Rail might make things worse
Both Sen. Daniel K. Inouye and Faith Action for Community Equity have trumpeted the "great news" that the $5.5 billion rail project would create 125,838 new jobs.
Oahu has a population of about 875,000 and an unemployment rate of about 5.8 percent. That means we have only 50,750 unemployed local residents to fill these new jobs. So 75,088 of the employees for the remaining "new rail jobs" will presumably have to migrate in from somewhere else.
If each of these 75,088 new employees brings a couple of dependents and a couple of cars, that’s 225,264 new residents and 150,176 new cars. The new total would be a population of 1,100,264 for Oahu.
That’s about a 25 percent population growth rate for Oahu within just the next few years. Did we actually solve our beloved island’s traffic and quality-of-life issues, or did we just make them worse?
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Secularism has firm legal basis
I accept Steve Hinton’s challenge to show that the U.S. Constitution was designed to "keep religion out of government" ("Founders embraced religion," Letters, Sept. 8).
Article VI of the Constitution states, "… no religious test shall ever be a qualification to any office or trust under the United States." A 1797 treaty with Tripoli contained this disclaimer: "… The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." As a document defined in Article VI as "the supreme law of the land," the Tripolitan treaty had the same legal authority as if it had appeared in the Constitution.
The founders wrote a secular blueprint for government, a constitution that not once mentions the word "God." They did so to erect what Thomas Jefferson called a "wall of separation" between church and state. They were determined to avoid the religious dissension that wracked the colonies.
Obama library better in Chicago
Do we really want or deserve the Obama library in Hawaii? Do President Barack Obama’s activities as a citizen of Hawaii warrant or deserve special consideration?
We honor King Kamehameha and others who have forged our history. Obama has done nothing special in shaping the history of Hawaii — nothing related to Hawaii that has earned our special gratitude or is of sufficient importance to warrant having a memorial in support of the Obama legacy.
There are many more reasons to put his library in Chicago, which has been Obama’s chosen home for decades and is at the core of his political career.
2 state workers being coddled
After reading the article about the two state workers who continued to be paid while not working, I can only conclude that the state airport officials on Kauai have never worked in the real world, otherwise known as the private sector ("Absent worker, alleged thief still got paid by the state," Star-Advertiser, Sept. 1).
State Transportation Director Brennon Morioka said one employee was temporarily put on paid leave as a matter of due process: "You still have to go through an investigation." I agree. However, when employees admit to theft, you don’t continue to pay them, unless the union contract require it. Why wouldn’t we be surprised if it did?
The majority of state employees work hard and do the best they can. However, situations like these are what cause people to have a poor opinion of state workers.
Energy co-op could cut rates
Thankfully, the state has formed a Geothermal Working Group to further Big Island geothermal electric production. However, I note that the diesel-loving Hawaii Electric Light Co. and the Public Utilities Commission are part of the group, so I don’t expect much of a decrease in the nation’s highest electricity cost if they are chosen to develop it.
My Hilo electric bill, currently at 35 cents per kilowatt hour, is tied to the ever-increasing price of oil. I look enviously at Iceland, also blessed with unlimited geothermal energy, but which uses it to benefit its citizens. Iceland’s state-owned utility company produces 660 megawatts of electricity in a hostile environment at a cost of about 1 cent per kilowatt hour and delivers it to customers for only 3 cents per kilowatt hour. If I lived in Iceland, my monthly electric bill for 560 kwh would only be $20 instead of $200, and I could charge an electric car cheaply.
We already have low-cost, county-owned water companies. Why not at least a co-op to finally develop cheap electricity for our citizens?