Air luggage fees affecting Hawaii
We have read articles lately regarding our visitor count being up but visitor spending being down.
I operate a contract postal unit in Kailua, and recently a visitor came in to mail a parcel home to Arkansas. She told me she didn’t want to cart anything else back home with her. She said several people traveling with her elected not to go on the shopping outings because they didn’t want to pay for the extra baggage on the way home. I guess every action does have a reaction.
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U.S. militarism sank Ehime Maru
It was disappointing to read your article on the downfall of Scott Waddle, commander of the USS Greeneville, which sank the Japanese high school training vessel Ehime Maru and cost the lives of innocent people ("Man responsible bears guilt," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 7).
While Waddle took some responsibility, the article’s focus on Waddle’s recovery over the lives lost was another tragedy by framing Waddle as the victim.
Waddle was partly right in whining he was the "sacrificial lamb" by bearing the brunt of responsibility.
Other parties bearing responsibility include politicians who order military missions, war-profiteering financiers and industrialists and a society that tolerates a militarized economy and the practice for war right outside of Honolulu.
Public ignored on civil unions
Referring to the civil unions bill, it is surely a pity that our Legislature and governor are so blind to the desires of the people of Hawaii.
After being told many times that we do not want civil unions here, and having voted against it, they pass it against the will of many for a few.
For most of my life I have trusted in those who were voted into office to protect the will of those they represent, or at least make an effort to do such. But lately my trust in them has been slowly waning.
Equality is for all Hawaii citizens
It’s a grand day here in Hawaii.
Mahalo to both chambers of the Legislature for approving civil unions in the state.
It is nice to know some still believe in freedom and equality for all of Hawaii’s people, not just a select, fortunate few.
While we are encouraged by this result, we also remember from experience that this is just the beginning and encourage Gov. Neil Abercrombie to prove that he has the determination to ensure equality for all Hawaii citizens.
My partner and I have been together for nearly 16 years and moved to Hawaii because of its laid-back, love-everyone lifestyle. While our former governor put a stain on these ideals, we hope Abercrombie will refresh our treasured views of one of the most special places on the planet.
Rail likely will be more convenient
Danny Rose’s letter regarding common sense about rail claims only people who now ride the bus will use rail ("Rail plan defies common sense," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 16).
Unpredictably long waits, long ride times, and inconvenient schedules discourage many potential riders who will be attracted to the frequency and shortened ride times of rail. Moreover, as our population ages over time, the number of people who don’t drive will increase.
His point about people taking a bus at each end of a rail commute ignores the fact that people with a long commute may still get to work faster than if they just used the bus (possibly needing to transfer). Moreover, people who take the rail to places such as Pearlridge Center (for shopping or work) won’t need a second bus trip. And some can walk to or from a transit station.
Regular Joes get shortchanged
If you’re a mainland multi-millionaire film or TV producer planning to shoot or build a studio in Hawaii, local government officials here will bend over backward to award your production with generous tax credits.
If you’re the president of the university, not only will you earn a fabulous salary, you’ll be rewarded with free use of a stately mansion and a generous housing allowance.
If you’re lucky enough to be a member of one of those exclusive groups, you’ll also enjoy Bush-era tax cuts for your income level.
However, God help you if you’re a regular Joe working for local government. You are subject to Furlough Fridays twice per month. Your potential retirement medical benefits and pension are under consideration for reductions and/or taxation. And don’t forget to pay your increased vehicle tax when you renew your car registration.
Once regular Joes get some of the breaks the big boys get, true economic recovery through consumer spending will begin. Those Bush-era tax cuts aren’t doing the trick.
Florida decision a portent on rail?
Florida Gov. Rick Scott this week turned down $2.4 billion from the federal government for rail construction.
He cited construction cost overruns and over-optimistic revenue projections that could keep the rail project from paying for itself, leaving the Florida taxpayer with a $3 billion tab.
He also said that if Florida deemed the project too costly after having started construction, it would be required to return the $2.4 billion to the federal govern- ment.
Is Hawaii walking down this same risky financial path?