Letters for Monday — December 19, 2005

• Legislators should be commended for gas cap law

• Paul Harvey and prayer


Legislators should be commended for gas cap law

Roger Cable, in the Dec. 16 Garden Island, states his very strong opinion that the Hawai’i gasoline cap should be repealed.

His arguments are the same as those made in the past. Specifically “… let the free open market set our prices fairly and competitively, as they have been done for decades …”

Mr. Cable and I see this differently as in my 40 years or so in Hawai’i I have never seen a free and open market in the fuel business. There has always been, in my opinion, price fixing and very limited competition until the big box operators started selling gasoline.

In the past opponents have stated that the little guys in the business will be driven out of business by the gasoline cap. Does Mr. Cable or anyone have an example of this? I don’t know of any gasoline stations or distributors that have gone out of business due to the gasoline cap.

Regarding the free and open market, competition and stability in the fuel business — yes it was stable alright before the cap. The price went up and stayed there. The market in Hawai’i in recent years simply has not followed the market in the other states and markets which do fluctuate significantly with crude prices and other factors in the industry.

I have personally tracked prices in other areas of the country. Our prices simply went up and stayed up — they rarely if ever came down. Certainly this type of “stability” is good for the industry — but not for consumers.

It is pure speculation to say what gasoline prices would be in Hawai’i without the gasoline cap but I strongly believe that prices would have stayed at or near the $4 level. This can be proven in part as diesel fuel, which is not covered by the cap, has stayed at about $3.50 per gallon. I think it is absolutely not correct to say that the gasoline cap has caused our prices to be higher.

Incidentally Mr. Cable did not mention that he is with Senter Petroleum, one of the largest fossil fuel dealers and distributors on Kauai’. A company that also reportedly has the exclusive contract to supply fossil fuel to our KIUC electric cooperative — purportedly at any price they chose to charge.

Finally, if Mr. Cable is so pro competition why did he write The Garden Island opposing Costco when they proposed to come here selling discounted gasoline? Isn’t this competition?

Even those opposed to the gasoline cap such as Governor Lingle proposed the industry be transparent and show the people what their markups and profits are. If this was done and if it showed that there was no price fixing or excessive markup then it would be very apparent that government intervention in the industry was not required. The industry has chosen not to do this.

I certainly understand Mr. Cable’s desire to protect his business, however, this should be done with facts and appropriate data and not with unfounded or emotional justifications

Finally, I think Rep. Morita and our other brave legislators should be commended for initiating the gasoline cap. They have taken a lot of heat from people in the industry but I feel without question they have saved the consumers of Hawai’i a considerable amount of money.

  • John H. Gordon
    Princeville

Paul Harvey and prayer

Thanks, Dr. Saker, for a solid reminder to pray!!!! I ran across this article and wanted to share it.

Paul Harvey says:

I don’t believe in Santa Claus, but I’m not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don’t agree with Darwin, but I didn’t go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his theory of evolution.

Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game.

So what’s the big deal? It’s not like somebody is up there reading the entire book of Acts. They’re just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game.

‘But it’s a Christian prayer,’ some will argue. Yes, and this is the United States of America, a country founded on Christian principles. According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect-somebody chanting Hare Krishna?

If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer. If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer. If I went to a ping pong match in China, I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha.

And I wouldn’t be offended. It wouldn’t bother me one bit. When in Rome…

‘But what about the atheists?’ is another argument. What about them?

Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We’re not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that’s asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer!

Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don’t think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world’s foundations.

Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying. God, help us.

— Paul Harvey

  • Submitted by Chris Metcalf
    Lihu’e

Right project, wrong location

I applaud the release of funds to develop a bicycle route but I question its proposed location. Wouldn’t the money be better spent improving the Lihu’e-Kapa’a corridor — particularly the Wailua Stretch between Hanama’ulu and Wailua Bridge?

Nawiliwili Road, the site of the proposed enhancements, has an adequate shoulder (the safety of which would be improved if drivers would simple obey the speed limit and stay in their lane!) whereas Kuhio Highway could use some additional width to provide for the bicyclists, moped riders and pedestrians who are transiting the area.

My observations are based on 25 years of riding and walking along these two routes.

  • Ann Leighton
    Kapa’a

Thank you to a good citizen

My name is Byron Osborne and I am 6 years old. I want to say “Thank You!” to the lady who picks up the road-side trash by Kapaa Middle School and Kaapuni Road. My mom and I see her working so hard to pick up other people’s trash. Please remind everyone to stop littering so our beautiful island does not have trash everywhere.

  • Byron Osborne
    Kapa’a
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