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Saturday, March 27, 1999


Fireworks fury

Raise taxes on fireworks to reduce their usage

Two bills on fireworks are still alive in the Legislature. One merely tosses the problem back to the counties. That's nice, but it's not a solution. The other prohibits fireworks except by permit for religious or cultural reasons or public display. It makes it a felony to use aerial fireworks.

One might as well make a law for water to run uphill. The people of Hawaii will use fireworks, and police will not enforce fireworks laws except in rare cases. Do they now?

Let's be realistic. Raise taxes on fireworks to reduce the use of fireworks. Then spread the word that it's not cool to use fireworks after 10 p.m.

Mark Terry

Fireworks legislation is not taken seriously

The public's health and safety is being compromised at the Legislature via SB 680, which relates to fireworks. Once again, lawmakers are favoring the merchants who contribute to their campaigns. These merchants have warehoused stock and will order more inventory for the millennium "blow-up."

Violence has already erupted due to easy access to gunpowder -- bombs in schools, a plate glass explosion, etc. One big disaster and the state and merchants will be hit with huge lawsuits.

More than half of Hawaii's residents want to see this very serious issue resolved this session with stronger legislation, higher license fees for sellers, stiffer penalties for abuse and/or a total ban.

Yet the committees only go through the motions of public hearings. They have not listened to city emergency departments, health associations, People Against Fireworks or hundreds of individual pleas for a ban to protect public health and safety.

Suzanne Teller

Fireworks opponents are wimpy crybabies

Those who are against fireworks, including Governor Cayetano, are a bunch of kids and crybabies. Discomfort? Fireworks make intensive noise and smoke for approximately two hours. As for fires, we had only two under the most "utterly mad" conditions.

The reasons for this annual ritual are varied, ranging from the spiritual to the ethereal. It happens at midnight and diminishes as the day unfolds. By morning, it's gone.

How would any of these complainers handle snow -- not one day or week but for months? Or a heat wave, a flood, a disaster with no electricity?

They have lost their tolerance and perspective. They should go live in Bangladesh for a while and toughen up.

Ken Chang

Ability to breathe would be appreciated

I am one of the unfortunate ones with allergies and pulmonary problems. I have lived in Hawaii for 33 years and must admit that, when I was younger, I thought fireworks were great fun. But now, after 66 major exposures to maximum fireworks, my health will not tolerate it

This year, I closed the windows, turned on my Honeywell air purifier full bore, and hoped for the best. It took two weeks and multiple visits to two doctors, stronger medication and a lot of discomfort to become functional again.

I have no idea what I will do on July 4th. Maybe I'll schedule a trip to the mainland.

I would like fireworks banned completely, not only for my health but for everyone's health. I don't care if they allow smoking in bars. I can avoid that by staying home. Fireworks bring 100 times the smoke to my house!

Ben King
Via the Internet

"We hope to bring Hawaiian music
back in force to Waikiki. Right now, you have
to look between the cracks to find it."

Melveen Leed
Who has returned to Hawaii to perform
after living in Tahiti for four years

"You can't improve the situation
in Hawaii from San Francisco."

Brian Schatz
state representative
Issuing a challenge to young adults to stay in the islands
instead of adding to the brain drain

UHPA won't take Cayetano's advice

In a March 9 meeting with Star-Bulletin editors, Governor Cayetano is reported as having said that UHPA should cease to exist. How interesting that, in the 20-plus years that UHPA endorsed Cayetano in various elections, this issue never once came up.

However, just after UHPA voted 6-1 to endorse his opponent in the last gubernatorial election, Cayetano now thinks UHPA should be killed.

At the point that UH is a first-rate system, we will consider disbanding. Until then, we still have work to do.

Hugh Folk
University of Hawaii
Professional Assembly

Electric company is expensive middleman

AES Corp. produces electric power at Campbell Industrial Park at Barbers Point. AES sells power to Hawaiian Electric Co., which in turn sells that power to the public.

