Letters to the Editor
REMEMBER, HECO WANTED ALTERNATIVE LINE
There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the second islandwide blackout in two years, much of it aimed at supposed poor planning and mismanagement at Hawaiian Electric Co.
However, if I remember correctly, it was not too long along that the "greeenies" and the NIMBYs, aided and abetted by our weak-kneed political class, blocked HECO from building an alternative feeder line up through St. Louis Heights and over the mountains. Such an alternate line might well have reduced the geographic extent of the latest power outage.
While I am no friend of HECO, which refuses to even discuss the possibilities of nuclear electric power here, it is only fair to point out that they tried to prevent the problem and were prevented from doing so.
And, unfortunately, if HECO now tries again to fix the problem, it will undoubtedly run into the same mindless resistance that stopped its last effort. But maybe this time the usually silent majority will speak up and HECO will be allowed to fix the problem before we have another blackout.Tom Macdonald
GOT THROUGH JUST FINE THANKS TO AKAMAI WIFE
This power outage wasn't that bad, this time, thanks to my wife. As soon as the lights went out, she whipped out two battery-operated lanterns, a flashlight and a battery-operated radio, and in no time, we were settled down with our granddaughter, with more than enough light to do anything we needed to.
Of course, we didn't have television, and our stove didn't work, but we had food, water, music and news from the radio. More than many people in the world have in their normal lives.
It doesn't take much to be prepared, just a little forethought and effort. If you do what you have to do before you need to do it, you'll be fine.
Oh yeah, you gotta marry a smart woman!Lee Muller
TECH TAX CREDITS
GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT MANIPULATE MARKET
The current debate about the high technology tax credits is useful. The government uses tax credits, grants and other subsidies with some regularity.
Obviously, these government interventions distort the market allocation of resources. That is the whole point of a behavior incentive. But this raises questions.
The first question is whether the government has the wisdom to allocate resources more effectively than the market.The second question is whether the market can be moved to any major degree without enormous aggregate expenditures.
The third question is whether we are paying in part for behavior that would have been undertaken by some people in the absence of the subsidy. The fourth question is what monies these incentives take away from other vital government programs, like education. The fifth question is what kinds of unfair advantages these subsidies give to particular companies or individuals.
The sixth question is whether these incentives favor people with money to spend over those who are poor or working-class.
Maybe we should consider the notion that the government should provide a level playing field and leave the behavior manipulation out of it.Lloyd Lim
OBAMA'S CHOICE TO RENT SHOULD END THE DEBATE
I was very glad to see that our new (soon-to-be) President Obama stayed in a private vacation home for his stay. With the ultimate choice in accommodations, President Obama chose the genuine hospitality of local residents instead of being cooped up in some big hotel.
Now if the president of the United States chooses to stay in a private rental, wouldn't it be a good idea to end this silly debate over vacation rentals?
If we allow struggling homeowners the opportunity to stay out of foreclosure by renting their homes to visitors, who knows, their next visitor could just be the president.Josh Rubino
FERRY PLAYS IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE ISLANDS
I recently received a phone call from a kama'aina named Harry Brown, who called to make a recommendation concerning prices for vehicles designed for those who are severely handicapped. Harry has an adopted son who is a quadriplegic; they go to Maui frequently to see family. He explained this wasn't possible until the Superferry started service to Maui.
The same day, I was approached by a doctor who said, "If we had a mass burn event on a Neighbor Island — for example, a plane crash — the only way we would be able to move multiple victims to O'ahu while treating them would be on the Hawaii Superferry. We need to start working on this."
The Maui flood last year, to which we responded by moving the National Guard, reminds us that it is only a matter of time before another event will require the Alakai to provide disaster relief to a Neighbor Island.
And during the power outage last week, we continued to operate because the ship has the ability to supply power to its own shore side support.
We know a lot more than we did nine months ago when we started regular operations. And we are at an important point in time, as we address the welfare of our citizens and our economy.
In less than a year of service, some 200,000 people have traveled on the Superferry; repeat ridership is at more than 50 percent. And new ideas and feedback, like those above, are brought to us every day, to highlight how important this resource can be to our community.Tom Fargo
President and CEO, Hawaii Superferry