INDIVIDUALS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
When word got out that the mayor was proposing to increase the daily commuters’ fee from $1 to $2 per boarding and do away with the monthly commuter passes, more than 200 individuals sent in letters and/or signed petitions to the County Council’s budget chair in opposition. The council LISTENED.
While the per boarding fee increased from $1 to $2 per boarding starting July 1, the council reinstated the monthly passes (all routes, including commuter) without increases. This action on their part will keep hundreds of working commuters on the bus, as opposed to driving their own cars on our already crowded highways. I know because I am one of them.
Kudos to the 200-plus individuals who voiced their concern, to Lahaina Bypass Now for their support, to members of the Maui County Council and to the mayor and her administration for providing this much-needed service to Maui’s communities.
LORI SABLAS, Kihei
TAX WILL INCREASE GAS PRICES
We can expect our new state fuel barrel tax increase to kick in this month. Hawaii’s gasoline tax is the second highest in the nation at 45.1 cents per gallon. Got to give credit to California, since they take first place at 48.6 cents per gallon…
We have to give credit to our 2010 legislature for passing House Bill 2421, the 3,000 percent increase in the fuel oil barrel tax with three new special funds, and then for overriding the governor’s veto.
This will increase our gasoline tax by 5.5 percent (or 2.5 cents per gallon of gas) by the end of this week or next. No sense wasting time.
This brings our total tax up to 47.6 cent per gallon — still number two in the nation.
This new fuel barrel tax increase will also increase our electric bills and all transportation costs. But our elected politicians tell us this cost increase will reduce our use of fossil fuels. They even think the petroleum companies will not pass this tax on.
I do give Sen. Roz Baker credit for voting against this increase. Some politicians are thinking of their constituents.
DON GERBIG, Lahaina
KEEP BEACH ACCESS OPEN
Gov. Linda Lingle recently signed into law a bill against private landowners encroaching on public beaches by planting vegetation that will take up public areas. I think this is a fair and just bill. Now it needs to be enforced.
Private landowners should not keep the public out of public areas for any reason. Recently, I also visited Honolua’s boat ramp and was told I had to leave by 5 p.m. by a private landowner. Please enforce the law and do not let private landowners restrict public access on their whims.
MICHAEL GOODHUE, Lahaina
COMMENTS SHOULD BE ATTRIBUTED
Why is it that the “anonymous” author in “Up Front Lahaina” talks about things not Lahaina? Maybe Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous should start an anonymous world events column. Irresponsible comments from an anonymous writer. Anonymity in the press is epidemic and irresponsible. Maybe it’s time to end “Up Front Lahaina” or attribute it.
MITCH JENKINS, Kaanapali
WORKERS DOING GOOD JOB ON OIL SPILL
Workers have been doing a remarkable, smelly, exhausting and commendable job attempting to contain the gulf oil spIll.
Yet we never learn of their heroic efforts from our media, because disaster sells while charity and accomplishments are placed on their back burners.
RAY PEZZOLI JR., Kihei
USE LED LIGHTS
Something to think about: compact florescent bulbs use two-thirds less energy and last ten times longer than incandescent bulbs. Is it the best choice? No, because compact florescent lights (also known as CFLs) and incandescent lights are not green products. Why? Because they contain Mercury and emit lead vapors and other harmful minerals.
The wiser choice is LED lights and bulbs. They contain no chemicals, produce little heat, and they are safe and noiseless. LED lights can produce up to 90 percent savings versus conventional lighting technologies. Traffic lights using LEDs use only one-tenth the power of traffic signals using incandescent lamps. Ten watts versus 100 watts. Top-of-the-line LEDs are producing 114 lumens per watt — very impressive.
Also worth noting is florescent four-foot tubes, also known as T8s; hotels are using thousands of them, while most of us have them in our garages. The problem is they are highly toxic and emit Mercury and other harmful compounds. Unfortunately, too many of these tubes find their way to our landfills. The Mercury leaches down to our water supply. They should be brought to a toxic waste disposal.
Florescent lights act like strobe lights flickering at a high rate of speed. As they age, they slow down and you notice the flickering — that’s when the problems increase, including migraine headaches. These florescent tubes use 32 watts each, plus they need a ballast to drive them which also uses energy. These lights use 27.36 kilowatts per month per tube, or $9.58 a month per tube.
Now let’s look at a LED T8, which are 15 watts and 1,700 lumens of light — much brighter than the 38-watt florescent. A 61 percent savings per tube means the LED will cost $5.75 per tube per month, not to mention they last 12 years, never get hot (so lower air conditioning costs) and you don’t have to change them frequently. LEDs don’t need a ballast and they fit into your existing fixture.
