Letters to the Editor

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Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Seat-belt shunner needs a math class

William P. Grossklas Sr.'s letter stating that seat belts are ineffective -- because in 50 percent of the deaths individuals were wearing seat belts and 50 percent were not -- glaringly leaves out a major portion of the equation. And that is, what percentage of the Oahu driving public uses seat belts regularly?

Answer: about 90 percent, which means that only 10 percent of the non-seat-belt-wearing drivers were having 50 percent of the deaths, which tabulates to a 900 percent greater chance of death if you are not wearing a seat belt. This is a number that easily causes me to surrender some of my "rights" to be cool and foolish and just buckle up.

Ralph Wheelock

Belt up -- and put down that burger

Aren't people tired of the government telling them what is best for them? Choosing not to strap on a seat belt is an individual choice.

Yes, if you crash you are at a higher risk of injury, but you are not endangering anyone else by not having your seat belt on. I don't see why we need laws imposed by the government to tell us what is best for us.

More people die and suffer from smoking-related illness than do people who fail to strap on their seat belts. Why is there no law against smoking? Maybe we need laws to protect people from becoming obese by making certain foods illegal or setting a limit on how much a person can weigh. That would also save lives.

Don't get me wrong -- I wear my seat belt. Mainly out of habit, to avoid the $92 fine (good job, Honolulu Police Department) and also for my own safety (which I have chosen to do).

Some laws have good intentions, but when does government draw the line on laws that the government says are required to protect us from ourselves?

Clicked it ... so far no more ticket.

Darryl Nordstrom

Why was predator out on probation?

I was sick to my stomach to read the May 27 article about Paul Teo, who allegedly raped a woman in a car with her 7-month old baby in the back seat. Teo has 33 convictions with the latest one this past February on auto theft; he has been revoked from parole twice and from probation once. After all this he was placed on one year probation for the auto theft!

I know the prison space and the budget are tight, but this is ridiculous. Can the judge and the prosecutor of this case, who utterly failed to safeguard the community, be accountable for their actions? I would like to see them explain to the woman, in person, on what basis they let loose this person.

Mike Lee

Why not fine drivers of stalled cars, too?

Re: "Drivers who cause wrecks should be fined" (Letters, May 17): I agree but why not add stalled vehicles during rush hours, too? After all, mostly all stalled vehicles could have been prevented. At least we get some sort of satisfaction (payback) for being stuck in traffic due to these incidents!

Cal Nakamura

Independent ethics agency is best kind

While we support the state Senate in taking the necessary actions to address ethics complaints and improve public perception, I want to clarify that the House of Representatives takes a position that is more in line with your May 27 editorial "Ethics panel would be vulnerable to politics."

The House takes ethics complaints very seriously. We direct complaints to the state Ethics Commission and note that Hawaii is one of the few states that has an independent, external agency specifically created to address ethics issues. We believe it's better to have an independent agency review complaints away from the political environment. The House would take appropriate action after the commission completes its investigation and renders its opinion. In addition, we don't want to duplicate efforts by or take authority away from the Ethics Commission.

It is critical that we deal with ethics issues in a fair and unbiased manner. We believe the Ethics Commission is the appropriate entity to handle these cases.

Calvin K.Y. Say
Speaker of the House of Representatives

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