Seventeen years ago, Mark Takai called me for advice when he was planning to run for office (“Legacy of courage, of service, and of hope,” Star-Advertiser, July 21). That first campaign was exciting — watching the results come in at his home.
Even after many years in office, Mark walked the district, held signs to slow down traffic, painted over graffiti, and faithfully chaired the community meetings and listened to our frustrations and took action to solve them. In fact, just a few months ago, he attended one of those community meetings.
I shall always remember that phone call I received from Mark telling me he was running for Congress and needed financial help. I thought he should have run for the vacant Senate seat. How wrong I was.
May God especially comfort Mark’s wife and children, parents and siblings. Our community lost a good man. We mourn, yet take heart that the legacy he has left will live on for many generations to come.
Elayne I. Funakoshi
Camps along roads are embarrassment
We should be embarrassed to have our tourists arrive in paradise and travel between the airport and Waikiki, only to see trash and homeless along the side of the freeway. I have been watching this situation grow worse with each passing day.
The trash along the freeway, westbound between Lunalilo and Middle streets and eastbound from Vineyard to Kinau, is embarrassing.
About a month ago, I started noticing homeless camps popping up along the freeway.
Recently I counted six camps, eastbound between Pali and Punchbowl and three camps westbound from Lunalilo to School streets.
Am I the only one who sees this? I’m sure our tourists see it.
Gov. David Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell should find a way to clean up the aina, so we can attract more tourists to help pay for that rail project.
Frankie L. Ruggles-Quinabo
Let us vote again on whether to have rail
The entire rail project is a ruse. The biggest public works expense in Hawaii history is built on lies and egotistical political ambition.
The loaded ballot question that Mufi Hannemann provided 10 years ago stated the cost of rail would be $5.3 billion. Given the true cost, closer to $11 billion, it is doubtful rail would have gotten more than his and Kirk Caldwell’s vote. Supporters still cite the slim majority, using this falsehood as justification we should build it today.
The mayor wants it to end at a privately owned mall versus a city-owned bus terminus. How does this make any sense unless there is an underlying financial motive we are not privy to?
Honestly, Ala Moana Center is not a transit station, nor is it capable of moving riders where they want to go efficiently. Get over it as the end point.
Hopefully, the majority is finally catching on to the scam. If they want to continue, put it on the ballot, but this time give us the truth.
Make tax surcharge for rail permanent
Of course there have been cost overruns in the rail construction. The estimates were made during a recession that depressed prices, but delays caused largely by protests and lawsuits have put the job smack in the middle of a construction boom, when costs have been high.
The obvious answer to the problem of financing the construction and operation of the rail system is to make the 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge permanent and devote the funds to mass transit.
A large portion of the cost would be borne by non-residents, reducing the local impact.
This would provide a known income stream that would allow for future planning and expansion of the rail system, which will be badly needed. The rail should not stop at Middle Street or at Ala Moana; it should go to Manoa, Hawaii Kai and through Central and West Oahu.
Let elderly couples spend lives together
I applaud the attorney for Noboru and Elaine Kawamoto, who filed a civil lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the state law that prevents the married couple from staying in the same care home (“Senior couple sues the state over laws that separate them,” Star-Advertiser, July 1).
Hawaii residents have the longest life expectancy in the nation. More married couples in their golden years desire to stay with their loved ones in the last stages of their lives. They worked hard and saved money to make that happen. Not allowing them to live together only deprives them of their human right.
Some laws of the state must be rectified to give elderly couple the right to live comfortably, peacefully and happily.
For the Kawamotos, I commend them for setting a precedent. To their lawyer, more power to him. I feel very strongly that the federal judge’s ruling will be in favor of the Kawamotos.
Constante A. Domingo
President, Caregivers Association of Hawaii
Killing police must not be new normal
The intentional killing of police officers represents the worst of us as a nation. Dallas and Baton Rouge won’t be accepted as the new normal.
The killing of police isn’t a single-action story. It creeps across the nation to multiple communities and into countless homes. It’s a cancer in conversations and in psyches. A lawless society is a society in urgent need of structure and support. It’s a crumbling neighborhood. It’s a declined and abandoned community. It’s a nation that can’t last.
We should honor law enforcement officers by following all the laws under our personal control. When we see a police officer, we should offer him or her a sincere aloha and a “thank you.”
Being a police officer is an incredibly honorable profession. Police are our families and our neighbors. Police officers are us.
I want all police officers to know that they are not alone, that we support them.