to the Editor

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Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Why not be kind to both animals and people?

I am responding to Raoul Gutenpfennigen's letter of June 2, in which he states, "I'll get excited about the degradation of animals as soon as all people are treated with dignity." This is a false dilemma, a fallacy of logic. No "eitheror" attitude is needed or relevant. Doesn't it go without saying that we should do good everywhere?

Stopping the degradation of animals is not contingent upon a prerequisite of "all people being treated with dignity." We can do both simultaneously. The logic of his comment is like these other examples: "I will lower my cholesterol when George Bush is out of office" or "I will go to the dentist for my sore tooth when Myanmar dissidents are released from house arrest."

Gutenpfennigen is setting up a false condition and needless prerequisite in order to present a "difficulty" that will exempt him from being expected to make an effort to improve the conditions of animals.

Don't fall for Gutenpfennigen's false dilemma. Do good wherever and whenever you can. Save the animals and treat people with dignity. There's no conflict between these goals.

Helen Wells

City worker should be fined, not taxpayers

The state really showed the City and County of Honolulu for violating hazardous waste rules by fining the city $542,459 for illegal dumping, one of the harshest penalties (Star-Bulletin, May 31). Wait a minute ... where does the city's money come from? Oh yes, I guess the state forgot that the city's money is really the taxpayers' money, just like they seem to forget the state's money is really the taxpayers' ... well then, the state really showed those taxpayers, didn't it?

Why doesn't the state get its priorities straight and penalize those responsible? They say the city is a knowledgeable and experienced operator of solid-waste facilities, and the city counters by saying it was the "unauthorized and irresponsible act of one employee."

The responsible city employee should be fined, fired and otherwise disciplined and his supervisor also dealt with appropriately for not doing their job(s) properly. Leave the poor taxpayers alone. We did not cause the problem.

Arnie Abrams

Pakalolo is dangerous and should be illegal

Your May 23 editorial on stopping the assault on medical marijuana is completely off the mark. Marijuana and tobacco are the two big gateway drugs to smokable forms of ice and heroin, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out why.

Forget arguments about whether marijuana leads to other drugs. Marijuana is part and parcel of an entire drug culture that is tearing apart the fabric of this society.

Inhaling any substance into the lungs other than clean air is misguided, and marijuana tar is at least as bad as that of tobacco. As a medical treatment, smoking marijuana is ridiculous. There are legitimate pharmaceutical drugs for people with medical needs. And these should be prescribed by licensed physicians, not some imbeciles on the Big Island who have made marijuana smoking a sacrament in their "church."

Marijuana is an insidious, dangerous drug on its own, as well as a mixer for other drugs, including alcohol and all the illegal ones. Advocating marijuana use in any form, including medical, legitimizes its use across the board and is a horrible idea. Your editorial does a great disservice to this society.

Jerome Kellner
Makawao, Maui

Djou's idea to enlarge Council makes sense

I was pleased to see City Councilmember Charles Djou's "Gathering Place" column (Star-Bulletin, May 13) on increasing the Council seats to 21 from nine. I have long held this view.

It is absurd that a Council district is 2.5 times the size of a state Senate district. A City Council member is supposed to be closer to the people he or she represents because he or she is concerned with basic city functions. There is no way the current nine Council members can be attuned to the needs of the many neighborhoods that make up their districts.

I would increase the number of seats even more. A Council district should be no larger than a House district. Therefore, I would increase the number of Council districts to 30, the number of House districts on Oahu.

With the nine-member Council, too many important decisions are left to too few. I have only to point out the fiascoes of our last City Council.

I also concur with Djou's suggestion that the expenses of a councilmember be reduced by reducing the number of staff members to two from five. With smaller districts, a council-member would not need such a large staff and would have time to speak to constituents.

Bob Speck

Hawaii needs to think and act independently

Everywhere we look, prices are going up. In government, stores, gas stations and schools. The City Council and the mayor are raising taxes and user fees (hidden tax) to pay for their budgets. Residents keep asking for more services but don't want to pay for them.

We need to start thinking not like a state with a federal government that will always bail it out, but instead like a nation that has to rely on its own resources to provide for its residents' future. We as a society must look at ways to save money and at the same time enhance our natural resources (tourism and agriculture). We need to take care of our environment in order to provide that unique experience that the tourist looks for.

If we don't start looking for better ways to improve Hawaii, the tourists will look elsewhere for this experience.

Guillermo Colon


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