Council should keep oversight of rail
Recent coverage of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation budget has focused on whether the City Council retains oversight of HART spending.
The answer is simple: Yes.
That the mayor threatens to sue the Council on such a fundamental issue of the proper division of powers is a further indication of his reckless approach to rail.
He has issued enormous contracts for rail work, despite having no idea whether the federal government will come through with the imagined $1.55 billion.
He recently proposed floating $200 million in additional general obligation bonds, backed by taxpayers, as a "bridge loan" so he can charge ahead.
One Council bill he threatens to veto, or take to court, prevents HART from floating these general obligation bonds until there is a Full Funding Grant Agreement with the federal government.
It is a second restraint fully justified by the mayor’s performance to date.
Chairwoman, Planning and Transportation Committee, League of Women Voters of Honolulu
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Rail is a poor idea for many reasons
I don’t know why Maria Etrata "cannot believe" many residents want to stop the rail project ("Don’t let vocal minority delay Oahu rail project any longer," Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, May 19).
Here are the major reasons many of us have changed our minds:
» Since it was approved, the entire country has experienced the largest recession since the Great Depression.
Construction projects are being canceled all across the country for lack of money.
The cost of the rail project has already increased 25 percent since it was approved, and promises to increase further.
» We don’t have the money, and the general excise tax increase won’t be enough.
Also, the federal contribution is very likely not to materialize due to the extreme pressure to reduce federal spending that is going on right now.
» Since the rail vote, the city has consented to spend $3 billion on improvements to waste water handling systems. Where is that money coming from?
Fewer than 1 percent of us will ride the train every day, but all of us need to flush our toilets several times every day. If I had to choose, I’d pick a working sewer system.
Ho‘opili will help keep ohana together
We’re so used to hearing about Hawaii residents moving to the mainland for better opportunities.
People relocate because they think Hawaii doesn’t have adequate housing, schools or jobs. But finally, there’s a community being planned in Kapolei that offers all of that.
I have lived on the west side for 19 years and have seen a lot of change. But it is the change that’s still to come, that I’m most excited about: Ho‘opili’s plans for a walkable, safe community.
Plans for Ho‘opili, as well as for rail and University of Hawaii-West Oahu, will make this area the true city.
I look forward to seeing Ho‘opili being built in Kapolei. It will give my kids and grandkids a great place to live, learn and work.
And anything that will keep my ohana happily living in the islands is something I definitely support.
Next let’s tackle abuse of food stamps
In his 90-day plan to eradicate Hawaii’s homeless problem (just in time for APEC), Gov. Neil Abercrombie applies the logic that ceasing the provision of free meals for those living in our parks will herd them into shelters ("State aims to clear out homeless," Star-Advertiser, May 18).
Great start, governor. Now let’s see if you have the backbone to substantially address the abuse of our welfare system with the same logic.
It would seem that elimination of the "EBT cards for all" mindset just might provide relief from the out-of-control entitlement system in the state that will wreck us otherwise.
Stephen F. Hinton
City parking meters hinder beach access
I was stunned by Wednesday’s KITV news story about a proposed city bill imposing paid parking meters at parks and beaches.
It has already passed second reading in the Budget Committee and will be up for vote by the full City Council on June 3.
Free access to Hawaii’s beaches and parks is a right of the people and our leaders need to remember this.
Mayor Peter Carlisle and the City Council are trying to increase revenue on the backs of Oahu’s families who use the parks and beaches.
The Council under Mayor Mufi Hannemann succeeded in increasing the parking fee rates at the Honolulu Zoo and on Kalakaua Avenue at Kapiolani Park. This opened the floodgates for politicians to usurp the right of free access to our parks and beaches from Hawaii’s people.
Granted, the government needs more money to fuel its operations. Perhaps we need to balance the budget by reducing spending rather than using paid public parking as a new revenue stream.
We call on all people who read this to contact the Council and mayor, organize and attend the June 3 Council meeting.
John and Rita Shockley
Don’t do right thing for wrong reasons
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting that is coming to Hawaii in November will most likely play an important role in world affairs, but it already has made a major local impact.
Two problems that for too long have been ignored are finally receiving serious attention: the decrepit road conditions in Waikiki and homelessness.
Why does it seem our local leaders are more mindful of the thoughts and feelings of world leaders and their entourages, than of the more than 6 million visitors who come to our shores each year?
Most decisions are made out of fear or love. Are local leaders motivated by fear of being shamed by the conditions in our state, or by love for this land and its people?