Letters to the Editor
FIRE DEPT. SHOULD GET ITS OWN BLACK HAWK
I am surprised that both the Honolulu Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services have been shortsighted about the U.S. Army providing helicopter services for extreme medical cases. They should have known our troops would be called to serve in combat.
My solution: Buy a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter for the HFD. It can use Army Guard pilots for the time being until it gets its own pilots up to speed. It can also help with brush fires. The MD-500 is too small for medevac.
Don't think of it as spending money, but as an investment. I'm sure those helped by medevac will agree.Ivan K. Nishimura
LOYAL CONCERTGOERS PUT OFF BY SYMPHONY
I want to lend 100 percent support for letters from J. Toyama and F. David Wagner expressing their concerns about seating policies for the 2006-07 season of the Honolulu Symphony.
For over the 50 years I have sat in the balconies of theaters, concert halls and opera houses the world over, and have never encountered the curious arrangement proposed by the Honolulu Symphony. And for most of the past 50 years, I have been a season subscriber to Honolulu Symphony concerts, in my preferred seating, the balcony. In all of these years, through the regimes of George Barrati, Donald Johanos, Robert LaMarchina and Samuel Wong, I have always had the option of choosing from three or four prices for balcony seats.
At the moment, I still hope the Honolulu Symphony can avoid the loss of two more season subscribers for 2006-07.Bill Gemmer
DANGERS OF ELECTRONIC VOTING WERE LEFT OUT
The Honolulu Advertiser June 26 story "Printouts to verify e-voting this fall" explains how voters using electronic voting machines this year will be able to double-check their choices before they cast their ballots. However, the story fails to mention the dangers of electronic voting.
The only true way to know that our votes are counted, and can be re-counted, is to place them onto a piece of paper, with no computer involved. There are too many ways to manipulate computer data.
Another concern is that "e-voting" is an industry in which the machines and software are provided by, and operated by, corporations. These corporations often include the candidates themselves among their owners, shareholders or employees.
Furthermore, there is no federal agency that has regulatory authority over the elections industry.
Two Republican-controlled corporations, Election Systems and Software and Diebold Voting Systems, control about 80 percent of the vote count in the U.S.
When the day comes that Americans accept e-voting as the only form of placing a vote, the United States will have failed to be a true democracy.Michael Lauck
RAPID TRANSIT COST TOO HIGH; BRING IN DISNEY
So rapid transit is $3 billion ($3,000,000,000). Now that's really scary. You and I, the common taxpayers, know that when the city government says three billion bucks, it is really saying seven billion bucks ... just for the rail system.
As the city states, that does not pay for operating costs, rail cars or land acquisition. I hate to think what that will cost. That should be another few billion.
I think it would be a very good idea if we bypass the city government and ask Disney to do the job for 1/10th the cost.Norman Chalmers
SPEED IS OF THE ESSENCE IN ANY TRANSIT SYSTEM
I attended the Transit Alternatives Analysis — Community Update at the Honolulu Hale Mission Memorial Auditorium on the evening of June 26.
I was very disappointed to find out that the rail proposals were all "local" trains. There is no plan for express trains. The projected time from Kapolei to the UH-Manoa (23 miles) is one hour. Therefore, the rail alternatives will be going 23 mph and always stop at all 30 stops.
The rail alternatives appear to be much slower than the managed-lanes alternative. Where is the incentive to leave your car at home, when the train is guaranteed to go slow?
I think the consultants should include speed as one of their criteria. If taking an express bus on a managed lane is twice as fast as the train (46 mph or better), the consultants should make that clear.John Brizdle
NOT PRACTICING WHAT SMOKER IS PREACHING
I watched a red SUV waiting in the parking lot of the Manai Hale retirement center in Kane'ohe in May. On its rear bumper were stickers that read: "Aloha 'Aina" and "No Hawaiian, No Aloha."
As the car started to leave the lot, the driver flipped out his lit cigarette onto the pavement.
I can appreciate the irony, even if he couldn't.Anita Marciel Williams
LITTERERS ARE MARRING WHITE PLAINS BEACH
Kudos to the U.S. Navy for opening up White Plains Beach in Kalaeloa to everyone.
Shame on those who have shown their gratitude by leaving their rubbish and their cigarette butts on the roadsides leading to the beach and on the beach itself.
Every day the place is heavily littered; folks leave their cups and plates and utensils and plastic bags and cigarette butts just lying in the sand. I would not be surprised if the Navy decides to do something like charge for parking in order to pay for more staff, which appear sorely needed, in order to keep the beach clean.
