For Wednesday, June 30, 2010
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 30, 2010
In response to Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi's support for Gov. Linda Lingle's plan to review the city's rail transit finances (Star-Advertiser, June 20), I would like to point out that our rail finances are healthy. The rail project passed strict financial reviews by the Federal Transit Administration and its independent oversight contractors in 2009. Tax surcharge revenues were at 99.6 percent of projections through FY 2010, and state economists predict Hawaii's GET revenues will grow for the next five years.
We delivered a draft version of the Final Environmental Impact Statement to Gov. Lingle more than six months ago. The only changes between that version and the just-released Final EIS are $29 million for the airport's Runway Protection Zone avoidance and a declaration of no impact on two park properties.
There is no need for Gov. Lingle to spend taxpayer money on a financial review or to delay reviewing and accepting the Final EIS.
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I'm so tired of hearing people complaining about "the homeless people" and what a problem they are, then expect somebody else to fix the problem. Why can't we get together and start helping and sorting these people out? Let's not look down on them. Sure, they have different problems; however, we are not all the same. Years ago I could of been one of them if someone had not offered me help. Today I do very well. I just wonder why we can't start to do something today?
Thank you for spotlighting just how Hawaii society has evolved since the 1960s ( "Precious Paradise" and "Huge tent city takes root," Star-Advertiser, June 27) . Even accounting for romanticized hindsight, I doubt that years from now the homeless campers behind Waipahu High School will fondly recall their days of ice and pit bulls with the same nostalgic reverence many of the Taylor Camp residents on Kauai recall them as the best of their lives. Thanks go to The Dog pack for exposing our local-style "out of sight, out of mind" attitude to a national audience. Given finite resources for a foreseeable future, is it too late to reprioritize our community's priorities? Perhaps another type of fire can be lit under Hawaii's homeless vagrants—a political fire—where we just don't shuffle humans from beaches to parks to sidewalks to huge "camps" behind our schools but rather face our neighbor's plight directly with greater political certitude and compassion. But I suppose that will have to wait until after rail.
People are downright outraged about all of the out-of-control spending and how we keep racking up our debt, and they are very concerned that the ballooning government deficits will soon bankrupt our country.
Am I talking about conservatives? No. It was the liberals who were barking mad when then-President George W. Bush, after inheriting a budget surplus, signed tax cuts into law, abandoned pay-go and resumed charging everything on a Bank of China credit card. The budget surplus vaporized, the national debt eventually doubled, but unfortunately not a single whisper nor too many vetoes on the spending from the right in those eight years.
This is the most glaring inconsistency of the criticism against President Barack Obama these days.
Challenging the president helps our democracy, but when it comes to today's deficit spending, methinks some folks doth complain too late.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann's attempt to underplay the Environmental Protection Agency settlement that forces the city to improve its wastewater collection systems is an outrage to the public. Sewage fees will have to go up dramatically to cover the settlement.
This in addition to the tripling of sewer fees since Mayor Hannemann took office in 2004. The mayor's statement, "Yes, there will be increases, but increases, I believe, on a schedule that we can afford," shows incredible arrogance to the taxpayers who have been hit hard over the years, including the billions in taxes to build the rail.
Is this the leadership we need as governor?