Letters to the editor
POSTED: Thursday, May 14, 2009
Greed propels buildup in Ewa
As I sat in traffic on Fort Weaver Road heading for the H-1 last Saturday at 9:30 a.m., I watched the traffic signals at Holowaka Drive and then Renton Road change to red about four times before we moved at all.
I wondered at the stupidity of the government for allowing all the new home development before making infrastructure improvements. Then I thought that perhaps it was greed that trumped stupidity and getting their hands on all the new property taxes as soon as possible and then fix the traffic.
It also occurred to me that simply widening Renton Road might not solve the problem. I think that overpasses, such as the one at Fort Weaver Road and Farrington Highway, would have been a better solution (and probably cheaper). I also thought about Mayor Frank Fasi’s idea of a tunnel under Pearl Harbor.
As you can see, I had plenty of time to think about things while sitting and twiddling my thumbs waiting for traffic to move.
This revenue source is about tapped out
Apparently the state legislators and now our City Council and mayor must have more money than they do common sense.
The state just passed sweeping tax increases including a $1 a barrel gas tax or 2 cents a gallon, and did not reauthorize the ethanol tax exemption, so that will raise gas another 11 cents a gallon.
Not to be outdone, the city Budget Committee just passed a 3 cents per gallon gas tax. But wait, there's more. On May 18, they intend to raise property taxes 9 percent regardless that valuations have gone down dramatically and property taxes should go down with them.
A letter I received with my water/sewer bill informed me that sewer fees would be going up 18 percent in June.
When you add all the fees being increased—the general excise tax 0.5 percent increase for rail, vehicle registration fees and property tax increases—most residents of Honolulu County will see more than $2,000 in new/increased taxes since 2005.
Many people on fixed incomes cannot recover that $2,000 except by reducing their already minimum lifestyle. Surely the City Council and mayor have some compassion left for their constituents, or have they turned us into mere "sources of revenue"?
Garry P. Smith
Most murderers didn't use guns
"Fewer guns means less death and injury. It's a simple equation," says Kristen Rand of the Violence Policy Center ("Hawaii has lowest rate of firearms deaths," Star-Bulletin, May 7).
The above statement is misleading and a good example of how anti-gun advocates like to twist data. According to their statistics, from 2001 to 2006, 165 homicides were committed in Hawaii, 50 with firearms. That means 115 people, more than twice as many, were killed by other means.
One can't help but wonder whether any of those victims might still be alive had they owned a gun and knew how to use it. Ask the families of murdered women who had TROs on estranged husbands or violent ex-boyfriends, if Hawaii's restrictive gun laws and lack of a "Castle Doctrine" made their murdered family members any safer.
Data release by the FBI in 2006 showed that in 2005 the nation's total violent crime rate was 38 percent lower than in 1991, when violent crime hit an all-time high. Murder was 43 percent lower, rape 25 percent lower, robbery 48 percent lower, and aggravated assault 33 percent lower.
The FBI's report came on the heels of a Bureau of Justice Statistics crime survey that found that violent crime was lower in 2005 than any time in the survey's 32-year history.
Defying the anti-gunners' claim that more guns means more crime, from 1991-2005 the number of privately owned guns increased by more than 70 million.
These statistics fly in the face of Kristen Rand's "simple equation" that "fewer guns means less death and injury." The anti-gun math just doesn't add up.
Newspaper no place for inane comments
Columnist Maureen Dowd writes a fine article that says that endangered newspapers "do a praiseworthy job of trying to keep the dark side at bay by shining sun on it" (Star-Bulletin, May 12). However, adjacent to her column are letters to the editor, which provide very little sunlight and are starting to sound more and more like ranting blogs.
One letter writer indicts the entire Legislature with abuse or neglect on educational issues and concludes there is little hope for our children. The next writer states "if you are gay, you have a lifestyle that could signal the end of the human race."
These are black holes of unenlightened thought.
Finally, a third letter writer concludes that Barack Obama has no talent as a comic or as a president. This was based on his 16-minute routine at the Washington correspondent's dinner last week. Even a strong conservative like George Will, who finds it hard to say a kind word about Obama, admitted that the president had talented writers who prepared his comedic skit. While you may question the president's economic policies, his humor was at the very least well written.
And so, if we want ideological diatribes we should listen to talk radio, watch cable TV, or blog on the Web. Good writing on the letters page, editorial section and syndicated columnists are a minimum requirement to help save the newspaper industry.
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