Closet Chinatown's smokers
The streets in Chinatown are unsafe! Everywhere one goes there is lingering secondhand smoke. Where are the days when those suicidal smokers were safely kept inside to slowly die? When they did not converge outside their buildings, in front of bars and restaurants? When we didn't have to share their filthy habits on our streets?
I say lift the smoking ban and put those idiots back inside where we don't see them or smell them. Unless some lawmaker has the guts to ban smoking from our city, our children will die in the streets. They are the right height to breathe that deadly vapor.
Lottery could solve state budget problems
The state deficit could be averted and funds for education could be gained if only Hawaii would hold a lottery. It would tap all that money going out of our state to Las Vegas. Simple scratch-off tickets would glean so much good for the education of our children and prevent the debt in the budget.
It might mean one less Steinlager a day, and alcoholism and domestic abuse might go down.
As for the religious, pious people, if they don't want it, let's tax their immense holdings. That would really boost the coffers. The state could even afford to hire more people to aimlessly lean on shovels by the roadside, collecting $18 an hour while the state is paying $36 an hour to their contractors.
Bill will further shrink rental housing market
The City Council is again considering permitting vacation rentals in our residential neighborhoods in the form of B&Bs (breakfast not required), even though Council members know from the current mess of illegal vacation rentals that the city cannot enforce the law once the vacation traffic is started. And even though five neighborhood boards, the Planning Commission (unanimously) and informed public opinion oppose permitting, the Council trudges on. The Council hearing is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Council Committee Meeting Room.
For those renting in neighborhoods who don't think this will affect them, think again. The permitted properties will no longer be allowed to rent to anyone but short-termers (30 days or less). We have an islandwide housing market and we know that shrinking the available housing supply drives up prices everywhere. Take a house off the market on the North Shore and rental prices in Palolo Valley go up just a little. Take thousands of houses off the market and the rental prices go up a lot everywhere.
Isn't there a housing crunch already? Why take more housing out of the rental market? What is the Council thinking?
Save Oahu's Neighborhoods
Use money for Con Con on schools instead
I am writing in response to John Kawamoto's Sept. 1 letter to the editor.
There are two things Constitutional Convention advocates continue to overlook: Our schools are hurting financially. Due to budget shortfalls, facilities, materials, lab equipment, computers, textbooks and many other student necessities are in short supply or missing altogether. School maintenance and improvements have been started and abruptly halted; teacher and education positions are being reduced. Recent estimates indicate the Con Con could cost as much as $41 million. As a teacher, I often dip into my family's budget for my classroom. I feel that money spent on a Con Con is money that could be better spent on students and their educational needs.
Also, Hawaii suffers from a teacher shortage. The governor and others in her administration calling for a Con Con make no secret that they would like to use it to severely weaken our state's collective bargaining laws. Reducing teacher salaries, benefits or retirement will only make it more difficult to attract the best and brightest to work in Hawaii schools.
Con Con supporters who want to help Hawaii schools should call on the governor and the Legislature to put the money that would be spent on a convention into our classrooms.
Help keep gas station in Aina Haina open
The new corporate owner of the Aina Haina Union 76 service station plans to close it in six months. This would be a disaster.
The station is a vital component of East Honolulu infrastructure. Its demise would further complicate the already intense traffic in the entire area. It is the only service station along the five miles of the heavily traveled corridor between Hawaii Kai and Kahala. It provides not only gas but also emergency aid and routine maintenance.
Going west, it is the last quick, simple stop before entering the H-1 freeway. To refuel at Kahala would require exiting the freeway and entering the already congested area under the freeway, waiting one's turn at a busy station, then negotiating the traffic and traffic lights before finally reaching the onramp up onto the freeway.
Traveling east from Kahala entails similar difficulties, especially where Kilauea, Waialae and Keloohu avenues converge into the single-lane entrance to the highway.
Come to the meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 in the Aina Haina Elementary school cafetorium to hear corporation representatives discuss their plans. A large, angry audience could save the station.
McCain's vp choice defies explanation
While I was not thrilled with John McCain's other potential choices for vice president, they were not, well, creepy and scary. My apprehensions are not without company. Former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island describes vice presidential pick Sarah Palin as a "cocky wacko." She seems to have about as much a grip on world affairs and reality as George W. Bush did in 2000.
With his selection of Palin, McCain completes his conversion to the dark side. Furthermore, McCain's campaign reads like a very bad episode of "Twin Peaks." We have no idea where the script is going to take us, but you can be sure it is not going to be a good place.
McCain refers to himself and Palin as "mavericks." To the young voters in this country who will make the difference in the upcoming election, a Maverick is just an old beat-up Ford.
Obama won't help Hawaii, McCain will
State Sen. Gary Hooser wrote recently that "Hawaii-born" Sen. Barack Obama will be a help to Hawaii if he wins the presidency. My question to Hooser, and other Hawaii residents so enamored with an empty message of hope, is what has Obama done for Hawaii so far?
Obama has shown no connection to the people of Hawaii other than enjoying a relaxing vacation on our beaches. Outside of his immediate family, no one in Hawaii knows the senator from Illinois. He hasn't worked to establish a connection with our residents, doesn't understand the issues that face us as an isolated island chain and won't be placing Hawaii on any special favors list if he wins.
On the other hand, the McCain-Palin ticket is aware of our key issues. Sen. John McCain's military experience and his family's previous stations in Hawaii give him perspective into our connection with the military as part of our ohana. As the leader of the only other noncontiguous state, vice presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin understands the struggles of being isolated from the continental U.S. A McCain-Palin administration would align with us on key issues of energy independence, an issue that will define our success for generations.
More importantly, the McCain-Palin ticket will give Hawaii a greater voice in Washington. Our current administration has a direct line to both the senator and governor, soon-to-be president and vice president. Obama, on the other hand, has never reached out to the governor of our state, not even once.
The analysis of what benefits his candidacy brings Hawaii should run a bit deeper than just his birth certificate.
Ralph E. Winnie Jr.
Who wants a maverick in the White House?
McCain the Maverick. The definition of "maverick" is: One who refuses to abide by the dictates of his group. One who resists adherence to affiliation with any single organization or faction.
Since when has being unreliable been considered a virtue?