Letters for Saturday, January 16, 2010

•Pick up the phone and call

•More energy efficiency

•Safety first!

•Wailua bridge construction

Pick up the phone and call

Why are we wasting time and space on health care insurance reform when it became a dead issue when the insurance company lobbyists dumped an obscene amount of money on the Senate to kill it and the public option?

The only thing to do now is to urge the president to sign the bill that is coming out of the House-Senate conference committee before it is further weakened by indecision.

In that way, some of the desirable feature can be saved. Not only is this not half a loaf, but it is barely a slice, buts it’s all we can get at this time.

As the cost of health insurance escalates as the result of a lack of competition from a public option, let us hope that people realize how they’ve been duped and get on the backs of the best government that money can buy in order to give us real health insurance reform.

It’s really very easy. Just pick up the phone and call the local number of the person who is supposed to be representing your best interests, and tell them that you want real reform, not these phony measures that they are trying to put over on us. The more calls, the faster the action.

Harry Boranian, Lihu‘e

More energy efficiency

On Jan. 9, Mark Beeksma’s letter titled “No more gas tax, please!” makes sense with one exception. He talked about photovoltaic cells already making economic sense.

He is right, but the best way to go about investing in solar is to do a solar hot water system first. Heating water with electric or gas is very inefficient.

In most homes, 40 percent to 50 percent of the electric bill can come from heating water, but a solar hot water system usually costs less than 25 percent of the cost of a PV system.

By investing in solar hot water first, homeowners can size their PV system smaller because they have already taken care of 40-plus percent of their electric bill.

KIUC has done a great job in promoting their “no down, no interest loan” program through KCFCU, or the $800 rebate program in their Watts Up newsletter.

I think the problem is that too many homeowners don’t fully understand the payback benefits of doing solar hot water. For instance, the tax credits of 30 percent federal, and 35 percent Hawai‘i pays for about 65 percent of the cost of the system, and energy savings will account for the balance of the payback in about two to three years.

When this system is financed with a zero down loan, you can actually have a positive cash flow when you add the energy savings and the tax credits. Most homeowners could use the extra money right now in this economy.

Even homeowners that use gas to heat their water can get the same tax credits, and cut down their gas bill about 75 percent by installing solar.

I don’t agree with the gas tax energy plan. We need to do a better job of educating and promoting the solar programs that are already in place, especially the KIUC plan.

Mike Lyman, Sun King Inc., Lihu‘e

Safety first!

To “Guns on Christmas?” author Greg Holzman: Get real! (Letters, Jan. 12)

Most beach-goers — tourists and locals — use the stretch of the beach closest to the pavilions to second ditch.

It’s rarely that you see fishermen on the beach in front of the firing range and if there is a few fishermen there most of them would comply without bad-mouthing. Because they realize it’s for their own safety.

Also they realize that small arms qualification is for their neighbors, friends or relatives to keep their jobs. Even if that means closing that stretch of the beach on a holiday or weekend.

Mr. Holzman, it’s true that the beach from Davidson to intersections is gone. So, why then you and any other surfers, beach-goers protest the construction of the Kekaha Harbor when you first noticed the sand was shifting away from Davidson to intersection beach?

Mr. Holzman you say that, “Polihale is unsafe during the winter months.” No beach is safe even in the calmest of days whether it’s a good conditions surf day, or not.

Furthermore, Mr. Holzman, I can not see any surfer risking their life and their children’s’ lives in the water where there jet skis speeding towing surfers into riding a wave. It must have been a safe condition day to have a jet ski to tow surfers to catch a wave, huh!

Wave conditions versus jobs. I choose jobs, wouldn’t you?

Howard Tolbe, ‘Ele‘ele

Wailua bridge construction

I was mystified by the “Expect ‘really bad’ traffic” article (The Garden Island, Jan. 13).

As I understand it, the cane haul road closed Wednesday, and traffic will be horrible until the related sewer-line work is completed on Jan. 22 and the main bridge can be converted to three lanes.

Did it occur to anyone to delay the closure of the cane haul bridge until after the sewer line work is done? Seems pretty obvious, unless the goal is to be as disruptive as possible.

Bob Bush, Princeville

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