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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Letters to the Editor

It's time we stopped wasting more millions

Cheers to Paul Mizue for his Aug. 21 letter, "Fixing Natatorium would be a waste."

If this "bit by bit" repair is allowed to go on for the future years, we are going to be looking at millions and millions, and since the salt air will continue to tear at the structure forever, we will have to set aside money every few years for the continued upkeep of this memorial.

There is no end to this repair bill. For what?

Yes, we love our memorials, and we are steeped in traditions of the past. Yes, Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe trained there, and it was once a glorious swimming pool, fondly remembered by a previous generation. But Duke Kahanamoku has a wonderful statue right on the sidewalk. We don't need any more expensive memories.

And didn't we spend millions recently on it?

The point is, it will never end. And it doesn't even work. In fact, if you read your history books, it never did work properly.

So, if it will never work, and we will forever be spending millions of dollars in repair work, why is it kept there? How much nostalgia is Honolulu willing to pay for?

It's right smack dab in the middle of the most expensive and most visited real estate in the world.

We desperately need more beach and park areas and more parking. What we don't need is wasting more millions of dollars on this ugly, crumbling and hopelessly outdated drain on our taxes.

As World War I fades into memory, and the Olympics of the 1920s is relegated to the history books, it's time to think of the future, and our new young athletes and schoolchildren, and what they need to make them competitive in the modern world. And that's not memorials.

Bob Buscombe

Add Dr. Rahman to congressional race

Better late than never. This is in response to David Shapiro's July 14 column, "Congressmen face competition."

I was appalled to note that, Mr. Shapiro, a well-known journalist as well as one versed in the political field, missed one more candidate running for Congress in District 2 — namely, Dr. Inam Rahman.

Here we have a fresh new face with an outlook that would be an asset to our state. His name may not be well-known, but that's no excuse to eliminate it from your column. After all, the others were not well-known either.

I have been a patient of Dr. Rahman for about two or three years, due to the passing away of my previous doctor. Having been under his care, I have found Dr. Rahman to be very dependable, caring, interested in his patients' welfare and compassionate.

As an elderly person, I am aware of the health crisis that is before our state. With the high cost of prescription drugs, many on fixed incomes need a person like Dr. Rahman to speak up for us in Congress. We definitely need affordable prescription drugs.

Remember, he is not speaking only for the elderly but for all people here in Hawai'i, because someday the young (our future) will also be in that position.

Clare Hunt Kasher

Let's not undercut the free market

I disagree with Gov. Linda Lingle's adviser that ethanol will benefit Hawai'i's citizens.

A decade of Big Money lobbying confirmed that ethanol is not economically viable or a good idea. A few reasons are that gasoline starts with a 150 percent natural energy content advantage (www.jwiwood.com/faq/conversion.html); gasoline cannot be "saved"; and it makes no sense in a hungry world, whose population doubled since my dad was born, and will double again before I die, to push an alternative that will claim ever more of ever less farmland.

Worst still, Lingle will take the pursuit of a viable alternative away from multiple brilliant real scientists motivated by rewards that will be well-deserved by the winner, and hand it to political scientists motivated by ... political rewards?

A government-enforced market for ethanol may rescue a few Hawai'i investors who made a large bad bet, but it will also cut the legs from under more promising alternatives. If government mandates give ethanol an artificial advantage, no better alternative can raise private capital to get tested.

And gas cannot be "saved" like water anyway. Hawai'i's annual rainfall goes on forever, so adjusting annual usage solves the problem forever. However, the amount of gas is fixed: The dinosaurs are not making any more. It's just a race to the bottom.

So, a gallon of gas forgone by a U.S. citizen will not be there later. Another country (e.g. China using the $33 billion-plus per month trade surplus Americans provide) will buy it and use its energy advantage to compete with U.S. businesses forced to use ethanol until the world runs dry anyway.

Shame on a Republican governor for undercutting the free market. As the falling price of used SUVs now attests, the free market works well.

George L. Berish

Get facts straight on farmers' taxes

There goes Dick Rowland again (Aug. 22), shooting from the hip without consideration for the facts.

Fact, Bill 10 lowered or did not affect most farmers' taxes.

Fact, it was landowners' reluctance to dedicate their land to farming that led to higher tax bills for lessee farmers.

Fact, Bill 35 was unnecessary since city tax assessors rectified the tax for the few farmers who received significantly higher tax bills.

Fact, Bill 35 would have given substantial tax breaks to large landowners holding vacant land for future urban development.

Fact, Bill 35 is a smokescreen to help special interest with unjustified and undeserved tax breaks that must be made up by other property taxpayers.

