Letters to the Editor
THRIFTIER SHOPPING SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED
The front page of your July 6 edition featured a story about local families tightening their budgets. Then, in Island Life we read a Los Angeles Times article accompanied by a photo of two children wearing outfits totaling nearly $620. Did you intend to strike that note of irony?
It would have helped readers if you had used that space to write about the virtues of shopping at Savers, Goodwill and The Salvation Army.
Sure, kids want designer gear if they're encouraged to value such things. But how about fostering creativity, resourcefulness and the pleasure of the hunt? My cobalt blue jacket, which garners more compliments than any other I own, cost $7.99 at Goodwill.Pam Chambers
RAIL OPPONENTS HAVE THEIR HEADS IN THE SAND
Your June 13 story regarding the Stop Rail Now initiative describes a disturbing mindset by foes of the rail initiative to harm our state.
Their efforts are shortsighted.
The rail system is a sustainable alternative that will benefit O'ahu socially, economically and environmentally.
Have rail opponents asked our business community if they enjoy losing thousands of hours of productivity from their workers and consultants who spend two to four hours making the trek into Honolulu and back home everyday?
Have they talked to the thousands of students who will one day attend UH-West O'ahu about whether they want an affordable transportation alternative?
Have they asked the families who are paying more than $4 (with projections of $5 and $6) a gallon for gas, just to get to work, whether they want rail?
Have they asked the thousands of workers, laborers, managers and our trade unions whose livelihoods will be sustained by years of construction of the system whether they want rail?
The answer to these questions is: of course not. Instead, in the face of an economic downturn and skyrocketing fuel prices, rail opponents persist in ignoring current and future needs of our community, economy and families, all the while placing their heads firmly in the sand.Ryan Mielke
PAVING PARADISE FOR A PARKING LOT ONCE AGAIN
The June 16 Honolulu Advertiser's front-page story on Pearl City's Banana Patch community being disrupted by the rail project spoke volumes about the impact of the mayor's proposed rail system.
Under the current plan, six families will be displaced and their homes demolished for the future "park-and-ride," while the remaining six families will have a front-row seat to see — and hear — the train pass by 400 times a day between 4 a.m. and midnight. What a travesty for this small community.
I recall Joni Mitchell's prophetic lyrics from "Big Yellow Taxi:" "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."
Sad, but if the mayor gets his train, it will be true.Barbara Krasniewski
RAIL A MAJOR DECISION, VOTERS SHOULD GET A SAY
It makes no difference if you are opposed or for rail, but why not let the citizens of O'ahu decide this major decision and the allocation of billions of dollars?
This decision is too important to be left to the mayor, City Council and those who had the time to attend the public hearings.
All O'ahu citizens should have their say at the polls. It is beginning to look like mass transit is more about campaign donations and development rights around the various transit stations than it is about helping alleviate the congestion from the west side. Four billion dollars to cut travel time by six minutes really doesn't sound like a wise investment.Gregory A. Poole
RAIL IS NEEDED FOR GOOD PORTION OF RESIDENTS
In the 1970s, I lived in Makakilo and worked in Kaimuki. Rail transit was proposed but never built. The cost was too much and would burden future generations. I gave up the commute and moved to Kaimuki.
In early 1990s, there was a proposal for rail transit. It wouldn't benefit me; yet, I strongly supported it because it would benefit a significant portion of our residents. It was not built because of the cost and the burden.
I supported H-3 even though I rarely use it. It was what was best for a significant portion of our residents. The H-3 project was also mired in the same controversy of expense and need. Imagine what traffic would be like today without it.
Now I work in Kapolei. I commute a good portion of my day, and it costs me more than $4 a gallon compared with 50 cents a gallon in the '70s.
However, there is hope another rail-transit project is ready to begin. Maybe, this time it is what is best for a significant portion of our residents, and this time I am one of them!Toni Robinson
CITY HAS BEEN OPEN ABOUT LANDFILL PLANS
Maralyn Kurshals' June 25 letter "Landfill is filled with excuses, poor planning" made some overheated accusations and contained serious distortions, but offered no real solutions.
The city has been very open about its plan to expand the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill, diligent about addressing old problems there and has aggressively moved forward on alternative ways to manage solid waste.
Proposals to ship at least 100,000 tons per year to a Mainland facility have been received and are now being evaluated; a plan to expand the H-POWER waste-to-energy facility is moving forward; and curbside residential recycling is being expanded islandwide. All these initiatives help relieve pressure on the landfill, which would take years to replace.
There has been no attempt to "blackmail" or "divide and conquer" by alluding to the possibility that municipal solid waste could end up in Nanakuli if Waimanalo Gulch is forced to close. That's a very real possibility. Currently, the private Nanakuli landfill is the only facility available to accept such material. Moreover, a developer has long proposed to set up a new landfill on property it owns nearby.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann has been very effective at addressing serious infrastructure problems inherited from the previous administration, including solid-waste disposal. It's easy to complain, make wild charges and demand miraculous solutions. However, it takes real leadership to solve tough, unpopular dilemmas in a responsible manner.Markus Owens
Public communications officer, city Department of Environmental Services
TRADING RESTRICTIONS NEEDED TO SLOW PRICES
Oil prices have essentially doubled in the past year, but energy consumption has grown at a far lesser rate. The supply of crude oil worldwide has increased, refinery capacity is greater than ever, so the quick explanation of supply and demand just doesn't add up.
The reason oil prices have gone through the roof is that more and more investment institutions, under pressure to produce unrealistic profits, have abandoned traditional investing and turned to speculating in commodities.
The huge flood of money into these markets has created its own artificially supported bull market, reminiscent of the stock market mania of 1999-2000.
And the basic reasons commodities exchanges were established in the first place — to smooth out wild fluctuations in agricultural products due to weather and other unforeseen factors — have been nearly forgotten.
The traders and oil producers will continue to reap staggering profits at the expense of economies across the world until governments worldwide, but especially in the United States, pass legislation restricting the trading of commodities to those individuals or institutions that are actually going to take delivery of the products.Steve Brenessel
START DRILLING FOR OIL, OUR DESTINY IS AT STAKE
If Congress approves and we start drilling for oil with eco-caring new technologies, America will send a shivering message to the Middle East OPEC producers, Venezuela and their entire ilk.
They will know that the law of supply and demand will catch up. Their oil prices will begin dropping to get in America's and other countries' good graces, anticipating a time when they must beg their biggest customer, America, to buy their oil for $25/barrel or less.
Forget the notion of taxing our oil companies. Let them use their billions in "excess" profits to explore and drill without government intrusion.
The moment we let them start drilling, our economy will improve from falling OPEC oil prices; our employment rate will rise; the dollar will get stronger, permitting us to buy more from foreign suppliers, for less; our trade deficit will begin decreasing; America could unfreeze some of its enormous national-security oil reserves to the public sector, further helping to lower pump prices. And, by becoming less dependent on OPEC, we enormously strengthen America's national security.
These benefits will happen if the politicians in Capitol Hill quit playing politics with the people's destiny at stake.John Tanaka