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Thursday, July 29, 2004





Sierra Club alienates Republican supporters

My sincere thanks to Rep. Galen Fox for writing, and to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin for printing, that excellent "Gathering Place" titled "Sierra Club ranking unfair to Republicans" in the July 22 edition.

I had been a member of the Sierra Club since 1967, but in January of this year I cancelled my membership in disgust because of the way the local chapter has consistently put an anti-Republican spin on environmental issues. The chapter leadership takes such a strident, one-sided stand on these issues that it alienates those of us who consider ourselves environmentally friendly "tree huggers."

I appreciated being able to read Galen Fox's well-documented comments. Thank you.

Donald G. Hasenyager
Kailua

Gene-modified foods need unbiased review

An intelligent scientific researcher must remain loyal to compiling accurate data for his research. But as the personal passion of discovery evolves into a profession, misplaced loyalties often betray the wisdom of objectivity.

As a scientist invests years of time and energy, developing a reputation around a particular area of research, his mental, emotional and physical well-being become the down payment. His publications, respect from colleagues, the monthly paycheck, the ability to support his family and his self-worth extensively depend upon his ability to demonstrate the accuracy of his lifelong work.

Great temptation exists to dismiss evidence contradicting the accuracy of years of research as "anecdotal" or "incorrect." At this point loyalty to accuracy becomes compromised by loyalty to the source of research funding and especially to self-preservation. Whether this occurs consciously or unconsciously, the malleable loyalty of the subjective mind is always the Achilles' heel of the "objective" sciences.

There is real evidence suggesting that some genetically modified foods not only compromise the human immune system, but also potentially compromise the diversity of food groups available for future stability in the greater ecosystem. Scientists at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are concerned about the "open testing" policy of genetically modified foods in the Hawaiian islands.

This issue is much too important to be decided by industry scientists with misplaced loyalties or by corporate attorneys loyal only to genetically modified paychecks.

James Miner
Haiku, Maui

Public workers don't deserve bad rap

We've all heard criticism of our local and state government employees about their attitudes and their seeming lack of compassion for the taxpaying public. If my recent experiences are representative of those employees, then they have gotten some undeserved bad press.

While doing research for a friend last week, I visited the Judicial Services Bureau of the District Court and was served by Walter Ito on the civil side and by Su Min Wu on the criminal side. Over at the Municipal Reference and Records Center, Verna Lee and Naty Peralta were extremely accommodating and helpful. And further over at the City and County Planning and Permitting Department, inspector John Goo and records clerk Judy Nolan couldn't have been more helpful.

These folks are front-line public servants who daily face hundreds of walk-ins bringing a wide spectrum of questions and challenges. It could be easy to get burned out in these jobs until eventually every person at the counter would be viewed and dealt with as a number.

But what I encountered was over-the-top customer service, friendly smiles and attitudes, a genuine concern for my specific issues, and an eagerness to go the extra mile on my behalf. In each office, my experience was so extraordinary that I left thinking to myself, "Wow! I've got to tell others about this." And so I have. Thank you one and all.

Gary Meyers
Honolulu

No man deserves unconditional respect

In "Bush is due respect, as are all presidents" (Letters, July 26), reader James Roller apparently believes that the holders of certain offices should automatically receive respect, regardless. Such blind accordance, Roller states, is "true patriotism." He does not define respect, but it evidently involves no criticism. He cites an anecdote from the biography of Chester Nimitz to bolster his belief.

I would like to cite an observation by former Republican President Theodore Roosevelt: "Patriotism means standing by the country. It does not mean standing by the president or any other public official." I think Teddy's position is the more patriotic one. It reflects the ideals upon which the United States was founded. As Harry Truman was quoted as saying, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

Respect and honor must be earned. They are not, like deification, part of the job. Otherwise, tyrants and miscreants throughout history would be regarded as saints. We all need to question authority.

Charles Luce
Honolulu

Tinman race needs better coordination

First must be a huge mahalo to the volunteers who made Tinman happen.

Four suggestions for the Tinman coordinator:

>> Four bathroom stalls for 800-plus people was a black eye and an embarrassment to Hawaii. The line was more than 30 people long for both men and women at 5:30 a.m. start time! Ever heard of Port-O-Potty?

>> Tear-off tags for timing? Who says the volunteer gets it entered on time, or in the right order? Who says the volunteer gets it entered at all? Why not chip time the event?

>> Plastic pipes for the bike racks is amateurish. They sag, causing bikes on the end to slide into other people's areas, and bikes in the center aren't even off the ground. Use metal pipes like all the other races did so far this year.

>> Bikes and runners crossing paths? Map out the course better.

This race is supposed to be the premier event for Oahu in the triathlon calendar year, but I can't see where my excessive race fee went. The Honolulu Triathlon was much better and cost the same. Unless the above items are addressed, visitors to the islands would be better advised to compete in the Honolulu Tri next year. This Tinman was an embarrassment to our lovely state and to our sport.

Vince Krog
#568, finisher
Kahaluu, Hawaii


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[ BRAINSTORM! ]

Hawaii's police officers are forced to endure the tropical heat and humidity in dark blue uniforms. It must get pretty uncomfortable, especially for the solo-bike officers. So this month's question is: If you could design a new uniform for our hard-working public safety officers, what would it look like? (Be nice!) Think about material, color, footwear and the different departments (patrol, detectives, solo bike, bicycle ...). We'd love to hear from members of our police force for this one, too.

Send your ideas -- include your name, address and phone number -- by Aug. 20 to:

brainstorm@starbulletin.com

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

Or by fax:
Brainstorm!
c/o Nancy Christenson
529-4750


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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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