Pedestrian deaths mimic 1975 cult movie
Hollywood director Paul Bartel created and directed the 1975 cult movie "Death Race 2000," in which contestant racers were to score points by running over and killing various people on a graduated scale. It seems that Oahu's drivers are engaged in their own "death race." The year 2007 is not even three weeks old and we've already killed five pedestrians
What is going on? Are we working so hard for our money that we are sacrificing our citizens on a bloody altar of greed? It's time for the Legislature to protect residents by placing barriers at bus stops, erecting more elevated cross ways and engineering pedestrian safe zones where all traffic stops to allow our valuable citizens to safely cross the street. Something has to be done, or Hollywood will be making an update to the 1975 cult classic: "Death Race Oahu!"
John C. Williams
Police should monitor dangerous crossings
Five pedestrian deaths in three weeks definitely says something about how dangerous the streets of Honolulu are becoming. I agree with David Morgan (Letters, Jan. 18
) that the law needs to specify that drivers stop completely when pedestrians are in crosswalks -- simply yielding just isn't working.
I'd also like to see the police spend a couple of days at the crosswalk directly in front of Honolulu Hale and give out tickets to all of the drivers who turn left from Punchbowl onto King Street without the proper signals and then fail to yield to pedestrians. Twice I have almost been hit in that crosswalk -- once when I was seven months pregnant and the driver didn't even flinch, he just continued to speed down King Street. The second time the driver realized her error midway through the turn and looked quite horrified that she'd almost hit someone.
I'm young and can get out of the way, but our elderly citizens might not be capable of this. In addition, yielding to pedestrians at this crosswalk shouldn't even be an issue -- the left turn isn't allowed when the crosswalk signal is on -- but obviously people are disregarding the signal as well.
Stricter laws and harsher punishments are the only way we're going to be able to make the streets safer.
Watada backers misuse right of free speech
In response to Glenda Chung Hinchey's Jan. 18 letter
of support for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada: I am a military man, and I do think Watada is a coward -- not for refusing to fight, but for not standing up and accepting his punishment. If Watada believes the war in Iraq is unjust, he should refuse to fight, and serve his prison time. Instead, he hides behind his lawyer and schemes and plots a way to get out of being punished.
Hinchey believes World War II would not have happened if our enemies refused to fight. I guess if our military refused to fight, we would all be speaking German today. Hinchey can write an open letter without fear of reprisal or punishment because thousands have served and even died for her to have that right. Perhaps a letter of appreciation to all of our servicemen and women who provide our country with that warm blanket of freedom would have been more appropriate.
Master sergeant, U.S. Air Force
Quit calling it 'Chinaman's Hat'
Can someone please tell me why, in 2007, the name "Chinaman's Hat" is still used? I am a Chinese American, and I find the term to be really offensive. The word reflects a negative tone and is used as a putdown. There are similar phrases to describe other ethnicities.
Can you imagine the uproar if the "N" word was used to describe something that reflects the African-American culture? How about the "J" word to describe something that is Japanese? Enough! We don't live in the 1800s or early 1900s. This is 2007. Get with it, Hawaii!
San Francisco, Calif.
Akaka Bill would divide multiethnic families
I will passionately oppose the Akaka Bill, for it will separate my ohana by race.
Our great-grandparents arrived in Hawaii from Kumamoto, Japan, during King Kalakaua's reign and our grandmother was born in Hawaii the year Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown by subjects of the kingdom.
My family residing in Hawaii prior to 1893 does not change my opposition on the Akaka Bill and does not change my deep-rooted belief that we are one people in Hawaii as Americans.
The recorded history of Feb. 26, 1894, was when the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations presented its report (Morgan Report) on the floor of the Senate clearing the United States and Minister John Stevens of being complicit in the Jan. 17, 1893, overthrow. (libweb.hawaii.edu/digicoll/annexation/annexation.html)
The recorded history and U.S. Court of Claims records dated May 16, 1910, decided that the Crown Lands are part of the Government Lands and belonged to all the people of Hawaii.
The Akaka Bill is extremely offensive and will divide Hawaii by race.
