Will city leaders stand up for rail?
Regarding the rail cars that are planned to traverse the 20-mile elevated rail system from Leeward Oahu: Only 30-plus seats are planned per car, so most riders apparently could be standing for up to a maximum of 20 miles.
Let’s be practical. Riders to the airport with luggage and bags will be standing; students with backpacks, books and laptops will be standing; people with bad knees, workers with sore feet, mothers with strollers will be standing. Forget about studying, reading or using a laptop while hanging onto a strap. Will the mayor and Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation personnel be willing to stand for that distance? After your photo ops and public relations blips, please, powers that be, rethink this plan.
Teachers’ tax credit is good social policy
Thanks to Ed Garcia at Maui Waena Intermediate for calling attention to my Senate Bill 2484 to give a tax break to teachers spending money out of their own pockets to supplement classroom materials ("Teachers deserve help with supplies," Star-Advertiser, Letters, March 5).
I personally know many teachers who do this, and it’s a real tribute to their commitment to their students and schools.
For the past few years, teachers had already been able to claim a tax deduction expense on both their federal and state returns. However, that deduction allowance expired at the end of 2011 and we know the need is still there and that teachers will continue to spend out-of-pocket.
SB 2484 would allow teachers to take a tax credit of up to $500 for approved expenses — a direct credit on the amount of taxes they owe at the end of the year. Not only is this a way to demonstrate to teachers that we value their dedication to their students, but it also puts dollars back in teachers’ pockets so their own families benefit as well.
Sen. Michelle Kidani
D-17th, Mililani, Waipio
Prevedouros’ testimony tainted
Shame on Panos Prevedouros for criticizing the Ho’opili’s traffic impact study, especially after he admitted that he has not done an empirical study himself, and that his own traffic projections for Ho’opili were nothing more than "casual guesswork" ("Ho’opili will snarl traffic, witness argues," Star-Advertiser, March 3).
Is he kidding? Does Prevedouros really think that he can get away with trying to stop this much-needed new community with fabrications and conjecture?
Since he openly opposes rail transit, his opposition to Ho’opili is clearly politically motivated.
Ho’opili was designed by, and for, the people of West Oahu. I know I speak for hundreds of local working families when I say Ho’opili will be a dream come true for us. We hope that policy makers listen to us, the people, and not someone who is playing politics.
State should not be in banking business
The state should not be in the banking business.
There are recent cases where the state has invested imprudently (close to $1 billion of short-term funds in Citigroup auction-rate securities in March 2008) and wasted money on failed businesses (harbor projects for Superferry).
If union leaders want to support projects to provide new jobs, they could invest their own union trust funds.
Regarding the problem of underwater mortgages, the focus of the state should be on providing the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs with funds and/or legislation to ensure that lenders avoid the practices that got us into trouble. The state should require that all transfers of mortgages for single-family houses and condos located in Hawaii be recorded in Hawaii courts. Also, the state should encourage house buyers to borrow from a local credit union or bank.
State bank would empower the people
It has taken about two years for the concept of a state bank to be researched sufficiently to show that it would be a huge positive for the people of Hawaii, including private banks and businesses.
It puts the power of banking, money and finance into the hands of the people — a public utility bank, not in the hands of politicians or private banks.
With total transparency required from its inception, as modeled in North Dakota today, it would provide another engine of finance for our many needed infrastructure projects.
In 1919, North Dakota went to banks in New York and Minneapolis for infrastructure loans, farm loans and other projects, and were told: 15 percent, please. The people started their own bank, and today North Dakota is one of the few solvent states in the union.
Those who oppose this initiative support the status quo for private banks that live off the struggles of the people.
Ronald S. Carlson
Support for troops needs to go further
Recently I saw another "Support the Troops" bumper sticker, one of many that we always see while on the road.
In spite of all the stickers, I hear of no "support" for the families that recently lost four soldiers, including two field grade officers who were murdered by Afghan soldiers after the U.S. accidentally burned a few copies of the Quran.
You would think that of all people, the president would be the top supporter of our troops. If he really supported his troops, his apology to the Muslim world for accidentally burning the Quran, might have instead started with a demand for an apology for the deliberate murder of our American servicemen.
For all the "Support our Troops" bumper sticker users, support our troops by standing up for justice, or please remove the stickers.
Lt. Col. Steve Lai
U.S. Army Reserve, Mililani
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