Doctor tort-reform bill deserves a chance
Senate Bill 3279
, which would grant malpractice tort reform to OB-GYN physicians and those who provide trauma care, is in danger of not being heard in the Legislature.
Hawaii is faced with a shortage of physicians. A bill such as this is critical at this point since it could cut what lawyers earn on big cases by half.
Rep. Sylvia Luke, a trial lawyer whose group is involved in malpractice cases, is holding this bill in the Judiciary Committee, which she chairs. Is this not a conflict of interest?
Why charge to take steam from ground?
In the Sunday Star-Bulletin there was a piece by Tom Brandt
on using tax benefits to encourage socially responsible behavior on the part of businesses in Hawaii. He specifically mentioned the use of "more, local renewable energy" as something that might be encouraged by favorable tax policy.
Right next to that was an article by Carl Freedman about how the Public Utilities Commission is understaffed and underfunded. I would like to suggest something the PUC might accomplish that doesn't require an increase in staff or more public expenditure. According to the authors of "Hawaii the Big Island Revealed," the geothermal electric generation facility that provides 25 percent of the electricity for the Big Island is charged approximately $1 million a year to extract steam from the ground on the theory that all mineral rights (is steam a mineral?) belong to the state, even though the steam is pumped back into the ground after it runs through the turbines. Wouldn't it be better not to charge the generating company for state-owned steam if it would mean expanding the production of geothermal power and less need to burn fossil fuels?
Residents aren't flush with cash for sewers
The headline "Ala Wai sewer fix to cost $48M" (Star-Bulletin, April 21
) was no big surprise, but the cost is sort of a coincidence. It seems as if someone who were sitting in a back-room conference at Honolulu Hale had floated the question (no pun intended), "How much shall we overcharge the people for our constant neglect of the infrastructure and the polluting of their beaches?" Answer: How about $1 per gallon of crap?
Sure, what a great deal we are all getting! Hey, I have an idea; since the sewage dump (again, no pun intended) was primarily composed of tourist waste, how about we charge each and every nonresident visiting Waikiki $1? I think perhaps they wouldn't mind paying $1 if it means not swimming in their own poo.
U.S. defies reality of medical marijuana
I was as against medical marijuana as any dyed-in-the-wool narcotics enforcement officer could be, since I was one before I retired (Editorial, Star-Bulletin, April 24
). I was sure it was a scam by people who were using it as a smokescreen.
I changed my mind when I traveled to Zillah, Wash., to say my goodbye to a fellow Vietnam combat vet buddy who was suffering from throat cancer. The only way he could get hungry, pain-free and happy was to smoke marijuana. He didn't last very long, perhaps a couple of months after treatment started.
To be ignorant of the medical uses of marijuana is to be ignorant of reality.
Kauai residents still waiting for cleanup
It has been six weeks since the disastrous and deadly Ka Loko Dam breach
, and still we do not even have a date to get a date for the start of the debris cleanup from the county, state or federal government. Residents affected by this calamity have been told that initial moneys are available from the Natural Resources Conservation Service with 75 percent coming from the federal government and 25 percent from a local sponsor, which, apparently, is the county. Debris jams comprised of thousands of rotting trees and other materials, some 40 feet high and 40 feet wide, still impede the flow of the Wailapa Stream. Old cars, fuel tanks and household items continue to litter the stream bed and contaminate soil and water. Thousands of cubic yards of topsoil have been washed into the Kilauea River and out to the ocean.
Who is taking the lead here on cleanup and erosion control? When are we going to see some action? When will we get a date to get a date?
Mary and Bob Capwell