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Wednesday, January 9, 2002



Are vehicle owners to be presumed guilty?

Imagine that Mr. A's car is found near the scene of a hit-and-run accident and that the vehicle is identified as the one in the accident. Mr. A could be considered a suspect as the car is registered in his name, but it may have been driven by his wife, his son, or a friend, or it may have even been stolen. For the state to pronounce Mr. A guilty and put him in prison without further ado would be a gross violation of his constitutional rights; i.e., under U.S. law he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

This is somewhat similar to the situation with the traffic cameras. A photograph showed that Mr. A's car was speeding. But it didn't prove that Mr. A was driving. Nobody saw him or checked his driver's license. So to find Mr. A guilty and charge him with a moving violation is unconstitutional. What if his son was driving?

It's not up to Mr. A to prove his innocence. It's up to the state to prove his guilt. For a law to say that he is guilty because he owns the vehicle is unconstitutional.

I'm not an attorney, but if this makes sense, then perhaps attorneys and those who receive such tickets should take up this argument in court.

Colin Davis
Kaneohe

Use cameras without telling where they are

Since this "photocop" program has been started, I notice there are more people slowing down, even in areas where there are no photocops. But to put these cameras in the same area every time, while notifying people of where these cameras are, is the reason why there is a decreasing number of tickets being handed out. In order to catch people in the act, the cameras need to go to any highway, unannounced. As long as people know where these photocops are, they'll slow down in that area, only to speed up after passing the speed trap to make up time, which moves the speeding to a different area.

Also, why aren't these photocops out on weekends and off-peak hours, when the real speeding occurs? Even though it has slowed some people down, this program seems more of a "feel good, pat myself on the back, job well done" for the people who introduced it and the legislators who approved it.

If you really want to slow people down, have our elected officials and their volunteers hold signs along the sides of our highways and freeways, like they do during election years. That's guaranteed to slow everyone down.

Thomas Haae
Kapolei


[Quotables]

"I can't really compare it to anything. It's just in a separate category. It's a historical event because it happens so rarely. In my mind, it stands alone."

Kelly Slater

Six-time world champion surfer, after winning the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau big-wave contest Monday at Waimea Bay. The 29-year-old, from Cocoa Beach, Fla., took home $50,000 for his victory.


"If you're not a parent or a coach, you would enjoy a game like this. If you're a parent or a coach, you're chewing on your nails."

Ty Sing Chow

Kamehameha softball team coach, on today's Interscholastic League of Honolulu game between Kamehameha and Iolani, in which Sing Chow's niece Leo Sing Chow will pitch against Iolani's Ianeta Lei.


Obnoxious drivers make roads hazardous

To all the road maniacs who have turned our roads into a free-for-all during the past few years, I have a question. Can you prove to yourself and others how powerful and cool you are by doing something other than being the fastest, most obnoxious driver on the road?

David Estrada
Kailua

Youths need protection against harassment

Chapter 19 Task Force member Philip C. Smith's attitude underscores the problems inherent in implementing the year-old guidelines. In his Dec. 31 letter to the editor he divides that group into "pro-family" and "pro-homosexuality" factions, but ignores the kids who need the protection that Chapter 19 is supposed to provide. The children in question, all of whom are products of heterosexual families, wind up on our doorsteps, abused, neglected, frightened, shunned, debased, suicidal and undereducated. Unfortunately, most of the opposition to implementing Chapter 19 is not based on scientific evidence, which has concluded time and again that homosexuality is normal part of the full range of human expression, but rather on myth, superstition, innuendo, fear and religious beliefs.

It's time to end this debate. As Smith's letter clearly indicates, a college degree will not protect children from prejudice and discrimination; only a clear-cut policy will.

Martin Rice
Kapaa, Kauai

Legalize gambling and use money wisely

It would be in the best interest of the state to legalize gambling, but we have to be cautious about what we do with the proceeds. If Atlantic City and Puerto Rico have taught us anything, it is that we must invest the money gained from legalized gambling back into the economy. We could use the proceeds to clean up the Ala Wai Canal, increase police and teachers' incomes, and to start gang- and crime-prevention programs. We could start nature preserves and lower taxes.

In the past, gambling has not worked elsewhere because the money was not used correctly or wisely. By cleaning up our own neighborhoods, we will also attract more tourist flow. As we can see from Las Vegas, casinos can turn a town into a jovial wonderland of sorts. We will have more to offer our kamaaina as well as the tourists with gambling, but also with the renewed beauty of our home.

Joshua Thurlow

Warriors spread pride in team to mainland

A Christmas card from a friend in Georgia states: "How about that football game? Hawaii kicked the daylights out of BYU." This person has no ties to Hawaii other than to me. Although I'd like to see more money going to the arts, I'm proud of our football team.

Sue Ann Carter

Pop Warner team makes fans proud

Congratulations to the Nanakuli Pop Warner Football team for winning the championship and making it to the Superbowl tournament here at Walt Disney World in Orlando. You not only made me proud but you've made your families and community proud of your accomplishments. Hold your heads up high and remember that you guys were awesome.

Jolette Bowman
Orlando, Fla.






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The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.

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