Letters for Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More roads, not just buses and bike pathsKIUC and smart metersYes to smart meters

More roads, not just buses and bike paths

Regarding the use of our bus system, which has prominently been in the  local news lately. There are always two sides to every story, and with this bus issue only one side has been presented.

Certainly the free use of these buses is a great sound bite until we  really look at the facts. Free or for pay, there is no free lunch  because someone has to pick up the tab.

We the taxpayers are subsidizing the operation of these buses to the tune of about $700,000 a year.

 The income from them is about $250,000 a year, so no matter how rosy one wants to paint the picture,  the fact is that this operation costs about $1 million a year and ridership brings in only 25 percent of that cost.

The free use of these buses for two months will increase the red ink to $17,000 per month, or $34,000 for  those riding for nothing.

No matter how much bus ridership is increased, it will not make a dent in the 95 percent who use their vehicles for transportation. No matter how many times I have asked the members of our council (those who are strong proponents of buses, bikes and walking) who among them is using any of these three means of travel for transportation and not their vehicle — not one of them raises their hand.

We have morphed into needing our vehicles, and we will not give them up for whatever alternate means of transportation is made available.

The amount of traffic that the buses or bikes will alleviate on our  roads pales besides what alternate routes would accomplish, like the  Kapa‘a Bypass Road.

Someone show me how 6.8 miles of bike path has in any way diminished  the traffic on our roads.

The bike route that parallels a lot of our highway around the island was never used enough for recreation alone for getting people out of their vehicles.

 So how will the proposed $105 million path from Nawiliwili to Anahola do what the other bike route  couldn’t do? It won’t.

Why isn’t every member of our County Council and our administration pushing to get our cane haul roads open to lessen traffic problems instead of telling the public how great buses are or multi-million dollar paths are to bike on?

Or why has no one on the council or in the administration investigated the taxi system as a means of para-transit use as Debra Kekaualua has suggested? Far cheaper and far more convenient for those needing it.

Let me quote a few lines from a Honolulu paper (by Cliff Slater) about mass transit: “Locally, Honolulu usage of public transit for commuting has been  continually declining despite huge subsidies provided — over $100 million in the current year (probably double or triple that today). Fewer workers today commute by transit than at any time in the last 25  years. This is why transit is virtually irrelevant in any discussion about relieving traffic congestion. There are valid reasons to support  transit but the relief of traffic is not one of them (emphasis added). Ninety percent of all Honolulu vehicular commuters use cars, and the other 10 percent use transit. Thus the traffic congestion problem is about cars — the 90 percent. You cannot improve congestion by toying around with transit which is  only 10 percent of the problem.”

Mr. Slater gives many more examples of other municipalities that are the same as Honolulu, but the bottom line remains the same- — the  vehicle is here to stay.

Kaua‘i may not be Honolulu and hopefully never will be.

 But the  parallel is certainly the same, and we need to take a page from what he  shows as successful and stay with it.

Regretfully, the minority seems to be the most vocal in these matters, and some on the council listen more to them than hearing what the needs of the masses are.

Those working two or three jobs may not have the  time to write letters to the paper or testify at council hearings, but they certainly deserve representation as much as the minorities.

Glenn Mickens, Kapa‘a

KIUC and smart meters

 We recommend a class action lawsuit against KIUC and its board members for running an illegally operated co-op and for buying smart meters in the amount of $11 million without the members’ approval, and  without an environmental impact study performed. We need to progress with this ASAP.

Tosh E. Maclaine, Kapa‘a

Yes to smart meters

Talk on a cell phone for 10 minutes and you’ve received a dose of radiation equivalent to standing next to a smart meter continuously for a year and a half.

Stand near a microwave while it’s running and you are exposed to 200 times the radiation that you would if you happened to stand next to a smart meter for the split second that it transmits every few hours.

No study has ever shown a correlation between cancer and use of either cell phones or household microwaves.

Electromagnetic sensitivity (headache, nausea, dizziness) does not exist without warning labels — meaning it’s a cognitive response to the label, not the electromagnetic rays.

A smart grid is the only way that Kaua‘i can run off of renewable energy or handle an influx of electric vehicles.

Saying no to smart meters is the wrong decision. Not just for you and your family, but for our island and the planet.  

Luke Evslin, Kapahi

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