More driver training for moving workers
I am saddened by the accident on Kunia Road
that killed four women, and I hope police rapidly identify and incarcerate the driver whose haste and stupidity initiated the tragedy. I don't want him on roads that I drive. Ever.
I am sadly reminded of a California friend, the father of a boy who fell from an open pickup and landed on his head at more than 30 mph. That father looked down at a torn brain and cried for more than a year after he told the emergency room to "pull the plug."
However, I am not in favor of illegalizing workers who need to ride in the backs of pickup trucks, or their drivers. This form of transportation is needed in our community. I believe we need properly trained drivers for this job. The state should require working drivers carrying passengers in a truck to have the same license as our bus drivers are required to have.
Peter Lee Cronburg
Who will watch out for Waimanalo's water?
Well, we got to see the much-needed "No Swimming" warning signs for a short time. The sign fairy came last Saturday and returned four days later to take them away. As I write this on Tuesday, the growing brown water from the Bellows area is going east. Are the treatment plants dumping again? Whoever is testing the waters in Waimanalo needs more education. You don't need a degree to see the brown color growing.
This is a injustice to the residents in Waimanalo, the visitors, the merchants and most of all the marine life. Who is willing to care about the forgotten Waimanalo beaches?
Andrea M. Peters
Marching, protesting won't house homeless
A few state legislators praying and marching won't put a roof over the head of a single homeless person in Hawaii. The lawmakers need to pass meaningful laws and fully fund them to address this crisis: rent controls, housing that poor people can actually afford to buy, a tax increase for wealthy property owners and developers who benefit from the housing shortage.
A barefoot walk on Good Friday may be a useful photo op to feign the wearing of halos, but legislators must do something a lot more substantial if they are sincere about solving the homeless problem.
FDA's threat was politically motivated
Your April 24 editorial
aptly describes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's statement on medical marijuana as "patently political," as the Bush administration continues its misplaced campaign of fear and intimidation against chronically ill patients and their physicians.
Fortunately, federal prosecution of individuals using marijuana as medicine is almost nonexistent; most marijuana cases are handled by state and local authorities, and Hawaii's pioneering medical marijuana law protects sick patients from prosecution at those levels.
But for the 3,300 seriously ill patients in Hawaii relying on doctor-recommended marijuana to alleviate chronic pain and suffering, the FDA statement can only be seen as the latest heavy-handed threat to access to a treatment scientists repeatedly have found safe and effective.
Politically motivated threats such as this seem to be a primary tactic in the administration's misguided war on drugs, which consistently ignores science and fact for pandering and fear. It's time to bring sanity to drug policy and compassion to sick patients in Hawaii and our nation.
Jeanne Y. Ohta
Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii
Re-enrollment plan will hurt patients
A mandatory re-enrollment concept in the QUEST request for proposal will produce QUEST membership chaos of enormous proportions. Needed health care and case management most likely will be delayed and disrupted as patients will lose contact with their physicians, ending in patients becoming very ill. Some might even end up in already overtaxed emergency rooms and some might even die. This will be even more difficult than usual because support services provided by both the state and QUEST plans will be equally over-burdened.
As if mandatory re-enrollment weren't bad enough, we expect to be in the throes of dealing with new U.S. citizenship documentation requirements imposed by the federal government for all QUEST and Medicaid customers at the same time. These alone will be a threat to the capacity of public and private providers.
Our communities and economy's strongest asset is health and therefore we should do everything to safeguard it rather than putting it in jeopardy.
Community Clinic of Maui
War distracts leaders from real problems
While the Bush administration is consumed by the unconscionable war in Iraq, it ignores the rapidly rising price of oil and its effect on the public and the economic strength of the nation. Are we headed for another Hurricane Katrina disaster with a government unable to respond effectively? Here is another reason added to the growing chorus for an "honorable" withdrawal from Iraq. Will oil supplies be used to fuel a war that is draining our resources? Can the nation continue to tolerate governance by the Bush political agenda or to focus attention on severe issues such as an oil crisis?
Dangers of tobacco warrant smoking ban
I support the smoking ban that is moving through our Legislature (Senate Bill 3262
). Tobacco smoke remains our No. 1 public health concern. While we concern ourselves about many "epidemics," smoking continues to kill more than 1,000 Americans each day.
I support anyone's right to smoke, but I do not support the right to endanger anyone else's health. We know without a doubt that secondhand smoke is far more dangerous than the smoke that smokers ingest through filters into their lungs. No one should ever be subjected to unwanted secondhand smoke. Children exposed to secondhand smoke get asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, middle ear infections and are at risk for cancer down the road. It should be against the law to smoke anywhere near a child and should be the basis for Child Protective Services intervention.
I commend our elected officials for saying "no" to the powerful lobby of the tobacco industry. I urge Governor Lingle to quickly sign this important piece of legislation into law.
Special seniors deserve coverage
On Monday morning, almost 100 seniors were honored at the mayor's 40th annual Senior Recognition Program. With all the stories of mayhem, murder and other unpleasant events that make it to the front page of your newspaper, it would have been refreshing if you had covered a program that pays tribute to outstanding senior citizens who volunteer their time and energy unselfishly. It might serve as a way to encourage others to get involved in helping to strengthen our community.
This event was hosted by Mayor Hannemann, who was joined by members of businesses who supported the program.
Carol Kai was the mistress of ceremony, Karen Keawehawaii entertained, as did the Royal Hawaiian Band and the Makua Alii Singers.
Local musician offers his spirit every day
Kudos to Jack Johnson and his wave riders (Star-Bulletin, April 24
). I have many a warm memory of his generosity to the local community and offering a venue for local and international entertainment.
I will never forget the evening in which Jack hosted "Fleetwood Zoo," the garage band for Mick Fleetwood. Words cannot describe the chicken skin I experienced when Stevie Nicks joined the band -- she demonstrated that you can survive the demons. The difference between Jack and Stevie -- Jack demonstrates it every day.
Former Hawaii resident