CUT BACK ON SERVICES BEFORE ADDING FEES
Do not raise revenue by creating a lot of user fees for basic service such as rubbish pick-up.
In creating these special fees, new jobs will be created to collect, enforce and disburse this new source of revenue.
Eliminating pick-up for recycling waste may be an option since material may still be dropped off at recycling centers or bins located at schools to raise funds.
Reduction in bus service may also be considered. What is the current level of usage? Many times buses are only partially filled.
Cutting services should be explored versus adding new fees.
Excise tax, property tax, hotel room tax and other revenue-raising means currently exist. Raising the rates will not create new jobs, therefore we benefit from the entire amount raised.
The public wants the size of government to shrink and not expand.
LEONARD LEONG | Honolulu
RAIL TRANSIT IS LAST THING WE NEED NOW
Honolulu has been refusing to fix its secondary sewer-treatment plant, which the EPA says is substandard and must be done.
We've been experiencing water-main breaks all over the island on a regular basis.
Our roads have been ranked in the bottom five in the nation.
Unemployment, bankruptcies and foreclosures are at record highs.
And yet, our mayor wants us to ignore all of that and build this $5.5 billion boondoggle called "rail transit."
It's like a household living in a house with a backed-up sewer line, bursting water pipes, busted-up driveway, and with members of the household unemployed, filing bankruptcy or about to be foreclosed on, and yet, the head of the household is telling everyone "We've got to dig in a little deeper and buy Junior a Hummer so that he has an alternative way to go to school."
RANDY LEONG | Honolulu
LINE WON'T WORK; CARPOOLS THE ANSWER
A rail line is not practical for Oahu's needs. Would we really bike or even walk to the rail station when most people prefer to drive from Ward Center to Ala Moana Center? We can spend $5.5 billion on a rail, but most people are still going to drive because they like to arrive in the parking lot of their destination.
Clearly, carpooling is our solution. We shouldn't be spending millions of dollars on an eyesore. At a fraction of that cost we could be starting agencies to organize carpools.
I quote Walter Kulash, a traffic engineer from Orlando, Fla.: "Widening roads to solve traffic congestion is like loosening your belt to cure obesity." Adding a rail line is like widening a road in another form. It doesn't demand change. Change lies in the behavior of individuals. People will carpool when the price of gas increases and parking becomes limited. Let that change happen. Stop accommodating the problem.
LESLIE CHING | Pearl City
ARTICLE PRESENTS BIASED LOOK AT ISLES
The recent Larry Keller "Prejudice in Paradise" article in the Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report portrayed Hawaii as a hostile and discriminatory environment. The author attaches blame to indigenous Hawaiians and the policies and practices of Hawaiian institutions as cultivators and purveyors of hatred.
This widely circulated publication quoted from Hawaiians justifying prejudice and retaliatory acts against the haole people on the basis of historical trauma — the overthrow of the monarchy and the rationale that "all exploited peoples are justified in feeling hostile and resentful toward those who exploited them, so we Hawaiians are justified in such feelings toward the haole. This is the legacy of racism, of colonialism."
Conclusions of the article deserve an outright rejection for its biased arguments and reasoning. But I also reject the venomous voices justifying any acts of discrimination, prejudice, race-based practices that diminish the worth of others and denies fair treatment and equal opportunity.
Of equal importance, the article ignored the history of gracious and generous Hawaiians whose generations of aloha have served as the platform for building relationships across the globe. The article misinterprets agitation in the Hawaiian community for hatred. This struggle reflects the heartfelt island efforts to survive through revival of language, cultural roots and practices and the knowledge of ancestors which we believe is the foundation for our nation consisting of different cultures each seeking understanding, appreciation and respect for what they have to offer, past, present and future.
HAMILTON McCUBBIN | Professor, University of Hawaii at Mānoa
RIGHTS MUST NOT INFRINGE ON OTHERS
As a strong proponent for individual rights, I grapple with this fireworks dilemma, but think I can sum up many peoples' feelings with the following statement: Your rights to celebrate your culture, have fun with pyrotechnics, honor a family tradition, and ring in the New Year with noise and smoke makers end when my windows shake, dog crawls under the house in fear, nasty smoke pours into my home, and my family is kept awake until you run out of ammunition. In short, I don't care what you do unless it affects how I go about my evenings.
KRIS SCHWENGEL | Honolulu