Sunday, August 19, 2001
STUB OUT SMOKING
It's about health, not businessCity Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura says, "I do not think government should be dictating business policy." Wake up, Mr. Yoshimura. The smoking restriction is a health policy. We have no choice but to pay for smoking-induced illnesses as long as tobacco is available, but smokers have no right to kill non-smokers as well as themselves.
Clean air to breathe is a basic human right. Why should nonsmokers have to stay at home because of drug addiction? If a diner near you rolled up his sleeve and injected heroin, there would be protest.
Nicotine addicts, feed your habit at home.
Smoking ban won't drive away touristsThe Aug. 16 article, "Felix tries to resuscitate smoking ban," really comes down to our money or our lives. Opponents of the ban seem more concerned about worshipping mammon than they do about the general health of our work force.
A public smoking ban in California has not curtailed tourism in that state. Even good friends of mine who are smokers say that they enjoy the fact that they don't leave restaurants, family bowling centers or bars smelling like a smoked salmon.
All the people of Hawaii, smokers and nonsmokers alike, should rally behind Councilman Felix and support a ban on smoking in all public places. It's healthy for both smokers and nonsmokers, and such bans don't curtail business. The employees in such public establishments will feel better about their work environments. And it is the logical next step following the tobacco settlement.
The ban is not about lost dollars, but it is about your lives, your friends' lives and the lives of those you love. Support a ban on smoking. You'll more likely live to tell your great grandchildren about it.
Von Kenric Kaneshiro
Cigarette ban hasn't hurt in CaliforniaAs a resident of California, I went through this almost two years ago, the same tired arguments about hurting business. Smoking was banned virtually everywhere, from bowling alleys to bars and even outdoor stadiums.
Net result: They all survive and folks just smoke in outdoor areas set aside for those purposes. I love going to places and not being forced to breathe smokey air. The workers I know also greatly appreciate it.
Hawaii is a great place to visit but the smoking in places just detracts, not helps, tourism. Trust me, know one will stop coming because of the ban. Hawaii beats everyone in beauty, weather and aloha spirit.
San Pedro, Calif.
Tobacco smoke drifts to nonsmoking areasMy wife and I have visited Honolulu six times in the past several years. We dined in an indoor restaurant one time on our first visit, an outdoor restaurant one time on our second visit, and have avoided restaurants ever since.
We -- and I imagine many others who simply walk away without comment -- have found the prevalence of cigarette smoke in Honolulu dining establishments to be offensive -- one of the very few negative aspects of visiting Hawaii, and one we avoid.
Unfortunately, nonsmoking sections are ineffective, as cigarette smoke drifts wherever it wishes.
Castro Valley, Calif.
Harris, Rutledge nixed previous banHonolulu City Councilman John Henry Felix has all the right reasons for introducing a bill to ban smoking in restaurants -- the welfare of the employees who are forced to breathe secondhand smoke, and the welfare of children who have no choice in where their parents take them to dine out.
But let's not forget that the Council passed a similar measure in 1995 and it was vetoed by Mayor Jeremy Harris, who put the tobacco industry interests ahead of our health and welfare. Remember that Harris and Tony Rutledge, who went against his own union members, put their financial and political goals ahead of even the welfare of the voting union members.
Is there any question why so many hotel workers are opposed to having Jeremy as governor and Tony as head of their union?
Think of the waiters, waitresses, bartenders and bar porters, hosts and hostesses, buspersons, entertainers, managers, as well as the diners and children, and force Harris to put public health ahead of his personal wealth and ambitions.
Call or write your councilman and the mayor and tell them we'd like to be the "health community," a place where visitors and residents alike can dine in a healthy atmosphere -- just like they do in California and other places with more forward-thinking leaders.
Donnelly article on his friend was touchingDave Donnelly's Aug. 16 article on the Big Island Hospital and Mike Sweetow is one of the most brilliant, personal and touching pieces I have ever read in my 66 years of being on this great planet.
