Pedestrian-controlled lights save lives
An interesting phenomenon occurred in the past few years; a light was installed at a mid-street crosswalk on King Street near University Avenue. Why? Because the government understood that only a pedestrian-directed stop light provides real protection for crossing a street, despite the existence of white strips. The lesson here is that only traffic stop lights afford real protection for pedestrians.
The current system of pedestrian crosswalks, many of which are faded and thus invisible (especially at night or on rainy days), simply does not work. The solution is pedestrian crosswalk lights. Yes, it would be costly, but we're talking about the value of human life.
Paul J. Smith
Use square footage to determine values
I hope Honolulu's elected officials pause in the happy task of distributing their real estate tax windfall to consider its foolishness: A tax whipsawed by Hawaii's gyrating real estate values has no place in determining Honolulu's budget. A budget should be intelligently and consciously set to progress predictably from year to year.
Private sector condominium associations also distribute an operating budget over the relative values of each owner's unit, but they have a better approach. They budget first. Then they spread the budget over unit values, not vice versa.
Even better, associations use floor space to measure relative value. They do not penalize people who improve their property or reward speculators who let them run down, as the city does.
Computers can help the city to budget first, then spread the budget over real estate values. Using objective square footage to measure each taxpayer's share would save many times more than is needed to pay for those computers.
George L. Berish
Protect environment by going vegan
Animal agriculture poses a greater threat to our natural environment than all other human activities combined. Shifting toward a plant-based diet is one of the most powerful ways we can protect the environment.
Raising animals for food is a leading cause of resource depletion and environmental degradation. Nationwide, 130 times more animal waste is produced than human waste. Because these animals are injected, fed and sprayed with antibiotics and pesticides, their waste is filled with toxic chemicals. Much of it is washed by rains, untreated, into our waters.
We directly contribute to massive amounts of ecological destruction by eating meat, eggs and dairy products. Each of us can refuse to subsidize environmental destruction every day by boycotting animal foods.
Mayor tricked Leeward residents about dump
The mayor says he wants another 15 years of dumping
to go on at Waimanalo Gulch. First of all, we should start calling it "Waimanalo Mountain," because there is no more gulch left. The trash is higher than the hillsides. Second, the mayor has assured us many times that his policy is "no more dumps on the west side." But he tricked us. Instead, he not only won't fulfill the city's promise to shut down the Waimanalo dump in 2008, but he wants it extended for 15 years until 2023! In addition, the city has approved a new landfill in Maili, and is considering a dump in Nanakuli.
On the leeward side, we believed in Mufi Hannemann and we are largely responsible for his election victory. No more. From now on, maybe our motto should be "Dump Mufi."
Carolyn "Shammy" Dingus
Bicycle-riding keiki need better visibility
In the last week my husband and I witnessed two near-miss accidents involving young children on wheeled vehicles. These children were endangered due to lack of adult supervision and safety provisions.
I was about to back out of a parking stall at Kailua Beach Park and stopped for a male biker passing behind my van. As I proceeded to back out, I glanced at my right-view mirror and caught a glimpse of a young child cycling full-speed on a toy vehicle, and I stopped. The child was not visible in the rear-view mirror or windows.
My husband saw a woman backing out of a parking space as a young child sped along on a bike to get past the reversing car. If not for a speed bump the driver slowed for, the child would have been hit.
Adults, please keep your children in view when biking. Mount a pole with a flag on your child's wheeled vehicle if they cannot be spotted through the back window of a van, truck or SUV. Please save our keiki from preventable vehicle accidents.