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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, August 29, 2005

Letters to the Editor

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LICENSE PLATES

HERE'S HOW TO GAUGE NUMBER OF NEW CARS

The subject I am writing about is automobile highway saturation.

Without saying or even calculating how many additional cars may be on the O'ahu highways because of issuing "N" (first letter) license plates, may I suggest a little fun you can have on your own, to determine approximately what percentage of "N" license plate cars exist?

For example, look at four adjacent parked cars, check their license plates, and look for the first letter "N." If there is one, then your percentage is 25 percent.

Now take a larger count, for example, eight. If there is one, your percentage is 12.5; if there are two, the count is 25; if there are three, it is 37.5 percent, etc.

With a larger count, you can fine-tune to a good representation. I won't give you a count, but you can, individually, declare your own count. Have fun!

All the "N" license plates have been issued within the last year and a half.

Ted Gibson
Kailua

AKAKA DEBATE

RACE-BASED PERSONAL ATTACK WAS OUT OF PLACE

I hope every Hawai'i and U.S. citizen watched Tuesday's Akaka bill debate or a rerun because I believe no prior presentation by either side so clearly demonstrates the future effect of the bill on Hawai'i's local culture of mutual respect.

For me, the defining moment was the response by Gov. Lingle's attorney general to the proposition that annexation respected individual land ownership and secured civil rights.

His was not a factual rebuttal, but a race-dependent personal attack, the likes of which belong nowhere in America, let alone Hawai'i. Specifically, the attorney general first implied equivalence between America's treatment of its newest citizens and the Nazis' treatment of Jews in the Holocaust. Then he accused Bruce Fein, a Jew, of being like the people who deny the Holocaust happened.

If the fight over the enormous wealth bestowed by the Akaka bill can rob the attorney general of the sense and the sensibility required of his position and persuaded him to launch such an offensive and disrespectful personal attack in Hawai'i, can you imagine what else it can do to Hawai'i's local culture? Like the loss of civility already echoed throughout the rest of the proceedings.

Trivializing the Holocaust in this way also helps the "deniers" convert the young. The attorney general arguing the Holocaust was equivalent of annexation makes the young easily persuaded the stories of unbelievable horrors must then be false. Please, not in Hawai'i.

George L. Berish
Honolulu

NOISE, TRASH

REMOVE CONCESSIONS FROM THE STATE PARKS

The Department of land and Natural Resources should not allow private concessions such as lunch wagons and T-shirt vendors to conduct business in state parks.

There are enough trinkets, T-shirts and food sales in various locations around the Islands.

Commercial businesses in peaceful settings create unnecessary noise and trash, and disrupt true appreciation of cultural and beautiful vantage points.

Karen Kinney
Kailua

AESTHETICS

RAIL TRANSIT PLAN HAS HOLES; LISTEN TO SLATER

I disagree with Eric G. Crispin's letter (Aug. 19) and members of the City Council and Mayor Hannemann on favoring rail transit.

The cost/benefit has not been analyzed, nor has its aesthetic effects. How will it look, what will it sound like? Who will use it and give up their cars?

I'm also concerned about terroristic acts inside the trains, such as in the London attacks. And on top of it all, it would be a huge tax burden on the public at large.

Cliff Slater is right, and we should listen to him. He is the best expert in the state on mass transit.

Maria Grigg
Wai'alae Iki

POPULATION

TRANSIT TAX WILL HELP BOTH SIDES OF O'AHU

The transit tax is just what we needed to curtail population growth in Windward O'ahu and to keep our side of the Ko'olau range low-rise and country.

On the Honolulu side of the mountains, the rail line will stimulate population growth along its length. The stations will give birth to high-rise apartment nodes. Commuters will walk to transit.

E. Alvey Wright
Kane'ohe

SERVICE JOBS

TELECOMMUTING CAN'T REPLACE TRANSPORTATION

Recent letters to the editor (Ron Dennis Thursday, W. Knox Richardson on Aug. 21) suggesting that telecommuting policies and government-sponsored broadband networks would alleviate the traffic congestion seem a bit shortsighted.

Honolulu is primarily a service-based economy. How will healthcare workers, hotel workers, teachers, construction workers, clerks and the like telecommute? Telecommuting may help some, but it is by no measure a panacea.

C. Raynor
Honolulu

CONGRESS

ANNEXATION BY U.S. WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Regarding the Aug. 23 article "Forum reveals complexity of Hawaiian recognition issue": Most people, including members of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, fail to acknowledge the fact that in 1898, the Congress of the United States violated its own Constitution by annexing Hawai'i via joint resolution.

Under U.S. constitutional law, Congress cannot annex a foreign nation without a treaty of annexation. It tried two times and failed. Article VI, Clause 2, of the Constitution clearly states that treaties with other nations are the supreme law of the land. In 1893, the Hawaiian kingdom had 28 treaties with different nations and four treaties with the United States. Again the Congress violated its own Constitution by violating the treaties with the Hawaiian nation. The 15th Amendment does not apply to Hawaiians because Hawai'i is still an independent nation and always will be an independent nation.