I have tears in my eyes as I write to you. I could go on quite a bit more -- but I won't.
Thank you, Dave. You've written your way into the world of "Legends Only."
Religion and science both necessaryStar-Bulletin editor John Flanagan observed in his column last Sunday that an unusually high number of letters to the editor has been generated in the current creation-evolution controversy. I will try to keep him happy by keeping my letter really short.
Albert Einstein said, "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
Variations on crucifix are getting tiredRegarding the Star-Bulletin report on Daria Fand and her crucifix "art" (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 15):
What is it with these budding artists and crucifixes? Where's their originality? If it isn't throwing dung on Madonnas, or plunging crucifixes into toilets, then it's trying to send some kind of message by nailing something besides the Son of Man to a cross. Pitiful, but not art. And no longer newsworthy. Puerile even.
Now, if Daria Fand wants to do one with a woman stirring a bowl of excrement with a rolled Torah, or one with a grunting, female Hitler shooting a flaming menorah out of her derriere, that would be interesting, but again, hardly art.
"You cannot use a credit report in any fashion, either directly or indirectly, to determine rates. It can't be any clearer than that."
State insurance commissioner, setting a Friday deadline for Hawaii auto insurers to admit whether they use consumer credit histories when determining auto insurance rates. He gave the order after State Farm acknowledged that it used the illegal practice in determining rates.
"You don't get much of this in Rhode Island."
Visitor from Warwick, R.I., watching lava meet the sea from the newly improved gravel extension of Highway 130 in Hawaii County, upgraded to allow tourists and residents to witness the spectacular natural phenomenon.
DOE's unspent funds could pay for bonusesGovernor Cayetano, talking about the teachers' union taking its contract dispute on professional differential pay to the Hawaii Labor Relations Board, has said: "The likelihood is that we will appeal because I don't know where the money is going to come from."
The governor recently denied a Department of Education request to carry over $8.7 million in unexpended funds. Instead, he forced the DOE to return the money to the state general fund. Please let us know why, Governor Cayetano, if you are concerned about paying for educating our children.
The superintendent of education has said unofficially that the DOE has enough money to pay for both years of the differential without cutting programs.
The teachers deserve a permanent professional track. Most mainland teachers have some form of professional track built into their contracts.
Pay dispute saps teachers' motivationThe best defense against inferior teaching and teachers is an adequate supply of candidates who are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and temperamentally suited to the profession.
Of the three, only enthusiasm can be affected by the circumstances of employment. There are many superior teachers who have risen above the conditions of circumstance. They shine brightly and light fires in many dark corners. However, we cannot all be "supermen" (apologies for the sexism).
Yet, there is also satisfaction in being a part of a successful process, a cog in the machinery. There are many more individuals who do their jobs as artisans -- thoughtfully, carefully, selflessly. They do good, solid work that lays the foundation for a knowledgeable citizenry. There is no shame in being part of a well-run machine. There is great disappointment in feeling that you are viewed as disposable.
After almost 20 years of teaching, and discussions with numerous students contemplating the field of education, the ratification of this last contract was a tremendous milestone of hope. Finally, I thought, I would be able to recommend the profession to young adults without feeling the twinge of guilt that, financially, they might do better for their future families. What a tremendous start it was toward attracting and keeping talented individuals who also desire a comfortable standard of living. Then it fell apart.
This latest episode of stonewalling jeopardizes our future. Doesn't someone understand that the failure to recognize and reward self-improvement will result in the hiring of individuals who take the job because it's the "best they can do" as opposed to finding, recruiting and keeping people who are "doing their best."
Pearl City High School
Governor's handshake sealed the dealWhen you live in Hawaii, everyone knows when you shake hands on a deal -- it's DONE -- it's HONORED. If you make a deal, even if you make a mistake or miscalculation, you've got to be a man and keep your end of the bargain. You can't change the rules. That's Hawaii style. To do less would make shame for yourself, your family and even your friends.
