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Friday, July 21, 2000

Tapa


Crosses were heartfelt tribute to victims

As a family member of three of the Sacred Falls victims who survived, and as a friend of the families of several victims who died in last year's rockslide, I am appalled that the crosses were removed (Star-Bulletin, July 19).

The crosses, made by a family member, were memorials to those who lost their lives that day. The site was respected and taken care of by family members, including me.

My husband and I drive to Sacred Falls once a month to help maintain the site. We place new leis and flowers there. We leave messages for family members and friends who cannot do this themselves. This was our place to grieve.

I have been in Hawaii for almost three years and, daily, I see crosses and flowers along the roadsides where fatal accidents have occurred. Yet they are not removed.

The crosses at Sacred Falls were not a religious statement, but a statement of love and remembrance. They touched the hearts of many.

Deborah C. Nichols

Memorial tree would honor Sacred Falls dead

How sad a more permanent remembrance could not have been established before the crosses were removed from Sacred Falls Park (Star-Bulletin, July 19). What happened there is part of the history of the land, and those who were injured and lost their lives deserve to be remembered.

I no longer live in Hawaii but visit often. I knew one of the victims, and I will miss having a place to leave a wreath out of respect for what happened in May 1999.

Perhaps a "remembrance tree" can be planted as a permanent reminder of our respect for the land, and for those who tread lightly upon it.

Anne Collins
Sacramento, Calif.

Pali Highway is safer to cross thanks to DOT

Your July 19 article on the flashing crosswalk lights on Pali Highway painted an incomplete picture. True, the lights can't be easily seen in bright daylight, can't force motorists to stop, and sometimes give pedestrians a false sense of security.

But our study -- using observers, radar guns and follow-up surveys of both residents and drivers -- showed clear improvement. (Police were not present during the 100-plus hours of speed measurements.)

Bullet When the lights were activated, maximum speed, Kailua-bound, decreased by 16.2 percent, and average speed decreased by 25.2 percent. Meanwhile, maximum speed, Honolulu-bound, decreased by 17.8 percent, and average speed decreased by 27.2 percent.

Bullet The average time pedestrians waited to cross was reduced from 26.7 to 13.2 seconds. Total crossing time also decreased from 33.6 to 27.1 seconds because pedestrians waited in the median less often.

Bullet Previously, 21.6 percent of pedestrians ran at some point while crossing; only 12.1 percent did after the lights were installed.

Bullet Pedestrians also used the crosswalk more frequently; the proportion of pedestrians crossing outside the crosswalk decreased from 15.9 to 8.3 percent.

The study clearly showed that the state Department of Transportation's use of in-pavement flashing lights as a stop-gap measure was successful.

Panos D. Prevedouros
Associate Professor of Traffic Engineering
University of Hawaii-Manoa

Libertarians have plan to cut drug costs

State Rep. Roy Takumi is correct in his July 5 column when describing how many elderly and poor people share medicine or take substandard doses to avoid high costs. They simply cannot afford to take what their doctors order.

Takumi suggested a plan that "doesn't cost the taxpayers a penny." When politicians tell me this, it reminds me of a nurse who tells a patient getting a shot that "this won't hurt a bit."

The Libertarian Party has some suggestions which will decrease costs associated with drugs without giving more power to politicians and bureaucrats:

Bullet Break up the monopoly on health care that the government has given to physicians. Nurse practitioners can care for many patients far cheaper than doctors.

Bullet Individuals should be allowed to buy more drugs without prescriptions. With many more over-the-counter medicines available, the cost of health care would drop drastically. People are smart enough to care for themselves.

Bullet Release the pharmaceutical industry from the chains of the Food and Drug Administration. In addition to the cost of research and development of new drugs, pharmaceutical companies pay $7-20 million in FDA-approved tests for each new drug. They also must wait about seven years longer to get drugs on the market in America compared to the United Kingdom and Canada.

Gerard Murphy, R.N.

Double standard exists for judge

After reading your front-page newspaper stories on Judge David Fong, I wonder how this man can preside in a courtroom every day and demand that people come before him to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Loi P. Le

ADA must protect rights of the disabled

Our council strongly protests Hawaii's endorsement of Alabama's position in Garrett vs. University of Alabama.

