Letters to the Editor
SOMETHING MUST BE DONE ABOUT THE TRASH
Kailua Bay is drowning in trash.
For the past two weeks, there has been a dramatic and disgusting increase in rubbish, both in the water and washing up on the beach.
The trash appears to be primarily fishing-related plastics, including nets, lines, traps and filters. There also is an enormous amount of large plastic items, everything from storage bins to washing machine agitators.
I filled four large bags just by picking up the bulk of this debris along a 50-yard stretch, and it just keeps coming in.
The state and fishing industry need to address this problem. Educate fishermen that every piece of plastic (including polypropylene line and nets), no matter how small, floats and eventually makes it to shore and/or helps to kill a marine animal or bird.
In the meantime, please help by picking up some rubbish — even a little bit helps — every time you go to the beach.David Richardson
BUT WE ALSO ANSWER TO OUR CONSCIENCES
It is understandable that Terrence O'Toole would take the position he does regarding Hui Malama's refusal to "abide by the rule of law and to work within the legal system" (Letters, Jan. 20).
O'Toole intones some of the most traditional aspects of a true democracy, while ignoring one of its fundamental principles: the right and obligation of its citizens to speak, write and act against what they believe is wrong, even or particularly if such perceived wrongs are inventions of the state.
Some of our greatest leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi, followed their consciences and mobilized the populace, supporters and opponents alike, by refusing to comply with what many believed were unjust laws. And because of their courageous acts of civil disobedience, millions of us now have access to freedoms and opportunities once granted to only a small portion of the world's population.
While I agree with O'Toole that "we are a nation of laws, governed by laws," he forgets that the United States is also a nation founded by political dissidents seeking to escape repressive social policies in their home country.
In the Kawaihae artifacts case, many of us believe that laws that have for centuries protected, and still to this day protect, the rights of industrialists, historians and scientists should never supercede the higher law of our individual and collective spiritual consciences.
That is why Edward Ayau and Hui Malama, even in accepting the consequences of violating laws that are fundamentally wrong, as with King and Gandhi, are true patriots of the people.Val Kalei Kanuha
DEM FOR LINGLE
PROTESTED HARRIS SMEAR
Regarding my Feb. 1 letter on Ed Case entering the Senate race: I'd like to make it clear that I am a Democrat who voted for Linda Lingle in the 2002 election because of the way Jeremy Harris was smeared, like President Clinton, and Swift-Boated out of the last governor's race.Michael R. Salling
SIGN OF THE TIMES
Did anyone notice the irony of the article on the Feb. 1 front page — about the waning number of mom-and-pop businesses — contrasted with the full-page ad for the opening of the new Wal-Mart on the back of the front section? Timing! Timing! Timing!Kent Sharrar
POPULAR RACEWAY MUST BE SALVAGED
I recently read that Hawai'i Raceway Park will no longer be in operation after April, and this saddened me. I am a 15-year-old girl. My dad introduced me to the local races in Hawai'i last year. I attended three times, and that was enough to make me a fan of the sport.
On my racing outings, I have met racers at the track, learned the classes of cars, know what fuel-injecting the engine means and seen the effort each team puts in to get their cars race-ready each week.
Racing is a family-oriented event, and most of the racers are second and third generation. The participants at the races are dedicated and devoted people to a hobby. They have invested much time and money, and the racers and their crews also go for the camaraderie and enjoyment.
When the track closes, where will people with a large investment in motor sports go? This closure will affect many businesses, families and fans who rely on the racers for business and entertainment. The raceway has been around for 42 years, and it would be sad to see it close.Janna Taylor
RECYCLING MEANS LESS ENERGY USE, POLLUTION
Recycling metallic resources takes much less energy, water and other resources and produces much less pollution and environmental degradation than exploiting virgin metallic resources.
Reusing such resources means using less energy and producing less pollution and environmental degradation.
Words to remember: recycle and reuse.Wayne Hinano Brumaghim
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CANDIDATES NOW NEEDED
I welcome former state Sen. Randy Iwase's press conference to announce his candidacy for governor.
With a possible entry by Mayor Harry Kim and one other hopeful with a different constituency, this primary will be complete for the majority party.
A matter to be addressed now is the very important position of lieutenant governor. Many who passed on the governorship race or are currently considering a run for U.S. House should consider throwing in his or her headgear in this statewide race.
A strong and vigorous candidate who can serve eight years as lieutenant governor and eight more as governor would be ideal. But what is critical is the job seeker must be someone who can take the helm of the ship of state as Gov. George Ariyoshi did in the mid-'70s.Arvid T. Youngquist
USE WARM WASH WITH SOLAR WATER HEATER
While HECO is taking some positive steps in encouraging energy conservation, as Peter Rosegg asserts in his Jan. 20 letter, it is unfortunate that it chooses to continue to give advice that, in many situations, encourages more, not less, consumption of electricity.
