The Star-Bulletin chooses a monthly Golden Letter winner. The award is given to the letter writer who has best expressed his or her views in an informative, entertaining or persuasive manner.
Writer recounts warm welcome for Marines
Don McDiarmid Jr., founder of Hula Records and son of the famed bandleader, isn't shy about expressing his opinions, often wielding his pen to express his frustration with local political issues. But his Golden Letter Award-winning Sept. 15 letter
took a different tack -- he had recently come home from the mainland on an airline flight half-full of Marines, and wanted to tell our readers about "the joy, respect and love the other passengers on the aircraft showed the troops during our flight home."
The United Airlines captain introduced the troops, who were returning from Iraq, "which brought a fantastic applause from the rest of the passengers and crew," McDiarmid wrote. The Marines received "shows of affection from all of the ladies on board and respect from the men during the entire flight."
On arrival in Honolulu, the troops "were met by wives and babies, friends and just plain onlookers, all cheering, and to top it off, a roaring Marine band that brought chills to all," McDiarmid wrote, adding that he would never forget "the beautiful little T-shirt on one 2-year-old that stated, 'My daddy is a hero,' to which I completely agree."
So do we, Don.
Star-Bulletin editorial page assistant editor
Kuilima ruling ignores 20 years of changes
Circuit Judge Sabrina McKenna made a ridiculous decision ("Judge rejects new review for Turtle Bay," Star-Bulletin, Nov. 14
). She agreed with the city that Kuilima Resort Co. did not need to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement on its planned expansion because the study approved more than 20 years ago still applies today. In other words, the North Shore is the same today as it was in 1985. This is ludicrous.
North Shore residents have been ignored by the mayor, the City Council and the Department of Planning and Permitting because they have been advised by the corporation counsel not to address the public's concern due to the threat of a lawsuit if the resort owner doesn't get everything it wants.
We did not vote for the mayor or Council members to be so spineless as to not do what is best for the public. The expansion plan has few supporters, while the project's opponents include almost everyone who resides or recreates on the North Shore.
Peter V.Z. Cole
Surfrider Foundation, Oahu Chapter
Isn't every woman the speaker of the house?
Is Nancy Pelosi really the first female "speaker of the House"? I remember when I was a kid that my mom was the speaker of the house, and dad was the majority whip. Unfortunately I was the one getting whipped. When I grew up, I promised myself it would be different.
So when I was dating my fiancée I did most of the talking, but after we were married she became the speaker of the house, the car or wherever we went! Don't know if it was just me, but it seems like I became the majority whipped again. It's just uncanny how life seems to change and yet remain the same.
Stop carping; just be thankful for clean air
To those who are complaining about the new smoking law: Quit complaining and get used to it.
As a former California resident, I can remember all the sicknesses and allergies that were caused by the poor air quality. Having clean air in Hawaii is something we should all appreciate and be grateful for.
Second-hand driving doesn't hurt people
In response to Yoshiko Shiraishi's letter of Nov. 17
, I would like to applaud the state of Hawaii for implementing a smoking ban. Shiraishi's assertion that a ban on smoking is analogous to a ban on alcohol is a fallacy. The action of consuming alcohol does not physically force others to ingest it as well.
Yes, drinking and driving is dangerous and sometimes deadly. It is also illegal. Forcing others around you to breathe second-hand smoke is now illegal only in specific places.
Persons who wish to avoid smoke now have the opportunity to do so. Bear in mind some of these people are minors, and others might have severe cardiopulmonary compromise or allergic reactions.
Shiraishi also claims that the smoking ban will harm business revenue and tourism. It seems more likely that nonsmokers will stop avoiding smoke-filled businesses. I reside in California now, where the smoking ban is a virtual non-issue after a brief period of adjustment. And when visiting our home state of Hawaii, my friends and I have left or avoided bars and restaurants at times, due to the smoke. Business owners might find that gaining our patronage will compensate for any revenue lost from smokers.
Former Hawaii resident
Let's pass other laws for public safety
In light of the new smoking ban, I offer additional proposals to improve safety and welfare of the general public. Ban motorcycles; if not an outright ban, then require helmets, full safety clothing, boots and seatbelts. For other motor vehicle safety, require four-point restraint seatbelts, airbags, fire-retardant suits and helmets. Reduce maximum speed to 35 mph. Institute mandatory defensive driving courses for all licensed drivers.
