Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Thursday, April 16, 2009

Giving shows aloha spirit

Cuts in social programs are wrong. People who require these services do not stop needing them because revenue is short. The needs that justified these programs are still here.

Elected officials must act prudently — and if the money is tight, taxes must be raised.

The sick, the old or young, the mentally ill and others who need help should not bear the brunt of budget cuts.

Each of us should help the other. If taxes are not raised and social programs are cut, then the public needs to help. Everyone should donate money, time or goods to a church, charity or agency that suffered a budget cut.

These donations will be a self-imposed tax and will prove to others that the spirit of aloha is here.


Leonard Leong



Carbon cap can bring big benefits

Here in Hawaii nearly 90 percent of our electricity is generated from burning fossil fuels. All of the goods shipped to Hawaii are done so by sea or by air with fossil fuels. We are an economy hinged on the availability of fossil fuels. We are an island economy with a huge carbon footprint. It is time for a change.

I decided to do something about it. I installed PV net metering systems on my residence and my office, and I run my company vehicles on biodiesel locally remanufactured from used cooking oil. To date my home and office PV systems have offset more than 25,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and my fuel-efficient biodiesel powered vehicles have reduced my fossil fuel consumption by 10,000 gallons.

A cap on carbon pollution will create tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs that can't be shipped overseas.

Consumers and businesses will benefit from stable energy prices, and with greater energy efficiency, we can get more from the energy we have, which will mean lower electricity bills. My family and my business have benefited thus far; however, in order for our economy to truly benefit, our leaders need to step in and force change.

Alex Woodbury

Kamuela, Hawaii

Guidelines for shark tours are needed

I was completely misquoted concerning my position about potential shark dive tours off of Hawai Kai. I did not say that I supported this shark tour operation. What I did say was that I support the general concept of creating economic wealth from non-extractive uses of the ocean. In fact, I specifically told the reporter that what we found from our current study could not be extrapolated to other sites (this part was reported in the last sentence of a Page 5 story Tuesday).

Each site has its own biological characteristics but, in general terms, there is no a priori reason why these types of operation cause increased risk to nearshore ocean users. But, it comes down to the details — the specific site, the specific behavior of the tour operators, etc. The types of shark found three miles offshore of Haleiwa are generally not tiger sharks (which are responsible for almost all attacks in Hawaii) and the shark present at the Haleiwa offshore site (mostly Galapagos sharks) almost never go close to shore.

There is absolutely no evidence that sharks at offshore sites can somehow follow the tour vessel into shore or into specific harbors. It should also be remembered that tiger sharks and other shark species are already present close to shore in Maunalua Bay and all other parts of our coastline.

While knee-jerk opposition to these types of activities is misplaced, I think there should be clear guidelines established about how much chum (if any) can be used and scientific monitoring of the tour sites would be useful in evaluating their impact (if any) on the environment.

Kim Holland

Researcher, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology

Other rail systems deserve another look

As the City Council prepares to “;sink TheBoat”; and its budget chairman plans other spending cuts, why does it continue to leave all major decisions on the rail transit project up to the administration? Council members were presented with information on how to save more than $1.5 billion with a system other than steel wheel on steel rail (SWSR), namely the HSST urban magnetic levitation (mag-lev) system that has been in revenue service in Nagoya, Japan, for more than four years.

Savings on the mag-lev guideway alone are estimated at $570 million compared to the planned costs for the 20-mile minimum operable segment (MOS). That sum can either stay in taxpayers' pockets or be used to add five additional miles within the MOS budget and timelines, enough to reach both UH-Manoa and Waikiki. Operations and maintenance costs for the HSST would be $33 million per year less than SWSR, reducing taxpayer subsidies for the system by another $1 billion over 30 years.

The city's contracted analysts should have considered other qualified rail technologies in the draft environmental impact statement; instead, those systems were “;brushed off”; in a few lines and the other 2,000-plus pages covered only the impact of SWSR systems. The EIS must be reaccomplished and a fair and open competition on the transit project must be conducted, as was done in 1992 before funding failed to materialize. There still is time to do this right — unless several City Council members continue to shirk their fiscal responsibilities.

Frank Genadio





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