Bikini-clad babes don't belong in paper
Your "exposure" of the two semi-nude girls in the Today section's "Maui Fever" on Jan 16
exceeded the bounds of decency I expect in a family newspaper. If I wanted pictures like that coming into my home, I would subscribe to "Playboy."
State payroll costs taxpayers too much
According to U.S. Census data, Hawaii has 66,929 people on the state payroll, giving us the highest per-capita number of state employees in the country. Why does it take almost 67,000 state employees to take care of a million people in Hawaii? With 2 percent unemployment and a need for workers, many of the state workers could fill the gap. That would reduce the cost of government.
The question that should be asked is, do we really need 67,000 state employees?
Compare the ratio of Hawaii state employees to any other state. That will tell you if we are over-manned and over-taxed.
Something to think about. The cost of government is out of step with reality.
Policy change could free up shelter spots
The current public housing priority policy gives incentive for families to become homeless and stay homeless at emergency and transitional shelters. Changing the policy to allow families certified as homeless (e.g., 30 days or more at shelter) to return to living with relatives, double up or otherwise receive family support while waiting for public housing could significantly reduce demand for homeless shelters.
Many families use the homeless service system to receive public housing priority, since unless you are homeless the waiting list is interminable. The current policy encourages this behavior. While they might need a public housing subsidy, many do not wish to stay long-term at a shelter. They stay because they will lose the priority.
Changing the policy to permit them to keep the public housing priority and encourage them to rely on other support would free up space in shelters and possibly eliminate the need to build new family shelters.
Does New Orleans really miss its sleaze?
I read in the Jan. 18 Star-Bulletin that Hurricane Katrina has caused tragedy in the French Quarter of New Orleans. According to the article, there are fewer pubs, fewer drug dealers, fewer hookers and strippers, and fewer businessmen cheating on their wives. Tragic! Poor America, how will she ever recover?
Thank goodness Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have bought a house in the French Quarter. The cheating spouse and home-wrecker humanitarian have decided to join their kind and will bring back the low life for whom they have set the example.
I'm so glad my tax money is going to such worthy projects.
Punikaia still active in fight for dignity
The Star-Bulletin on Thursday
described Bernard Punikaia as "the man evicted from his apartment in 1983 because he had Hansen's disease." Actually, the state arrested Bernard and 17 other residents and supporters of the Hale Mohalu Pearl City facility
for people with Hansen's disease after a five-year protest against the state's decision to move them from the homelike environment in Pearl City to an institutional setting at Leahi Hospital in Honolulu. During the standoff, then-Gov. George Ariyoshi cut off their water, electricity and medical care and the state razed the buildings immediately after arresting Bernard and others.
However, Bernard was not defeated. There ensued a long but successful struggle to reclaim the land for specialized housing for people with disabilities, including Hansen's disease, and for older people. Today the Hale Mohalu low-income housing facility stands as a testament to Bernard's courage in insisting on equal rights and dignity for people with Hansen's disease.
After recently obtaining the remainder of the Pearl City land that formerly housed Bernard and others, the Coalition for Specialized Housing, of which Bernard is chairman, plans to construct what will eventually be four additional housing facilities for 300 people. Among Bernard's many other civil rights successes is serving as one of the presidents of IDEA, an organization that fights for dignity for people around the world who have Hansen's disease.
Bernard resides at Kalaupapa on Molokai. He is still an enthusiastic musician and advocate, and would enjoy hearing from those who have been inspired by his courage and insistence on dignity and equal rights. "I can't change everything in the world, but I'll try my best to do the things I can do," Bernard said at a recent celebration for the housing facility.
Carol Murry and Wally Inglis
How does Obama's past stack up to W's?
With Barack Obama's possible run for the presidency in the headlines, undoubtedly the first attacks upon him will be phrased in terms of his "lack of experience" -- and justly so.
It will be difficult for him to defend that lack in the face of the outstandingly successful presidency of the past six years. We've been fortunate, indeed, to have a truly experienced president who was son of a president, governor of one of our most outstanding states, intimate with chief executives of hundreds of American corporations, surrounded by skilled statesman such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, and able to work knowledgeably and closely with the various intelligence agencies of our government.
No, Obama will not be able to benefit from the kind of experience our current leader has had.
John A. Broussard