For Sunday, May 1, 2011
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, May 1, 2011
Showing certificate was credit to Obama
It was extremely gratifying to see President Barack Obama take the unprecedented action of publicly releasing a copy of his birth certificate. This was an excellent example of how he strives to provide the kind of leadership that truly brings people together rather than find ways to promote disagreement.
This should be a message to everyone that the president has a keen interest in openness and communication with the public. It gives me strong assurance that he can rise above petty arguing, and will continue to listen to the needs of the average citizen. His cooperative approach is what is needed to continue to move this country forward, as well as improve our standing in the world community.
‘K2' article unfairly tarnished marijuana
In the April 25 Star-Advertiser I saw the front-page headline, "Scary ‘Spice' traps troops," in a huge font above the fold, and thought, "Wow, that synthetic marijuana, aka ‘K2,' must be a much bigger problem in Hawaii than I'd previously heard about."
When I started reading, I found a single instance in Hawaii, a year ago, of a soldier who beat his girlfriend after smoking K2. And a teenager in Iowa killed himself after using K2 some time ago. So, two instances in the entire U.S., over some unspecified number of years, out of the hundreds of thousands of similarly bad things that happen every year?
The fact is, there is no known lethal dose of marijuana — no one has ever been shown to have overdosed and died from smoking it. It is one of the safest drugs imaginable. Why would a similar chemical compound like K2 be any different?
Fellow hikers mourn Ryan Suenaga's death
As a fellow hiker and caregiver, the tragic loss of Ryan Suenaga on Olomana trail is personally and deeply felt.
I and the many hundreds of members of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club offer our sincere condolences to the friends and family of Ryan Suenaga. There is a common bond among those who share a passion for Hawaii's natural wonders, and this sad news is a sobering reminder of the risks we hikers sometimes face on difficult trails.
But the challenge and fun of hiking as a sport that brings us closer to nature should not be diminished due to this most unfortunate accident. Our club hikes hundreds of miles every year with an excellent safety record. Visit HTMClub.org for a list of hiking safety tips.
There is also an excellent public trail system on Oahu maintained by the state of Hawaii through the Na Ala Hele Trail & Access System (hawaiitrails.hawaii.gov).
Regardless of where or when you hike, our club encourages everyone to hike safely.
President, Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club
Portland's rail system shows way for Oahu
I just returned from Portland, Ore. I was totally impressed with their metro system. TriMet integrates MAX light rail, streetcars, buses, the airport and bike facilities. The MAX trains accommodate bikes and wheelchairs.
For the rider, TriMet is convenient and cheap — and even offers a free-fare zone in central Portland. I navigated Portland metro for several days without a car.
TriMet provides a user-friendly website (trimet.org) that has detailed route maps, schedules, fares, updates and trip planning tools. Arrival times and route maps are available at major stops. It is also easy to purchase tickets and passes.
If the Portland metro area can design and build an integrated state-of-the-art system, why can't Honolulu do the same?
I hope that the new Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation will ensure the best system that Honolulu can afford. Our car-oriented society cannot long afford to ignore alternative transportation modes.
A train on Oahu is destined to fail
I am trying to understand the rationale of building a rail line that meets no objective other than to get federal funds to put a few people back to work for a limited time.
I was raised in Boston. I took trains and buses to get around. The system worked well and there was no need for a car. There are many rails that meet at various junctions and it is very convenient. It is still a very well-utilized system that has standing room only on most subway cars most of the time, but for some reason they are in the red. Even a successful rail system doesn't run a profit.
It is such a travesty to think the only way the state can receive federal funds to put people back to work is by building a superfluous structure that will use up resources, is destined to fail and will be costly to maintain.
Mary Ellen Greenberg
Residents should pay less property tax
The proposal by Mayor Peter Carlisle to raise resident property taxes by 8 cents per $1,000 assessed value and reduce by 8 cents per $1,000 for non-resident properties makes no sense.
There are 10 times the number of resident properties in the county compared to nonresident properties, so there is no equitable offset. What it amounts to is an increase in property taxes for residents. Why he would want to reduce nonresident property taxes at the same time makes little economic sense.
Residents deserve the lowest taxes available because they live in the county and spend their money supporting the economy. Nonresidents are investors who hope to gain from increasing property values and rents.
‘Atlas Shrugged' a movie worth seeing
In the Today section I noticed that under "Parent's Movie Guide" the movie "Atlas Shrugged" was listed (Star-Advertiser, April 23). It said that the movie's lessons are that "greed is good and unions, government safety regulations are bad." The real message is that working hard and enjoying the fruits of your labor is good. Greed does not make an appearance in this film.
I read the book last year. While reading it I was stunned to realize that what Ayn Rand wrote 50 years ago is actually taking place here in this country right now all around us.
People would do well to see this movie. It might open their eyes to reality.