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Wednesday, July 25, 2001



Board considers issue of low-income project

Many thanks to Rep. Brian Schatz, Sen. Carol Fukunaga and Janelle Frewen from City Councilman Andy Mirikitani's office for their attendance and participation at the July 19 meeting of the Makiki-Tantalus Neighborhood Board. The growing controversy over the proposed low-income project, Punahou Vista, to be built on the corner of Punahou Street and Wilder Avenue was reflected in the scores of residents who turned out for the meeting to voice their outrage.

I urge fellow voters in the Manoa and Makiki areas to attend the town meeting on this topic that Schatz and Fukunaga have set up for Aug. 2 at 7 p.m. at St. Clement's Episcopal Church, at the corner of Wilder Avenue and Makiki Street.

Greg Shepherd

2nd Amendment is a limited right

Ken Armstrong's July 19 letter argues that if we interpret the 2nd Amendment to mean individuals have the right to bear arms, then imprisoned felons must be allowed to carry arms. He concluded that since the right to bear arms is not an unlimited right, then it is not a right at all. In his world, if something isn't black, then it's white -- gray does not exist.

Prisoners forfeit most of their rights by breaking the social contract. But for those of us who do live under the rule of law, the 2nd Amendment does give us the right to bear arms. It's not an unlimited right -- you can't own nukes, you can't test-fire a howitzer on Kapiolani Boulevard and you can't tote guns into bars -- but it's a right nonetheless.

Jim Henshaw
Kailua


[Quotables]

"I was terrified. It was unprovoked and unexpected. My first instinct was the pig was not going to get my dog."

Patsy Caufield,
After a wild pig attacked her and her dog, Runner, near Punaluu Beach Park. She was wounded on her stomach and leg, but Runner escaped injury.


"We did screw up. We made a mistake and we will offer refunds for the Fresno State game."

Jim Donovan,
University of Hawaii associate athletic director, after new UH president Evan Dobelle reversed a ticket refund policy for a rescheduled football game.


Opposition to gays based on ignorance

Kay Gleason, in her letter of July 15, claimed to "celebrate the diversity of our society." Yet she stated that the "homosexual" lifestyle is destructive and dangerous. That statement is a good example of what is really destructive and dangerous.

It is sad when people who are not gay claim to know all about the "gay lifestyle" usually based on the excesses that are portrayed by the media, the distortions enumerated by some churches, or just simple imagination, but never based on the wonderful diversity of people in the gay community.

I am a healthy, happy gay man in a monogomous relationship for 12 years. Since Gleason stated that she is a woman and an "ethnic minority," I ask her to realize the damage that was done by those who claimed to understand.

Jamie Lotstein
Anahola, Kauai

God gave stem cells their healing power

The pope is not wrong, he is just mistaken. Stem-cell research is not evil.

To use nature's -- and nature's God's -- own natural processes to treat, to heal, perhaps to cure human illness lies at the very center of the healing arts. How can teaching a cell how to behave in healing ways be evil? A stem cell is just a cell that has not yet been programmed by the body's chemistry to determine what job it will do.

At every stage of development, the body prepares these unprogrammed precursor cells. Every cell in my now 62-year-old body is replaced every few years; some by cell division, some by programming these ready-to-serve ambidextrous cells. Does it matter where in the process, beginning to end, we get them? That is how they were meant to serve.

Nature isn't perfect. God made it that way on purpose. If nature were perfect, the planet would be covered to a depth of many miles with the original green goo that was the first life form. Instead, nature makes mistakes. That's how God created the rich diversity of life and the wonderful differences between each of us.

A part of that wonderfulness is an ingenious little stem cell ready to be pressed into service for whatever needs doing.

Have we become so obsessed with sex and reproduction that we are afraid to let one of God's natural healing miracles do what it was meant to do?

Let those clever undifferentiated little cells serve wherever they are able and from wherever they are found. And the genius of the researcher and physician who learns to guide them is no less God's creation.

The Rev. Mike Young
First Unitarian Church

Bush plan provides energy for future

I disagree with your July 17 editorial criticizing the Bush administration's energy plan.

Large energy projects must be planned at least five years in advance. If we wait for the gas lines to form again at our service stations and rolling blackouts to begin it will be far too late to save jobs and to maintain public safety.

Gasoline prices are only a small part of our national problem. Because almost 60 percent of our crude is now imported, a major international oil embargo would cripple the U.S. economy.

In recent years, 90 percent of the new electric generating units constructed on the mainland used natural gas for fuel. As a result we no longer have a natural gas surplus and the well-head price has doubled. Accordingly, we must expedite the construction of a natural gas pipeline to bring the gas from existing gas wells in Alaska to the lower 48 states.

For the past 25 years the United States has consumed about a half a kilowatt hour of electric energy to produce $1 of gross domestic product. Half of the growth in electric energy consumption can be attributed to the computer industry and the operation of the Internet.

Many of the improvements in our nation's overall energy efficiency have occurred through electrification of industry.

The Clinton administration ignored this terribly important issue. President Bush is to be commended for his efforts and leadership in this regard.

Alan S. Lloyd

Gas prices in Hawaii are too high

The price for gas in Hawaii is too high, among the highest in the nation. A Jan. 12 Star-Bulletin story, "Crude oil costs fall, but pump prices rise," said that gas prices soared 33 percent last year. The average price for regular unleaded gasoline in Honolulu in 2000 rose to $1.90 a gallon compared to $1.43 in 1999. When the year 2000 began, the average price for regular unleaded gas ($1.43) was only 14 cents higher than the national average. But by the end of 2000, the price climbed to $1.90. That was 44 cents higher than the U.S. average.

In addition, all the construction on Hawaii roadways and the ill-timed traffic lights result in continuous stop-and-go driving for motorists, which definitely burns more gas and makes driving even more expensive here.

To help cut the consumption of gasoline, we can change the traffic lights so you don't have to stop at each one. Another solution may be to evaluate the timing of construction work so the flow of traffic is smoother. If gas prices aren't going to decrease any time soon, we also should look into conservation.

Sherrie Caras
Waipahu






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