Bottle Bill Creates Mass Transit Madness-Shoots from the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii – Jan. 12, 2005

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There are some 19,000 plus residents that live in Waikiki. I have recently become one of them once again. While I love the excitement of living in such a vibrant place it does have its drawbacks. For one, it can be rather noisy at times. Another is it is isolated and access to the area can be a pain.

We moved during the holidays so we just bit the bullet and threw away our bottles and cans for which we had paid the state imposed bottle deposit. There was no way it would have been possible to save them during the transition period. It was simply a matter of bad timing.


So I radically changed my buying habits, carefully considering whether a given item required the deposit, and made decisions accordingly. Many products were not purchased that we might have if it were not for the bottle deposit. Too bad for the vendor, I guess.

Now that we are settled I have been contemplating getting reimbursed for the cans and bottles that we have saved recently. It is a small amount, since we now live in a condo in Waikiki and don’t have much space for storing bottles and cans. I will not be waiting until I gather 600 or so as has been reported in the “letters to the editor” of the daily newspapers. Such a number just isn’t feasible in my situation.

The nearest redemption center is about a mile and a half from Waikiki, (corner of Isenberg and Beretania) and requires a long, convoluted bus ride. For the final leg one must either transfer to another bus or endure a rather long walk. I wonder what those who endorse the “sustainable” lifestyle promoted by our former mayor and many current politicians will do when redemption time comes. Think they will ride the bus or drive? Sorry, it was just a rhetorical question.

It remains to be seen how this will all work out. Let’s do the math. If all the people who live in Waikiki redeemed their bottles and cans, there would be some 19,000 people who would need to access the redemption center. The redemption centers are only open 7 hours a day, from 9am to noon and from 1pm to 5 pm, six days a week. This equates to 42 hours a week, and at the accountant standard of 4.3 weeks per month this means that 105 people an hour would have to access the redemption center to service all the people in Waikiki. And this means each person would only be allotted something slightly more than half a minute each. Redeeming them at the rate of a second each, (highly optimistic) this would mean that each person could only redeem about 31 bottles or cans. So what happens when one person has a couple hundred bottles and cans?

This scenario just factors in the residents of Waikiki, let alone the surrounding communities of Moilili, Manoa and others that are serviced by the Isenberg-Beretania redemption center. The numbers simply will not work. And now consider the original premise of this missive. What of those who rely upon mass transit in this scenario? How practical is it to climb aboard a bus with a bag of 100 or so bottles and cans, to somehow make it to a redemption center? Isn’t this utterly impractical? Doesn’t this mean that ultimately this is as regressive a tax as can be levied because the poor are the least likely to take advantage of it? Sorry, that was just another rhetorical question.

The one thing that isn’t factored into any of these scenarios is the value of anyone’s time. It assumes that the value of a banker’s time is the same as that of a health food store stocking clerk who rides a bike or the bus and has a flexible work schedule. This person doesn’t make the same wages as the banker or corporate executive because the value of his or her time isn’t the same as theirs. So waiting in line for an hour or two at a redemption center for a few bucks simply doesn’t have the same value, just as no one ever caught mayor Harris languishing at a bus stop waiting for the next rapid transit alternative. That is reserved for the plebian masses.

The joke is on these same masses. They are supposed to give up their individual cars in favor of alternatives that will guarantee that they will have the inability to redeem the taxes that are imposed by other schemes such as the bottle bill – and they never see it. Those that rule over them will never give up their own private transportation alternatives yet such schemes are lauded by those most damaged by them just the same. It is a form of madness that is difficult to understand.

The sad thing is that so many mainstream politicians who should know better are preparing to repeat the same error yet again. Politicians on both sides of the isle in this state are preparing to throw billions of dollars away on a rail scheme that will only benefit a handful of people and will do nothing to relieve the traffic congestion problems that that the majority face. I can’t wait to see the rail cars full of people carrying their bags of bottles and cans on their way to redemption centers. Won’t happen, you say? Madness, you say? Well, I agree. It is madness.

”’Don Newman, senior policy analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Hawaii’s first and only free market public policy institute focused on individual freedom and liberty, can be reached at:”’

”’This editorial is intended to provoke thought, discussion and an examination of issues. It does not reflect official policy of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. See the GRIH Web site at:”’

”’ reports the real news, and prints all editorials submitted, even if they do not represent the viewpoint of the editors, as long as they are written clearly. Send editorials to”’



Daily Policy Digest


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Many environmental groups are tax-exempt IRS registered 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, meaning that contributions to these groups are tax deductible. Yet all of these nonprofit groups are also closely associated and fund their affiliated 501(c)(4) lobbying organizations and 527 political groups, says Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).

These groups profess to be the greatest stewards of the environment and solicit contributions from a variety of sources by that claim, Inhofe added. But they demonstrate more interest in hyping apocalyptic environmental scenarios to raise money for raw Democrat political purposes, rather than working together to improve our environment for the benefit of all Americans, says Inhofe.

A new report by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), provides examples of how activist groups such as the League of Conservation Voters (LVC), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and Environmental Defense are blurring the lines between non-partisan environmental concern and attempts to sway election results:

The Heinz Endowments, with Theresa Heinz Kerry sitting as a board member on the board of directors, has donated almost $3 million to environmental activist groups since 1998.
In 2004, the Sierra Club endorsed Kerry for president along with 16 Democratic Senate candidates, but no Republican candidates.
The NRDC has received $2.6 million in taxpayer money from the Environmental Protection Agency, which may indirectly subsidize political activities.

Based on an earlier oversight hearing, the Committee also has released a 30-page report on the mismanagement of EPA grant dollars by such organizations. Among the concerns the report raised: EPA’s failure to require grant recipients to demonstrate real environmental benefits from grants; its failure to require competition in its grant awards; and the failure of EPA grant officers and recipients to oversee grants and the activities funded by them.

Source: Gretchen Randall, “Senator Exposes Partisan Environmental