Letters to the Editor

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Veto is about politics, not transit or traffic

I think I've figured out why Governor Lingle would veto the transit tax bill despite Oahu's desperate need of relief from crushing traffic congestion.

First, Lingle vetoes the transit tax bill which supposedly kills mass transit for Oahu. Then Democrats in the Legislature, understanding the community's need for rapid transit, override her veto. And that means Republicans will be able to attack all those Democrats in next year's election for "voting to raise your taxes."

The governor's veto has nothing to do with transit or taxes, folks. It's all about Republican Party politics.

Frank T. Young
Haiku, Maui

City can't be trusted with eminent domain

The whole issue of government condemning property for a public purpose in Hawaii depends a lot on who you are and who you know.

Our Honolulu City Council seems to have a rather dysfunctional policy about when to use eminent domain law.

In 2001, the Council condemned leased property under the Outrigger Hotels on the basis that it would "simplify the ownership" and make it easier to obtain financing for a $300 million revitalization project, even though Outrigger had just completed a successful renegotiation of their lease to 2080.

In this case, landlords were forced by the city to sell their fee simple interests to Outrigger, which has since changed its plans and is building hundreds of fee simple condominiums, which are much more profitable than the hotel rooms promised by the original "public purpose" condemnation.

Then, in 2004, the Council repealed Bill 38 that provided for condominium home owners to buy the fee simple interest in their residential units, ostensibly to satisfy Kamehameha Schools, which has many leasehold condominium properties whose leases are coming due.

Consistency in policy has never been one of the City Council's finer points, but the one thing you can always count on is that who ever has the money gets things their way.

Erm Gartley

Hawaii foolish to rely on oil for energy

On June 27, Reuters reported oil prices had risen to a new record near $61 a barrel, "driven by the resilience of world energy demand in the face of high fuel costs and worries about oil policy under Iran's new hardline president."

According to the Hawaiian Electric Company Integrated Resource Planning document soon to be filed with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, the price range for world oil in 2005 will be between $21.88 to $33.83 per barrel with an expected average of $26.75. By 2009, the price will range from $32.61 to $41.16.

Hawaii has put a greater percentage of its energy basket in oil than any other state in the nation. Our energy portfolio is the most concentrated among all states.

Renewable energy projects keep money circulating within the economy, creating positive secondary and tertiary impacts, provides local jobs and local businesses, diversifies the economy, provides economic security, decreases health and environmental costs, and makes obvious sense.

Isn't it time that we became a model of self-sufficiency, instead of an foolish example of a state so blinded as to put all of its eggs in one basket?

Henry Curtis
Executive director
Life of the Land

How about telethons to pay for local sports?

University of Hawaii athletics and Hawaii Public Broadcasting (PBS, channel 10) should merge their fund-raising efforts.

That way, UH football, basketball and other sports wouldn't have to surprise their fans week after week with new "opportunities" to pay to see their favorite sports teams in action. The latest announcement has KFVE, "The Home Team" (whose home, anyway?) wanting to charge pay-per-view for some away games.

The PBS folks have done a wonderful job staging weekly telethons, being ever so mindful that they have to pay the two (or three) $100,000-plus salaries of the people running the place.

After all, the programming is practically free (it comes from another PBS source), satellite time is reasonable and, although there are corporate sponsors, still there are those mouths to feed.

It would be exciting to see Herman Frazier or June Jones manning the phones, encouraging the masses to send in those checks to cover their own salaries. And if you couldn't afford to pay for the football action on game night, you could switch to a taped version of the telethon to catch all the principals in action. Unless, of course, PBS decided to go to pay-per-view, too.

The whole ugly mess has to remind us of the goose who laid the golden egg. Killing off what was once the most valuable commodity in town.

Chip Davey

Elder offers wise words about an illegal war

Seventy-year-old Pegge Hopper's ingenuous July 7 letter, "America is headed down dangerous path," points out the unmistakable fact that we are now involved in an illegal war based on lies that our president told us after 9/11.

Dear old Ms. Hopper brings to mind a simple and long-standing adage that we all should observe: "Listen to your elders!" President Bush should be impeached.

Michael Lauck

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