With LED technology, there is a lease program you may qualify for (no upfront money). You can have them right away, and after you pay the lease each month, you will still save at least 40 percent of your monthly bill. Isn’t it time to start saving energy and money?
CHAYNE MARTEN, Maui Green Team
MEASURE REFORMS FINANCIAL SYSTEM
I am pleased to share with you that the U.S. Senate passed the Restoring American Financial Stability Act to dramatically reshape our nation’s financial system in favor of consumers, small businesses and working families. This represents the most dramatic overhaul since the 1930s.
Our goal, in concert with President Obama, was to tackle the financial abuse and unchecked greed and recklessness of Wall Street which, two years ago, shattered millions of American lives, eliminated about eight million jobs and trillions of dollars in savings and investments.
Hawaii was, by no means, immune — the economic disaster, created by Wall Street’s cavalier actions, was upon us like a tsunami. Our unemployment rate went from 4.1 percent in 2008 to 6.7 percent in 2010, and our foreclosure rate more than doubled over the past year. Family savings were lost, and familiar businesses — large and small — shut their doors. Hotel occupancy rates dropped, resulting in decreased state revenues and a record-breaking two-year deficit of $3.3 billion. Social services were curtailed. Government employees and school children were furloughed.
Although the origin of the “bad acts” was more than 5,000 miles away, it wreaked havoc on all aspects of our local economy. Something had to be done.
The Restoring American Financial Stability Act will hold Wall Street accountable, instituting strong consumer protections, preventing reckless risk-taking and ending taxpayer bailouts. It includes:
Strong Consumer Protections — A new bureau is established to provide consumers with information to make smart financial choices.
No Taxpayer Bailouts — Taxpayers will be protected from bailing out large financial institutions and will force Wall Street to pay for its own mistakes.
Advanced Warning System/Transparency — The measure creates an advanced warning system to be on the lookout for troubled financial institutions and systemic risks posed by large investment firms to help prevent our nation from being brought to its economic knees again.
These past two years have been difficult for Hawaii’s families, who, until the economic bottom fell out, knew how to save for a home. You’d save to send your children to college, plan for retirement, even save for a trip to Disneyland or Las Vegas. It’s been a struggle.
With the passage of this measure, and the infusion of federal stimulus resources into Hawaii’s economy, I am optimistic that as our economy begins to rebound, brighter days are just over the horizon.
SEN. DANIEL INOUYE
THANK OUR SOLDIERS
The HBO series “The Pacific” aired recently, and I sat down to watch with interest all ten episodes that told the story of the U.S. Marines fighting the Japanese in the Pacific arena in World War II. Watching the series was difficult because of the atrocities our Marines had to bear and the thousands who were lost in battle.
The series gave me a greater appreciation for my freedom as a citizen of the United States and caused me to wonder what direction our country would have taken if we had not fought against Japan to defend our country. What would our nation be like if we had not sought independence from Britain or fought the Civil War?
War is not a desirable means to an end, but it is sometimes necessary to preserve the freedoms we enjoy as a democratic republic. Freedom always comes with a price — the ultimate being the lives of men and women who honorably serve in our armed forces.
Throughout our nation’s history, men and women have been willing to die to preserve the freedom we enjoy today. Their courageous and heroic acts are noted in history books, documentary films, autobiographies and movies. May we never forget that freedom cost the lives of our own, and will continue to be costly because freedom is a coveted asset.
“The Pacific” featured war heroes such as Marine Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery on Guadalcanal when he commanded two sections of machine guns against 3,000 Japanese soldiers for over 48 hours before reinforcements arrived. He was also awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for heroic actions on Iwo Jima, where he died.
The Medal of Honor has been awarded to 3,448 brave military personnel who have died in the line of duty. This number represents less than one percent of the soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. According to Wikipedia, 1,315,351 fatalities have been recorded for all the wars and conflicts in which the United States has fought. Over our 234-year history as a nation, this represents an elite group of honorable citizens to whom I owe my appreciation. Every life given in the pursuit of defending our liberties deserves tribute from those who live to enjoy it.
Americans should never forget the sacrifices made by brave men and women who served honorably and died while serving in war.
Honor the American Flag and pray for our nation’s political leaders and troops serving to defend our freedom. Pledge to uphold the freedoms granted in our Constitution. May the sacrifice of our military always be remembered with honor and appreciation from a grateful nation.
SUSAN McCONNELL, Via E-mail