Letters to the Editor

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Tent operation at Pearl is inappropriate

I would like to express my opinion about the commercial tent at Pearl Harbor. Having now seen this tent, which has little wooden and thatched roof booths inside just like you would see at a high school carnival, I do not think it's appropriate near a world famous national monument. There are still sailors being buried at the nearby U.S.S. Arizona.

If people want to buy jewelry and have more food choices while waiting for a shuttle boat, the memorial or U.S.S. Bowfin Museum can provide these things. That way visitor expenditures would benefit the museums, which have been there for decades, and not profit-seeking operators.

Tammy Suzuki

GET hike would be bad for everyone

As a concerned citizen and member of the Hawaii Association of Realtors, I strongly oppose raising the general excise tax because it would increase the cost of living and of doing business in Hawaii. The proposed GET increase from 4 percent to 5 percent amounts to an astonishing 25 percent increase in a tax that is applied repeatedly, in pyramiding fashion, to all goods and services in Hawaii.

The GET adds substantial hidden costs to the price of all goods and services. It is a significant component of Hawaii's high cost of living, already one of the highest in the nation. Raising the GET would be bad for business, bad for the economy and bad for the people of Hawaii.

Kim Lineham

Fast ferries more attractive than rail

The emergence of fast ferries has made water transit an alternative to rail transit for Honolulu at half the cost. Fast ferries have water-jet propulsion, a double catamaran hull, diesel engines and gas turbines, two new forms of activated ride control, and service speeds of 30 to 55 mph. The Hawaii Superferry is a fast ferry.

The fast ferry will be more attractive than rail because the transit speed will be 50 mph, water transit is express while rail service is all local, water routes and schedules are more flexible in response to demand, and less increase in excise tax is required.

E. Alvey Wright

Barbers Point has room for seized cars

Looking for a place to put the seized vehicles of drunken drivers is a no-brainer (Star-Bulletin, April 23): Barbers Point. The Navy will not need it for a few years until the carrier issue is solved. So if the land still belongs to the state, use it. Some will say it is too far to retrieve their vehicles. Well, too bad -- they should not be driving and drinking.

Bill Littell

Lawmakers should vow not to raise funds during sessions

We -- eight citizen groups and two state senators -- call on legislators to make a pledge to schedule their 2006 fund-raisers outside of the legislative session.

Our citizens' coalition wants to eliminate the public perception that law making is influenced by legislators' campaign fund-raising needs.

During the legislative session, many people, businesses and groups seek from legislators favorable action on bills. When legislators solicit campaign donations from these stakeholders while legislation is pending, the public has reason to mistrust the law-making process.

When this happens, the public becomes less certain that legislative votes are not affected by fund-raising activity. Even with pure motives, public perception of the Legislature is lowered, along with public trust and confidence in elected leaders.

We call on legislators to pledge to refrain from scheduling their 2006 fund-raisers from January through the end of the legislative session. Legislators can send their pledges to citizenvoice@hawaii.rr.com.

These legislators have already made their pledges: Sens. Les Ihara Jr. (D, Kahala-Palolo), Bob Hogue (R, Kaneohe-Kailua), Clarence Nishihara (D, Waipahu), Rosalyn Baker (D, Honokohau-Makena) and Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai); and Rep. Galen Fox (R, Waikiki-Ala Moana).

Bills to prohibit legislative fund-raisers during the session have been introduced for many years. In 2003, a bill to require public disclosure of fund-raising events while the Legislature is in session passed the Senate, but failed in the House.

We believe that moving fund-raisers to after the legislative session will reduce public suspicion, such as on the recent controversy involving legislative fund raising. We hope our call for voluntary actions of legislators will result in increased public trust and confidence in our elected leaders.

Citizen Voice
League of Women Voters of Hawaii
Hawaii Pro-Democracy Initiative
Right to Know Committee
Small Business Hawaii
Advocates for Consumer Rights
Life of the Land
Hawaii Clean Elections
Sen. Bob Hogue
Sen. Les Ihara Jr.

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