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Letters to the Editor

For Sunday, July 24, 2011

LAST UPDATED: 2:23 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Electricity users fund efficiency

Thank you so much for highlighting the importance of energy efficiency ("A bright idea," Star-Advertiser, Insight, July 17).

However, the Public Utilities Commission would like to clarify some statements in the article.

Act 118, enacted in 2008, directed the PUC to establish the public benefits fee to support energy-efficiency and demand-side management (DSM) programs and services. These funds are collected and listed on electric bills as a public benefits fee or DSM surcharge. Therefore, it is electric utility customers, not the Legislature, who fund energy efficiency rebates and programs.

The law also allows the PUC to contract for these programs and services through a third-party administrator, Hawaii Energy, which must ensure that these program and services yield the highest return on energy-savings investment, among other agreed-upon targets.

Check out the Hawaii Energy and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative websites to learn more about energy efficiency and conservation services and programs available on those islands: and

Hermina Morita
Chairwoman, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission

Aquaculture is essential industry

Ingrid Newkirk states that Gov. Neil Abercrombie made a bad decision by signing Senate Bill 1511 ("Extending leases of local fish farms was bad for fish and environment," Star-Advertiser, Commentary, July 20).

In reality, SB 1511 addresses state aquaculture leasing for land and ocean sites by providing farmers the opportunity for a lease of up to 65 years to support long-term investment.

It also allows farmers in good standing to continue when the initial lease term runs out and allows complementary activities such as aquaponics.

The Hawaii Aquaculture and Aquaponics Association applauds the governor's confidence that land and ocean farming of aquatic species can continue to be sustainably managed and significantly contribute to island seafood supplies.

It is essential that the U.S. and Hawaii increase local seafood production, and aquaculture is a very important component.

Ron Weidenbach and John Corbin
Hawaii Aquaculture and Aquaponics Association

Social Security has no money

I agree with David Mulliken that President Barack Obama should not play the fear-mongering game by saying that Social Security payments will not be made ("Social Security not in danger," Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 20).

The payments will be made regardless of whether the debt ceiling is raised or not.

However, to believe that there is actual cash in the Social Security Trust Fund is like believing in fairy tales. The money has long been spent. All there is in the trust fund are IOUs from the federal government.

The money to pay these IOUs comes from current taxes or borrowing.

The collection of Social Security monies from payroll deductions no longer covers the monthly payments to Social Security recipients.

The only way the trust fund now makes up the difference is by taxing or borrowing.

Rob Rietow

U.S. default not really an option

It seems Richard McMahon has been imbibing the potent narcotic of reassuring simplicity ("Defaulting could help in the long run," Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 20).

No one really knows what would happen if the U.S. were to totally default (i.e., refuse to repay any debt). However, to lightly skip over near-term consequences that the economic consensus predicts would be dire in favor of some very likely distant economic utopia is a disservice.

The economic histories of various countries — most of whose economies are small fractions of the size of ours — are irrelevant, not to mention that in recent years the economies of developed countries have become interlinked to a degree that would have been impossible to imagine even a few years ago.

The events of 2008 amply demonstrated how quickly and destructively corporate defaults can affect econo-mies around the globe.

What makes anyone think a default on the debt of the world's largest economy can be thinkable?

John Medlock

Show war deaths to help stop wars

Almost every night on the news there are reports of another Hawaii-based soldier being killed in one of the two useless wars the United States is involved in.

My heart goes out to the families of these brave men and women, my true condolences.

It's time to end these useless wars.

It's time the news media photograph our young men and women coming home in body bags and showing that on the evening news, as they did during the Vietnam era.

When people see the visuals of body bags on a daily basis, the horror of war will start to penetrate the hearts and souls of every American and protests and demonstrations against the war will commence, only then giving peace a chance.

James "Kimo" Rosen

Tasers safer for police officers

Larry Geller is concerned that police officers surrounded a mentally ill person and then used a Taser to subdue him ("Police should release records," Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 22).

He goes on to ask why the man could not be restrained in a safer way.

In the years before Taser, the only way to restrain this type of person was to go "hands-on," resulting in injuries to the officers and the arrestee, damaged property and possibly officers out of work due to the injuries received.

As for the Taser camera footage not being released, any law student could tell you that protecting the integrity of the chain of custody is to secure the evidence with as little contact as possible until litigation is decided.

Kevin Kobayashi

How to write us

The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~150 words). The Star-Advertiser reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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