Don’t let rail degrade Oahu’s natural beauty
The governor’s approval of the environmental impact statement for the Honolulu transit project does not absolve the city from doing all it can to minimize the impacts of the project. In fact, it is a challenge to move forward in a way that protects our priceless home.
This especially includes countless decisions that must be made during construction that will have potentially devastating effects on viewplanes, street trees and the very character of neighborhoods and communities along the route of the elevated guideway.
If this project is truly to be built with the least possible damage, it is up to our city leaders to make it happen.
It would be a tragic mistake to build a transit system that degrades our island’s incomparable beauty, the quality of life of its residents and its appeal to visitors.
The Outdoor Circle urges residents to encourage our new mayor and the reshaped City Council to get on the right path and stay there, and to make the kinds of transit decisions that are best for the long-term future of this island.
The Outdoor Circle, Honolulu
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Faulty health decisions impose upon all of us
I heartily agree with your readers’ recent letters commenting on the issues of obesity and smoking. While both revolve around the structures of choices, decisions and consequences, it’s the latter that often goes unnoticed until it’s far too late.
As a critical care nurse for 16 years, I’ve seen a staggering amount of needless suffering due to obesity and smoking. You can get away with it for a long time, but at some point you have to pay the piper. Do you see many 80-year-olds smoking? Many in their 70s weighing over 350 pounds?
In America we all certainly have the right to overeat and smoke, but, make no mistake about it, we all pay for it. The bottom line is, those who make that choice will suffer poor health and shortened lives. Those who don’t will be penalized through taxes to support Medicare for those who made such faulty health decisions.
Aloha, Mr. President …
OK, so we know that President Barack Obama—Hawaii’s own Barry Obama—is here, ostensibly on vacation. But we also know that the world never sleeps.
With the most powerful man in the world in our backyard, here’s a chance for you, Hawaii citizens, to write him a letter about the Top 5 priorities he should tackle in the next two years.
Keep it clear, concise, thought-provoking—and under 175 words—and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll run some while the president’s here.
Bringing home the bacon can’t be tolerated anymore
Last Friday’s Wall Street Journal notes that Sen. Harry Reid withdrew the omnibus spending bill so he could get a vote on repealing "don’t ask, don’t tell." But the withdrawal of the bill surely means that whatever emerges from the next Congress to replace it will lack the plethora of earmarks this bill carried.
In its way, the withdrawal is a black eye for the "old way" of Senate politics—Sen. Daniel Inouye’s way of politics. For Hawaii there is no joy in this outcome. We are dependent on what Inouye brought home for us, but there is no honor in that—quite the opposite.
It is past time to retire our octogenarian senators. It is past time for us to cease electing candidates only because they are Democrats, and it is surely past time for us to have such a high-tax, socialist-like economy.
It is tempting to believe that we can go on forever as a remote island-state living in a time warp exempt from the realities of today’s world. The recent bankruptcies of nations like Greece should signal us as to the pitfalls of such thinking.
Civil unions should follow in footsteps of DADT repeal
I’ve stood against the back wall of the hall and watched the performance of these islands for 33 years now. I have never felt it was my right to speak up, as I was neither native Hawaiian nor kamaaina. Just to be local and carry a Hawaii driver’s license and a voter registration card were enough.
But now I feel I must speak up and call upon our newly elected governor and Democratic Legislature to quickly follow in the historic footsteps of the recent federal repeal of "don’t ask, don’t tell." The voters of our state had the clearest choice since statehood to stand for equal civil rights for all after the passage, then veto, of civil unions in the last legislative session. If our gay citizens can fight and die in the military, they surely deserve the same family rights and responsibilities as every other member of our rainbow coalition.
Everyone is to blame for pedestrian fatalities
Everyone is to blame for the high number of pedestrian fatalities each year.
» Pedestrians: You think because you are in a crosswalk you are automatically invincible and cars will just see you. You cross when you are not supposed to (there is a reason for the "Don’t Walk" sign); you are too lazy to walk to the crosswalk; you wear dark clothes at night; you are texting on your phone, listening to music or just not paying attention to what’s going on.
» Drivers: You are on the phone, eating, doing makeup, etc. (makes it a little hard to focus on the actual driving of the car); you are speeding to work or late for something (leave earlier); you are not driving correctly or just getting lazy (not waiting to turn right on the green arrow only, not looking in your blind spot, not using turn signals, etc.).
» City/county/state: Many crosswalks are faded, not well lit in most cases, sometimes in places that drivers would least expect them (no traffic light or intersection nearby), and/or the crosswalks have no reflectors to help alert drivers.
A New Year’s resolution: Why don’t we all take some responsibility?
It’s already illegal to ride bicycles on sidewalks
It has been a violation of law to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in business districts for decades ("Bicyclists on sidewalks endangering pedestrians," Star-Advertiser, Letters, Dec. 20). The problem is not the lack of a proper law. It is the lack of compliance by riders and the lack of enforcement by police that are the problem.