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Editorial | Letters

Governor out of line to diss NextEra deal

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Gov. David Ige has short-circuited the process of hearing all opinions on the proposed purchase of Hawaiian Electric Co. by NextEra Energy.

By announcing his opposition to the deal, Ige has rendered that process useless. Who can doubt that the Public Utilities Commission, its chairman appointed by Ige, will go along with the governor?

The governor, of course, has a right to his opinion. But as virtually the final authority on the issue, one would think that he would reserve judgment until all opinions had been expressed, all facts disclosed.

I find Ige’s main point — that he wants the electric company to remain based in Hawaii because it will be more sensitive to local concerns — rather naïve.

Acquisition by a larger company based on the mainland can give Hawaii consumers the benefit of access to more capital that can be invested here in improved service.

Moreover, the electric company is a regulated utility, which means it must obtain state approval for its actions regardless of where its headquarters is located.

Carl H. Zimmerman
Salt Lake

Rail tax extension a blown opportunity

The kabuki theater between state and city politicos would be amusing if not for its negative impact on Oahu taxpayers (“Caldwell criticized for wrong impression on rail tax,” Star- Advertiser, July 19).

How could legislators allow Caldwell to so easily pull the wool over their eyes, unless it would provide them political cover for passing the general excise tax extension?

The same special interests lobby the mayor, City Council, governor and Legislature simultaneously.

Legislators brazenly passed a $1.8 billion bill without due diligence and squandered the opportunity to force the city to provide a plan outlining revised future costs, improving project management to prevent continuing losses, instituting accountability measures to the state (now a guarantor, via tax legislation, of rail’s financial viability) and providing the public with operating and maintenance cost projections.

This failure insures continued rail mismanagement, escalating deficits and a black hole of increased burdens to taxpayers.

Warren Hamamoto

How can rail afford designs on columns?

Have you ever noticed the mural designs that are being put on the rail columns?

Not all rail columns have these designs; however, it has to be quite expensive and it’s more decorative than what’s needed.

The rail is already suffering from a lack of funds, but always finds ways to use the money on non-important things.

This all falls back on us taxpayers who now have the rail tax extended through 2025. We the taxpayers — or should I say hard-working people? — don’t have a say in them taking our money in the form of taxes.

How much is it costing us taxpayers to put these designs on these columns?

William Pirtle

Planned Parenthood portrayed unfairly

Recently released videos show extremists posing as health care workers and badgering longtime Planned Parenthood physicians for hours, trying to get them to discuss unethical and criminal activity that they neither engage in nor know anything about.

There is nothing in these videos suggesting legal violations, despite extensive, deceitful tape editing. Indeed, the full recordings show that charges of Planned Parenthood profiting from women’s decisions to donate fetal tissue are false and outrageous.

Planned Parenthood has provided high-quality care in Hawaii for almost 50 years, consistently prioritizing the health and safety of its patients.

The real agenda underlying the misleading videos is clear. These false claims are being used to advance a political agenda to ban abortion and to defund Planned Parenthood, which would cut 2.7 million Americans’ access to birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment and other preventive health care services.

Susan J. Wurtzburg
Ka ilua

ADUs will become vacation rentals

The city’s proposal for additional dwelling units (ADUs) is a cruel joke for neighborhoods suffering from poor enforcement of vacation rentals.

It could be a step in the right direction to provide needed rental housing. The city Planning and Permitting Department says that requiring a covenant saying the properties will only be used with at least a six-month lease will keep them from being vacation rentals.

But how will the city keep a check on this in the long-term for possibly thousands of units? It has already proven that it cannot adequately enforce against a more limited number of vacation rentals; so in many neighborhoods, the ADUs will only become vacation rentals. The covenant will just become a rotting piece of paper in some file cabinet.

If a procedure for periodic checking of ADU six-month leases is not included, local folks will still be out on the street, and absentee mainland owners will be getting rich at their expense.

Chuck Prentiss
Chairman, Kailua Neighborhood Board

Imposing carbon fee deserves support

I am writing in response to “Climate change carries new risk to isle birds, study finds” (Star-Advertiser, July 19).

As one who was fortunate enough to visit your beautiful state in January, I would like to say that the danger to the islands’ birds is sad, indeed. There are even graver threats on the horizon, if action is not taken, including significant sea rise.

U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island are introducing a bill in Congress that would put a fee on carbon. It is a bill that can be embraced by legislators on both sides of the aisle. It would not grow government, would be revenue-neutral, would not disrupt the economy, and would cut emissions significantly, as in in British Columbia where this has already been enacted.

There is time to avert a catastrophe, but the window is tightening.

Mark Kertzman
Cambridge, Mass.

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