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Sunday, January 6, 2002



Speak up now about dangers of gambling

Legalized gambling as a Band-Aid to current economic issues is capable, in the long run, of increasing social problems such as family erosion, blue- and white-collar crime and homelessness.

Major outside gambling interests must be stopped at the legislative door now. Legislators will take action within the next three weeks on 24 bills dealing with legalized gambling in Hawaii.

I urge concerned citizens to write, e-mail, fax or see your senator and your representative to cry loudly and clearly: "No to legalized gambling."

Sheila Gardiner

Lottery might be the lesser evil

The opposition to gambling in Hawaii has been weakened by the recession and the weak yen that is causing a decline in Japanese tourism. Gambling interests, seeing that gambling has a good chance of being accepted in Hawaii, are spending a huge sum to have a bill passed by the Legislature.

The social problems caused by gambling are being overlooked in favor of the economic benefits. A state lottery would be a lesser evil than gambling on ships and in hotels. Income would go to the state and those who purchased lottery tickets, eliminating the middle man and other private interests.

A state referendum allowing voters to choose between a state lottery, private gambling and no gambling would serve as a guideline for legislators.

How Tim Chang

Gambling hasn't helped Puerto Rico

The proponents of gambling claim that it is the cure for the ills of Hawaii's poor economy. My answer and a strong recommendation are for Governor Cayetano and those supporters in the state Legislature to go to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico has had legalized casino gambling, cockfighting and you name it for many, many years. Puerto Rico is in many ways very similar to Hawaii. It too depends on tourism to support the economy. Its sugar plantation industry also has suffered closures.

But casinos and other forms of gambling haven't been supportive to Puerto Rico's economy. And most of all, the welfare of the people of Puerto Rico has not been helped. Hawaii's governor and state legislators should check it out.

Steve Uyehara
Kalaheo, Hawaii


[Quotables]

"With those kinds of odds, why not put it before the people? And then if they vote it down, once and for all, that settles the question."

Gov. Ben Cayetano

On the perennial question of whether to legalize gambling in Hawaii. The debate has picked up volume this year as a result of the drop in Hawaii's tourist industry since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.


"The more publicity it gets, the more people slow down. We have no other explanation for it."

Marilyn Kali

State Department of Transportation spokeswoman, on the 32 percent drop in speeding citations on the second day of the new program that uses cameras to photograph the license plates of speeding vehicles.


Double-deck is answer to stadium parking

Something is lacking at Aloha Stadium. Only 8,000 parking spaces for a 50,000-seat stadium? Building a double-deck park structure surrounding the stadium would increase parking threefold.

This would make it look more like a first-class stadium, and the fans won't have to park all over creation. Parking rates could be increased to $4 to help cover the construction cost.

Robert S.K. Kam

Ferry service has great potential

I was happy to see your Dec. 27 front-page article on ferry service. Of the several proposals, I like best the one developed by a team of professionals under Matt Dillon, president of Rainbow Transportation.

They propose building cruise ship and ferry terminals at Piers 19 thru 21, and to provide a statewide system of interisland ferries at no cost to the state, all in return for a long-term lease on the piers. Intraisland transit is secondary but could be provided. Act 158 of the last legislative session authorized special revenue bonds to provide for Rainbow Island Express on the neighbor islands.

I recommend a bill on the Dillon proposal be introduced in both houses, and that public hearings be held.

E. Alvey Wright
Former state transit director

If you can't take the smoke, quit breathing

I support smoking in restaurants. Breathing second-hand smoke is a matter of choice. People don't need to breathe. When I was young, we only breathed every other day. The Earth didn't have an atmosphere when I was young. We didn't have oxygen. All we had was nitrogen, and we were glad to get it.

If these crybabies need to breath every day, it's simple: just stay out of restaurants. Furthermore, what are these air-hogging crybabies doing stuffing their faces with restaurant food? I fed my children only once a week, and they all turned out fine, except for Cippy.

Darwinia Pritchard

Hibachi smoke is bothersome, too

Regarding cigarette smoke, our neighbor's smoke is polluting our lungs and stinking up our homes, not only from tobacco but from barbeque starter fluid. The petroleum- based liquid causes smoke and a terrible stench that blows into our windows.

The smell of food cooking is not so bad, but the oil smell is like following the bus in traffic. The only thing worse than bad breath is no breath at all.

The neighbor up wind has no problem. It is those of us down wind who catch the hauna. Parks are equipped to handle this need, so why stink out your neighbors? The old disc jockey, J. Akuhead Pupule, put it best. "If we were considerate of our fellow man, there would not be need for so many laws."

R.J. Waddoups

Meat industry creates terror of its own

After last month's news, I can't believe some people still eat meat.

In December, a U.S. Court of Appeals blocked the USDA's ability to shut down a major ground beef supplier for the school lunch program for repeated violations of the salmonella standard.

The company was supported by the National Meat Association, which claimed that "salmonella is not dangerous, if the meat is cooked properly." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, salmonella sickens 2-4 million Americans annually and kills up to a thousand.

Then, the Justice Department indicted Tyson Foods, the nation's largest chicken processor, for smuggling 2,000 undocumented workers to work in its 57 plants. Just how hard would it be for an al-Qaida operative to join that crowd and drop some anthrax spores in the vat?

But why worry about al-Qaida, when we have our own meat industry to contend with?

