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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Letters to the Editor

TRANSIT

PUT NEEDED SERVICES ON OUR LEEWARD COAST

I would like to thank the residents of O'ahu who do not live on the Leeward Coast for their willingness to spend upward of $6 billion to construct (and $120 million annually to maintain and operate) a train for me to ride from Kapolei to the University of Hawai'i-Manoa. That is most generous of my fellow county residents.

I would rather the money was spent in such a way so I don't have to ride a train anywhere. I would rather the money were spent on building and maintaining the Kapolei area new jobs, government services, UH West O'ahu campus, concert halls, shopping centers, public schools and everything else that requires a trip downtown, to UH-Manoa or Waikiki.

With the impending rail system and the present bus system, Honolulu taxpayers will be paying millions annually just to transport commuters.

Save your money. I would rather stay in my community than ride the rail.

Garry P. Smith
'Ewa Beach

BUILD TOLL ROADS FIRST, THEN RAIL IF STILL NEEDED

Councilman Charles Djou's commentary in the Nov. 15 Advertiser hit home, and made some eye-opening comparisons on rail vs. elevated toll roads.

The indication was that the estimated cost for rail would be $6 billion versus the $1 billion cost for a toll road. This, plus the fact that it would take approximately 15 years to build the rail system, makes me wonder why rail is being considered as a first option. Djou also points out that a toll road can be built in approximately four years.

Instead of an either-or situation, the estimates show us that a rail system will not arrive in time to alleviate our growing traffic problems. So, why not build the toll road first? It can be built much faster and cheaper than rail, solving both our traffic and cost problems.

Then if we still want rail, a well-planned rail system can be installed with money saved by the toll road.

Everyone can win if we tackle our traffic problems one logical step at a time.

Kurt Winner
Honolulu

WHY WEREN'T GROWTH, EXPANSION STOPPED?

To all those opponents trying to shoot down mass transit on O'ahu, there are a few questions you should be made to answer:

  • Why did you do nothing to stop rampant growth, overpopulation and urban sprawl that brought us to the point where rail transit or more freeways are the only alternatives you can offer?

  • Why were you uninterested in enforcing Honolulu's General Plan requirement to charge the costs of all new infrastructure necessitated by development to the developers and homeowners, which could have brought true "smart growth" through the marketplace?

  • Why did you never balk at the tourism industry's demands for constant expansion, or the military's call to base more troops on our limited land base?

  • Most basically, if the only options you can present us with are between various transit plans or types of highway experiments, what do you plan to do after all the new transportation systems are maxed out by over-consumption?

  • Will the public ever have an option of a sustainable, stabilized economy and population, or will our leaders cling to the misbegotten paradigm that growth will solve all our problems?

    Richard Weigel
    Pearl City

    RAIL WILL ONLY BENEFIT UNIONS AND POLITICIANS

    The most efficient form of transportation is driving a car. Don't distract from my point by bringing in pollution and global warming. Let's stick to efficiency and politics.

    Virtually no one rides TheBus, especially those who profess the benefits of public transportation. There is an obvious reason why no one rides TheBus or will ride DaRail for that matter.

    Parents drive their children to and from school. Will these potential rail riders change their habits and let preschoolers and children under 12 ride DaRail? Why aren't they letting them ride TheBus now?

    We all know the answer to these questions.

    If I live at the top of 'Alewa Drive, Hawai'i Loa Ridge or any ridge in Honolulu, will the existence of a rail that is miles distant make a difference as to whether I use my car or a bus? The answer is no. It affects these people like it affects those who live on the Windward side of O'ahu.

    The reason why people choose to use their cars rather than ride TheBus will be the same reason why people will still choose to use their cars rather than ride DaRail.

    The rail will benefit only one group unions! And the politicians who suck up to unions.

    Bruce Wong
    Honolulu

    BENEFITS OF RAIL WILL BE CLEAR AFTER IT'S BUILT

    Happy with H-3? You're going to like rail, too.

    In the 1990s I worked H-3. When someone found out, more often than not, they'd start in on what a waste of money it was, how no one would drive on it, what an eyesore it would be. Remember all the arguments against H-3? Now when I tell someone I'm working on rail transit, it is eerie to hear all the same statements: no ridership, costs too much, too ugly, etc.

    Change is always hard. It is much easier to oppose a project and find fault with projections, alignments and costs. Fewer people come out in support of most public works projects. But, how many people still oppose H-3? Have the predictions that no one would use it come true? Would the quality of life on O'ahu be better if we hadn't built it?

