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POSTED: Monday, February 02, 2009

Don't divert rail funds to balance budget

I'm pleased to learn that the Honolulu City Council has finally chosen to select an airport route for the rail system. I'm sure many more people would have voted for rail with the airport connection. It's the best thing for both Oahu's residents and visitors in the long run.

Rail is vital to managing future traffic congestion and growth, especially on the west side, and to bringing in much-needed jobs and federal funding during this recession. The train is moving ahead and picking up momentum.

I hope our state legislators and the governor are paying attention. Diverting Honolulu's rail funds to pay for a state budget shortfall is totally unacceptable.

Jason Wong
Makiki


Nuclear power can be part of Hawaii's future

All the hype about renewable energy is good for the country. I am hoping that the price of oil per barrel will stay palatable during these hard economic times.

I think we will need nuclear power in the long run, if we are going to be the hub of the Pacific and a desirable tourist destination. Our ground water is limited and, if we are to keep growing, then we also will have to desalinate the seawater, which requires plenty of energy.

Some of these alternative and renewable energy plans do not pan out for Hawaii, unfortunately. For example, our rail transit will probably cost $4 billion more than the light rail in Phoenix, probably because of the cost of land here. I do not think we can grow plenty of crops like sugar cane and corn for ethanol fuels because the land is so expensive and there is not enough spare fresh water for irrigation.

The idea of using wave energy converters for our electricity might not pan out either, if we would need thousands of them around our islands to generate enough electricity for a growing population.

But with nuclear energy we could have hydrogen fuel-cell cars as an alternative to gasoline or electric. Hydrogen fuel cells emit water as a byproduct, with very little carbon footprint.

I think some people are still scared of nuclear energy because they are superstitious. Yet these people think nothing of having an X-ray at the doctor's office.

Phil Robertson
Kailua


Now isn't a good time to raise legislators' pay

What is it that Hawaii Democrats do not understand? I am talking about the issue of legislators accepting expensive raises during these bad economic times.

Tourism is down by double digits, according to the newspapers. If the good lawmakers in the Democratic Party and the Judiciary all need raises, I recommend getting a second job at Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, City Mill, or teaching in our public school system or working on the Superferry.

Citizens are not biased against the raises, just not this time around. “;No, No and No”; is what the people are saying, maybe later.

Bill Littell
Waikiki


Studies show gambling isn't harmful to society

Gambling casinos are highly successful in 37 states and around the world.

Here are some facts to consider:

1. Congressional research conducted for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission found that the casino effect is not statistically significant for any crime outcome measures. Many independent studies have been conducted that refute those erroneous assertions on the social effect of gaming.

2. The General Accounting Office corroborated with the commission report, stating “;crime cannot be linked to gambling.”; Additionally, commission research estimated that the pathological gambling rate was 0.6 percent in 1999. It also concluded that gambling appears to have net economic benefits for economically depressed communities.

3. The state of Hawaii has completed “;The Economic Impacts on Gambling and Pari-mutuel Horse racing in Hawaii.”; The impact study states that gambling in Hawaii can be done and would compliment our tourist industry.

4. The military sees no harm in slot games overseas. The Defense Department concluded that the thousands of slot machines on overseas U.S. bases pose no significant harm to the morale or finances of American troops.

Members of the armed forces and civilian employees poured in roughly $1.2 billion in 1999. The Pentagon report delivered to lawmakers says slot machines are a means of recreation for service members and provide an important source of revenue for building and operating youth centers, clubs, golf courses, etc. More than 92 percent of wages are returned to players as winnings.

5. The Internal Revenue Service would still get taxes and foreigners would repatriate the U.S. dollar by spending here.

James B. Duncan
Aiea


It's more accurate to call Obama hapa

We have a new president now and I have a lingering question that has been bothering me for a long time. How is it that a person of mixed race with a little African blood in him is considered black regardless of his other biological traits? Why is Barack Obama considered or labeled black when his mother was white?

I propose a change in class filing ethnic groups. Make it similar to how we do it in Hawaii. Call that person with mixed blood hapa.

Toshio Chinen
Pearl City
               

     

 

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