Gary H. Okino
City councilmember

Honor tradition with 'Co-ed' fight song

I am writing to express my concern with the University of Hawai'i football program and its concept of tradition.

June Jones and Mike Post have created new musical tracks they hope to use to raise the level of excitement at football games this season. Post also wants to help UH create a "signature" song to engage fans and players alike. But I believe UH has a "signature" song in "Co-ed," the UH fight song.

"Co-ed" has been a long-standing tradition at UH football games. It is used to help generate crowd participation and excitement. Has June forgotten that we have a "signature" song rich in tradition? A "signature" song people already identify with and love?

June wants to start new traditions with these musical tracks, but at what cost? He risks letting beloved, time-honored traditions fade away to be forgotten. Who's to say that in a few years we might have a new coach with his own new musical tracks to replace these?

Maybe it's time to get back to our roots and to what fans have loved for generations. We must remember what came before us and honor old traditions with respect. Go 'Bows!

Ryan Leong

It's not 'minor landscaping,' mayor's trees made a mess

Why did the SUV run the red light? Answer: Because the signal was obscured by trees.

Why did the rental car make an illegal right turn and end up going the wrong way on a one-way street? Answer: Because the signs were hidden by trees.

Why did the delivery truck and the tour bus knock each other's mirrors off passing in opposite directions? Answer: Because the vehicles are each 11 feet, mirror to mirror, and the lanes were narrowed down to 10 feet, to accommodate trees.

Why do the residents of Waikiki have absolutely no place to park? Answer: Because it was decided that trees were more important than the taxpayers who live there.

Why did 5,000 HECO customers lose their power? Answer: Because a branch of a tree fell on the power lines.

Why was the visitor accosted and robbed in the evening on a main street? Answer: The trees created a dark area for a mugger to hide.

Why have the payroll costs gone up considerably for businesses in Waikiki? Answer: Because their personnel are cleaning up after trees.

Any more questions? You bet there are. Like, how could anyone plan a massive project like this and not realize the impact of it all? And why weren't the City Council, Hawai'i Visitors and Convention Bureau and the taxpayers consulted about this? Despite Deputy Corporation Counsel Greg Swartz' statement, this is not "simply minor landscaping and roadwork."

But the biggest question is: What political debts are being paid off with the awarding of these lucrative contracts? The mayor is on his way out. He wants to make history — yeah, he will ... as the most destructive and uncaring mayor we ever had. Any and all good he has ever done has now been erased by the planting of trees.

Carol Kauliakamoa

State takes road less traveled

As everybody knows, the condition of our O'ahu roads is horrible. The pavement is filled with potholes, the shoulders are overgrown and covered with trash (both man-made and natural), and signage is installed in a confusing manner.

We pay the highest income and fuel taxes, but the highway conditions sure don't show it. We have continually been bombarded with excuses from the state Department of Transportation about the potholes, even to the extent that one resident complaining about potholes was told to "just drive around it, that's what I do" by some anonymous civil servant.

Several months ago, another letter writer said that on his trip to a Southeast Asia country that the roads were not pockmarked with potholes even though they have yearly monsoons and typhoons.

Apparently, that country knows something about asphalt mix design that our state engineers don't. Has the state even investigated that suggestion? With another rainy season approaching, when are we going to receive pothole relief?

The shoulders and median strips of our highways are extremely poorly maintained. Man-made trash, vegetation, accumulated gravel and dirt make for very unsightly conditions. It seems that there isn't a schedule for regular maintenance. The DOT just waits until it gets really bad.

Just look at the kiawe tree growing in the median in front of the Star of the Sea Church at the end of H-1! It just shows how long that median has been neglected. Pali Highway shoulders are so bad that the drainage is clogged with vegetation, which causes rain runoff to spill over the highway during heavy rains. There are also a tree trunk that hasn't been cleared away entirely and the base of a tree about to fall into the roadway any time now.

Freeway signage is so totally different from freeway markings on the Mainland that sometimes I get confused as to which is the correct lane to be in.

Driving tens of thousands of miles on the Mainland, I have yet to get lost, even when I have never been in a particular area. I was taught the first time I drove on the Mainland that if the sign overhangs the lane, that lane will lead you to the destination indicated on the sign. Driving in more that 20 states, I have found that that advice hasn't failed me yet. On O'ahu? You just have to remember to choose the correct lane or else make last-minute lane changes. Tourists? They're in trouble.

Recently, the state as well as the city have undertaken installation of pedestrian crosswalk signs. For both governments, the installation has been inconsistent and in some instances nonexistent. Isn't there supervisory oversight?

Hawai'i deserves better.

Melvin T. Minakami