For Monday, October 29, 2012
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Oct 29, 2012
Millions of tourists will use rail transit
While listening to mayoral candidate and former Gov. Ben Cayetano in a radio interview, I heard him say that one reason rail isn't a viable option here is that it takes a population base of 2 million to successfully support a rail system. An article in the Star-Advertiser Money section said the state has a goal of 2 million Japanese arrivals per year by 2016. Add to that the number of mainland visitors and those from other international locations and it seems to me that the 2 million needed to support a rail system is more than tripled.
Probably a great number of them end up renting cars because there is no alternative means of public transportation to speak of. Certainly nothing to compare with public rail systems in Europe and Japan.
City infrastructure already damaged
Why are Don Horner, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and the city so happy about a report that shows that rail will be taking a lion's share of city revenues into the future at the expense of most other city services ("Transit tax take to be 19% of city's collection," Star-Advertiser, Oct. 5)?
Think sewer, water, roads, parks, permitting and planning, police, fire and emergency services. The city is already short-staffed and under budgeted. How much worse can it get? Where does more money come from? Build more houses, bring in more people, raise property taxes to get more revenue? Our infrastructure is severely damaged. Our elected officials and candidates need to set out a real, honest plan for the future of our repairs and maintenance and ongoing support of our city services.
It stands to reason that TheBus uses a higher percentage of transit funds, since it services the entire island of Oahu, not just the 20 miles the rail is concerned with.
Andrea W. Bell
Healthy lunches at school good start
Thank you for your article highlighting the improvements made in our school lunches ("School lunch 2012," Star-Advertiser, Oct. 17). Healthier foods in school will mean healthier kids. But school meals take us only part of the way as the rest of the foods consumed are at home and after school.
Less than 30 years ago, one in 10 U.S. children were obese or overweight. Today, one in three. Reversing this trend won't be easy, but healthier school meals are a start. The next step will be getting parents, grandparents and the entire ohana educated on the importance of healthier choices not only for the keikis but for themselves as well.
Continue to publish articles on this serious health issue that affects our entire society.
Watch out for voting machines
As I voted and had to scroll down on the electronic voting machine ballot to find Obama/Biden out of alphabetical order at the bottom, I wondered how accidental that well-publicized error really was?
It reminded me of Ohio, which the pundits say will determine the outcome of the presidential election. In 2004, that state had serious voting irregularities on the part of companies running the equipment that counted ballots. Those companies had financial and political ties to President George W. Bush supporters, and at the 11th hour there was a swing of 6 percent from John Kerry to Bush that contradicted exit poll numbers.
This year, the same firms are involved, and they have financial connections (including political donations) to Mitt Romney. Yet no conflict of interest has been publicly admitted. If Ohio's vote tallies suddenly swing toward the economic interests of the vote counters again this year, call the cops.
Start new lottery to pay for schools
Per your article, "Wanted: More money for schools" (Star-Advertiser, Oct. 24). Let's go back to a lottery, with a difference. Have a weekly or monthly lottery with 40 percent of the revenues going to the schools, 10 percent for administration and 50 percent to winners.
However, instead of one winning number, draw six or even 10. That way, more people and families will win rather than just one person. The prize money could be divided evenly among the winners.
It would be a win-win situation with the schools getting more revenue and more individuals receiving prize money.
Public restrooms need paper towels
With the recent outbreak of meningitis spreading death around the country, one cannot be too careful when it comes to our health.
On a recent emergency room visit to Kapiolani Hospital, filled with children coughing and wheezing, I was dismayed when I used the restroom, only to find out that I couldn't leave the bathroom without having to touch the doorknob, exposing me to countless germs.
The customer service director informs me that it did away with paper towels, because people would throw them down the toilet, clogging up the drain. The bathroom adjacent to the cafeteria, where patients and families share the same serving utensils, presented the same problem.
The bathroom at Queen's Hospital, near the admissions office, didn't have paper towels either. The public restroom at Ala Moana Shopping Center is situated in a way that there are no doors, eliminating the sanitation problem.
Paper towels should be mandatory in all public restrooms.
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