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Tuesday, November 2, 2004
Let crosswalk violators pay for their mistakesI'm pretty sure there is a law that indicates if a person is in or about to enter a marked crosswalk, the approaching vehicles from both directions are required to yield to the pedestrian. But make an attempt to cross a street anywhere on this island and guess what will happen? The drivers will not stop! Another source of revenue for the state via a ticket to the drivers? It's also a safety issue.
Lunalilo ramp closure should be permanentI commend the Department of Transportation's plan to extend the Lunalilo onramp closure project. While I can understand the concerns of Makiki residents, the closure results in a significant improvement in traffic flow on H-1 and a reduction in commute time from East Honolulu. I'm sure that the department can make adjustments on other streets to help Makiki residents.
I notice that on weekends and other times when the Lunalilo onramp is open, there is a significant slowdown as drivers getting off the H-1 to Vineyard have to merge with those using the onramp. I would like the onramp to remain closed all the time because it would relieve a constant bottleneck on the H-1. Having an onramp and an offramp in the same location is bad traffic design, and the results of the test show it.
I urge the Department of Transportation to make the onramp closure permanent.
Drug solicitation tops visitors' complaintsI recently attended the Travel and Tourism Research Association's "Beyond Visitor Satisfaction" conference in Waikiki, where visitor dissatisfaction also was discussed.
In 2003, the state Department of Economic Development and Tourism interviewed 10,000 visitors hailing from all of Hawaii's major market areas; U.S., Japan and Canada. More than 90 percent said they had "no problems" while in Hawaii.
On the other hand, the largest "safety issue" in Hawaii in 2003 involved being "solicited by drug dealers." There were more than twice as many of these complaints than there were of being "solicited by prostitutes," or having their "valuables stolen," "room vandalized/robbed," "car vandalized/robbed" or even "physical violence."
For this reason, I am a little dismayed at Governor Lingle's failure to fund the total drug control program passed by the recent Legislature. The Republicans argue that the current passed and partially funded drug program is less effective than the program proposed by the Republicans. But the facts is that it is a step in the right direction.
When our main industry's major complaint is drugs, community leaders need to act aggressively. Hawaii needs an aggressive drug control program now, Republican or Democrat designed.
Waikiki Beach Activities
'Support troops' decals really do helpIf you read Joseph Gedan's Gathering Place on Oct. 31, you probably thought, "Oh, now I won't buy any more of those ribbon decals because it 'does nothing to actually support our troops.'" Please don't belittle the ribbon decals and stickers as useless or worthless. There are many Family Readiness Groups of the units already deployed or getting ready to deploy to Iraq that are fund raising to help those soldiers and their families, including the sale of ribbon magnets and window decals. The funds go toward sending care packages and supplies to the soldiers. They also provide for activities and refreshments for families, like at the recent kids' visit to the pumpkin patch and Ewa Train Ride.
When you are asked by non-retail FRG volunteers if you're interested in a ribbon magnet, a decal or a Support the Troops T-Shirt, please donate and know that you are not just "sitting on the sidelines cheering," but your donation is actually spent, dollar for dollar, for soldiers and their loved ones' benefit.
I respect the remainder of Gedan's letter, which addresses the big picture. Please respect the small successes the FRGs contribute to the soldiers and families through these fund-raising activities.
Irlene S. Torres
Why build university in flood zone, anyway?What engineering geniuses made sufficient campaign contributions to convince our bonehead politicians to permit building a university and some schools in flood-prone zones, diverting teacher pay raises to avoidable repairs?
This is a field day for investigative reporters. But who cares anyway? Let your children pay.
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