The Congress of the United States and the judges of the higher courts should read the Constitution before making such outlandish decisions.

The United States will ultimately become just another chapter in Hawaiian mythology.

Eric Po'ohina
Kailua

GET BETTER MILEAGE WITH PROPER INFLATION OF TIRES

Your interactive poll misses one of the easiest things anyone you can do about gas pains: Check your tires for proper inflation.

When tires are properly inflated, you use less gasoline, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide a safer ride for your loved ones.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, inflating tires properly can improve gas mileage by 3.3 percent, saving a nickel or more per gallon. Other estimates of improved fuel efficiency are even higher.

In fact, estimates show that if all U.S. drivers used proper inflation, we could save about 2 million gallons of gasoline per day.

About 70 percent of cars and light trucks are estimated to have at least one tire that is improperly inflated. Checking tire pressure is not rocket science, though some very nifty high-tech gauges are available.

Check pressure, even in the spare, once a month when tires are cold, since hot tires can raise the reading. Fill to the ideal pressure recommended by the dealer, not the maximum sometimes shown on the tire wall.

One reason many people do not know the importance of tire pressure is that no one has taken up the cause, as the Board of Water Supply tells us about saving water and HECO is now urging people to save energy.

Is anyone willing to be the champion of proper tire pressure? It would seem a natural for a conscientious business association, civic group or youth club. Whether you drive a Prius or a Hummer, you should want the improved safety and gasoline efficiency that come with properly inflated tires.

If any group will step up, it would be welcome to participate in the "Live Energy Lite!" celebration of national Energy Awareness Month at Ala Moana Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15. Everyone is invited (it will be fun, with great entertainment and prizes), and for more information on improving the fuel economy of your car, visit www.fueleconomy.gov.

Peter Rosegg
Senior communications consultant, Hawaiian Electric Co.

DON'T DENIGRATE IT

CELEBRATE ISLANDS' TECH INDUSTRY

Hawai'i's local science and technology industry is disappointed by The Advertiser's reporting on Act 221/215 as expressed in the Aug. 23 article and its position in the Aug. 24 editorial.

Both the article and editorial are causing unnecessary confusion and unwarranted suspicions of Act 221/215 because one of the issues raised in the editorial was not correct and the other issues, we believe, have already been resolved in the revisions to Act 221 contained in Act 215.

The editorial was incorrect in saying that the entire $108 million went to investors. Over a third, or about $35 million, of these credits went directly to qualified high-tech companies by way of the 20 percent research credit which reveals that over $175 million has been spent on research and development in Hawai'i.

The remaining $73.6 million was invested in local qualified high-tech businesses as defined by the law. These investments translate into high-paying jobs and taxes paid as local start-ups build a foundation for future growth. (Hawai'i's technology industry is growing quickly and providing high-paying, living-wage jobs with an average salary of $50,000.)

Included in Act 215's revisions to Act 221 in 2004 was an extensive and cumbersome new certification process, addressing the disclosure issue. All credit claimants, for either the investment or R&D credit, must now file substantial documentation to the Department of Taxation detailing all aspects of their claims, including data on jobs. In addition, many of our local tech companies have already publicly identified the amount of investments they have received.

The Tax Department has all the data it needs to provide lawmakers and the public with aggregate information to help everyone understand how the program is doing. The problem may lie in the department's current lack of staff needed to properly analyze the mass amounts of data they have collected and release it in the most timely manner.

As the Tax Department continues to release data from Act 215, we do support the release of the names of companies that have received investments under the act, but we cannot support the release of names of individual or corporate investors who, like all of us, deserve privacy for their tax returns.

After all, in addition to Act 215, there are more than a dozen other state tax credits and, except for the Ko Olina credit, no claimants' names are made public.

The recent release of data from taxation that Act 221/215 has generated $108 million in credits and $175 million in R&D spending in Hawai'i in its first three years should be celebrated.

Before Act 221, it was very difficult for promising companies to get start-up funding here in Hawai'i. Before Act 221, companies often had to turn to Mainland sources for their start-up funding, causing many of them to relocate closer to their investors on the Mainland. Act 221 and now its successor, Act 215, have successfully turned this situation around, allowing local start-ups to get off the ground.

Ann Chung
Executive director, Hawaii Technology Trade Association

Mike Fitzgerald
President & CEO, Enterprise Honolulu

Bill Spencer
President, Hawaii Venture Capital Association

Lisa Gibson
President, Hawaii Life Sciences Council

Paula Helfrich
President, Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii

Rob Robinson
Convener, UH Angels

Jim Tollefson
President, Chamber of Commerce of Hawai'i