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Tuesday, June 24, 2003




Bicyclists aren't the ones injuring others

Paul Guncheon states that bicyclists are unpredictable, weaving in and out of traffic, riding two abreast, running stop signs and turning without signaling ("Bicycles don't belong on roads, only cars do," Letters, June 22). There may be a few of these, as there are motorists who have similar disdain for the rules of the road. The difference is that when a bicyclist violates the rules, he pays with injuries to himself. Note that it is the motorist who racks up highway violations and deaths, not the bicyclist.

Bicyclists are akamai enough to know they can't challenge motorists on the road but some motorists aren't too concerned as they turn left in front of a cyclist, or pass him and then turn right in front of him, or back out of a driveway into him. The cyclist, if he is lucky enough to get up, may hear the motorist chide him with, "Why don't you look where you are going?"

Maybe Guncheon should retake the section of the driver's test regarding the rights of bicyclists. Cyclists also pay license fees and have the right to use the roadways -- and sharing means less automobile traffic.

Smoky Guerrero
Mililani

Automobile drivers should thank bicyclists

In Paul Guncheon's pro-automobile rant, he argues that just cars, not bikes, should be allowed on the road because car owners pay for the roads through gas taxes while bicyclists don't. Gasoline taxes cover only about 10 percent of the costs of road construction, maintenance, road service and the direct costs of pollution generated by auto emissions.

On top of that, our cultural dedication to auto-centric living has had devastating impacts on our air, water and soil, not to mention our national security and physical health. I suggest the next time Guncheon sees a bicyclist on the road, he should politely thank him/her for underwriting his driving experience with their tax dollars, for reducing his health insurance costs by their healthier lifestyle choice, and for giving him more room on the roads.

Barry Sullivan

Bus riders aren't leeches on taxpayers

Regarding Pat Kelly's June 16 letter about those bus riders who take advantage of public transportation at taxpayers' expense, mainly because they can't drive or can't afford a car, I'll say this: Most have family members who have cars and contribute to those costs, and depend on others for grocery shopping and other needs. Those able bodies who don't drive also subsidize their employers' businesses through their labor, whatever tax bracket they may be in.

Julian Leo
Waianae

Hawaii voters already rejected gay marriage

Contrary to your June 20 editorial supporting homosexual marriage, the issue is not one of tolerance or human rights. It is, however, one that has already been decided by Hawaii voters. In 1998 nearly 70 percent voted in favor of a constitutional amendment affirming marriage between one man and one woman only.

Your suggestion that our legislators should ignore the will of the people is the exact opposite of the democratic process and should be resoundingly rejected by them.

Janice Pechauer
Past president
Save Traditional Marriage '98

Since when is it bad to protect civil liberties?

I read Bob McDermott's letter with wry amusement ("Regular working folks oppose gay marriage," June 23). He "accuses" the Star-Bulletin of being part of the "intellectual liberal elite." He's not the first to use such words in describing progressive civil-rights views, but it never ceases to amaze me that someone would use such words in a pejorative sense. According to Merriam-Webster:

Intellectual: a: of or relating to the intellect or its use; b: developed or chiefly guided by the intellect rather than by emotion or experience.

Liberal: marked by generosity; of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism -- a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.

Elite: the choice part, the best of a class.

So, apparently, for McDermott, using intellect, being generous and progressive and being the best our society has to offer are bad things. It is sad that so many elected officials and citizens in Hawaii take pride in being ignorant, miserly, regressive and from the bottom of the barrel of our society.

That is another reason why "popular opinion" should never determine civil rights issues.

Ken Scott

Fireside chats ignore blood flowing outside

Middle East diplomacy and the desire for peace always present the ludicrous equation of well-dressed gentlemen from both sides sitting in a palatial room by a cozy fireplace and having a congenial chat -- which has absolutely no effect on what's going on outside, with martyred bombers aboard buses, missiles, burning cars and other mayhem that's been going on since long before a president named Carter.

Perhaps those conversations should be held by bishops, vicars, priests, Muslim leaders and other religious fanatics. And while they are at it, they can visit Ireland to study why, after 800 years, Catholics and Protestants are still hurling Molotov cocktails at each other, with no end in sight.

John L. Werrill

Watch out, it's getting crowded out there

On the sidewalks of Makiki and in other areas of town, you will find people on bicycles, in-line skates, skateboards, scooters and soon probably Segways. There is hardly room for two people to walk by each other, much less have to deal with other modes of transportation. Maybe we need exclusive people paths. Persons on things other than their feet seem to think they have the right of way. What happened to a safe environment for people?

Robert Zimmer

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The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). 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 and include a daytime telephone number.

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