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Letters to the Editor


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POSTED: Wednesday, February 10, 2010
               

     

 

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        The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~175 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.
       

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Tax harmful food and eat healthy

Sunday's columns from George F. Will on the right and Paul Krugman on the left heartily agreed on a central point: Medicare and Medicaid are the 800-pound gorillas digging the U.S. deeper and deeper into debt.

I have a radical suggestion: Shift us from a nation of sick disease-food eaters to a nation of healthy beings.

The ailments that plague us and cost hundreds of billions each year—obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer—are largely due to our mindless ingestion of high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, saturated fats and “;low calorie sweeteners.”; These “;foods”; are cheap—in the same way that cars with brake problems are cheap.

How to shift to live foods? Money talks. Tax trans fats, high-fructose corn syrups, saturated fats and carcinogenic sweeteners as we do tobacco. To make the move tax-neutral, remove all taxes—from the field to the supermarket—on live foods.

We have only to heed out grandmothers' “;eat your fruits and vegetables”; and our golden years will be healthy to the end, and we will cease causing misery to ourselves, our families and the Medicaid and Medicare system.

Howard C. Wiig

Honolulu

 

Let's at least design the rail correctly

I understand that commuting from the Leeward side into town has been getting worse every day. But is this rail system that the mayor is trying to shove down our throats the best way to fix the congestion? The federal government is giving Hawaii a tiny fraction of the money needed for the rail system. Where is the rest coming from—us? Yep!

I believe in a democratic state, so if the majority of voters says we should build this rail, then I concede. But shouldn't the work be done correctly? Starting the rail system in Kapolei makes no sense. I've asked rail representatives at one of the “;Made in Hawaii”; shows why they chose to start the rail in Kapolei. Their answer was that Kapolei is the planned “;Second City”; and commuters will need access to Kapolei. Does that make sense? Wouldn't it make sense that if you live in the Second City you would work in the Second City?

Wouldn't it make more sense to start the rail system at the airport? That way, when the city realizes that it doesn't have enough money to finish this ridiculous project, whatever has already been installed could still be used.

Last, what about our roads? How can we build or afford an elevated rail system when we can't even fix the Third-World-condition roads we drive on everyday?

Wyman Chang

Honolulu

 

Best rail route would be above H-1 freeway

“;We're lost but we're making good time.”; That's an old pilot's joke that perfectly describes today's transit proposal. It has the wrong compass heading and it will have to make a forced landing. Hidden agendas may have unconsciously driven its conception, possibly with preconceived ideas. The result is that it forgets the main goal: to solve the massive and growing car gridlock. It also cuts residential neighborhoods in half. No wonder the American Institute of Architects doesn't like it. It has the wrong route.

It should be built over the existing H-1 corridor. The best world-class structural engineers in Hawaii say it's very feasible. Built over H-1, it could easily accommodate a 20-foot-high elevated structure. Nobody's views would be hurt and no neighborhoods would be cut in half. No eminent domain issues—we own the 120-foot-wide right-of-way already. It is simply the best route.

Faint hearts have rejected this as not feasible. But trust the professionals: It is. Span the highway with pre-cast, pre-stressed structure. Work from the top while traffic still moves as usual on the ground. As soon as one mile is completed, it can immediately be used by traffic with ramps up and down every mile.

Rapid transit rail can ride on the elevated lanes as soon as the first 10 miles are complete. Built 10 lanes wide, there would be room for both cars and trains, with no conflicts. Photovoltaic panels on each side of the structure would face the wonderful Hawaiian sun to donate power to move electric trains, with valuable energy to spare.

It's not too late to alter our flight plan.

Art Hansen

Architect, AIA, Hawaii Kai

 

Taxing petroleum offers many benefits

If legislators really wanted to balance the state budget, they could do it in a way that would retard sea level rise and ocean acidification, reduce petroleum imports, lower the likelihood of foreign wars and make Hawaii a more pleasant place to live—just by taxing petroleum. According to respected economists, the social costs of petroleum use are roughly $2 per gallon. We recover the social costs of alcohol and tobacco by taxing the user at the point of sale. Why not petroleum?

 

Neil Frazer

University of Hawaii-Manoa geophysics professor, Kailua

Legalized gambling feeds vice of greed

Gambling is the exploitation of the human vice of greed. Government should not be in the business of promoting a vice. It taxes tobacco products to stop smoking and uses the proceeds to stem the use of tobacco in all its forms. Why create another vice and then tax that behavior? Oh, I forgot, it's all about money. Gambling, like prostitution and drug use, starting with marijuana, is supposed to pay all of our bills.

Keep track of which politicians support gambling. They are the ones we all need to target to kick them out of office.

Bruce Wong

Honolulu