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Saturday, July 5, 2003




Be thankful sirens scream not for you

When Mark Linett finds himself "assaulted by the screaming sirens of ambulances and fire trucks" (Letters, June 28), he might give some thought to those whom the rescue teams are racing to serve, offer a short prayer for the rescuers' safety, and go back to sleep secure in the knowledge that those teams and their services are available.

To paraphrase John Donne: Complain not when the sirens sound; they may someday sound for you.

Howard Driver
Waikiki

Everyone has a right to poison-free air

Regarding your June 30 article "Smoking ban divides Oahu restaurateurs," those few people still grumbling about providing smoke-free air for their employees and patrons need to realize that everyone has a right to air free of tobacco smoke's carcinogens and poisons.

Last year my wife and I won a trip to Oahu. Rest assured that we would not have taken the trip if Oahu's smoking ordinance had not just been passed. Even so, we were constantly assaulted by tobacco smoke when entering and leaving our hotel. We could always smell the dangerous smoke that drifted in from outside the lobby.

Tobacco smoke is the mother of all chemical weapons, killing 65,000 Americans every year. It should be prohibited in all public places and workplaces, with no exceptions or exemptions. Indeed, smoke-free air is good for people and for business.

Smokers should be upset, but they should direct their anger and frustration at the people who sold an addictive and lethal drug to them in the first place.

Dave Johnson
Arlington, Texas

Smoking bans actually improve business

No one's thinking about the people who work in bars who do not smoke. If restaurant managers only hire those who do smoke, they're being unfair to those who don't.

Mainland restaurants and bars said they would lose business after a smoking ban, too. Instead, their business increased during these hard economic times.

Robert G. Devine
Ocean View, Hawaii

Tourism officials should be replaced

It is wonderful that a few employees of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau can pay themselves good wages while many of us struggle to maintain in these times of low wages and high cost of living ("State audit blasts HVCB," June 26). It takes more than $200,000 a year to maintain a fashionable lifestyle in Honolulu.

I do remember last year when the Hawaii Tourism Authority, which spends most of its budget on contracts with the HVCB, was whining because of a lack of funds. Well, these same people now have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. It is time again to replace them even for the smallest amount of self-indulgence.

The repaying of $700 is just the beginning of a long list of dishonesty. Replace this group of employees with honest people who can live on these high wages.

Harry Harris

Openness is needed to protect students

State departments need transparency. I charged the school I worked at with deception and illegal practices that denied my students with disabilities their right to an equal education and denied their parents full participation in decision-making. The district conducted an investigation that confirmed some of my charges, but the district superintendent kept the investigation results secret. Instead, she issued a report that whitewashed the situation.

It wasn't until my lawsuit over their retaliatory termination that my lawyer and I got their real investigatory records.

The superintendent should have given me the investigatory results because I was the one who filed the complaint. The Department of Education's secrecy is what enables their neglect of children to continue.

John Mussack


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c/o Burl Burlingame
529-4750

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How to write us

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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