Letters to the Editor
City must look into more privatization
I read your April 30 editorial "City can't simply borrow ... " with concern. I am a former resident, not the least uninterested in the stagnant economy. I also maintain interest in a piece of property in the city and hope to return.
Surely the city can help the budget by "trimming costs, consolidating, modernizing and automating" certain city services. As sanitation services constitute a major component, privatizing waste management, including 'opala collection, should also be considered.
I have recently complained that the Department of Environmental Services is haphazard or not consistent with its revenue-gathering function covering sewer charges, that government bureaucracy appears to get in the way.
It is also strange that garbage collection is paid from property tax revenues but not sewer charges, which are imposed by Environmental Services, collected by the Board of Water Supply.
Privatization, where applicable, can begin under Mayor Jeremy Harris.
Avelino N. Bareng
Sea rescue of Hokget was about hope, heart
Bravo for the rescue of Hokget (formerly Forgea). I'm elated.
Those who see this rescue in simple financial terms are missing a much bigger picture. This rescue was about hope and heart. The Humane Society did exactly what it has agreed to do as an agency, and that is to rescue animals.
The national exposure this story has had far exceeded any amount the Humane Society could have ever afforded on its own. The attention this agency has had would have cost millions of dollars. It will continue to receive many times the donation amount it has put out for this rescue.
Most important, this was a story about survival and hope that reached into the hearts and pockets of many people across the world. It wasn't about just a dog.
Now, if only we can open our hearts as well for the many homeless out there. Not all homeless are substance abusers. Just imagine the difference we could make as a community together.
Graduation dress code amusing but primitive
I am not sure I am more amused or angry about the front-page article regarding Ivy Ka'anana's desire to forgo a dress in favor of pants for her graduation. The excuses given by school officials in this article are simply outrageous.
The fact that it takes a dress to make female graduates all "look so nice" is amusing at the very least and primitive and controlling at the very worst.
The statement that graduation is a "privilege" is also not true. We tell these kids how important a good education is and then we tell them, after they have worked for four years to get a high school diploma, that they cannot participate in graduation because of a "dress code"?
I agree you have to have some sort of "standard" for what will work with the gowns, but pants versus dresses on a woman is a standard? I don't think so.
Give Ivy the respect she deserves. Show her it is "not the clothes that makes the woman." It is what's inside. I think she must have a lot of character to put up with this abuse from supposedly wiser adults.
Let's also look at cars, mopeds, motorcycles
It is good to see that someone is trying to do something about the dangerous and noisy scooters that run on sidewalks. What really surprises me is that there are so few complaints about the incredible amount of noise made by mopeds, motorcycles and a lot of cars.
Mopeds and motorcycles transport one person and yet are allowed to make more noise than 30 normal-running cars. I guess the new mufflers that many cars now have get away with all that noise since the mopeds and motorcycles roar around the city with total impunity.
These new car mufflers and the motorcycles love to spew out their vibrating noises so they can set off car alarms. With all this noise in our fair city, it makes one think that one is in a Third World country. Is there nothing that can be done about all this noise?
I wonder how much electricity is wasted as we shut up our dwellings and turn on the air-conditioning in an effort to have some kind of peace and quiet in our homes and not be bombarded by mopeds, motorcycles and loud car mufflers.
Richard L. Kurth
Legislative theft from funds is unacceptable
For the state to consider using ERS money or the hurricane fund to help balance a budget shortfall is akin to a ponzi scheme.
If our legislators were officers in a financial institution, they would be investigated and perhaps jailed.
Leave our money alone. It is not for your use to help cover up any budget shortcomings or your total lack of vision.
Homeowners and state employees who paid into these funds were not informed that the money could be used in any other fashion.
People, take notice. Cut this out and tape it to your refrigerator lest we forget come election time.
There oughta be a law against wasting taxes
Lee Cataluna is one smart wahine. Her column on the cost of rescuing the dog and other money wasted and stolen was right on the money.
It's too bad that spending thousands of taxpayer dollars to rename the H3 tunnels in order to satisfy a politician's whim is not also a crime. If it were, Auntie Rene would have company.
Robert S. Anderson
Tax credits, overruns no longer acceptable
When I read about favored tax credits and cost overruns in taxpayer-funded projects, I was reminded of this line from Bernardo Bertolucci's movie, "The Last Emperor":
"The Forbidden City is like grand opera, except the stagehands are stealing the sets one piece at a time."
It used to be that it was not OK to do that. I don't recall when that point of view among civilized people changed.