Better we clean up after ourselves.Eileen Gawrys
In all the discussion about how to use the land, I have yet to see a reference to the Civil Defense comment that it is not a question of if but when a tsunami hits. Why did we put millions of dollars into building a medical school and not think that we were building structures in a danger zone?Tahmi Brodhead
ISLES NEED LEADERS FOCUSING ON ENERGY
In February 2005, the EPA and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners announced that six states, including Hawai'i, were working on an initiative to explore ways to reduce the cost of consumer electric and gas bills through cost-effect energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean distributed generation.
EPA estimates say that the expected growth in demand for electricity could be cut in half by 2025, providing consumer savings and substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Why, then, is HECO considering building another fossil fuel-burning plant?
The ability to harness energy from wind and water already exists, and Hawai'i couldn't be a more ideal place to lead the way with these technologies. Yet we can't find our way out of the proverbial box to save our 'aina. We seem determined to follow the status quo, which will surely spoil all that is special about our Islands.
We need some innovative, forward thinkers leading this state now, before it is too late. Any takers?Susan Ramie
RAIL ROUTE PROPOSAL WON'T HELP US
The routes proposed for rail transit do not serve well the residents deep in 'Ewa Beach.
The nearest rail station conceived is located at the intersection of Geiger Road and Ft. Weaver Road. This station will not accommodate any parking features, forcing many commuters to employ a second means of travel just to get to the rail station.
If they want to park and ride, they must proceed up Ft. Weaver Road and overcome the Geiger, Kolowaka and Renton Road intersections. This half-mile stretch alone can be a 20- plus-minute crawl for both bus and motorist, even when school is out.
What is missing from the evaluation process is the concept of constructing rail in concert with an elevated reversible toll highway. It would be a travesty to construct a rail line that would in any way prohibit or interfere with the possibility of one day building an elevated road to complement the H-1 Freeway.
I brought this notion to the attention of Mayor Mufi Hannemann at the transit meeting last week at Honolulu Hale. It was obvious from his response that he has exhausted every means possible within his reach to bring us transportation relief within his jurisdiction. As he simply put it, the city can't build both rail and new roads at the same time. That task is for the state to pick up, and rightfully so since it has jurisdiction over our highways.
While the mayor is fully engaged, it appears the state has become complacent in all of this. It's as though the state were watching three hungry dogs fictitiously named "Railme," "Roadme" and "Donothing" fight over one bone. Rather, the state should be pursuing its own plan to construct a toll road. An elevated toll road requires no new taxes to build, maintain or operate. The only ones that would be paying for the new road are the ones who would use it.
If we are going to expect our quality of life on O'ahu to improve in the future, we must recognize that a healthy economy thrives on the ability to transport people, goods and services efficiently. The addition of rail alone to ease our plight will not satisfy our appetite for efficiency.
That is why the Legislature needs to do its part and pass legislation next year to permit the governor to enter into private-public partnerships for road construction. These PPPs, as they are often referred to, would allow for the development of an additional highway to complement the H-1 Freeway.
Such a road would not only bring relief to those in 'Ewa Beach, but to all communities islandwide where rail cannot efficiently serve.Tom Berg
Legislative chair for the 'Ewa Neighborhood Board
DRAIN ETHANOL BLEND FROM ENGINES YOU AREN'T USING
I'm generally a "green" person, so I welcomed the Hawai'i 10 percent ethanol requirement for gasoline: Better to use a renewable homegrown resource than continue relying on and paying for Middle East oil.
I've heard the complaints about lower gas mileage for cars using the ethanol blend — that's totally bogus. It is true that ethanol has about 30 percent less energy available to your engine. But with a 10 percent blend, that translates to a 3 percent reduction in gas mileage: Your 30-mpg car will now get 29 mpg and your 15-mpg SUV will get 14.5 mpg — not a big sacrifice, I think.
But I've also heard that ethanol might be bad for two-stroke engines, so I did some research.
Although I didn't find any information on specific harm to two-stroke engines, I did discover another problem that might especially concern Hawai'i users: Ethanol is very "hygroscopic," meaning that it readily absorbs water from the atmosphere.
This means that ethanol-blend gasoline, stored in contact with the air, will absorb moisture. This would be potentially harmful to all engines, two-stroke or otherwise.
In your car, there is probably no concern. You would go through your tank of gas in a week or two before any appreciable absorption occurs. But for your boat, or lawn mower, or weedeater, there may be a problem if the gas sits in your tank, or your gas can, for more that a week or two. It could absorb an appreciable amount of water from our humid Hawaiian air. That water can definitely damage your engine and carburetor.
The solution is to keep any stored gasoline in a tightly sealed container, and to drain any unused gas from the fuel tank of all infrequently used gas engines (generators, lawnmowers, outboard motors) immediately after use.
The good news is that ethanol does not turn to "varnish" with age, as does gasoline — ethanol stored in a well-sealed container will be as good after a year as it is today.Joel Aycock
Hawaiian Acres, Kea'au, Big Island