Cycle Helmets, Rail And A Lincoln Note

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - June 17, 2009

Despite a spate of fatal motorcycle accidents, we should not succumb to the knee-jerk reaction to mandate riders wear helmets. Not only should it be a personal choice to wear or not wear a helmet, but the headwear can serve as an impediment to some riders. As a rider, I know that a helmet limits my peripheral vision and my ability to hear my surroundings.

I am not pro-dangerous behavior, but the final decision by an adult whether or not to wear a motorcycle helmet should be made by the individual and not the government.

I urge you to truly examine the financials regarding the rail system for Honolulu. I know the people have spoken, but you cannot go blindly into a $6 billion-plus public works project.

The promise of federal money seems improbable during these economic times. Tax collections to pay for the system are dramatically down.

City Councilman Charles Djou is pushing for a budget proviso mandating a Record of Decision by the federal government before breaking ground on the project (as was the late Duke Bainum). In other words, the proposed proviso would simply put in writing the promises made by Mayor Mufi Hannemann that the city would not begin rail construction until the ROD was received.

Why the opposition? If the council fails to place this proviso into the budget, it will be a confirmation that the promises made during the pro-rail campaign were empty and the city’s original intent was to proceed with the project with or without federal money, the lack of which means the burden of financing falls on you.

Yes, some of the cost will be exported to visitors, but with declining tourism numbers, who will have to make up the difference?

The recent find of a document authored and signed by President Abraham Lincoln in the Hawaii State Archives is proving to be a real mystery. It is a historically significant document that orders the Secretary of State to affix the U.S. seal to a companion paper authorizing the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

When I first read the story, all I could think of was how great a segment this discovery would be on the PBS TV program Antiques Roadshow. The appraisers would be giddy with this find, and the famous value estimation would be fascinating: “At auction, I would expect this document to fetch about X amount of dollars.”

At least it’s an alternative to the other “revenue enhancement” ideas out there.

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