This is a civil rights issue disguised as states' rights. People have worked long and hard to obtain the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects people with disabilities.

For years these people have been treated as less than human. Would you have us go back to those days instead of accepting people as they are?

People with disabilities have much to teach all of us. They accept themselves and have learned to accept others, no matter what their condition.

The ADA recognizes that all our citizens are entitled to equal treatment under the law. Perhaps persons with differences need some additional protection from state governments. People of color certainly did, or has that part of our history been forgotten?

David A. Woll
Chairman, State Planning Council
on Developmental Disabilities


Quotables

Tapa

"I'm a little Democrat,
a little Republican, a little Green,
a little independent, and
a little disappointed
in government."

Harry Kim
RECENTLY RETIRED HAWAII COUNTY
CIVIL DEFENSE DIRECTOR
Set to run as a Republican
for Big Island mayor

Tapa

"I am more than 200 percent sure
I want to play for Vince Goo
and the Wahine. I just couldn't
find a disadvantage
about going to UH."

Milia Macfarlane
ALL-STATE POINT GUARD
On her intent to pursue college basketball with the
University of Hawaii Wahine, after
graduating from Punahou next year


More on longline controversy

Tapa

Environmentalists are putting on a good show

Those protesting the killing of turtles are disguised as swaggering, heroic, wet-suited divers. They pull a snagged turtle to the surface and race it to shore, while video cameras record the act.

Yet how many of these rescues have occurred? How many turtles have been saved? And why were they saved -- to get on TV?

If the feds are going to take away the living of these local longline fishermen, they had better be ready to pay just compensation, like millions of dollars.

Jack A. Fiero

Other countries are leatherback killers

I would gladly give up my sashimi and poke if it would help to save the leatherback turtle. But neither Hawaii's longline fishermen nor Hawaii controls the fate of this endangered species.

Instead of giving up raw tuna, I may not buy a television made in Malaysia, where the nesting population of leatherback turtles has collapsed due to intensive turtle egg harvesting.

I am also thinking about boycotting coffee from Costa Rica, where the nesting population of leatherback turtles is predicted to be extinct in a few years.

I will cancel my vacation to Taiwan, because fishermen from this and other Asian countries killed several hundred leatherbacks per year during the 1980s in now-outlawed drift net fisheries.

And what about Indonesia, where adult leatherbacks are harvested in local waters? Should I give up my Indonesian-made Nikes?

Michael Kohn

Fishermen have only themselves to blame

In recent days I've seen TV commercials from the Hawaii Longlining Association saying that the recent ruling by Judge Ezra will put its members out of business. The ads also say that the mainland plaintiffs don't care about Hawaii's people.

But what about the fishermen? Don't they care about the environment? Have they been lying to government agencies about the number of turtles and other sea animals they've killed in recent years?

All of this could have been avoided if they had taken better care of the environment instead of only thinking about themselves and making money. If Judge Ezra's judgment was a little extreme, at least now we can look at other ways to maintain our fish populations, such as fish farming.

The fishermen should stop complaining and trying to gain sympathy.

Alan Kim
Aiea

Longliners may be taking too many fish

As a little kid growing up on the Leeward Coast, I use to remember huge ahi and marlin being hauled in from trolling boats off the Pokai Bay ramp. In the early 1970s, I used to see ahi being pulled in that weighed 200 pounds or more. Once, I saw a black marlin close to 1,000 pounds.

Now, when I come back to visit, I go to Waimalu Shopping Center to buy aku belly or aku bone, but they don't sell either. When I asked the store clerks why, they answered, "We only get small kine tuna." What happened to the big tuna?

Therefore, maybe it's good to limit longlining in local waters, because the fishermen have been wreaking havoc instead of catching only what is needed. In fact, maybe longline fishing should be totally outlawed in Hawaiian waters.

Then fishermen can go back to the old way of catching fish -- using barbless hooks and fishing poles. Limiting longline fishing in Hawaii would hopefully allow the small tuna to grow up and become the big boys of the sea.

