Letters for Tuesday — November 29, 2005

• Where the rubber meets the road

• Gasoline profits

• The disillusioned party

• ‘Brilliant’ gas cap law


Where the rubber meets the road

The puppy was young. I saw him for just a moment, skipping along the side of the road with the brightest of smiling eyes, hopping on his hind legs like only a pup can do.

His Master crossed the highway, oblivious to the leash-less four-pound pooch that pranced behind him. And then out of the blue, out of the rain, and onto the highway moved this heavenly pup, instantly splattered beneath the wheels of a rumbling pickup truck bound for Lihu’e and bound for glory.

I stopped and walked myself across the highway in the rain, and joined the poor driver and his wife who found themselves fitfully, helplessly massaging this pup’s lungs, stroking its eyelids and desperately kindling its frozen heart. It lay limp and lifeless.

In the meantime his Master continued strolling down the highway, a slight lift to his gait, gazing back once or twice looking for his very own ultimate ride to town.

It all happened so quickly, so suddenly, from an ecstatic yelp to a whimpering silence. This puppy just laying there on a Saturday morning, gobbled up so swiftly on this Thanksgiving holiday.

Is this the justice of joy? Too great for this earth ? Too pure for this island? As we race to and from each season barely looking back, as we remain blinded by these holiday lights burning inside and out.

I do not know not why I was chosen to experience this. Maybe to pass it along to you, who wonders just who is your Master. There is an answer that so boldly wagged from the tail of that pup to its last humbling breath. And it sighs quite clear inside me.

  • Andy Melamed
    Hanalei

Gasoline profits

I would like to put into perspective the profits made by gasoline dealers. It is my understanding that gasoline station owners make about 13 cents or less per gallon of gas sold. I’m not sure if that is net or gross profit, but whichever it is remember that out of their profits they must pay the rent on the station, the wages of their employees and the care and upkeep of the premises. They also must pay for any modifications to the facility to provide for environmental protections and to also maintain the beautification of the station.

But do we ever consider that the government makes upwards of close to 60 cents per gallon profit from every station on the islands with out doing anything for the station or its owner. And what does the government do for and with that “profit?”

I wish they would explain what they do with it. Our roads and bridges don’t show much for the amount of money taken from the purchasers of gasoline, do they? Here in Hawai’i the roads don’t even suffer some of the damage that the roads on the mainland suffer from: extremes in weather, freezing, thawing and extremely heavy traffic from 18 wheelers.

So don’t be angry with the providers of fuel, they’re the good guys. But certainly ask and blame the government for what it doesn’t do well with its profits from the sale of fuel.

I would sure like to know how THEY spend our money, wouldn’t you? Mahalo for thinking about it.

  • Gordon “Doc” Smith
    Kapa’a

The disillusioned party

If your boss tells you something, and says he has knowledge and proof that it is so, should you believe him?

If your boss says he cannot reveal his sources, because they are confidential, and he wishes to protect the safety of his sources, should you respect that?

In politics, politicians have to do what the people want, that is their job, that is why they are called public servants.

If individuals in the news media were printing and showing dirty bombs, and how they would affect your personal city, and had Ex-Military Officers (with 20 or 30 years experience) on every day, showing charts and telling you how you and your children would be personally effected, would you believe them?

And then when your boss got what he wanted, and the dirty bomb scares were no longer needed to persuade you, and the news media was no longer used, would you still remember how it was used to influence you, years later?

And if you later find out that you were misled, merely so your boss would have your support, would you feel that justice and fairness should be achieved?

America is in a lot of trouble right now, and its not just from terrorists. We are divided.

Some of us think the best way to change peoples minds is thru force, others think we need to lead by example.

One thing that we seem to keep forgetting, is that we have been in Saudi Arabia for over 50 years. We have been friends with Saudi, we trade with saudi, we have a military base in saudi.

So if 15 of the 19 highjackers were our friends, what will our enemies do?

Will children with family members killed in iraq grow up with anger and want to take it out some day?

Let’s do a little more thinking, with a little less anger.

  • Dennis Chaquette
    Kapa’a

‘Brilliant’ gas cap law

Last Tuesday, The Advertiser reported that the AAA average price for regular gasoline in Hawai’i, as of Sunday night, was 56 cents per gallon more than the national average. On Tuesday, if you looked at the AAA website, this difference one year ago was exactly 49 cents, or 7 cents per gallon less.

Those who have been duped into believing the gas cap law has lowered Hawai’i prices need to check their facts. Those who think there is some value in having our gas prices rise and fall with 3 unrelated mainland markets, only to end up paying more on average, are kidding themselves.

A month or so ago, The Advertiser calculated that the gas cap was costing consumers about 5 cents more than before. This appears to be low by this week’s comparisons, but let’s say it’s 5 cents anyway. There are approximately 35-40 million gallons of gasoline sold per month in the state. The earliest a gas cap law repeal could take effect would be June of 2006. So, from the time it went into effect in September until next June, it looks like this brilliant law could cost Hawai’i drivers about $20 million … or more! Actually lots more if you figure in the highly inflated prices after the hurricanes on the mainland which caused our local prices to soar.

In the past, mainland disasters only had a minor effect on our prices, no longer is this the case, we now get the full hit when anything happens to the mainland market. This has forced all of us to carefully schedule our gas purchases, threatened the viability of rural dealers and jobbers, and caused shortages. Wonderful. As those who control our Legislature plot next year’s helpful lawmaking, I hope a repeal of the gas cap is on their agenda.

Lucky you live Hawai’i … not a long drive to Thanksgiving dinner!

  • Brian Barbata
    Lihu’e
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