Letters to the Editor
O'AHU'S TAXPAYERS CAN ONLY GIVE SO MUCH
What a wonder! The Advertiser editorial page calling for tax relief in the form of property tax expenditure transparency. Is this not the same editorial page that supports Bill 40? Is Bill 40 not the largest tax increase in our history? Is not Bill 40 for a transit plan that is so far from transparency that no one has even seen it? Auwe!
Pardon me, but it appears that the editorial page thought process is compartmentalized on one issue at a time. Wake up and look for the patterns around you. The pattern is fee and tax increases followed by spending for the hot button of the day. That hot button today is traffic, and tomorrow it will be property tax relief taking the form of tax credits for some to be offset by extra tax for others.
There is no free lunch. We taxpayers only have so much. The answer is to stop the spending so the tax and fee increases will not be needed.
Paul E. Smith | Pacific Heights
STATE LAB IS CRITICAL IN PROTECTING HAWAI'I
Recently, the state Department of Health laboratory celebrated its 10th year of service to the state of Hawai'i at its facility in Waimano. The state laboratory plays a critical role in protecting the health of our people and environment by testing samples of our water, air and land, as well as flu, tuberculosis, dengue fever and other diseases.
Our state laboratory is not a research lab; its purpose is to test for agents and diseases that may have entered our state and pose a threat to our residents and visitors. Without the work of our state laboratory, test results would take days to weeks to return to Hawai'i from certified laboratories on the Mainland. Without test results, public health would suffer from lack of information to effectively identify and control disease and chemical threats to Hawai'i.
The Waimano facility was designed with the safety of the surrounding neighborhood and the laboratory staff as its highest priority. The DOH has provided and will continue to openly provide information about our activities at the lab. We welcome the chance to keep the community informed and involved whether it is at a neighborhood board meeting or a school presentation.
Like many areas of public health, our state laboratory is an unseen protector of the people. Working safely and efficiently around the clock to deliver accurate and timely test results, laboratory staff are truly one of our best defenses against disease outbreaks and chemical threats.
Mahalo to our state laboratory staff for working hard every day to ensure the health and well-being of our entire state.
Laurence K. Lau | Deputy director for environmental health, Hawai'i state Department of Health
HOW MANY PHONE BOOKS DOES ONE NEED?
About a month ago I received a new phone book, and I assumed it was from the phone company. It had separated the yellow from the white pages, and all was fine. I then placed my old books near my other telephone to save myself a trip downstairs.
Then today I received three more sets of phone books from The Paradise Pages, all of which I never requested.
Ironically, all three sets came in plastic bags that have information about recycling phone books. The bag says, "The Paradise Pages is concerned about our environment. Please do your part and recycle ALL your old phone books ... and you're on our way to Help Save Our 'Aina!"
Paradise Pages, why don't you do your part by not distributing the books to people who never requested them, and not creating unnecessary books that need to be recycled in the first place?
Christine Allen | 'Aiea
MERCHANTS MUST BE FRONT LINE OF DEFENSE
I was elated to read the story about a thief who was caught trying to use a stolen credit card. As a victim of identity theft, I know firsthand the problems caused by this insidious crime.
However, I am stunned that the crook was able to use the card twice at the same store before being turned down by a third cashier. Criminals count on the fact that many, if not most, cashiers never ask for a picture ID to verify a credit card. Shame on these workers! Automatically accepting credit cards, regardless if it is owned by the purchaser or not, only encourages thieves and costs stores thousands of dollars in uncollectible charges.
I can't believe that managers do not crack down on this with their cashiers. If I were the boss, I would make it a policy that if cashiers accept a credit card without proper ID, they would have to pay for the charges out of their own pockets or be terminated.
There is no excuse for this lax standard. For all of our sakes, wake up out there!
Nanette Napoleon | Kailua
FOOLISH THINKING IN TRUSTING OUR LEADERS
In his July 28 column, "Know the facts when invoking history," Victor Davis Hanson makes the point that history is being perverted by many people who use "false analogies for political purposes" in order to make their case against the war in Iraq when history should "offer us solace that we are never really alone."
I confess, I invoked history by e-mailing President Bush before the war, suggesting that we had started previous wars under false pretense such as the Spanish-American War ("Remember the Maine") and the Vietnam conflict (the Tonkin Gulf incident) and expressed hope that we would not repeat the mistakes of history this time.
I believed, and still believe, I was on solid factual ground regarding our history. I do realize now, however, what a fool I was for believing in my country, its leaders, their word what a stupid, ignorant idealist I was.
Now, thanks to Mr. Hanson, I can take "solace" in this historical tidbit with regard to the present situation in Iraq.
Daniel Laraway | Honolulu
NO FUNDING OK
MASS-TRANSIT OPTION NOT NECESSARILY RAIL
I just read Dennis Camire and Robbie Dingeman's article "O'ahu rail plans get federal approval." The article is misleading and incorrect and it should not have been printed one and a half weeks before the City Council votes on Aug. 10 to increase the general excise tax to fund rail transit on O'ahu.
Please note that there is only a placeholder in the transportation bill for a "Honolulu rapid transit" project. The "Honolulu rapid transit" project mentioned in the transportation bill does not mean a "rail transit system." It only means that Congress "may" fund some kind of transportation projects that will provide a "mass transit" option and traffic congestion relief to O'ahu. The mass-transit project that may be approved could be bus/rapid transit, busways, HOT lanes, intraisland ferries, etc., depending on what is determined to be the best for the citizens of O'ahu.
Congress and the Federal Transit Authority cannot approve rail transit, or any other mass-transit option, until the federal alternatives analysis process is complete for the City & County of Honolulu.
All in all, there is no funding approval from the Con-gress/FTA at this time to build a "rail transit system" on O'ahu that is favored by Neil Abercrombie, Mufi Hannemann and the majority of the City Council.
Julie Chen | Honolulu
PUBLIC SERVANTS NEED MORE COMPASSION
If you have strolled through any of our parks lately, whether Kapi'olani, Ala Moana or any other park in the area, you can't help but see the ever-growing number of homeless, elderly or disabled living in cars or vans or on the street.
I have been to many places in our country and I am disgusted over the cold-heartedness of the current leadership who, in their infinite wisdom, sic police officers on these people, who have no alternative than to survive out there.
There is growing anger within the ranks, and no wonder these people have become victimized, from a failed policy to criminalize homelessness. Shame on our public servants for their lack of aloha.
Perhaps Mufi Hannemann and Linda Lingle should try this horrible way to survive; and trust me, their attitude would change and indeed we would see an end to this human tragedy.
Furthermore, I lay blame on our so-called neighborhood boards, which are indeed biased toward the disenfranchised. Maybe they too should trade places with these people
Timothy A. Cook | Waikiki