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Letters to the editor – 2/25/15

Pro pets

I was so touched by your Jan. 6 Newsmaker article on Canine Caregivers. It was heartwarming to know how these beautiful creatures of God are like “earth angels” to so many. Having heard stories from people after we lost our beloved Rufus, I’ve come to appreciate even more how special pets give companionship, consolation, caregiving and healing to the young, middle-aged, elderly and sick.

Mahalo for enlightening us!

Emme Tomimbang Burns

Shame on pols

Bob Jones is right on all the points regarding the bankrupt Obamacare. I might add that in Hawaii, health care premiums have gone way up. Some of my friends experienced a 70-percent increase.

It is because of legacy-seeking that politicians push through ill-considered laws or solutions to super-complex problems. Obamacare is no different from Oahu’s rail transit in this sense. Who doesn’t want better traffic on Oahu? Did the politicians who voted for it not realize there could be billions (not millions) in cost overruns? How naive. Or that rail construction (not commissioning, according to HART) will be completed in 2019? Why so long compared to other projects similar in scope?

All the wishful thinking of developments along the rail won’t happen for another 15 years, at least. And if property values increase because of rail, it means it’ll be even more expensive to own and rent, and potentially lead to more homelessness!

Besides, can we trust the people who can’t maintain our existing roads to manage this system? Trust politicians who, for legacy, annexed King Street for a bike lane without a complete traffic study? For, if there were a complete traffic study, why are the traffic lights timing unchanged, causing so much stop-and-go traffic now on King?

Dan Boylan’s friend Jube is right: The boat has sailed. But it is the Obamacare and Oahu Transit legacy cruises that have sailed on the sea of people’s money and misery.

The takeaway lesson: When something big is hastily pushed out, it is someone’s legacy cruise that the people will pay for. Shame on these politicians.

Dan Ong, retired engineer

Rail legacy?

Dan Boylan’s Feb. 11 column “Rail Yes! Rail No! Enough Already” seems resigned to rail’s continuing cost overruns to at least $10 billion — that’s almost $5 billion more for Oahu to pay than originally budgeted.

Mr. Boylan says “rail’s being built for 30 years from now.” Unfortunately, those of us living in the present have to pay for it. A family of five will pay more than $1,000 a year as long as the .5 percent GET is in effect, which Mayor Caldwell wants to make permanent.

Without the GET increase extension, the mayor says property taxes will have to go up as much as 45 percent, hurting people on fixed incomes and renters.

Honolulu’s EIS says that traffic will be worse once rail is finished than it is today. So, 30 years from now, when residents are still paying for rail, will they thank us for being forward-looking or curse us for their increased cost of living?

Garry P. Smith
Ewa Beach