Well, the governor shook hands. He made it very clear that he was in charge -- the buck stops with him. He knew what he was doing.
But there was a mistake or miscalculation; still he was in charge. The mistake was his alone.
When he shook hands, it was a done deal. Not to honor that deal will make shame for all the people of Hawaii.
He should do the honorable thing.
Condemn the bomber, not the presidentIt's a shame that C.W. Griffin ("Bush is wrong about suicide bombers," Letters, Aug. 17) employs partisan politics and the same, tired accusations about President Bush.
I remind Bush critics that Middle East violence also took place during President Bill Clinton's watch. That anyone would attack the president instead of condemning the suicide bomber is amazing!
In my dictionary, it is incredibly cowardly to send a suicide bomber to kill innocent, defenseless civilians. If the Palestinians were so courageous, why not send in an army of suicide bombers against the Israeli military? But against superior firepower that would be suicidal, wouldn't it?
In time, there will be one China onlyAccording to an Aug. 6 Associated Press story from Taipei, Sen. Joseph Biden says China is no global threat. I agree. Yet other American officials tell the world that China threatens Taiwan, which is untrue. Taiwan is a part of China and the people on Taiwan are Chinese.
In 1979, the U.S. Congress deliberately passed the Taiwan Relations Resolution giving the United States the duty to protect Taiwan. Advisers were dispatched to Taiwan to advise the small independent elements how to fight against the mainland. In fact, China has repeatedly rejected and protested the U.S. Taiwan Relations Act, which is contrary to the international law, the U.N. Charter and the sovereign rights of China.
Also recent news reports say that Taiwan's economy is merging more and more with the mainland. The free trade people will be replaced in the 2003 election. The anti-Chen political influence on Taiwan is too powerful for Chen to resist.
Chinese President Jiang Zemin cited his love of poetry to the Taiwan news reporters. If the stem is used to cook the bean, the bean will cry in the pot. We were born from the same root, why do you want to cook me with such a big fire?
Jiang and the people on Taiwan and the mainland believe China will be peacefully unified in time.
Hung Peng Lee
Teacher took comment too seriouslySchool teacher Maikeli Geyer somehow attempts to turn a minor case of road rage into a crusade against racism, bigotry and ignorance and possibly risk escalating this trivial incident ("Stand up to racism no matter what color you are," Gathering Place, Aug. 15).
Instead of biting his tongue, laughing it off or looking the other way, Geyer felt compelled to inform "this sadly misled woman" that Martin Luther King Jr. died fighting racism. The alleged racist, whose children were also in the car, probably did not appreciate his historical reference. I find it as politically correct skewing.
Is the boating fee hike proposal a hoax ?The chairman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR), Gilbert Coloma-Agaran, has said, about the privatization of state boat harbors:
"Since 1991, boating project funding has been insufficient to keep pace with program needs. Although the boating program pays both principle and interest on projects funded with state bonds, the state's debt-limit ceiling has placed CIP funding requests for boating projects in direct competition with funding demands for other programs deemed to have a higher public purpose. Few projects have been authorized, even though program revenues could be increased to support the expected debt-service costs."
According to this statement, the BLNR's fee increase proposal is doomed because of the state debt-limit ceiling. The proposal would not be able to fulfill its sole purpose of renovating decaying boating facilities, even if revenues were increased to cover the debt-service costs for financing the $140 million needed for the capital improvement project.
Why, then, did the the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DBOR), and many of us in the commercial and recreational boating sectors, devote time and effort during the past year to create, review and revise three successive drafts to develop the fee increase proposal, which was approved by the BLNR on June 22 and now awaits the governor's OK and public hearings?
It is obvious now that BLNR-DBOR officials were aware that the debt-limit ceiling would preclude this proposal from being successful, but did nothing about it.
This has to be the ultimate exercise in futility. Where does the responsibility lie for this cruel hoax? Were the drastic fee increases of the proposal just a shibai backdrop to make the upcoming privatization fees look more reasonable?
