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POSTED: Thursday, June 18, 2009

Money for rail will be wasted

The taxpaying citizens of Oahu should be made aware of how much the $5.4 billion projected for the city rail project represents.

The recently completed state-of-the-art major league stadium for the New York Mets cost $800 million, which means that we could build seven first-class stadiums for the cost of the rail project. And Honolulu could certainly use a new stadium.

The recently commissioned Cunard super liner Queen Mary 2 was built for 460 million pounds ($920 million at the 2004 exchange rate), which means we could build a fleet of six super liners for the money that we are wasting on a commuter rail line serving a part of the island of Oahu, and for which even the rail planners admit will not reduce traffic congestion.

How long will the voters continue to support a City Council that insists on raising taxes on essential services and then turns around and blatantly approves over a billion dollars for an outdated rail project that will destroy Oahu as we now know it?

Geoffrey Paterson

Kailua

               

     

 

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Not all Hawaii visitors are wealthy

Regarding the letter from Susan Kay Wiess (”;Taxing visitors right thing to do”; Letters, Star-Bulletin, June 17), I agree with her, in part only. Since I have visited my favorite place on Earth 13 times over the past 30-plus years, I don't mind paying the extra hotel tax, etc. I believe every city that has tourist visitors should have them pay extra. They use the roads and facilities so they should help pay for the upkeep.

My disagreement is with her wording. She writes that “;it's chump change to wealthy travelers, taken in stride with little thought ...”;

We are not wealthy travelers. We save for years to be able to visit the islands. It isn't something we could do every year as some do, but we would love to do that. Most of my trips have been with friends so we share expenses of hotel, car, etc.

I just dislike the connotation that all visitors to Hawaii are wealthy and lack regard to the mess they make. Our group tends to leave the islands as clean as we found them. I have picked up many cigarette butts out of the sand in my travels. Yes, I always take a plastic bag to the beach for litter.

I also dislike people who don't clean up after themselves. We respect the housekeeping staff and always leave good tips and fairly clean rooms too.

Just try not to lump all visitors with a few, because most of the folks I know feel the same as I do.

MJ Geier

Northwest Washington State

Akaka Bill needs more transparency

As the Star-Bulletin has reported, the Akaka Bill is once again moving through Congress.

The bill has been carefully crafted so that its consequences will not be known until after it has become law. But Rep. Neil Abercrombie has said on several occasions that the bill is “;about land and about money.”; He has admitted that the bill's intent to transfer some or all of the state's lands (”;ceded lands”;) and other state assets to a new sovereign Hawaiian government, where the assets will be used only for the benefit of those who have at least one drop of Hawaiian blood.

At last week's hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee, Abercrombie suggested that it is critical that native Hawaiians gain title to these lands because some nefarious, but unidentified, group is plotting to take them away from the state.

I, and I suspect many others, would be most interested in learning the identity of these plotters so that their plan could be foiled and these state lands could continue to benefit all citizens of Hawaii, regardless of race or ancestry.

Tom Macdonald

Kaneohe

America should be role model

America is in no position to be judging or voicing our concerns of other countries, voting results and labeling them as questionable as if we were so righteous. The brave and patriotic Muslims in Iraq voted in record numbers and their percentage of voters puts us to shame. We had proof of our own voter fraud and to this day still are prosecuting Acorn and possibly others for cheating.

Where were the Republicans and right-wing zealots who had the chance to stand up to this but instead stood silent and in fear of their own shadow. America, let's focus on solutions to our own problems and show the world we are able, wise and committed to once again being the role model of success for the rest of the world to follow.

Johnny Kai

Honolulu

Hawaii visitors deserve stimulus

Word of mouth works. Instead of giving $71 million to the Hawaii Travel Authority, give an instant rebate to every visitor that lands at our airports island wide. The word will get around fast. Can you say stimulus? Do the math. Start with $1000 per head and more if you're a first-time visitor.

What happened to the idea of giving $1 million to every taxpayer household to jump start the economy? We are cheaper than the banks and auto industries Are these ideas too simple?

John Olszowka

Laie

Shifting posts put rail at risk

I am puzzled by Congressman Neil Abercrombie's remarks concerning the rail project.

He claims that Mayor Mufi Hannemann is putting the project at risk by considering a run for governor. I hope Abercrombie realizes we need him more in Congress where he can best help with securing federal funding for rail.

By vacating his seat, he is allowing staunch rail opponents such as Charles Djou and Colleen Hanabusa to vie for the open congressional seat. That scenario could put the rail project at risk, and is not one that I encourage or support.

Stephanie Pacesetter

Hawaii Kai