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City Council did well with Laie hotel issue

Politics can be a dirty game. But if played according to the rules, it can restore one’s faith in the democratic process.

As a Laie resident, I would like to convey my fa’afetai tele lava (thanks) to the Honolulu City Council. The issue of the proposed new hotel in Laie has undergone at least five hearings. Each session entailed seemingly never-ending and long-winded testimonies. Each testifier was given the utmost courtesy by City Council Chairman Ernie Martin and his cohorts. They even traveled all the way to the North Shore at night to bring the Council to the people.

Clearly, this is a body of government cognizant of its constituents. A standard was set by this Council’s actions to keep our country guided by our Constitution. Elected by its citizens, it made the best decision, armed with information from other government department experts. The vote was with the consensus of the voice of the people.

Vernetta A. Hall

Tax rates depend on source of income

Class warfare or fairness is the battle cry in the latest plan to cut the debt and pay for tha American Jobs Act proposed by the White House.

President Barack Obama said that middle-class families should not pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires. That’s pretty straightforward and hard to argue against.

However, this is not true. He’s talking apples and oranges again. The comparison that he uses — Warren Buffet pays less tax than his office secretary — is misleading. Warren Buffet makes his income from dividends and capital gains on investments and is taxed at 15 percent. His secretary’s income is from her salary, which is taxed at a rate higher than 15 percent. For those whose taxable income is at least $370,150, they pay the highest income tax rate of 35 percent.

I believe that the tax code should be revised, but this will take time. Maybe fairness can be attained and everyone pays their fair share — the wealthy, the middle-class and the low-income class.

Tom Fragas

Bicyclists, motorists could just show aloha

I bike and I drive a car. The bike is a Walmart special, just a basic cruiser, but I use it to go to shopping malls and short errands to save gas and do the green thing. So I see both sides of the bike versus car problem.

I believe bikes are supposed to follow the same laws as cars. Bikers are supposed to stop at stop lights and signs, give signals and give way to pedestrians.

On busy streets with intense traffic, I very often ride on sidewalks rather than die on a roadway. Common sense and courtesy dictates that when pedestrians are encountered, you get off the sidewalk, hopefully to some grassy area or dismount and walk the bike.

Perhaps more bike lanes or bike-allowed sidewalks would improve the situation, but in the meantime, everybody should just get along and use common sense and aloha, whether on a bike or in a car.

Geoff Davis

Illegal skateboarders, bicyclists are a threat

Now that the city and state have spent millions of scarce dollars on perfume and pancake makeup to impress the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit attendees, they need to take a look at some basics they have missed.

We may expect that our honored visitors will stroll through Waikiki in the evenings, but will they see the multimillion-dollar sidewalks while dodging the illegal bicycles and skateboards on the sidewalks? Will they notice the landscaping while the arrogant and illegal bicyclists and skateboarders hurl crude epithets and obscene gestures at them for not getting out of the way?

Just imagine the negative publicity for Hawaii if an APEC attendee or his family is struck by an illegal bicycle or skateboarder after the state and city have spent the last of their money on security.

Roger D. Van Cleve

Proposed law clearly aimed at people

It’s nice to know that politicians are willing to create ordinances that reclaim bus stops and sidewalks being used as personal property by certain individuals, but it’s insulting to the intelligence of the readers of the Star-Advertiser when Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard says things like, "This bill only deals with improperly stored possessions and has nothing to do with (street) people." ("Council might ban personal property on city sidewalks," Star-Advertiser, Sept. 29).

Sure. Right.

When have you ever seen people other than street people store their personal goods on public property? It is not politically correct to pick on the underdog, so now our politicians are picking on them anyway because of the coming events in Waikiki (the timing again being disputed) and whitewashing it using semantics.

George Orwell’s "1984" is alive and well in 2011 in Honolulu.

David Yasuo Henna

Kudos to governor for considering gambling

How pleasant to finally be able to write a positive letter about our governor. Columnist Richard Borreca notes that Gov. Neil Abercrombie is not averse to legalized gambling here ("Legislature invited to place bet on gambling over taxes," On Politics, Star-Advertiser, Oct. 7).

A large number of Hawaii residents enjoy gambling. More than a quarter of a billion dollars flows from Hawaii to Nevada every year, and that doesn’t count the millions spent in illegal gambling here in the islands. Yet we don’t get a single dime of it in taxes.

Ken Burns’ television series "Prohibition" reminds us that you can’t legislate morality, but you sure can tax it. We don’t close liquor stores because a minority of drinkers are alcoholics. And the percentage of problem gamblers is significantly less than problem drinkers: 0.6 percent of adults, according to a recent study in the United Kingdom.

It is time for Hawaii to join 48 other states and get some of the tax that we now completely export.

Mark Dillen Stitham

PSA test can help fight prostate cancer

The article urging the end to prostate cancer tests (10/7/2011) was very disturbing ("Panel urges end to prostate cancer test," Star-Advertiser, Oct. 7).

I write as a prostate cancer survivor and can attest that without the timely PSA testing, I would not have known about the cancer. Ultimately, it was evaluated as an intermediate form and I was successfully treated.

What the public needs to remember is that the PSA test itself does not mean one has the cancer. Other diagnoses will confirm if that is the case and its severity.

Until we have means to detect lethal or aggressive forms of prostate cancer, men must be given the information to make decisions regarding their own situation. If not, we will go back to when possible tumors were detected only through rectal examination or when the cancer had already metastasized.

There is a place for "active surveillance" as well as treatment, but to withhold information that could potentially save lives is, in my view, irresponsible.

Paul Mizue

Spending on politics seems poorly spent

So I’m thumbing through your fine daily and I see a story about an Israeli scientist who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry after a lifetime of dedicated work.

His findings, which were initially rejected by the scientific community, have and will continue to reshape our world. With this lifetime achievement, the scientist was awarded $1.5 million dollars.

Right above that article I see Texas Gov. Rick Perry raised $17 million in seven weeks for his initial run at the White House. While reading that I couldn’t help but think, shouldn’t those dollar figures be reversed? And what does that say about our world we live in?

Pat Kelly

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