Specifically, on its TV commercials, on its Web site and in its "Energy Tips and Choices" booklet, HECO advises, without any qualification, to always use cold water to rinse when using a clothes washer. In one specific, but common, case, following this advice will result in more, not less, electricity consumption. People who use solar heat to heat their water will not use any more electricity for a warm or hot rinse (or wash, for that matter), and those with both using solar-heated water and electric dryers will use less electricity if they use a warm or hot rinse cycle, since the wet clothes will already be warm or hot at the start of the drying cycle.
If your home is also air-conditioned, using a warm or hot rinse cycle will further reduce electricity consumption since the shorter drying cycle will add less heat to your home.
What is most disappointing about this "tip" is that the people most likely to follow it are those interested in reducing their electricity consumption, and thus are those most likely to have installed solar water heaters. If you have a solar water heater, use the warm or hot wash and rinse cycle whenever you can do so without using electricity to heat the water, and it is appropriate for your load.Nobu Nakamoto
CITY AERIAL TRAMWAY WOULD ATTRACT TOURISTS, COMMUTERS
I am writing to propose an alternate to the light-rail plan for Honolulu. Honolulu needs a form of transportation that not only relieves traffic but also provides an important tourist attraction. Honolulu needs an aerial tramway.
Consider other cities around the world that have tramways of one type or another. There are 21 trams operating in the United States and Canada alone. The world's largest tram is in Merida, Venezuela, and rises 10,250 feet between Barinitas and La Montana stations.
The Sandia Peak Tramway, located outside of Albuquerque, has been one of New Mexico's top tourist destinations since it began operation in 1966. Each year its 200-person-capacity cars make 10,500 trips up the mountain at speeds ranging between 12 and 22 mph.
Other examples include the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and the Teleferico de Bogata.
The main attraction of aerial tramways is that they combine beauty and function. Tourists flock, but trams also provide the local population with a fast, easy and inexpensive alternative mode of transportation.
The Roosevelt Island Tramway in New York City is the perfect example of this mix. This tram, which began operating in 1976, has been used by more than 26 million passengers. The four-minute trip covers 3,100 feet across the East River and costs $1.50. It is the primary route of commute for residents of Roosevelt Island, who can catch one of the cars leaving every 15 minutes between 6 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.
I hope the people of O'ahu recognize the validity of this proposition and comprehend the benefits that an aerial tramway could provide. Potential routes could travel up the side of Diamond Head or Tantalus, as well as commuter lines that stretch from Hawai'i Kai to 'Ewa and beyond.Peter K. Hansen
LIKE REVERSE MORTGAGE
BETTER IDEA: DEFER PROPERTY TAX
All of the City Council's proposed fixes for the current property tax crisis that were listed in your recent article were tax reductions. The council proposed a variety of increased exemptions for certain groups or reductions in rates for everyone, to reduce the impact of the average 26 percent assessment increases that would raise $125 million more than last year.
But the mayor insists that he absolutely must have $85 million, or 17.7 percent, more than last year to avoid the city's financial collapse. Clearly, then, if any group of taxpayers is allowed to have a tax increase of less than 17.7 percent, some other group is going to have an increase of more than 17.7 percent or the city will not have the revenue it needs. The city will just be shifting the tax burden from one group to another group.
This is going to make hundreds of thousands of taxpayers unhappy and also force more than a few taxpayers out of their homes.
There is a way out of this dilemma: a tax-deferral program that is currently in use in several states on the Mainland, including Massachusetts, Washington and Florida, and which avoids unfairly shifting the tax burden from one group of taxpayers to another, while at the same time providing a means for the city to fund all its current needs. It is similar to a reverse mortgage program.
Details vary, but basically taxpayers in a group determined by income level, age or a combination of factors are permitted to defer payment of a portion of their property taxes as long as they live in their homes. The city has a lien on the home until the deferred tax is paid when the taxpayer sells the home, dies or stops living in it.
The city records the deferred taxes as accounts receivable, which can be used as collateral when borrowing funds to pay the city's current operating expenses. The amount deferred accrues interest until it is paid. The interest rate can be the average rate that the city pays on its municipal bonds, or some other rate that is considered fair.
Of course, there are costs to administering such a program, but other jurisdictions have found that once the program is set up, the benefit of a fair tax system — where, regardless of income, all homeowners eventually pay their fair share toward municipal services, while being able to continue living in their homes — outweighs the modest costs.
Such a tax-deferral program could be a win-win solution to the very real current crisis in Honolulu.Tom Macdonald