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Letters to the Editor

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TSA tactics take fun out of flying

Over the years, I have been to Hawaii at least 13 or 14 times — I have lost count. I love visiting Hawaii, been to five of the islands.

I am heartbroken to say I may never be back. I have quit flying due to the Transportation Security Administration’s abuses. My recent vacations have all been by Amtrak or VIA Rail in Canada.

The "naked body" scanners with the possible health risks and the groping are unacceptable to me.

I will be retiring in two more years and had hoped to travel even more. I will do so, but I will not be flying.

Donald Lauter
Belleville, Mich.

How to write us

The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~150 words). The Star-Advertiser reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include your area of residence and a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
E-mail: letters@staradvertiser.com
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

HART spending needs oversight

The City Council’s Bills 33 and 34, which set out the first-year operating and capital improvement budgets for rail, are correct in inserting language to keep all spending under its control.

Spending by the Hono­lulu Authority for Rapid Transportation without the oversight by the City Council becomes a matter of taxation without representation.

Those who oppose the bills do not seem to realize the monies that HART will spend come from us taxpayers.

What that means is that taxpayers will be taxed without representation through our City Council, if the Council does not have oversight on the HART budget.

Ruben R. Reyes
Waipahu

BART, Caltrain are different

Eleanor Tokunaga writes that Oahu’s rail project should be stopped because a rail system in the San Francisco Bay Area is in financial trouble, a sign of trouble for Honolulu ("It’s not too late to stop Oahu rail," Star-Advertiser, Letters, June 7).

Well, that rail system is Caltrain, which operates conventional diesel locomotive-hauled passenger trains between San Francisco and San Jose.

It is failing because it does not have a fixed source of funding, depending on the three neighboring transit agencies for contributions — and in these bad times, contributions are slim.

Caltrain is different from BART, which is closer to a subway system, and is closer to the Honolulu rail project and is doing OK financially.

BART receives sales tax money from member counties (like Honolulu’s rail) so it has a source of funding.

Comparing Caltrain to the Honolulu rail is a little like comparing apples and oranges.

Dexter Wong
Kaimuki

Vacation rentals good for tourism

Last week I read your article and editorial about stagnating tourism, allegedly due in part to a lack of economic and infrastructure investment.

As a frequent visitor, I suggest another reason: the difficulty and even mild hostility toward tourists who try to stay in vacation rentals.

I was shocked at hearing my daughter was stopped while leaving Lanikai by two men who implied that if she lived there, she needed to have a decal on her car "for her safety"!

I have followed the controversy, at least in the Kailua area, on the pros and cons of short-term vacation rentals.

While I recognize some of the issues with transients in neighborhoods, I am baffled by the difficulty in finding any legal place to stay outside of the Waikiki and greater Honolulu city area.

If it were easier for visitors to find accommodations, and if it were easier for persons with vacation rentals to operate legally, tourism would surely increase.

Wayne C. Huber
Portland, Ore.

Hurry up and reform pensions

What’s holding up change to the retirement plan for state employees?

Of course it would be unfair to change the plan for those already employed and retired — but for new employees, a new retirement plan would just be the rules of the game that come with the job.

The federal government did the same thing in 1987 when it changed the retirement plan for new employees from a fairly generous government annuity, to a much-smaller annuity, supplemented by Social Security and, most important, a 401(k)-type investment plan, thus putting more of the responsibility for retirement on the individual. 

Federal employees are also eligible to continue their health insurance into retirement, but contribute to it and pay for any/all Medicare premiums.

What’s stalling action by our Legislature? Change is overdue.

Myrna Takakuwa
Honolulu

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