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President's Message
Discuss Developing Kakaako on July 26 (Pearl Johnson)
Suggest Changes to City Charter (Evangeline Funk & Piilani Kaopuiki)
British Columbia's Grassroots Reform (Dorothy Cornell)
Council Report (Malia Schwartz)
Transit Tax Circus (Charles Carole)

President's Message

Aloha members and friends

As I write this on Jul 10, the outcome of the disagreement between Mayor Hanneman and Governor Lingle over rail rapid transit is unknown. I can argue both sides of the question. The governor is correct when she says the State should butt out. If you are going to have home rule, then have home rule. The counties should levy the tax and take full responsibility for both collecting and spending it. The legislature's job is to pass enabling legislation, period. On the other hand, the Mayor is correct. If we are agreed that we want rail rapid transit, let's go for it. Any delays now will just make it harder to do in the future and the feds are watching. In fact, to delay may literally mean to derail.

Then there is the third position. This is a whopping big tax increase! And the GET is about as regressive as a tax can possibly be. If this is the only way we can get rail rapid transit, forget about it. It is NOT going to relieve congestion. What it will do is offer choices for people who can not or choose not to drive -- elderly people, children, tourists, commuters who prefer to read a book, etc. But think how we could expand and improve our bus system with even half of the amount of money planned to be spent on rail. Without massive disruptions. And without the additional amounts of money that would be spent on stations and parking lots and such.

Our former mayor had some good ideas and some bad ideas. One of the really good ones was Bus Rapid Transit. While the League had some concerns about the system operations in downtown Honolulu, we were 100% in support of the country routes. Who killed BRT? The State Department of Transportation, by announcing that the BRT buses could not use the zipper or HOV lanes. Then the present mayor gave it the coup de grace.

I can't predict what our political leaders will be doing in the next few days. But I hope it ends with the tax increase dead and everybody going back to the drawing board, hopefully chastised and ready for some new (old) ideas.

Jackie Parnell


LVW - Honolulu

President - Jackie Parnell
Vice President - Piilani Kaopuiki
Secretary - Robin Loomis
Treasurer - Malia Schwartz
Editor - Pearl Johnson
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