Tuesday, December 27, 2011

IRS Complaint Is New Wrinkle in the Rail Lawsuit; LTE Forum: Will System ‘Spoil’ or ‘Save’ Island?

Civil Beat provides in-depth coverage today of the complaint filed with the IRS alleging improper use of Small Business Hawaii Entrepreneurial Education Foundation funds to support the anti-rail lawsuit.

SBH has been soliciting financial support to pay the fees of attorneys working on the case. Rail supporter Hannah Miyamoto’s complaint argues that in soliciting funds for that purpose, the Foundation has strayed from its mission.

CB asked a former IRS official whether the complaint has merit and learned that the IRS likely won’t get around to dealing with it for several months. CB’s article ends: “In the end, whether the IRS investigates or takes action might be secondary. The complaint could have a chilling effect on donors, who might be concerned that their contributions would not be tax deductible.” Time will tell.

LTE Forum
A letter in today’s Star-Advertiser (subscription) boils down to whether Honolulu’s elevated rail system will “spoil” Oahu or save it – whether the system would be visually ugly or would eliminate the ugliness of traffic congestion for tens of thousands of island residents.

A rail system will ruin island beauty (Star-Advertiser, 12/17)
“I am 94 years old and cannot imagine intelligent people would ant to spoil a small island with a train. I have traveled all over the world and never seen a beautiful train area. Even in the old days the railway was on the edge of the island. We have the best bus system in the world!”
Cities the world over have already decided that introducing transportation alternatives into the urban environment was a necessary change from the way things used to be. The collection of photographs at the metrobits.org website suggests that rail systems can be built with sensitivity and artfulness. Here are a few of those photographs:

Lille, France

Bilbao, Spain

Paris, France

Portland, Oregon

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