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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, March 6, 2005

Letters to the Editor

We were blessed to know Rod McPhee

Rod McPhee is a true hero of our island community. There are few who have done so much for so many of us; he will be deeply missed, long remembered and beneficially felt. His 26 years of guiding the fundamental education of more than 10,000 students will continue to favorably impact our island lives through most of the 21st century.

It was in good part under Dr. McPhee's guidance that Punahou reached for the academic stars and arrived so successfully. More important, he purposely encouraged his school's long tradition of caring about the welfare of each student as if that student were the reason for the school's efforts. All felt important vis--vis the education of the students, whether student, parent, faculty or staff, whether wealthy or poor, regardless of race or creed or parents' occupation or education.

A better example for us all could not have been lived.

Rod McPhee, thank you. We were blessed to have had you among us and guiding us for so many years.

James E. Fleming

Harbor improvement must be assessed

If we do not respect the laws enacted to protect our financial, cultural and economic resources, then we in fact have no reason to respect any law at all. Therefore, no matter what its proposed benefits, each and every proposed development in Hawai'i must adhere to law.

Accordingly, the most salient aspect of the Hawai'i Superferry issue is not the ferry itself, but the $40 million in state taxpayer funds required for harbor improvements.

These funds cannot be appropriated without an environmental assessment.

As the director of transportation, Rodney Haraga, has stated, "at least an environmental assessment" would be required for improvements planned at Kahului Harbor (Maui News, Feb. 25).

If the Superferry does not require these harbor improvements, or if the improvements do not require state funds, then those who argue an EIS is not necessary have a credible position.

If on the other hand the Superferry requires state funds for harbor upgrades, it must wait for the modifications to be analyzed according to our laws — in this case, Hawai'i Revised Statutes Chapter 343.

CJ Villa
Kihei, Maui

Excise tax is collected every step of the way

Regarding C. Takemoto's letter on the 5 percent excise tax proposal ("Consumers bear burden of excise tax," Feb. 21): Takemoto actually underestimates the price increase due to a 1 percentage point excise tax increase. Why? Because Takemoto only calculates the excise tax increase on the retail sales.

Hawai'i's excise tax is not a sales tax that only applies to retail sales. It is instead a tax on all business transactions in Hawai'i. Thus, excise taxes are collected on wholesaling, warehousing, shipping, delivery, insurance, rent, advertising, etc.

The consumer only sees the excise tax passed on to him or her on the retail sale. However, hidden within the purchase price are the costs of the taxes on the non-retail business transactions. The only saving grace is that wholesaling and some intermediary services are currently taxed at lower rates of 0.5 percent.

Jared Lum
Hawai'i Kai

Age, but not gender, merits giving up seat

Greg Kling asked "Is chivalry dead?" in his Feb. 24 letter. He lamented the fact that teens and men did not give up their seats to women and the elderly. I felt the need to reply.

I wholeheartedly agree with him that teens should give up their seats to the elderly. I also feel that young men and women should give up their seats to the elderly.

However, in this day and age of equality, I see no need for a man to give up his seat for a women unless she is pregnant. Women are equal to men and therefore in no greater need of the seat than the man who is already in it.

Steven Marsh

Put the tax burden on big companies

The mayor and City Council must put the total financial responsibility of water, sewer and electric utilities on the burden of the companies that build large utility users — like Home Depot, Costco, all the large up-and-coming condominiums, shopping malls, stores, etc.

Their up-front money will be more than sufficient to pay for all sewer repairs, water pipes, potholes and electrical demand forecasts. The taxpayer should not be expected to bear the financial burden that these large construction projects will create.

C. Walther

Clean-elections bill needs your support

There is an important bill making its way through the state House and Senate that would bring clean elections to Hawai'i. By publicly funding the electoral process, the clean-elections bill would allow political candidates to focus more on the issues than on funding their campaigns. The bill would level the electoral playing field and lead to the inclusion of more minority and female candidates.

Maine and Arizona, where the majority of candidates run clean-election campaigns, have demonstrated the effectiveness of such a bill. The Comprehensive Public Funding bill (House Bill 1713 and Senate Bill 1689) has already made it past the first steps in the state Legislature and needs your support. I urge all citizens concerned with maintaining a healthy democracy to contact their state representatives in support of this bill.

Justin Avery

Mililani High students are people to be proud of

To Mililani High School:

Romeo Saludes dances with Mililani 'Ike Elementary fifth-grader Courtney Kobashigawa at the Feb. 11 Valentine's dance at Olaloa Retirement Community center.

Mililani High School Student Activities

We had heard that you had a very good jazz band, but we found out that you are much better than just good, you are fantastic. It was very nice of you to come to our community to entertain us. It certainly was an enjoyable senior prom for all of us over 55 years old.

The music was very good, plus the food you brought was delicious. Would you believe our bones did not even creak, because we had such a good time?

Your teacher told us that it was all your idea; we appreciated your kindness even more. Everybody was so well-mannered; even the younger children were waiting on us and were so accommodating. We were proud of all of you.

What can we say but thank you, thank you, thank you! This includes all the teachers. We can tell you are doing a good job.

James Toledo
Board president, Olaloa Retirement Community

Lily Canas
Chair, Social Committee, Olaloa Retirement Community