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Adding rail would attract commuters

At this juncture, I wish to share with your gentle readers a bit of information. A ride on the bus or subway in New York City costs $2. It is appalling that people on Oahu are being asked to shoulder a greater burden than the people of New York.

I am dependent on the bus, but I can easily forego the frequency of runs on every route. An example: Any route with more than two runs an hour could be temporarily "adjusted" while the city, county and state work through the seemingly intractable problems they have to get more residents to use mass transit. A system where buses would bring the ridership to rail transfer points with audible and visual signals that the trains are incoming, thus providing a seamless transfer of passengers from rail to bus and vice-versa.

Ultimately, a rail transit service would be in the best interests of the people of Oahu. It is a crying shame that it took only one vote to scupper rail transit. If my memory serves me correctly, the federal government would have borne 85 percent of the investment cost plus the first 25 years of maintenance costs. Talk about never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Johannes Bendtz

Bus Rapid Transit is illogical solution

I am shuddering about the Bus Rapid Transit plan now being pushed. Despite well-recognized, competent people providing analyses proving the "disbenefit" of the proposal to Honolulu, pressure to start the illogical project continues. Even the use of the word "rapid" in the title does not compute in the overall city requirement when critical available lanes in the Waikiki-downtown corridor will be eliminated.

I hope enough pressure will be generated to counter-balance the effect of nonbid contracts, bought and paid for by political donations to the city administration. Please help.

Clyde Friar

Why punish everyone for crimes of a few?

Honolulu has before it proposed legislation that would close all Oahu parks at dusk every evening to help police fight the sale and use of illegal drugs.

One of the things that caused the death of Detroit occurred in the 1970s under Mayor Coleman Young, when he closed all the city's parks at dusk to prevent people from going there for drugs, instead of simply arresting the culprits. This irrational type of response to law-breakers fosters "tyranny of the minority."

The only people who obeyed the new law weren't using the parks to do drugs anyway. Closing a park didn't stop crime, as the drug users continued to congregate there. If a law against an illegal drug didn't stop them, a law closing a park certainly couldn't. If current laws are being broken by park users, why aren't they arrested?

Why not eliminate all football games at Aloha Stadium and get rid of the 100 muggings, car thefts and pickpocketing crimes committed during each college game? Eliminate worship service at my church and stop a car theft each Sunday. Eliminate all our freedoms and crime grinds to a halt. North Korea is the "safest" country in the world.

Enduring fellow citizens who act in ways not considerate of their neighbors is the price we must pay for our freedoms. It is the job of law enforcement to protect us from them. If they can't do the job, get officers who can.

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani inherited a police force that said it couldn't stop crime. He gave police offers the option of doing their job or finding employment elsewhere. Amazingly, crimes of all kinds were dramatically reduced when jobs were at stake. What a unique idea!

Larry Weis

Isle students should learn personal finance

The Hawaii Council on Economic Education together with Senator Akaka recently sponsored the first Financial Literacy Conference, which focused on how to improve financial literacy in our state.

It was noted that in those states where economics and personal finance are mandatory high school subjects, the financial literacy and personal savings rates are higher. Meanwhile, in Hawaii, the number of high schools offering economics or personal finance courses has been declining, our savings rate is low and our personal bankruptcy rate is high. In a recent survey, adults could answer an average of only 13 of 20 routine economic questions, a failing rate. Many did not know you would never pay off a credit card debt if you paid only the minimum amount due each month.

I wonder how long we will tolerate these results before we make the teaching of economics and personal finance mandatory. We owe it to Akaka, who has been a leading advocate of teaching economics and personal finance nationally.

As Robert Duvall, president and CEO of the National Council on Economic Education, says, "Economics and personal finance belong right there with the three Rs. It should be Reading, Riting, Rithmetic and REAL LIFE!"

Dick Rankin
Nasdaq National Economics Teacher of the Year 2001

Vans could take people to Haiku Stairs

The "Stairway to Heaven" is an attraction of major significance ("Parking issue halts 'Stairway' reopening," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 18). Wouldn't it be possible to hire a company to manage the coming and going? The Academy of Arts uses vans to deliver paying guests to the Doris Duke estate in a residential neighborhood. It would seem to be a good solution for the Haiku Stairs, as well.

Sell tickets to cover off-site parking, transportation, publicity, insurance, policing of the area and other costs. Twenty-five dollars should not be too great a price for a once-in-a-lifetime thrill.

Sylvia Mitchell


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