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Monday, January 26, 2004





Dumb ideas already emanate from Capitol

The new legislative session is less than a week old and already there are eyebrow-raising elements.

Talk of implementing a toll system on certain state roadways is crazy. Both House Speaker Calvin Say and Senate President Robert Bunda strongly stated that there would be no tax increase. But if the Legislature allows toll booths, it is just levying another tax.

Another concern is the introduction by Sen. Cal Kawamoto to bring back traffic cameras. It was Kawamoto who lobbied to implement the failed van-cam program to catch speeders. Now he's proposing that cameras be installed at traffic signals to catch those who run red lights.

Are there enough violations to warrant such a program? Will the state be bound to a multi-year contract that could cost us money if the program is nixed before it expires?

Judging from the public outcry against the previous traffic camera program, any attempt to revive this "dead horse" would a total waste of time.

Jeff Kino
Honolulu

Kamehameha can find trustees to serve free

In light of the "need" for increased pay for trustees (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 13), next time there is a vacancy, how about naming a Hawaii citizen who, among other things, was chairman of a $100 million-per-year nonprofit, was director of a federal biomedical laboratory and is now the president of a national organization of dental specialists? And who will serve as a trustee for free?

I volunteer. I'll also help find others who will save up to a million dollars a year in trustee pay. Clearly there are better ways to spend this money than on another generation of trustees who will gorge at the trust's financial trough.

Mike Rethman
Kaneohe

Don't treat residential areas as speedways

Regarding the Jan.19 letter about Hawaii drivers not being polite, it always seems that the politeness of other drivers has to do with "you" getting out of "my" way on the road so I can get to where I am going faster.

How about the politeness of drivers in the residential neighborhoods that have become highways for impatient drivers? A boy in Kailua was run over by a driver who never even slowed down while both front and back wheels of the car crushed the boy's bike. Luckily he was not seriously hurt, but he said the driver never even looked his way as he made a right turn onto the road the boy was crossing on his way to school.

Why can't drivers ask themselves, "If a child stepped out into the road right now, would I be able to stop?" If we all just slowed down a bit and expanded our attention to the surroundings beyond our cell phones and car stereos, our neighborhoods would become safe and neighborly again.

By the way, the Kailua police gave the boy a ticket for $55 because his bike was not licensed.

Gregg Swoish
Kailua

What a great way to fund police raises

Barbara Ikeda's Jan. 24 letter espouses the most sensible -- and logical -- option for funding police pay raises. Criminals should be held accountable for costing law-abiding taxpayers personal funds. Cockfighting, besides being morally reprehensible, is illegal. Confiscation of ill-gotten gains is reasonable. Thank you, Barbara, for bringing reason into this discussion.

Donna Manz
Part-time Laie resident

Parking-lot theft ruined isle vacation

We arrived home recently after visiting Oahu. We had an 11:30 p.m. flight Jan. 20, and decided to head to Aloha Tower for dinner before going to the airport. At around 5 p.m. we parked our rental car in a public pay lot where an attendant was on duty. We shopped the pier area and ate, then returned to our car around 9 p.m. to find it had been broken into and most of our luggage stolen.

We had packed a change of clothing in our carry-on luggage for our flight home to the Midwest, where the temperature has been about 5 degrees all week. Our carry-on bags were gone, all the jewelry, all our pictures on our digital camera, our children's special pictures that we take with us when we travel, souvenirs, medication, eyeglasses, and on and on. It was difficult coming home in shorts and T-shirts without our medication, and not having gifts for our children.

For a state that depends on tourism, you would think a busy public parking area where we paid to park would be more secure. Our hope is that anyone who steals valuables from travelers will reconsider next time as they understand how it affects the victims and keeps future travelers from visiting.

Lisa Van Stratten
Fort Calhou, Neb.

No easy answers for fixing economy

Molly Ivin's Jan. 20 column outlining the real or perceived failures of the Bush administration leaves the same lingering questions that Americans face in this year's presidential election.

The idea that President Bush has squandered Bill Clinton's purported budget surplus or caused a slowdown in job growth is simplistic. Cutting taxes obviously can lead to deficits, but raising taxes can have the same affect.

Protecting American high-tech jobs from outsourcing sounds good but will inevitably lead to the same competitive problems created when one protects entire industries in the same way.

When it comes to job growth and revenue creation as enjoyed in the late 1990s, there is only one sure source and that is expanding the the American economy. If Ivins or the present crop of Democratic presidential hopefuls have a rational plan to achieve this today, I've yet to hear it.

Paul Mossman
Kailua


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[ BRAINSTORM! ]


Can you design a quarter that represents Hawaii??

Some states have issued collectible quarters that commemorate their entry into the union. The front of the coin looks the same but the eagle on the back has been replaced by something that represents that state. For example, Georgia's quarter has a peach on it. If you could design Hawaii's quarter, what would it look like?


Send your ideas and solutions by Feb. 17 to:

brainstorm@starbulletin.com

Or mail them to:
Brainstorm!
c/o Nancy Christenson
Star-Bulletin
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Fax:
Brainstorm!
c/o Nancy Christenson
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.

Letter form: Online form, click here
E-mail: letters@starbulletin.com
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813




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