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Thursday, March 25, 1999

Tapa


Laser pointers aren't toys for teens

You were absolutely off the mark with your March 20 editorial against a bill prohibiting the purchase of laser pointers by anyone under 18. I was recently "lazed" in the eyes by a 15-year-old girl at a neighborhood restaurant.

She irresponsibly activated the laser and shot it around without looking to see who or what was affected. I realized something had happened when my eyes bothered me. It took about 20 minutes before my vision recovered.

No, teens are not responsible enough to carry these vision weapons. Many schools, including some in Hawaii, have banned these devices, recognizing their potential for harm. Too many parents are unaware of the dangers, believing that if cheap and legal, they must be OK. They're not. The City Council is on the mark.

Jeremy Morrow
Via the Internet

Republicans can't do worse than Democrats

I wonder where the GOP gets all the bad press that was mentioned in Richard Borreca's March 17 column about Linda Lingle as the Republican Party's new leader. Could it be because reporters like Borreca use terms like "bipolar disorder," "few shingles missing" and "wackos" in describing the party?

Perhaps the Republicans are needed to turn around this Democrat-controlled state with its failing public schools, high unemployment and outrageously high taxes. Republican "wackos" can't do any worse than the Democratic "wackos" who got us into this mess.

At least Republicans are only shy a few shingles and aren't missing the entire roof, like the current party in power.

John Pechauer
Via the Internet

'Baywatch' will be an asset to Hawaii

As a longtime North Shore resident, ocean lover and supporter of our ocean state, I wholeheartedly support the efforts to bring the TV series "Baywatch" to Hawaii.

I have the honor of knowing the show's executive producer, Greg Bonann, star David Hasselhoff and the current cast and crew. These dedicated ocean lovers will add tremendously to showcasing the natural beauty of our islands.

Having "Baywatch" on the North Shore will showcase the rare beauty that we residents call our backyard and share it with over a billion people a week. I consider "Baywatch Hawaii" to be "Magnum P.I. on Steroids."

Wyland

Leaseholders should have known better

Thank you, John DeSoto, for telling it like it is (Star-Bulletin, March 18). The city's extortion program, also known as the lease-to-fee conversion, is a disgrace to capitalism.

When these crybabies signed their leases, they knew or should have known that they didn't own the land. They paid less and gambled that their lease rents would remain low; meanwhile, others bought fee-simple property at higher prices to own the land.

Public officials shouldn't be stealing land to benefit a few who chose to lease. Government in Hawaii is like a parent without parenting skills. If you cry loud enough, mommy will buy that toy just to shut you up. She thinks only of what is convenient at the time, not of the consequences down the road.

Grow up, Hawaii! Stop acting like spoiled kids and taking advantage of spineless politicians.Learn from your mistakes instead of running to mommy. We all get hurt in the long run.

Eric Matsumoto
Via the Internet


"It's time for 'kill haole day'
to be an ancient joke. All kids deserve to
come to school without fearing
for their safety."

Paul LeMahieu
State Schools Superintendent
On the practice of beating up Caucasian
students on the last day of school

"I do not know what the future
may bring. But I have always believed that I
should be held accountable for all the
good and bad that I do."

Gerard Jervis
Bishop Estate Trustee
Following his discharge from Castle Medical Center almost two weeks
after his near-fatal overdose of sleeping pills


Legislature must fund pay hikes for HGEA

In 1997, HGEA bargaining units accepted in good faith a small pay raise from the governor and mayors. Last year, the counties kept their end of the bargain by funding the settlements, while the Legislature deferred its funding to 1999.

Meanwhile, although the state payroll lag was unpopular, we did not contest it. This saved the state about $55 million. More teachers were hired but our ranks were cut. Although we are now fewer in number, the workload did not decline. Ultimately, the state gave teachers a pay raise but couldn't find the money for us.

This year, Governor Cayetano included our raises in his final plans. He did it to honor the negotiated settlements and because he believes that we deserve it.

Time is running out for the Legislature. There is no next year to do what is fair for public employees in the HGEA. The Legislature must fund our raises this session.

Jeanette E. Matsumoto
President,
Hawaii Government Employees Association

UH faculty needs support during talks

On Feb. 27, the Star-Bulletin printed a front-page article criticizing academics who write in "obscure language." Given that UHPA (the faculty union) is currently in contract negotiations, this is suspicious timing.

Whose interests are advanced if the public is encouraged to take a dim view of academics during the negotiation period?

As UH graduate students, we have certainly read some obscure academic writing. But obscurity is the exception, not the rule. Obtuse language is most pronounced among a small group of prominent theorists from elsewhere.

UH has long been under siege, and the right of Hawaii's residents to an affordable, quality higher education is eroding by the day. Put that on your front page.

Kathleen J. and Brian L. Cassity

Oceanic keeps raising rates, adding channels

Once again, Oceanic Cable has raised its rates, citing increased expenses and recovery of costs to install its state-of-the-art fiber optic cable network. Wasn't this network installed so it could move forward with its Road Runner System and provide phone service?

With each rate increase, Oceanic adds new channels to basic cable subscribers to help justify the price hike. Yet these channels are added because they aren't successful as part of Oceanic's Value Plus Channels. To name a few, these include the Disney Channel, the Cartoon Network, the Learning Channel, Animal Planet, etc.

If Oceanic really wants to improve service, it should add more phone lines to its customer service office.

Ken Hazemoto

Tapa

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