Obviously, AES makes a profit on what it sells to Heco, and Heco makes a profit from the public. Wouldn't it be cheaper for the public to purchase that power directly from AES and eliminate the mark-up by Heco?

Since this savings would be passed on to residents, the state should follow the lead of California in deregulating the utility industry.

Mark D. Hee


Gambling is only way to save the economy

Hawaii should legalize gambling as a means of turning around our economy. Our state Legislature can do only so much. There is not enough money to go around. This has a "domino" effect on everything in Hawaii.

There are massive cutbacks in much-needed health, social, welfare and educational programs. There is talk of raising our property, auto and other taxes. They plan to raise user fees.

Heck, we already pay the highest taxes and have the highest cost of living. How much more can our citizenry take?

Steven T.K. Burke
Pearl City
Via the Internet

Legislators should represent all of us

In your March 22 issue, Corky had fun with a baseball player crossing himself before batting and then being sued on grounds of separation of church and state. I assume this cartoon continues the debate over a legislator mounting a religious symbol on his Capitol office door.

Corky is usually right on, but his analogy in this case is fuddled. A baseball player is still a private individual. His religious preferences concern only himself and those with whom he chooses to share them.

But state legislators, when operating from their official offices, function neither as private individuals nor as representatives of factions in the community. They owe due consideration to the legitimate views of all of the people in their district regardless of religious persuasion.

It's not hard to see why some folks might feel less than welcome when they see the emblems of a specific denomination on the portal to their legislator's official office.

Jerry Dupont

Kaneohe Via the Internet

Trustee's attorney takes cheap shots against AG

Renee Yuen's prejudicial remarks in your March 3 issue about Attorney General Margery Bronster were uncalled for. They are typical cheap shots that people take at anyone who challenges the state's political spoils system.

Yuen is the one who is biased (toward the established old-boy system) and Bronster clearly recognizes that the qualifications and method for appointing Bishop Estate trustees are based on lousy politics and nothing else.

If I were looking for a trustee, I'd be looking for someone like a New York, Ivy League newcomer who was experienced and skilled in financial management at the level required to manage the Bishop Estate.

Michael R. McCrary
Via the Internet

Comments did not refer to UPW-Witeck case

The March 17 article by Ian Y. Lind quotes me as commenting on the UPW-Witeck case. It should be noted that my comments were not related to that case.

At no point in his phone interview did your reporter mention that case or that union to me. He asked me about when and if surveillance of an employee of a union might be appropriate or may have happened in the past.

I was not aware of the specifics of any particular case at the time of that interview or that I was being asked to comment on any specific case. It was improper to suggest otherwise in your story.

William J. Puette
University of Hawaii
WO Center for Labor
Education and Research
Via the Internet

Constitution protects union contracts

Contrary to your March 11 editorial, the fact that collective-bargaining agreements take precedence over changes to state law is anything but "absurd." No less an authority than the framers of the U.S. Constitution said so.

A contract signed by a government entity can't be shirked by simply changing the law after the ink on the agreement dries (Article I, Section 10, the contract's clause of the U.S. Constitution).

Smoking on the job was legal when the contract between the state and UPW was signed. Furthermore, no one is asking to be exempted from laws that were on the books when the contract was agreed to.

The question really boils down to whether "smoking on the job" is covered by the contract.If so, the issue quite likely has to be bargained.

Second-hand cigarette smoke may be dangerous, but it's nothing compared to the danger of watching the U.S. Constitution being burned.

Khal Spencer
Via the Internet

Show's longevity is due to hard work

Congratulations to the Society of Seven on 30 years of great entertainment at the Outrigger Main Showroom. I have been enjoying its shows for the last 30 years.It takes a lot of hard work and new ideas to keep a show running that long in one spot.Let's hope it can go on for another 30 years or more!

Dolores Treffeisen
Via the Internet


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