Edward L. Bonomi
Attack on Mink shows lack of understanding
Rep. Bob McDermott's politically motivated, critical condemnation of Patsy Mink in the April 26 Island Voices commentary lacked any intelligent understanding of the situation in the Middle East. It was a blatant, completely pro-Israeli piece obviously intended to garner the Jewish vote and nothing more.
Yes, terrorism should be condemned. But not just Palestinian terrorism. All terrorism. What Mr. McDermott conveniently does not mention is that the state of Israel came into existence by the use of terrorism by the Zionists against the Palestinians who lived in the region. Wandering out of Europe, the Zionists mounted a belligerent and arrogant campaign to remove the Palestinians from their land, a campaign that continues today with continued settlements.
When Israelis simply choose to occupy a piece of land or a house without any consideration of ownership, with threats of retaliation against any resistance, isn't that terrorism as well? When Palestinians are treated as second-class citizens in their own region, denied economic opportunity, self-determination and basic human rights, is that not terrorism?
How long can you oppress someone and terrorize them before they react from shame and in anger with their own form of terrorism?
All terrorism is a mean, vile, unnecessary act. But contrary to Mr. McDermott's opinion, it is not simply a Palestinian problem.
McDermott was wrong on Mideast terrorism
Candidate Bob McDermott, in his April 26 Island Voices column, denounces Rep. Patsy Mink for her vote against HCR 280, which expressed solidarity with Israel in the fight against Palestinian terrorism. He's wrong.
Instead, Rep. Mink should be praised for her courage in opposing the majority in the House of Representatives and standing up for principles of peace and fair play.
McDermott and HCR 280 list attacks on Israel by Palestinians, but both ignore the far higher death toll among Palestinians, not only from raids and attacks, but also from the daily aggression and oppression heaped upon them by the Israeli government: the killing of people in refugee camps; the bulldozing of villages, farms and homes; the continued extension of occupied lands that shouldn't be occupied in the first place; the firing on ambulances; the road checks; the apartheid so blatant that Americans would condemn it in any other land.
United Nations members overwhelmingly recognize the terror Israel is inflicting. Only the United States and sometimes Britain fail to censure it.
Our government should not support such behavior.
Patsy Mink's refusal to participate in an official cheer in support of Israeli hostilities should make the people of Hawai'i proud. Would that other members of Congress were as aware and compassionate.
Cars are the vehicle of choice; forget BRT
First there were the car lanes. Then there were the bike lanes.
The only way to make everybody happy is to give them each a lane. We should have a lane for disabled people, one for scooters, one for motorized scooters, one for skateboarders, one for motorized skateboards, one for runners, one for horses, one for fast walkers, one for bikes, one for trucks, one for buses, two for the BRT, and don't forget one for cars.
When are people going to realize that cars are the vehicle of choice for most people and trying to force people into buses, light rail, bikes and such is only throwing money away? When someone comes up with a better and more widely acceptable solution than cars, then you should start spending money. Until then, leave the streets to the cars.
Those who vote for the BRT should be forced to sell their cars, which I would bet most of them own, and forced to use the BRT and public transportation.
Want better prices? Improve the climate
I have watched these last four years as my government has hurt small gasoline station operators, wasted millions of taxpayer dollars, mercilessly harassed the oil companies and contributed to, if not caused, the "perceived" problem of high gasoline prices.
I mention "perceived" because every "solution" that has surfaced this legislative session to solve our "problem" does not result in lower gasoline prices.
Our Legislature considered language to control gasoline company pricing, but is putting off a decision for a year. This year's proposal would use OPIS (Oil Price Information Service, a private company that collects and reports gasoline prices nationwide) benchmarking, which would result in gasoline prices that are more than 10 cents higher than what is available on the street today. The hollow promise of 25, 40, even 60 cents savings per gallon does not materialize.
Example, given per current legislative proposal: According to the OPIS spot price index for April 23, the average price of gasoline in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Pacific Northwest markets is $0.7566. Adding $0.04 for transportation, $0.18 for wholesale handling, $0.16 for retail handling and $0.55 for taxes, the average price per gallon totals $1.6866. Today's price at Wai'alae Chevron: $1.579.
The answer to best prices is competition. We need to create a more favorable climate that attracts players rather than scaring them away via onerous legislation.
The proposed legislation further illustrates the anti-business, anti-capitalist, socialist direction of this state. How does Hawai'i expect to attract new businesses after demonstrating how existing businesses are treated today?
Knee-jerk legislation to circumstantial evidence of wrongdoing does not do anything to help the people of Hawai'i. It is scary to watch so many people who know so little about such a complicated industry make policy decisions on how it should operate.
The free market works; government doesn't.