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POSTED: Thursday, May 28, 2009

Council shuffles funds for rail

The City Council Budget Committee proposed cutting off curbside recycling to save property taxpayers $6 million. At the same time it appropriated more than $1 billion of Oahu, not federal, tax money for the rail system, which has no approved environmental impact statement (yet). Six million dollars is less than 1 percent of $1 billion.

The Superferry was terminated because it had no approved EIS. The public outcry over that loss was great even though that loss did not approach $1 billion.

Budget Committee Chairman Nestor Garcia was generously indulgent to those who testified on the rail appropriation, both for and against. But as a testifier, I could see that the committee was not very interested. The committee had no doubts about appropriating $1 billion for a project that is far from ready to start.

Why is the committee so fixated on $6 million and so carefree about $1 billion? Is it because we need to get started on the train to nowhere because then we'll be committed to spending billions more once that first billion is spent? Who cares that no one will ride from Kapolei to Waipahu and then get on a bus to get them where they want to go.

Pearl Johnson

Honolulu

Outcry on civil unions sounds vaguely familiar

Our civil union quandary is deja vu all over again. I've been through this before. The year was 1968, and there were 12 states with laws making interracial marriage illegal. A young interracial couple in Virginia had been arrested and imprisoned earlier. The arguments then in support of these laws were almost identical to the arguments now against gay marriage.

The arguments were promoted by fundamentalist Christians, who found obscure biblical passages which they interpreted to mean interracial marriage was unnatural, and that God intended people to marry "their own kind." Now, just how familiar does that sound today?

The huge difference between the situation in 1968 and the situation now is that the issue of interracial marriage was never put on the ballot. Where basic God-given human rights are concerned, the democratic process can fail miserably.

Hawaii, if you really would like to understand what it is like for gays to be kept from marrying, try to imagine Hawaii as the 13th state with a law that will jail you if you marry someone of another race. Close your eyes and imagine a Hawaii like that! How do you like it?

Rick Lloyd

Honolulu

Hawaii leaders need a better antiflu strategy

State leaders don't seem to understand the basic strategy to keep diseases like swine flu from spreading. The most important thing is to try to nip it in the bud. A perfect example is with Anuenue School. If they would have shut down the school immediately after the first cases were discovered, it wouldn't have spread amongst the students.

But instead the state chose to do the opposite. By keeping the kids in school, they assured that even more kids would get the virus and spread it to more people in the shopping centers and theaters.

Our only hope is that our leaders will be humble enough to recognize that their strategy has failed. And if there's a resurgence of the swine flu or other viral diseases in the fall, the state will not blindly follow the same noncontainment strategy of the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC policy has been a complete disaster on the U.S. mainland, where over the past couple of weeks they've seen many more cases than Mexico even had. The CDC and the strategy of our state leaders to let the virus spread unchecked while preparing vaccines for the lucky few and body bags for the "nonessential" members of society is inhumane. Only self-centered, hard-hearted politicians and bureaucrats could come up with such an obscene strategy.

Dr. and Mrs. J. Spencer

Waianae

Isle police chief search could start from within

I agree with Sandra Barker's opinion ("New police chief hunt will squander funds," Star-Bulletin letters, May 25) 100 percent, but it may not necessarily cost a lot to find a candidate. Yes, Chief Boisse Correa should be rehired for five more years as he was, and is, an outstanding law enforcement officer.

On the other hand, the Honolulu Police Commission may not be aware that Charles Moose has been a patrolman in the department since October 2007.

Prior to relocating to Hawaii, he was chief of police in Montgomery County, Md., overseeing a department with over 1,200 officers. Before that he was also chief of police of Portland, Ore.

So the hunt should not be that expensive, eliminating the need to squander any funds for HPD.

Al Eisner

Former Montgomery County Police Department volunteer

Tax quandary leads to fiscal confusion

If your property value goes up, property taxes go up. If your property value goes down, property taxes go up? I'm confused.

The price of gas goes up, and taxes go up with it. The price of gas goes down, and taxes go up with it? I'm confused.

Hotel rates are already high, largely because of the added room taxes. We, the state, depend on tourists to come here and visit and stay at these hotels. Let's raise the hotel room taxes some more and keep those tourists we need from ever coming here. I'm confused.

John Bullard

Waipahu

               

     

 

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