to the Editor

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Monday, August 23, 1999


Mental health pros should be licensed

All mental health professionals should be licensed. Licensure provides uniform standards of education, ethics and practice.

Yet a recent auditor's report stated that there was no need for counselor licensure, as harm does not come from a lack of competency but from unethical actions such as fraud and sexual abuse.

This statement is astonishing. Nothing could destroy a person more than sexual abuse by a professional who has been trusted with very private thoughts.

I also do not understand the auditor's statement about licensure raising the cost to the consumer.

According to figures in the report and the number of counselors likely to be licensed, the cost per counselor would be less than $100 a year.

A study by Kaiser Permanente concluded that offering unlimited mental health services reduces overall health costs.

Other research suggests that increasing the types of mental health providers does not increase health costs or the demand for mental health services.

Licensure is cost effective.

Sandra Joy Eastlack
Licensure Chairwoman
Hawaii Counseling Association

Lawful gun owners aren't sick killers

Nancy Bey Little's Aug. 17 letter was an insult to gun owners in Hawaii, the U.S. and around the world.

To compare lawful gun owners to the sick killers who murder and maim innocent people is every bit as "mindless" as Little accuses another letter writer of being.

Her views will drive gun owners who might have supported moderate gun-control legislation into the anti-control camp. She owes an apology to lawful gun owners everywhere and to all principled gun-control advocates.

Let's have a little more civility in the debate on this very important issue.

Michael W. Sawamoto



"I would have been in office 28 years, and every year I've given it my all. It has taken a little bit of a toll on me and my family. But that's about it. I'll call it a day."

Gov. Ben Cayetano
On whether he will run for political office when his term expires in 2002

"It's kind of odd. It happened at a time that was very busy. Maybe that kept everybody's mind on other things."
Dr. George McPheeters
Secretary of the board for straub hospital and clinic's physicians corportion
On the small number of complaints from Straub doctors after having their pay cut by 10-30 percent

Legislature: Deal with public workers on drugs

Mahalo to Pam Smith (Letters, Aug. 12) for complimenting me on my "three strikes, you're out" law, which was passed in an effort to shut down hostess bars, nude strip bars and phony massage parlors that are fronts for prostitution. If an establishment has three prostitution convictions in five years, it is closed.

Regarding her statement that the City Council should pass a similar law for public employees testing positive for drugs, that is the Legislature's jurisdiction. It is responsible for passing the state's collective bargaining laws that control drug testing and disciplining of public employees.

To help achieve a "zero tolerance" policy, I passed the city's government oversight and reform law requiring advance public disclosure. This way, the public will be notified of drug testing and discipline policies set behind closed doors by this state law process.

Andy Mirikitani
City Councilman

Bandstand remodeling will mess up marathon

Do my eyes and ears deceive me, or do I read that the Kapiolani Park Bandstand is to be remodeled beginning next month, and is to be under construction for nine months?

Do any of the long-range planners realize that this will totally mess up the park for December's 1999 Honolulu Marathon, which has about 40,000 runners, relatives, guests and so on?

Since this will take nine months to complete, why don't they start the work in January 2000? Then it can be completed for the Honolulu Marathon in December 2000.

Oops, silly me. I forgot everything always takes twice as long as government says it should, so I guess we'd better leave it alone. If the work starts this September, it'll be done before the marathon in December 2000. We'll just run around 'em in 1999.

Gerry DeBenedetti

Hawaii is way too expensive to visit

The latest issue of Consumer Reports Travel quotes the AAA's Annual Summertime Cost Survey, finding that a family of four will pay an average of $110 a night for lodging and $103 a day for food.

The survey also found the priciest state to visit is Hawaii, at $419 a day for food and accommodations. New York was $278, California $257. The average of all 50 states was $213.

What does this mean? It means that, here in Hawaii, most of the taxes and costs of state and city regulations on businesses are, as in all states, added to the normal cost of food and lodgings. In Hawaii's case, an additional $25 or $30 a day more for the hotel tax, car rental tax and then a 4 percent tax on everything the tourist might buy, is also applied.

Our state has more taxes and regulations than all others, which is one reason we are the most costly place for food and lodging. Sugar is gone, pineapple is gone, and tourism and the convention center albatross are in trouble.

If tourism goes, who is going to pay the overlarge number of government employees, their annual raises and the other unions that have been running this state?

Don McDiarmid Jr.
Chairman, Hawaii Calls Inc.

Evolution has become religion of the elite

Your Aug. 16 editorial missed the point of the evolution debate. What bothers the minority of America's elite is that the vast majority of people haven't bought their story of how things started.

Evolution as a theory is in a panic, because it long ago stopped being the subject of science and more the religion of those who wish to explain the world without a creator.

The evidence of science, in fact, shows that many different species sprang into existence fully functional in their present form and without a trace of transition between species.

Thus we now have "punctuated equilibrium" to explain the total lack of transitional forms called for and predicted by Darwin.

Even with this, there isn't enough time or the proper mechanisms for macro-change or to form something from nothing.

I see the Kansas School Board's decision more as a protest of the flawed status quo than as religion versus science. The broad consensus among serious scientists just doesn't exist in the real world.

Jim Drake


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