comscore Letters: Save AES coal plant for emergencies; Free college education won’t destroy country; Story right, headline wrong about flu deaths | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Letters: Save AES coal plant for emergencies; Free college education won’t destroy country; Story right, headline wrong about flu deaths

The problem with solar and wind energy is that they go offline in bad weather like hurricanes. Battery backup may last a day or two. Then what do we do?

Since the AES power plant is already built and functioning, it should be kept operating at a low level, say 5%, so it is ready when needed. Otherwise blackouts are inevitable in times of emergencies: Solar does not work with heavy rains; wind turbines would likely be offline with hurricane winds.

Legislators should change the law to allow this (“Views clash over Oahu’s impending shift from coal to clean energy,” Star-Advertiser, Oct. 11). Hawaiian Electric should have AES keep the plant running at a low level. If coal is the problem, switch the plant to oil like the other fossil-fuel plants on the island, or even to biodiesel.

We will be the laughingstock of the nation if such an emergency hits, and the AES plant sits there while we all suffer with blackouts.

Frank Lutz



Free college education won’t destroy country

I’m writing in response to Robert Hatakeyama’s letter, which exhibits a misunderstanding of the reconciliation bill’s cost compared to other expenses (“Socialism is dangerous to America’s future,” Star-Advertiser, Oct. 13).

First of all, the $3.5 trillion is over 10 years, so it breaks down to $350 billion a year. Compared to the U.S. GDP, which was $20.9 trillion last year, it’s less than 2%. Now compare that to military spending, which was $721 billion for 2020. The social programs are only $726 billion over 10 years, only one-tenth of military spending and about 0.3% of the GDP.

Free college education is normal for citizens in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Germany and Denmark offer free college education at most universities. Those countries are not about to collapse because they offer free college education.

If free kindergarten through 12th grade is not considered socialism and isn’t about to collapse our economy, why is free college so dangerous?

Terrence Ching

Wilhelmina Rise


Appreciate Case’s independent thinking

U.S. Rep. Ed Case is one of Hawaii’s smartest and most thoughtful politicians. Yet we continue to see ridiculous letters to the editor berating him for not falling into lockstep with Hawaii’s monolithic Democratic mentality. The latest demanded that he follow his big-government peers to vote for the idiotic $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” bill.

Hawaii has been in the vise grip of the absolute control of an entrenched Democratic Party for more than half a century now. Look where it has gotten us: the failed rail project, the Kealohas, bloated bureaucracy, excessive top-down government management and mandates and more. Having an independent thinker like Case can constitute some sort of a reality check.

The dictionary defines monolithic as “characterized by massiveness, rigidity and total uniformity.” This sounds like the perfect description of Hawaii’s all-powerful political structure.

Bradley A. Coates



Story right, headline wrong about flu deaths

Your front-page headline was grossly irresponsible and feeds into a prevalent anti-vaxxer myth (“Flu proves deadlier than COVID,” Star-Advertiser, Oct. 11). The headline is contradicted by the very first sentence of the story: “Influenza and pneumonia have quietly killed at least 859 people over the past 12 months.” Nowhere did the story break out how many deaths are attributable to influenza alone. But other snippets indicate that flu was not a major killer last year:

“A possible ‘twindemic’ of flu and COVID … never materialized.”

COVID measures “have proved effective in curtailing the spread of influenza viruses.”

“Only 0.8% of outpatient visits … involved patients with influenza-like illness” compared with 2.1% and 2.4% in previous years.

Quoting a health professional: “COVID is definitely the big elephant in the room.”

The story itself is good work by Christie Wilson, who has been a fine reporter for a long time. Unfortunately your headline really dropped the ball.

Bill Wynhoff



Rolovich needs to find another profession

Nick Rolovich has lost a lot of respect and credibility among many in the Hawaii community and abroad for refusing to be vaccinated (“Nick Rolovich’s vaccine refusal continues to sow discord at Washington State,” Star-Advertiser, Oct. 11).

Coaching our young football players is not just about winning games, but teaching impressionable athletes about character, winning attitudes and respect for their fellow football players, coaches and sport fans. By refusing to vaccinate, he is concerned only about his own personal beliefs and has no business in the coaching profession.

He needs to take his $3 million salary and find another profession that will not cause sickness and death because of his unvaccinated condition.

Hal Omori



Aquarium fish industry keeps up its demands

Recently, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources rejected the aquarium pet industry’s latest attempt to bend environmental laws and indigenous cultural values to the insatiable whims of the market-driven reef fish extraction industry (“Board rejects environmental review supporting aquarium fishing on Oahu,” Star-Advertiser, Oct. 9). Again!

Just like last year’s rejection of a similar application, the howl and cry of industry adherents and vested “experts” likely will be raised to condemn the board and the Department of Land and Natural Resources for its inability to “get this right.”

But here’s the problem. The failures of their fishy science, the failures of overwrought management designs, the failure to sell this industry to a public emotionally involved in admiration and defense of this paradise found, and even more particularly, the failure to co-opt the most faithful of indigenous kupuna, led to this standoff, this now-slack tide.

One wonders, what is it that the experts still don’t get? It must be one word: pono.

Mark Tang



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