Letters to the editor


POSTED: Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lingle's vetoes were a PR stunt

Gov. Linda Lingle's news conference vetoing the budget bill was hypocritical and irresponsible.

Why hypocritical? She knew the Legislature was poised to override the veto. She could play games for the cameras, knowing the Legislature would pass the budget and keep the government operating.

Why irresponsible? Because she used unrealistic budget numbers. As the March HB 200 committee report related:

1) Lingle's July 2008 budget statement omitted future shortfalls projected by the Council on Revenues.

2) Her January budget proposal excluded $48 million a year needed to maintain health benefits for state employees and retirees.

3) Her financial plan relied on obtaining a wildly optimistic $56 million by publishing the names of the Top 50 tax scofflaws and collecting money from the underground economy.

This time, she advocated cutting $280 million from state employee salaries and benefits without even discussing it with the unions.

Lingle also misrepresented the contents of the budget bill. In reality the small tax increases are only on tourists and the top 3 percent of Hawaii residents; most people get tax reductions.

The whole stunt was typical Lingle: government by public relations.

Larry Meacham


Health care reform needs a public plan

The insurance industry and their allies promised President Obama Monday that they'll cut health care cost inflation by 1.5 percent a year.

The insurance companies want us to believe this is a big deal, but it's not. Heath care costs are actually rising by more than 6 percent a year, and the industry is only promising voluntary efforts to trim that.

This is a disingenuous attempt by the health insurance companies to derail the health care reform we need.

The only way to make reform work for patients and payers is to allow the option of a fair, competitive public insurance plan. This will compel the insurance industry to find the savings they've promised, and give Americans another choice if they don't.

Congress and the president must pass health care reform this year that gives us the option of a public plan. If the private insurance plan is so good, why are they terrified of the public version?

John Johnson


Loud car sound systems need to be squelched

There is nowhere in our islands where you can spend the day and not hear a boom car. It travels through walls and windows and cannot be shut out. Earplugs are not even an option.

Our children are the first to suffer. It has been well documented that continual exposure to loud noise creates a “;learned helplessness.”; They cannot focus enough to read well, to take a test, to listen.

Why the owners of boom cars and trucks in Hawaii are not being ticketed is a mystery. We already have noise ordinance laws in place regarding car stereo noise which say it is unlawful if it can be heard 30 feet from the device producing the sound.

Anyone here can tell you all boom cars can be heard easily beyond 30 feet of the vehicle. I had friends visiting from New York City who live in Times Square who said Hawaii is so much more noisy than where they live.

The police department could easily set up a method for ticketing offenders by simply parking their vehicle 30 feet from a stoplight and listening. If they can hear an approaching boom car beyond the stoplight as it approaches, they are obviously in violation. When will HPD begin ticketing?

Jessica Rigney


Bicyclists, like drivers, must follow road rules

The article “;Smooth ride”; (Star-Bulletin, May 12) made me cautiously hopeful that cyclists will be able to have their own bike lanes for the majority of the most traveled routes.

Currently, the mixing of bikers and autos is frustrating for both. As a motorist, it's frustrating to see cyclists pedaling 15 mph on roads with 35 mph speed limits, causing cars to either swerve around them to pass or follow behind in a parade of increasingly frustrated motorists.

On one hand, bikers want the same rights to the roads that motorists have, but then are unwilling/unable to comply with the same rules of the road. How many times have bikers ridden between cars stopped at a stoplight to allow them to proceed even when motor traffic is legally stopped? Some will even then run the light only to end up leading the parade of slow traffic again.

Cars and bicycles are not safely mixed, and need to be separated. The current road system was not designed to be used by cyclists, but if both the cyclists and motorists complied with the rules it would be a little safer for both.

Gary Stark


More police downtown increases safety for all

Increased police presence downtown means that officers in other districts or assignments may be asked to work overtime during this period of violence in Chinatown. Let us show our appreciation by cooperating.

Police officers are neighbors, relatives and friends—so why not cooperate and respect their badge by being in compliance with the law?

I appreciate their presence and the safe environment that they create in Chinatown after the recent incidents of violence.

Leonard Leong





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