Letters to the Editor

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Friday, June 4, 2004

Use ultrasound only for medical reasons

I have worked in the field of women's health, particularly obstetrics, since 1977. As such, I was concerned to see the article in the May 25 Star-Bulletin regarding the opening of a souvenir 4D fetal portrait, video and DVD service on Oahu.

The FDA has always warned against the use of ultrasound during pregnancy except for medical diagnostic purposes such as bleeding, irregular fetal growth and genetic birth defect screening.

Patients used to be warned that ultrasound has never proven harmless to the fetus; that practice of informed consent regarding ultrasound fell out of fashion during the last 2 decades, although the facts regarding this warning has not changed. The excuses of better bonding and the ability to know what to shop for ahead of time pale in comparison.

For those considering using the services of companies offering 4D fetal portraits and souvenir videos/DVDs, I offer the following Web site for viewing:

Janis Bell Bush
Lamaze International certified childbirth educator

All Foster Village wants is a simple 3-way stop

I have been a resident of Foster Village since 1991 and active in the community since 1982. Since I have been cognizant of Foster Village as a community (in the 1960s), the residents have asked for a three-way stop sign at Haloa and Ala Oli drives. The city has refused to put in the three-way stop on the advice of city traffic engineers who have steadfastly claimed that it was unnecessary. I also heard claims that it was too costly to install stop signs and pavement paint; that there were no funds in the budget to accommodate the residents' request.

Suddenly, in 2004, we have a reversal of this long-held claim that some sort of control was unnecessary at the Haloa/Ala Oli intersection. But instead of the simple three-way stop the residents want, it is now deemed necessary to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on cement, landscaping, paint and other trappings of the new city darling, the traffic roundabout. Similar "bulb outs" are planned for three other intersections.

Please, before the city goes to all the trouble and expense of this traffic roundabout, couldn't we just try the stop signs and pavement paint? Please? What could it hurt? Try them for six months and see if they achieve the desired effect. If they do, make them permanent.

Stop signs at the other three intersections would achieve the same or better effect without nearly as much cost. Why so much capital outlay? Why such a huge project? All the residents wanted was a stop sign.

Please, Mayor Harris, heed your constituents.

Blaine Fergerstrom

Justice may be served but it sure takes awhile

After more than a year, Scott Peterson, who was charged with killing his wife and unborn child, finally has come to trial. This is one weakness in our criminal justice system. It takes too long to bring individuals charged with crimes to trial. Furthermore, the trial is expected to last six months. Will our criminal justice system ever change?

How Tim Chang

Prayer group wants to be good neighbor

Thank you for Mary Adamski's fair and balanced reporting about our church, The Institute for Research in Human Happiness, on May 22.

During the past two months, we participated in four community meetings about our plans for a Center for Prayer and Meditation on the property we purchased from the Bishop Museum. We respectfully listened while some Pacific Heights residents made false accusations and stated wrong information. We also thank you for correcting those misperceptions and presenting the truth about our religion.

Meditation training is the core activity of our church. It is essential to our religion. Meditation is not separate. Members often continue individual self-reflection in the monastery at night after the formal training session. Vans will transport members. All parking will be within our property. The center will have the same height as the current building, preserving the neighbors' views and in character with the neighborhood.

We respect our neighbors' right to privacy. We hope that they respect our right to worship and practice meditation in the same beautiful, quiet place.

Again, we thank Mary Adamski for her objective and accurate reporting of the facts about our Center for Prayer and Meditation.

Sean Matsumoto
Director, The Institute for Research in Human Happiness
Hawaii chapter

Female judicial nominees treated same as male counterparts

In Rob Perez's May 31 article on alleged bias against women seeking or holding judgeships, a comparison was made between judicial nominees Michael Broderick and Simone Polak, which alluded that they were equal in not having experience in family court, yet were treated disparately by the bar association. This allusion is faulty because they are not equal.

Their educational backgrounds are leagues apart. Borderick graduated with honors from the University of Southern California's School of Law, which is ranked as the 18th-best law school in the nation by US News and World Report. Polak, on the other hand, graduated from the University of the Pacific Law School, which is ranked as a third-tier law school by US News. Law schools on the lowly third tier are not ranked in numerical order.

Contrary to what was stated in the news article, Broderick has experience with the Family Court, when he served as the head administrator of the court system. In that capacity, Broderick had first-hand knowledge of the types of cases being presented to the Family Court, the duration of those cases, the outcomes of those cases, the rate of reversals on appeal and the reasons for reversal on appeal.

Regarding the statement that female judges are demure and unassertive and therefore critiqued as inferior, I know of no more of an assertive, vocal and verbally opinionated judge than Riki Amano. Those who have appeared before her would never call her demure. I am sure that the Judicial Selection Commission and the bar association did not rank her based on reticence.

Too little is mentioned of the competent female judges who were nominated and retained by the JSC. For example, the article makes no mention of highly competent female judges like Linda Luke, Marie Milks and Leslie Hayashi, all of whom graduated from Georgetown Law, which is ranked the 13th-best law school, or Colleen Hirai and Allene Richardson Suemori, both of whom graduated from the University of California's Hastings College of Law, or of Frances Wong, who graduated from USC Law.

Finally, I am of the opinion that women who are seeking judicial appointments are treated equally by both the bar association and the JSC. Indeed, I am confident that both bodies are sensitive to the fact that historically women have been underrepresented on the bench. However, while being sensitive to this fact, they cannot shirk their responsibility to ensure that only competent people, irrespective of gender, are appointed to judgeships.

Charles K.Y. Khim,
Attorney at law
Georgetown Law Class of 1980




The ponds at the state Capitol are full of icky green stuff. What, besides holding an election, can we do to get rid of all that scum at the Big Square Building? Or should we just replace the ponds with something else?

Tell us what you think, whether you know of a way to clean the ponds or if you'd rather see a remodel of the Capitol grounds. Anything would be an improvement.

Send your ideas by June 16 to:

Or by mail:
c/o Nancy Christenson
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Or by fax:
c/o Nancy Christenson


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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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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