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Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Tapa


Pedestrians get no respect from motorists

Most folks drive with complete disregard of pedestrians at all hours and all degrees of visibility. Even police cars don't stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.

Stupid laws enable drivers to pass on the right if a car is turning in front of you. Pedestrians who are less than halfway across the street in the crosswalk can expect cars to drive through the marked crosswalk.

If we are to join the human race, we must amend all laws that put pedestrians in danger. Unmarked cars, cameras and tough fines are the remedies.

Michael E. Powers

Don't underestimate effectiveness of buses

A common complaint about Bus Rapid Transit is that it will require government spending. History has been ignored: The development of our dispersed, suburban lifestyle and the freeway system to connect it has been borne by the taxpayer ever since President Eisenhower inagurated the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s.

BRT, providing an alternative to the car, is long overdue for efficiency, safety, public health and environmental reasons.

Better management of a car-based system will have limited effect in Honolulu. Driving space is constrained by geography, the high cost of land and dense urban settlement. Bad weather, fender-benders, water main breaks and emergency repairs will grind our commute to a halt as long as we depend on individual cars.

Recent models ("The Physics of Gridlock," Atlantic magazine, December 2000) suggest that high traffic densities may cause gridlock even when nothing is obviously broken. We kill nearly as many on our roads every year as we did in the Vietnam War.

While air bags and bulk may protect encapsulated motorists from injury, nothing has stopped the slaughter of pedestrians. People are too frightened to walk or bike to their destinations, and refuse to let their children walk or bike to school.

My neighborhood doesn't have crosswalks; it's not part of our consciousness. This exacerbates a national epidemic of obesity.

Environmentally, our dependence on single-occupant cars produces hundreds of thousands of smog emitters and requires vast amounts of pavement. The result is more air pollution as people sit in gridlock, and more water pollution as roadway grunge finds its way into our streams and oceans via hardened storm drain systems.

Our present transportation model is badly in need of an overhaul. Rather than complaining about government support of mass transit, we should hold government accountable for helping create safe, environmentally beneficial and widely affordable forms of urban mobility.

Khalil J. Spencer
Immediate Past President
Hawaii Bicycling League

Why aren't aerials being confiscated at docks?

I have a few questions I would like answered. Why isn't the ban on aerials being enforced?

Why aren't they being stopping from being shipped into Hawaii in huge containers? They are illegal, aren't they? Why aren't they confiscated at the docks? I must be missing something.

Evanita Midkiff


Quotables

Tapa
"When you get right down to it,
it's just playing cowboys and Indians,
except that you can spend thousands
of dollars for your gear and get
totally wrapped up in it."

Brandon Cayetano
OWNER OF HAWAII ALL-STAR
PAINTBALL NEAR SAND ISLAND

On his new business that features the rapid-fire
"combat" of the fun professional sport

Tapa
"I kept on paging her cellular phone...
(and thought) my God, probably
something's happened."

Tessie Domingo
MOTHER OF CHERRY ANN DOMINGO
On the hours before she learned that her daughter
was shot to death by an ex-boyfriend
in the parking lot of Ala Moana Center


Teachers deserve raise in new contract

Chief negotiator Davis Yogi and the Cayetano administration he represents are again doing their best to take advantage of dedicated state employees.

The refusal to fund the arbitrated contract of the Hawaii Government Employees Association and stalling tactics in the current teacher contract negotiations indicate that those in charge are either ignorant of the collective bargaining act or refusing to abide by the provisions of law.

It is an insult to all the dedicated teachers to say "no pay increase for the past two years." The state's initial offer of some $3,200 over four years is an insult.

Does the administration think this kind of measly carrot will make teachers and principals stay longer? The tactic may serve only to delay the big shortage of educators that is looming because of bad conditions and compensation.

By that time, Ben Cayetano will be out of office with his big retirement package. Doesn't anyone else want to attract and keep quality teachers for our children?

June Asato
Mililani

Cuts to state budget will hurt schools

Your Jan. 12 story, "Senate Republicans propose $170 million in cuts," portends further damage to Hawaii's public schools. Since education consumes one out of every three state dollars, public education will get less financial support.

Since territorial days, our schools have been seriously underfunded. In recent years, Hawaii has ranked at the very bottom of the 50 states in public school financing.

The 1998 cut of income tax revenues by 10 percent means uncertified teachers, large classes and deteriorated classrooms.

Hawaii's "tax hell" myth has led to much of the state's money problems. Tax breaks for tourism, highest-income earners, corporations and expensive property perpetuate inferior public education.

Jerome G. Manis

Clinton, Democrats are quick to blame others

Scandalous President Clinton unwisely opened his mouth, spitting malice and disrespect to the incoming president and the third branch of government.

George W. Bush won the election by a narrow margin -- fairly and legally.

The Democrats illegally made their own rules after the election was over. That's why the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the count to ensure equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

President Clinton should know why ballots in Democractic counties in Florida were rejected: There were thousands of overvotes and undervotes. Democratic counties were infested with illiterate voters who did not know how to read, count and follow simple directions. Still, the Democrats implied that the GOP is to blame.

At least Vice President Gore and Senator Lieberman are not sore losers; they conceded gracefully and like gentlemen, unlike President Clinton.

Bernardo Pascua Benigno
Mililani





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