    Please think about these questions before you oppose rail.

    Jan Reichelderfer
    Kailua

    KAILUA

    B&B VACATIONERS ARE SUPPORTING ECONOMY

    I live on a quiet residential street in Kailua. Although there are two (that I know of) houses that provide vacation rentals, the area has remained the same. In fact, it's hard to tell that there are vacationers there, even though one house is next door, and the other across the street.

    It's no different than neighbors having friends over. I support these rentals because it does give the tourist an alternative view of Hawai'i. Remember, these tourists are supporting our economy by eating and shopping in Kailua. If these tourists are noisy or have loud parties, the first thing to do would be to talk to the homeowner, or call the police just as you would do if it was a local resident. Let's show a little aloha.

    Annette Mahikoa Spinaio
    Kailua

    RESIDENTS SHOULD BE POLLED ON B&B ISSUE

    I have to disagree with Chris Fletcher's Nov. 25 letter. Kailua is the "perfect" venue for B&Bs and vacation rentals. True, some should be eliminated, as the owners are inconsiderate and don't live near their property, but with regulation and licensing, this industry can co-exist in residential neighborhoods.

    Why penalize those who operate a decent, quality business? Very few are "party houses." Most visitors staying in a rental are quiet families looking for a peaceful vacation.

    In my neighborhood, we rely on the B&Bs for family and friends visiting from the Mainland. We have never had problems with loud parties or traffic. We've been circulating a petition that asks for the licensing of the vacation rental industry. We have been overwhelmed with a positive response, and have found that more than 90 percent of those asked to sign have been appalled at the idea of eliminating this industry. The city should conduct a poll to see, once and for all, who is in the minority here.

    Susan Bryson
    Licensed B&B owner, Kailua

    HIGH COSTS

    NO ONE TRIES TO FIND SOLUTIONS FOR RENTERS

    Andrew Gomes' article in The Advertiser on Nov. 26 is one of many recent articles about the housing situation in Honolulu. Like most articles about this topic, we hear about challenges that renters face, but nothing about solutions.

    When traffic fatalities go up, something is done about it. When schools under-perform, something is done about it. But when renters can't find a place to live at a reasonable price, nothing is done. Why do we never hear about anything being done to help the renter who is just a hair above the poverty line and has to battle high rents, credit checks and picky landlords just to have a place to live? Don't sweep us under the rug like this.

    Aaron Avilla
    'Ewa Beach

    NATIVITY ROLE

    ACTRESS' PREGNANCY SHOULD NOT BE ISSUE

    I was reading the story in The Advertiser about Keisha Castle-Hughes and her role in her new movie, "The Nativity Story" (Nov. 25). Yes, the 16-year-old is unwed and pregnant. But why should this cause so much controversy? She is an outstanding actress and deserves all the respect we can give.

    Despite her choices in her personal life, she is not the Messiah or the Virgin Mary. She's a woman, a very talented actress and soon to be a mother. I think that religious sects need to realize that and get over it.

    Pua Book
    Honolulu

    LIVE TELECAST

    WATCHING UH FOOTBALL ON TV COSTS TOO MUCH

    Charging $25 to $30 per game is excessive to watch University of Hawai'i football.

    Finally, UH has a great team, and we on the Neighbor Islands are charged an excessive amount to support UH football. What are you thinking? Fans are important to the success of any collegiate football team.

    We all support the team, but cannot afford these inflated prices to watch the game live on cable. Change it.

    AJ Pendleton
    Waikoloa, Hawai'i

    BUSH VISIT

    BALANCED COVERAGE EXPECTED BY READERS

    In regards to the Nov. 22 Page 1 article "Cheers for and by Bush," there happened to be a whole lot of booing going on in our household. Balanced coverage is expected of The Honolulu Advertiser.

    Dietra A. Myers Tremblay
    Pearl City

    IRAQ

    HOW WILL WE KNOW WHEN WE'VE WON?

    So Sen. John McCain joins the Republican voices that call for more troops in Iraq. Otherwise, we'll never win, he says.

    My question is this: How will we know when we've won? I'm a reasonably intelligent man (retired attorney and author of a dozen published books), but I still have no idea what our aims are in Iraq, or who we're actually fighting.

    Enlighten me, somebody.

    William M. Stephens
    Kahana, West Maui