Kewalo.
The commercial users are more than willing to pay increased service fees. The commercial operators want a full and vibrant commercial harbor - a true Fisherman's Wharf similar to San Francisco. The commercial operators want repairs made, but with monies the state has been collecting as profit from Kewalo for decades. These are monies that can only be spent at Kewalo as dictated by federal maritime and state case law.
Once again HCDA has muddied the waters. The new executive director, Anthony Ching, wants to build something in the hope that someone will come. Is Ching also a harbor designer? Does anyone know what he is planning to build? Or is he just the latest slick snake oil salesman fronting for HCDA's hidden agenda?
Kewalo needs proper and competent management; either the state Department of Transportation or the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation need to be in charge.