Letters for Jan. 19, 2015

• Equality means everyone • Rural areas need improved Internet access • ‘Gouging or what?’

Equality means everyone

Last week’s Supreme Court decision to review the constitutionality of discriminatory marriage laws in four states prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying was not only historic, but also the right thing to do. Equality means everyone.

Important constitutional principles regarding human rights are heading toward a long-overdue day in the sun.

Presently, 14 states still deprive gays and lesbians of their constitutional rights, and that’s plain wrong. Only by striking down discriminatory marriage laws that deny a couple of the fundamental right to marry will America achieve full nationwide marriage equality.

We should know by the end of June whether the Supreme Court truly stands for everyone, as in justice for all. Let us hope and trust that same-sex marriage becomes recognized nationwide. Equality requires nothing less.

Michael Ra Bouchard


Rural areas need improved Internet access

KIUC was right to deploy smart meters. I appreciate the feedback I get on my electric use. There were two methods of hooking the smart meters to a management network. KIUC deployed the wireless choice and given the sparse density of their customer base and other constraints, it was probably the right choice.

However, the other choice would have been to deploy, like Lafayette, LA, a fiber-optic network that provides download speeds of up to 1 gigabyte – 60 times faster than Oceanic/Time-Warner cable, and much, much more reliable. In fact, 1Gig is the standard throughout the “first world,” including Korea. (Fiber does not require the microwave transmissions that smart meter opponents objected to.) I have been “telecommuting” since 1993 starting with a 9.6K modem. As bandwidth grew, my productivity also grew. No wasted driving hours.

On Kauai, I continued collaboration with others who lived as far away as Greece and Cypress. The download speeds available through fiber offer new job opportunities.

One example, a stay-at-home mom might work for a distributed call center.

There would be no need to “go into the office” because the data needed to perform the job would be “in the cloud” accessible from anywhere. Customers in London and Tokyo could get help throughout the night while mom works a decent hour. No night shifts.

During the upcoming State of the Union address, President Obama is going to propose ways of improving Internet access for rural areas such as Kauai. I hope Kauai will accept this offer.

John Zwiebel


‘Gouging or what?’

In response to story TGI Monday, Jan.12, “gas prices falling slowly on Kauai.”

It won’t take me four columns of the forum’s guest column to explain why we are lucky to have the big box stores on our island. After doing a little research on the high gas prices, Costco not only rewards us for being good customers, but shows us that if they weren’t here, we still would think that living on an island is why we pay so much for our gas over the Mainland prices.

According to an article from Pacific Business News, Costco is a high volume broker, has six gas stations statewide and owns 25 percent of the state’s fuel market.

So obviously, they are able to give their members a better price than their competition. At the writing of this letter, Costco gas is $2.69 for regular and $2.89 for premium. With the yearly membership fee of $55 it still doesn’t pencil out why with seven Chevron stations on island $3.79 regular, $3.89 mid-range and $3.99 premium, and Costco having only six statewide, there is as much as $1.10 per gallon or more difference in prices.

To make matters even more interesting, I questioned employees from both places. The Chevron attendant was being paid $8.25 per hour and the Costco employee starts at $12.50 per hour.

Are we being gouged or what? I would like to see Walmart and Kmart open gas stations and Home Depot specialize in propane sales.

Steve Martin



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