Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Saturday, June 27, 2009

Now not the time for rail system

I share the same sentiments as Geoffrey Paterson (”;Money for rail will be wasted,”; Star-Bulletin letters, June 18). I have always been a firm believer of “;cutting my coat according to my cloth.”; In these economic times, when there are massive layoffs, huge corporations going bankrupt, and an alarming number of foreclosures and furloughs, spending $5.4 billion on a rail system that serves a minority section is criminal, to say the least. I admire and applaud Gov. Linda Lingle for her wise and tough decisions that she has to make in order to bring some kind of semblance to balance the budget. Why are government employees so surprised when the ax falls on them? The misconception that they are set for life in the lifestyle and job security that they have enjoyed all this time, with our hard-earned taxpayers' money, no longer holds true. In the private sectors, companies have to drastically tighten their belts just to keep in business. People on limited incomes cannot endure any more tax hikes.

Mufi Hannemann is adamant that the rail-transit project gets kept alive and come to fruition. I'd like Mr. Hannemann to realize that we live in a real world and in order for us all to pull through these tough and rough times, our leaders need to put our minds and work together to come up with wise solutions that would benefit the majority, and not incur any more unnecessary and wasteful spending.

Amelia Shelby


Health-care reform needed

Health care is a public-safety issue and must be treated as such, not as a luxury item that private entities can sell to Americans and profit from.

Police protection is another obvious public-safety issue. Imagine how you would feel after calling 911 for help and the operator first asked if you had any “;police insurance”; before sending a cop car. Fire protection is another example of public safety. There used to be a time in America when firefighters responded to a fire only if you had purchased fire insurance beforehand.

In these precarious times of infectious diseases, such as the bird flu or swine flu, wouldn't it be wiser to follow the position of the police and fire departments and make health care a priority no less than fire and crime protection? Why let the ill suffer because they don't have health insurance?

Wouldn't it also be unwise to let a contagious illness go untreated in your community?

The police and fire departments follow basically a single-payer system, where we pay taxes, we get fire and police protection. A single-payer health-care system would essentially be the same: no middle-man insurance, pharmaceutical or medical equipment industry to profit and thus increase costs to the community. We would pay taxes and all Americans would get health care. Why do we need the middleman?

Gerald Penaflor


Don't sacrifice our students

Shame on you, Gov. Linda Lingle. You will “;sacrifice”; by reducing your savings and charitable contributions after legislators received a 34 percent increase this year? Either you're completely out of touch, or you intentionally want to put the burden of the state's deficits on the working poor and middle class and students.

If you have any decency, you will not cut workers' pay if they make less than $40,000 to $50,000 per year. Many are already working multiple jobs to just get by. Cutting money from these workers will create a cascade of foreclosures and bankruptcies. Do you think they are saving money?

All cuts to the Department of Education and the University of Hawaii will result in hardships for students. Are you willing to tell students that because you refuse to raise taxes instead of cutting support for education, instructional days will be cut and tuition will go up even more?

Students' scores are already lagging in the state. Cutting support won't improve them. The burden is being unfairly placed on those who are working for a better life by becoming educated. You are stealing from our future.

Ellen Lundgren


Rail will give us precious jobs

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization recently produced an updated forecast that predicts a weaker economic outlook for the state of Hawaii. This is not surprising. UHERO points out that the visitor industry will continue to decline as the swine flu scare keeps Japanese visitors away. Unemployment will continue to rise and more business closures are likely.

There is nothing out there in terms of new jobs, except for the rail project. Rail is a needed transportation infrastructure project to cope with future traffic congestion, but rail also means jobs. We cannot overlook the amount of economic benefit our city will get from building rail. Rail would create about 10,000 new jobs, mostly in the construction industry, but these are jobs that don't exist today.

There are still some obstructionists who want to delay or even kill rail. But they have no alternatives to traffic congestion, and no answer for new jobs.

Jason Wong





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