Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Thursday, March 12, 2009

Put the phone down or grow another arm

I was thinking of buying a hand-held cell phone that I might use while driving in my car but a strange thought occurred to me. If I have one hand on the steering wheel to guide my car, and in the other hand I am holding my telephone, how then am I supposed to activate my turn signals? Do I use the hand which is holding the phone and thus remove the phone from my ear while activating the turn signal lever, or do I use the other hand which is guiding my car? My car is an automatic, which eliminates one problem I might have in activating a gear-shift lever.

According to Darwin, I might over time actually grow a third arm, which would solve the problem. Perhaps, like many drivers in Hawaii, I might simply choose not to activate my turn signals. This is a serious dilemma for me and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Jean-Jacques Dicker


Implement a road tax tied to odometers

In Sunday's Star-Bulletin, there was an article from the New York Times about gas tax revenue expected to decline due to increasing mileage, less driving and hybrid and electric drive technologies. This decline affects the gas tax needed to maintain the roads. We'll need to move eventually from a gas tax to a road tax.

The article mentioned the complexity involved, for a road tax, in tracking where and when people drive, and quoted: “;You'd have to have a record of where the car is at all times, and that certainly would frighten America.”;

Not so! Nobody needs to know where and when you drive. The car's odometer tells the number of miles you drive, and that's all the government needs for levying a tax on road usage.

Every jurisdiction in the country mandates periodic safety and/or emissions checks for vehicles. To implement a road tax, simply have the odometer reading and vehicle number fed into a computer when the safety check is done. The owner is then billed by the tax agency, as we are for property tax. Departments of transportation would have to place special computers at all safety check stations, but that's a whole lot easier than trying to track the location of every single vehicle out there.

Jim Harwood


Don't balk at passing voter-owned elections

I am lending support to the “;voter owned”; election efforts, which have been sustained here in one form or another for the better part of 10 years. Clean election, transparency and campaign spending reform all go hand in hand.

Even in time of recession and budget shortfalls, a promise made last year must be kept this year.

This goes beside the consideration by some Big Island lawmakers' concerns about funding this cycle, and second thoughts about subjecting a body that already has term limits to a self-imposed “;handicap.”;

It appears that neither the incumbents in the executive branch, the Legislature nor the various county councils and the mayors seemed very committed and perhaps are using the economic “;crisis”; as an out (i.e., “;excuse”;).

Arvid Tadao Youngquist


Train ridership is up across America

The American Public Transportation Association just reported that transit ridership is up by 4 percent across the nation, and this appears to be a long-term trend. This is good news and it's an indication that change is happening as President Barack Obama has predicted and encouraged.

Taking public transit is good for our environment, good for our economy and good for our own pocketbooks because we can save money on gas, parking and other fees associated with the automobile.

Honolulu's rail transit project is set to start construction by the end of this year, and we too can join the rest of the country with modern, reliable mass transit for our city.

Joe Lee

Hawaii Kai

Lawmakers, what's your beef with ferry?

The lawmakers are at it again with the Hawaii Superferry. The Superferry stays in Hawaii waters. What about every ship that comes into our harbors from out of state? Do you require an environmental study on all of them? When they dump their ballast tanks from foreign ports in our harbors, are you there to make sure they are not introducing anything that would harm our waters? I doubt it.

Who's paying you all to try, in any way you can, to stop this very great other form of transportation for our islands? The airlines, the freight ships? Something is fishy. We never had box jellyfish before, and it sure isn't from the Superferry.

The Superferry is great and I would hate to see it go because of the lawmakers. What a big loss that would be.

Adrienne L. Wilson-Yamasaki





How to write us

        The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~175 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
        E-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
        Fax: (808) 529-4750
        Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210,  Honolulu, HI 96813