Mark Newman
Haiku, Hawaii


On the road with photo cops

Driving the limit creates road rage

We now have digital video cameras issuing speeding citations. This bothers me a whole heck of a lot. A private company is in business to make a profit. Its profit comes from issuing a lot of traffic citations. Combine that in a contract with our state government and we have pseudo-additional taxes that politicians can deny having any connection with.

This system is brought to us by the same pupule folks at the Department of Transportation who designed the Punahou, Pali Highway, Kinau and Likelike off-ramps that come after major on-ramps. We have the unique distinction of being the only state that practices reverse traffic engineering. Everywhere else in the world, there are off-ramps, then on-ramps. How you figgah?

I don't consider myself a speeder, but I did practice common-sense driving and moved with the flow of traffic. Now, I set my cruise control to 1 mph slower than the posted speed limit and get stink-eye and one-finger victory signs from drivers hu hu with me.

Thank you, DOT. I'm causing road rage and find that I've become a traffic hazard.

Gary Noboru Suzukawa

Slowing down eases driving stress

Kudos to the Department of Transportation for its new speed limit and stop-light enforcement.

Not only will the slower and more careful pace make it safer to drive on and walk along our streets, it will help reduce stress and enhance our community's mental health. 2002 already feels safer and healthier.

Greg Farstrup
Executive Director
Mental Health Association in Hawaii

Traffic cameras trample on our liberty

Speeders are hazardous, but Hawaii is stepping all over my idea of American liberty. There is something subtly inhumane and unethical about cameras replacing people for the sake of money in law enforcement. We can expect increases in court costs, bench warrants, jailings and fugitives, for sure.

It's clear that the innocent may pay too, since registered owners, not necessarily the drivers, will answer to the court. It will require car owners to prove their innocence.

Money is not worth pushing the limits of justice. Remember this when you get a ticket: Vote for those who want to send the Robocops back to the mainland from whence they came, along with their greedy corporate sponsors. Actually, Robocop was part-man and probably wouldn't appreciate the comparison.

Anthony Lannutti

Police, not pictures, create safe roads

The Department of Transportation has implemented the "pictures for profit" traffic camera citation system, despite overwhelming protest from the majority of citizens. By the DOT's own estimation, the revenues stand to clear tens of thousands of dollars a day, with the vendor that operates the system and issues the tickets earning around a third of the profit. Not bad for a single day's work. And let's not forget the insurance companies raking in a few extra bucks of their own.

Now, the DOT and some other officials and representatives have been chanting mantra-like, that it's all about safety. What is the first thing most motorists do when they see a police vehicle on the road? We all know that feet leave the gas pedal and move over to the brake. There is nothing more effective to get motorists to pay attention to their driving than the visible presence of police.

If the DOT and others are truly concerned about safety, then visible police presence is what is needed. But there's not much money to be made if motorist are "warned" to slow down when they see the police.

Citizens of Hawaii need to make their presence felt at the voting booths. Vote out the incumbents who have supported this policy.

Mel McKeague

Raising limits would make roads safer

A recently completed driving study study on the mainland revealed that on major four- to six-lane highways, the safest speed was 5 mph faster than the traffic flow, the second safest speed was with the traffic flow, the third safest was 5 mph slower than the traffic flow.

The point is that the safest speeds are those near the normal traffic flow.

Before the installation of the cameras, the traffic flow on the major highways of Oahu was consistently 10 miles per hour faster than the posted speed limits. Drivers in areas posted at 35 were traveling at 45 miles per hour; in 45 mph zones they were traveling at 55 and in 55 posted areas they were moving along at 65 miles per hour.

If safety is the objective of the automatic traffic enforcement system, then all of the speed limits in the posted areas must be increased by 10 mph and reposted accordingly. Citations should then be issued to any violator traveling 6 mph or greater above the posted limit.

If the objective of the new system is to create more income for the county and increase the profits of the insurance companies by allowing them to increase the premiums to good drivers, then don't change anything -- you got it right the first time.

Newell Bohnett
Kaneohe

Cameras won't stop red-light runners

The claim that cameras to catch red-light runners is for safety is a misnomer. Nowhere is safety involved. Safety is when you put up barriers to stop someone from getting hurt. The cameras stop no one from running red lights and cannot prevent any accident.

All they do is photograph and ticket a violator. This is like having someone take pictures of people falling off a cliff and doing nothing -- only laughing all the way to the bank.

If deterrence is for safety, then why did we have 11 more deaths since the police in June announced that they were going to crackdown on speeders and red-light runners?

Ken Chang
Kaneohe

Alcohol, distractions cause more accidents

I have been driving on Oahu for more than 43 years. Almost without exception, and no matter the location, most of the cars around me are traveling at 10 to 15 mph over the posted speed limit. This includes police officers on and off duty and other government officials.

Yes, there have been some accidents and even injuries and deaths. But the incidence is very small given the number of miles driven successfully.

And most of these tragedies involved other factors such as alcohol or drugs, or other distractions, including cell phones. And of course, there is plain old lack of attention. The cameras aren't going to see any of this.

The obvious conclusion is that speeding that is not significantly over the posted limit is rarely the primary cause of a fatal accident or serious injury. Not keeping up with the crowd can and does contribute to the accident record.

Now why don't we put those traffic cameras to work only on those running the red lights or driving in the 100-mph range? Then we can figure out a way to identify those other hazardous driving practices that are more likely to be the cause of accidents.

James V. Pollock
Kaneohe






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