Choosing The Oregon Trail

This couple spent five years researching its options (April 26, 2018)

My wife and I decided to move to Oregon in 2015 (“Neal Milner: Why So Many Kupuna Live In This Mainland Retirement Center”). We were 68-69 years old. We had no relatives or friends in Oregon. I researched five years on the internet, then my wife and I visited retirement communities in San Diego, Napa, Washington State and several in Oregon. We stayed at Rogue Valley Manor overnight and actually placed a deposit ($1,000). We also visited several retirement communities on Oahu where we went to school, worked and retired.

We finally decided on Rose Villa Senior Living in Milwaukie, Oregon. Rogue Valley Manor was excellent. It was not a matter of “good versus bad.” Our final choice was based on available transportation (light rail, two minutes away), the unit was new so we could make modifications to the unit such as lower counters (my wife is under 5 feet), no carpets (allergy), showers that accommodated wheelchairs (future planning) and top of the line appliances.

It may not make financial sense to retire in Hawaii. Ken Lund/

In comparison Hawaii had very little to offer. We wanted two bathrooms and two bedrooms (to accommodate our son when he visited from New York, and all our lives we did not share a bathroom).  There were no two-bedroom units in the retirement communities that we visited. 

In Hawaii public transportation was minimal — usually bus (taxi service is very expensive everywhere).

I won’t belabor the high cost of living in Hawaii but I spend $35/month on gas (premium), large eggs are 99 cents a dozen on sale ($1.99 regular), Trader Joe’s is less than 20 minutes from where we live, and you can get great wines. Desire “local” food? There’s a Hawaiian restaurant five minutes away and several others within 20 minutes. 

Yes, we miss Hawaii, but not so much as to “just get by” living our final years in Hawaii. But don’t be surprised if the migration of seniors away from Hawaii increases in the future. Hawaii seniors should do what my wife and I did during the last five years of our search.

Since many Hawaii seniors “visit” Las Vegas three or four times a year, stopping on the West Coast is just a small incremental cost. Once you see what is available and the significantly lower costs, retiring in Hawaii makes less and less sense.

— Derrick M Uyeda, Portland, Oregon

Rail Is Antiquated Technology

The move toward autonomous cars is just one of the problems (April 25, 2018)

I’m glad my article on autonomous vehicles (“Why Honolulu Rail Will Be A Moot Point”) created discussion from other letter writers (that was part of the impetus in writing it), but both Mr. Brennan and Mr. Aki (“Letters: Self-Driving Cars Will Not Make Rail Obsolete”) missed my point. I’m not saying everyone will be zipping around like “The Jetsons” or rail stations will be deserted graveyards. I was simply giving a perspective that we look forward instead of being mired in the present.

The point is, whether you like it or not, rail is an antiquated technology. Rather than worrying about how far to build rail (Middle Street, Ala Moana or beyond), we should be more worried about whether it’s even sustainable (i.e., technology leading to decreased rider revenue, maintaining and replacing an obsolete system, etc).

The city has already admitted it has no concrete plan for how to fund rail maintenance (“How Will Honolulu Pay To Run Rail Once It’s Built? The City Still Doesn’t Know”). We are building a system that is not just incredibly expensive, but even worse, will further cripple us in the future.

— Steven Dang, Kaimuki

Kauai Damage Worse Than Photo Shows

Google aerial pictures don’t capture extent of problem (April 25, 2018)

We stayed in the home at the corner of Weke Road directly opposite the Hanalei Pier April 1-7 (“Check Out These Before-And-After Photos Of The Kauai Flood”). Last weekend the homeowner sent photos to me showing the home completely surrounded by water. Your Google “after” picture does not show the extent of damage. It’s much worse!

— Jorn Daugbjerg, Escondido, California

Beware A Federal Constitutional Convention

The national movement is funded by the Koch network (April 26, 2018)

Advocates for a constitutional convention grievously understate the dangers of calling a convention when lobbying legislators or winning support from voters (“The Last Thing We Need Is A Federal Constitutional Convention”). In conservative states they seduce states into agreeing to apply for an amendments convention with the possibility of amendments to ban same-sex marriage and abortions. They lobby other states to use a balanced budget amendment (BBA) as the answer to controlling federal debt in spite of economists’ warnings about the significant economic threats a BBA would pose. In Democratic states, they lure participation by suggesting the possibility of ending Citizens United, as they have done in Hawaii with calls for a state constitutional convention.

In fact, Congress introduced resolutions SJR8 and HJR31 to remedy Citizen’s United on Jan. 24, 2017.

The Convention of States Project (COSProject) is a Koch network-funded effort that will put our U.S. constitution in danger of being rewritten to reflect its extreme Libertarian ideologies of minimal government, exploitation of natural resources, free market enterprise, privatization of education, prisons and more. They oppose all manner of regulations, social welfare programs, taxation, unions and minimum wage laws.

Be warned, if the threshold of 34 states is met and Congress is forced to call a convention, it signals the end of our democracy as we know it.

I am truly worried that Hawaii will become the 29th state. Five other states are actively working to pass resolutions, but advocates are pressuring other states to join the call and they have perfected their deceiving sales pitch. This entire movement to call a convention of states is being driven by the Koch network and dark money.

Hawaii has been such a wonderful boost to the rest of the country on so many issues. I know in my heart that if they press forward with this, it’s because COSProject and WolfPAC have persuaded them it is what is best for the country, when in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

— Mary McDonald, Berwick, Pennsylvania

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