Gerald Young
Seattle


Puerto Rican frogs are harmless, beautiful

I've lived in Hawaii for 12 years and call it my home, but I don't forget where I came from: Puerto Rico. Therefore, I found your June 5 articles on frogs to be disrespectful and in bad taste. I'm surprised no one else has commented on this.

The coqui is very dear to Puerto Ricans. It is music to our ears to listen to these little creatures. They are a national symbol of Puerto Rico and represent our land.

These animals can't be compared to rats. They merely sing while rats carry disease, which is a big difference.

Instead of just trying to kill them, as you explain how to do in detail, you should educate yourself about Puerto Rico and be more sensitive. Coquies are harmless and are not "pesky aliens."

In fact, their beautiful sounds, with waterfalls in the background, are often used on relaxation and environmental audio tapes. They help to promote tourism in Puerto Rico. They could do the same for Hawaii, if people weren't so negative.

Nancy Santoni

There is little aloha for animals in Hawaii

In all my considerable travels, I have never encountered a worse stray animal situation as in Hawaii. And I think I've discovered why: Nowhere is there a more pet-unfriendly place.

Look at the classified ads for rental housing. So few accept pets, mainly because of ignorant misconceptions of the damage wrought by animals. But, believe me, rowdy and drunk teens do more damage than a domesticated animal!

So what's a pet owner to do? Choose between having a place to live or keeping a pet? What a terrible price landlords exact from their tenants.

No wonder the animal shelter is overflowing with discarded pets. Hasn't anyone realized the relationship between stray animals and overflowing animal shelters, and such cruel, restrictive policies by landlords?

Anne Rose

Legal judgments are boons for attorneys

The July 17 front-page wire service article about Nazi slaves getting compensation in the amount of $4.8 billion was quite a shock. The article spelled out the amounts to be paid to the Nazi slaves and forced laborers, and noted that $48 million was to compensate their attorneys.

I would be interested in knowing exactly how many lawyers and support staffers worked on this case. Then, by doing some math, we should determined how much each of these legal workers is getting from the $48 million.

If this amount exceeds the sums being awarded each of the slave laborers ($7,200) and forced laborers ($2,400), which I think it will, I really question the motive behind the lawsuit other than being a money machine for lawyers.

Worcester Bong

Coach Jones deserves praise for nixing UH mascot

University of Hawaii head football Coach June Jones should be commended for his role in the removal of the UH mascot.

While critics conveniently use the buzz phrase, "political correctness," as a basis for their discontent with the mascot, many people of conscience, like Jones, clearly see this as but one in a long line of human, civil and indigenous rights initiatives.

Mahalo to Coach Jones, agent Leigh Steinberg and all others who were involved in making this apparently unpopular but socially just decision.

Tony Castanha
Student/Lecturer

Excise tax on food and rent must go

The news that state tax revenues are up is a welcome sign to the Hawaii GOP, because it is concrete evidence of what Republicans in the state House and Senate have been saying for the past decade: Cut taxes and revenues will go up.

Throughout the 1990s, states across the nation cut taxes and watched their revenues increase. Meanwhile, Hawaii's elected Democrats tried to raise the excise tax by 35 percent, and talked about taxing nonprofit organizations and hospitals.

It is a basic Republican belief that cutting taxes is good, because it lets families keep more of their money, stimulates the economy and increases revenues.

Hawaii's elected Democrats delayed this well-known solution for a decade as our economy spiraled downward. We can thank our elected Republicans for never giving up on tax cuts, and for successfully blocking what would have been a crippling excise tax increase.

Now it is time to adopt the Republicans' decade-long compassionate call to eliminate the excise tax on food, residential rent and medical services. No one should be taxed for being sick, feeding their family or buying basic shelter.

This tax on food, rent and medical services hurts the poor the most. It is not right and should be stopped now.

As campaign season moves into high gear, ask all candidates if they will support eliminating the tax on food, rent and medical services. This common sense, compassionate action is long overdue.

Linda Lingle
Chairwoman,
Hawaii Republican Party





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