Require catalytic converters for all combustion engines (lawnmowers, weed eaters, mopeds, etc.). Clean up the prostitution problem by cracking down on hostess bars and "massage parlors." Cut back on alcohol-related problems by tripling the existing alcohol taxes and fund alcohol abatement programs. Make it a crime to purchase or sell a glass pipe," as I can see no other reason to use one except for smoking crack. Ban abortions. To date, every single abortion has resulted in the fatality of a child.
For pedestrian safety, enforce jaywalking laws. For noise pollution, set decibel levels for car exhaust systems and music. For moral decency, ban the playing of R-rated music and videos in public.
'Rights infringement' is a smokescreen
Watching the news Friday night, I listened to the testimony of Hawaii smokers proclaim that the new anti-smoking law is an infringement on their equal rights as American citizens. Their claim is a pathetic attempt to defer personal responsibility for their actions.
It is time that smokers realize that their habit regularly infringes on the right of others to breath clean, fresh air. For decades these selfish attitudes have affected the health of children who are exposed to increasing risks of developing asthma, elderly whose health risks are complicated by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and families who are seated in "nonsmoking" section that are just feet away from the "smoking" section.
Smoking is noxious to the sense of smell, equally as obtrusive as a blaring stereo is to the person trying to sleep at 3 a.m. The latter has always been recognized as a disturbance of the peace. Thank you, Honolulu, for finally recognizing the former.
What is link among poor Hawaiians?
Your Nov. 15 editorial
concerning the "need for assistance to Hawaiians" apparently refers to persons with any degree of native Hawaiian ancestry. Because 90 percent of all persons having any Hawaiian ancestry have 50 percent or more of some other ancestry, one is driven to the conclusion that there is some peculiar Hawaiian gene that places Hawaiians "at the bottom of the states' economic ladder," gives them a "significantly lower life expectancy" and "per capita income" and makes them "disparately poor, homeless, undernourished and driven to crime," as your editorial says.
Given your definition of "native Hawaiian," no other explanation is available to explain your assertions. If such other explanation is available you have a duty to your readers of Hawaiian ancestry to make such known lest they continue to face the unavoidable conclusion that they are victims of a cruel fact of biology.
Traffic cameras can't be trusted
Recently, someone wrote in support of using photo radar to cite speeding motorists. Despite the claims of photo enforcement equipment marketers about thousands of extra tickets being issued, there is no independent verification that photo enforcement devices improve highway safety, reduce accidents or improve traffic flow. They do not apprehend seriously impaired, reckless or otherwise dangerous drivers.
Because ticket cameras are all about revenue generation, they are used in locations characterized by high traffic volume and under-posted speed limits. It is not profitable to use photo radar on residential streets, low-volume roads or where speed limits are posted at the 85th percentile (the speed at which they should be posted).
Photo radar can generate false speed readings. Because a camera unit was operating properly when it was set up does not mean it was operating properly when the picture was taken of any given vehicle.
With photo radar, there is no "accuser" for the defendant to confront -- something that used to be a constitutional right. There is no one who can personally testify to the circumstances of the alleged violation.
Withdrawal will bring war closer to home
America is at war. We have been at war since 9/11. The enemy is different from any the country has fought before. They have openly repeated their intent to kill as many American soldiers, and civilians, in any way they can, and to keep killing until we accept their fanatical religious beliefs.
It is now obvious that some of our leaders made serious errors and misjudgments in their handling of this war so far. All this is unfortunate, but it doesn't change the current status of our war.
Our first responsibility always has been to support the men and women we have sent to fight and, if necessary, die on our behalf. It appears some of our troops, maybe all of them, will soon be coming home. Are you really naive enough to believe that this withdrawal will be the end of the conflict? I suspect the enemy will consider our withdrawal a great moral victory and be motivated to aggressively proceed accordingly.
Once again, our leaders will have an opportunity to plan ahead. Let's hope they will be more thorough and honest in accepting the facts; and wiser in their decisions on how to proceed. The enemy may soon be upon us; it is very likely that this war will soon become everybody's war.
Iraqis should take over the job next year
2007! Bring our troops home from Iraq next year. They've done a magnificent job of whatever they have been asked to do. The burden of finishing it depends on the Iraqis. Since it is a sectarian conflict, get the clerics to come to some agreement to stop the carnage.
Our troops have been caught in the middle of the Sunnis and Shiites too long, and for them to even identify the "enemy" is too much of a load to carry.
I hope that the new United Nations secretary-general will suggest new ideas on how to stop this seemingly endless war.
2007, the light at the end of the tunnel!
Roy E. Shigemura