If this proposal can't do the job it was advertised to do, then throw it out and let's start developing a proposal that CAN bring our boating facilities up to the standards that Hawaii needs and deserves.
The fee increase proposal should be withdrawn to correct this and other serious flaws.
'Lava Highway' offers new perspectiveRegarding Hawaii County's volcano access (Star-Bulletin editorial, Aug. 14):
We appreciate the excellent national and international coverage provided on Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim's efforts (with strong community support) to provide safer access to the volcano's 18-year-old active flow sites along the Kalapana shoreline, now outside the bounds of the Hawaii Volcano National Park.
The awesome natural phenomenon has always been a tremendous magnet for visitors and residents who approach hazardous areas no matter what the risks.
We agree with Mayor Kim that it is much safer to encourage a managed approach on a safe cinder roadway with knowledgeable officials and community members available to provide information, hospitality, legal tours and assistance on this special pilgrimage route. The road provides much better access that is currently available for emergency vehicles, medical assistance and area evacuation; should it ever be deemed necessary.
The roadway is not on an active lava bench or within any extraordinary hazard zone beyond the very obvious dangers of being on the slopes of an erupting volcano. That is exactly what we must provide -- a much deeper understanding and respect for this extraordinary place and its incredible natural beauty and its hazards, as well as the values that sustain us as an island community.
As far as a "safety rule book," well, Mayor Kim has rewritten the book on lava inundations, elections, floods, fires and other potential disasters. Come travel the "Lava Highway" with us, enjoy Uncle Robert Keliihoomalu's garden and mango ice cream at Verna's Five.
We'll go with Harry's call on this one.
Hawaii Island Economic Development Board
Summit for girls broadened horizonsThe Economic Summit for Girls during the first week of August at Sacred Hearts Academy was a fabulous experience for the 30 participants.
It was five-days of exciting field trips, inspirational speakers and the opportunity to meet new people, develop friendships and get a glimpse of possible careers. One of our favorite trips was to Cinnamon Girl's Warehouse. We enjoyed meeting Lily Yao from First Hawaiian Bank and Leslie Wilkins from the State Commission on the Status of Women.
We were bombarded with all sorts of possible careers from banking to technology. I am convinced that I can do anything to which I aspire. My peers and I want to be mothers and wives, but we also want exciting careers. The Economic Summit for Girls exposed us to many possibilities.
I would like to thank Sacred Hearts Academy and the sponsors and foundations from the community for making this worthwhile experience for girls possible.
Iolani School, Class of 2006
Pet owners should be accountableI agree that pit-bull owners should be responsible for their pets' behavior (Letters, June 19). How the pet is raised determines its personality. Some owners think feeding their dog steroidal vitamins and gun powder will make the dog healthier and more aggressive than a dog that is fed ordinary dog food once or twice daily.
However, by feeding their dogs these things the owners don't realize they are throwing the animal's natural behavior off balance, causing the pet to become vicious and more aggressive toward the owners themselves as well as their families and the public.
There should be a law saying that any aggressive or vicious action by a pit bull causing a person physical or emotional problems should be considered an assault; and, the owners of the animal should be fined and ordered to compensate the victim and his or her family.
According to pit-bull experts, the dogs are not the problem; the owners are. If we believe the experts, we must focus on owners to rectify the problem.
We need mandatory cuts in water useThe state and city governments should pass laws restricting the consumption of water, especially now that the water levels of wells are falling in these dry years. Voluntary cuts are not as effective.
Water rates for big users such as hotels and golf courses should be raised and their amount of water use reduced.
In June, Hilton Hawaiian Village used more than 22 million gallons, Outrigger 20.9 million gallons, Hawaii Kai Golf Course, 25.5 million gallons and Mid Pacific Club 9.9 million gallons. Golf courses should use recycled water for their lawns.
How Tim Chang
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