to the Editor

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Saturday, June 7, 2003

Families must talk about organ donation

I am concerned by the proposal of the national organ-procurement leaders as reported recently in the Associated Press story "Plan gives organ donors veto power over families." It is bad timing to ask families making life or death decisions in emergency situations to be altruistic when the patient is declared brain dead.

I suggest the organ-procurement groups promote family discussions about organ donation as part of their health education initiative for public acceptance. This would change the community's attitudes about organ donation and prepare people before a sudden tragedy.

It is also more effective to support donor families because their cooperation is needed for the medical process. The family's emotional needs should be considered at the initial meeting with the transplant coordinator; between the consent and the final surgery; and after the death to help during the long grieving process.

Support of donor families is cost-effective. Families need help through the healing process. In return, they become effective role models, telling compelling emotional stories.

Sandra Pohl
Organ donor mother

If we work together we can beat crime

As I drive around this beautiful island I have been noticing many communities getting involved with crime and drug reduction. I am so happy to see people and communities coming together and helping law enforcement agencies in making this island a better place. We all have to realize that grumbling does not make things better, and that we all need to get involved in making some big changes to make Hawaii a safer place for everyone. There is a saying: "Talk is cheap and our action speaks louder than our words." We all have get off the bench, get into the game and help our communities improve.

Keep it up, everyone. Let's all work together and make Hawaii a better place.

Alan Kim

DOE fails to follow disability-rights law

Thank you for publishing my letter about special education on May 31. Your editor changed a couple of my points that need to be clarified:

First, I am not retaliating. The DOE retaliated against me for reporting violations of disability-rights laws. I am suing the DOE for its retaliation.

Second, I cited disability rights laws guaranteeing accommodations and remedial training. I pointed out that these things usually are neither expensive nor difficult. But the DOE systematically fails to provide them anyway.

John Mussack

Get rid of UH sports, focus on academics

Hawaii, want to save $25-50 million annually at the University of Hawaii? Simple!

Currently UH has 19 sports programs. These programs are losing money, and have been for a while (and will for the foreseeable future). We should do what a number of colleges have done -- get out of all sports and channel that money into academics.

The academics side brings in grants, research money and future programs. We need to focus on educating Hawaii's children. Sports are great, but education is forever.

First we have to ensure that this money will not be a pot of gold to build monuments or to fund pay raises. Along with a moratorium on new buildings, this money should be used to repair and maintain existing facilities. This would provide a boost to our economy, providing jobs (smaller contracts, local companies more able to bid, money stays in Hawaii).

When the UH facilities are up to speed, we should look to the future of our children, to provide scholarships, grants and tuition waivers so we will be able to overcome the current "service jobs are our future" mentality.

Henry Pundyke Jr.

If they're passing you, move to the right

Regarding Peggy McInnis' letter to the editor of May 27: She seems to be saying that the "slower traffic keep right" signs on the Pali Highway are a waste because nobody goes slower than the posted speed limit. Well, this is not true.

What McInnis and many other drivers don't seem to understand is that the sign does not say "slower than the posted speed limit traffic keep right." If you are in the left lane and people are going by you in the right lane, no matter how fast you are going, then you are the slower traffic that should be staying to the right. Even if you are doing 65 mph in a 35 mph zone and everyone else is passing you on the right, you are the slower traffic and should keep to the right. This seems to be one of the most misunderstood rules of the road here in Hawaii.

Steve Marsh


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