Let’s be vigilant about rail project
Whether we like it or not, the Honolulu rail is moving forward with Ansaldo as the chosen builder.
We the public need to be vigilant, watching as it progresses because it will affect us. We need to voice our opinion and express our concerns so our City Council members will hear us, influencing the decision- making process.
Ansaldo has had multiple issues with previous projects in other cities. They would surely have learned from their mistakes but we need to ensure they don’t repeat their mistakes again. Their initial building cost is low, but we might make up for it with a high maintenance cost down the road.
We should remain vigilant and ensure our money is well spent.
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Public workers are still workers
Jeremiah Hull ("Public workers need to consider taxpayers," Letters, Star-Advertiser, April 14), tea partiers and many Republicans, through folly and/or sheer ignorance, promote the false dichotomy of "public workers versus taxpayers."
This misrepresentation is like choosing between Chevys or cars — Chevys are cars, just like public workers are also taxpayers. They are not polar opposites.
Moreover, unlike many taxpayers in private industry, public workers do not have the same ability to take tax deductions for doing their work. Some wise people in the private sector, especially those in small businesses, welcome any and all pay increases for public employees because these workers are the very customers who frequent their businesses.
Vote on rail funds was shameful
Obviously, six City Council members don’t think that the keeping of $16 million belonging to the city (and the beleaguered taxpayer) is important enough a topic to ruffle feathers at the Legislature.
And because Councilman Tom Berg thought it best to make a point of this, it became such an inflammatory issue that the Council swept this hot potato under the rug for another year.
What about us taxpayers who see fewer and fewer services at the city level because of a shortage of money?
Shame on all of you (with the exception of Council members Nestor Garcia and Ikaika Anderson) for not having the gumption to send a unified message notifying the Legislature that they are being held accountable for their creative accounting methods. Every last dime derived from the surcharge in excess of the 3 percent administration fees should be returned to the rail fund, whether you agree with the rail issue or not.
Oahu could host small wind farms
Please help me to understand the "big wind" issue.
Proponents say the wind is better on Molokai and Lanai, where the big wind farms would go. That may be, but there must be areas of Oahu that are attractive.
Building on Molokai and Lanai requires compensation to residents for the inconvenience of hosting a wind farm; an expensive, $1.5 billion undersea cable to transport the power to Oahu; and maintenance of the cable, cost unknown.
Why isn’t the governor considering building multiple, smaller wind farms on Oahu?
Given the huge disparity in costs, it just does not make sense to build there rather than here.
Pot dispensaries are long overdue
Medical cannabis patients still have no legal means to obtain their medication. Deadly and addictive prescription opiates such as Oxycontin and morphine, and amphetamines like Adderal and Ritalin can be picked up at the local pharmacy. Yet safe, effective, and relatively non-addictive cannabis is still available only as a black-market item.
Why are medical cannabis patients still treated as second-class citizens? Medical cannabis dispensaries are 11 years overdue. To vote against them is cruel and inhumane.
Charles W. Webb
Union dues have not gone down
With the impending contract deal that the governor has concocted with Hawaii Government Employees Association leaders, new questions arise.
The biggest question is why the unions have exempted themselves from making the same "sacrifices for the good of the state" that they coerced union members into accepting.
When we all took our pay cuts, our union dues remained undiminished. Repeated requests for an explanation have been "looked into" since last July, with no concrete results to date.
Since I am now taking home less money than I did when I first started my job, I wondered just how much more I will be required to sacrifice, and whether our union representatives are also making such sacrifices.