Driving while stupid should be a violation
The new speeding law is great, but can we also have a stupid law, too? Since the beginning of the year, I seem to be doing a lot of dodging cars while legally crossing the street in crosswalks. Even though I'm an old fart, I'm still pretty agile. Those who aren't, haven't been so fortunate this year. In several cases, people were hit and killed while on the sidewalk.
Drivers today seem to drive more aggressively, are always in a hurry or are too preoccupied with other stuff to pay attention to the task they consciously chose to do when they got behind the wheel -- drive. Maybe the only solution to pedestrian and bicyclist safety is to remove all distractions from the automobile and the driver.
Cars hop the curb at King and Alakea
I strongly feel that drivers need to be punished for pedestrian intersection infractions. I have witnessed too many people enter a right turn into a crosswalk without stopping, while pedestrians are crossing. The City and County of Honolulu needs to take further action to make drivers aware that they will be fined for not stopping at an intersection and entering a crosswalk while people are crossing. I don't think many drivers even know the proper traffic laws regarding crosswalks.
One critical intersection where I have seen cars nearly kill pedestrians is King and Alakea streets. Many cars turning right onto King from Alakea do not stop at the light, and some turn the corner so sharply that their rear wheel hops the curb. I am very cautious of this intersection, as I cross it several times daily. I make sure to wait in a spot closest to Alakea Deli, as I have seen cars hop the curb and nearly hit people on the sidewalk.
I am 27, able-bodied and alert enough to see this happening. Imagine what could happen to an elderly person who does not sense the car coming.
I strongly urge the city to monitor this busy intersection with a police officer during business hours. We need to create more awareness of this particular violation by higher fines, not by more pedestrian deaths.
Excuse us, lawmakers, but it's our money
I find it curious that public office holders would shine on about having a "budget surplus." Don't they realize they are bragging about having taken more of "my" money as if it's an admirable thing?
Of course, any government body that thinks nothing of squandering almost $1 million of "our" dollars to fix "their" fancy light fixtures at the Capitol does not have its finger on the pulse of fiscal reality.
Lawmakers should account for expenses
As a former state employee, I was held accountable for all operating expenses and all personal expenses related to my position for which I received reimbursement. It was my impression that this accounting for state money being expended was a due to legislation enacted by the House of Representatives and Senate.
Why should these legislators be exempt from the standards they demand of other state employees (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 24)? They ARE state employees.
I pay their salaries, and I demand equal standards for all state of Hawaii employees.
Developer puts Molokai at crossroads
While Molokai is in an uproar regarding development at Laau Point
, much of the struggle has received little attention on other islands. But this is not an everyday squabble against new development.
Molokai is often affectionately known as the last "Hawaiian" island. While much of Hawaii's coastline is blocked by sprawling mansions and hotels, Molokai retains a pristine coast. Molokaians also have managed to continue ancient traditions of living off the land and sea.
Billionaire Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan and his local subsidiary Molokai Ranch are attempting to end this forever. They have proposed a King Solomon-type deal for Laau Point. They want to develop 875 acres of pristine beachfront into 200 fenced million-dollar lots. In return they promise to donate a substantial amount of land for the community and restore the old Kaluakoi Hotel.
Upon further inspection this deal rings false. Quek and Molokai Ranch have billions of dollars. Their claim that they need to develop Molokai's prime fishing and hunting grounds to afford the hotel restoration is ludicrous.
The social costs are the scariest of all if Molokai Ranch succeeds in bending the laws and rezoning Laau. Molokai will surely fall into a master and servant society that exists on other nearby islands. On an island of Molokai's size, an influx of 200 millionaires would deliver a knockout blow of higher property taxes and infrastructure costs. If we want to preserve any trace of Hawaii's heritage, it is crucial we support the residents of Molokai at this important time in Hawaii's history.
Professor, Maryknoll School
PBS Hawaii should repeat 'Magic Flute'
I would like to be one of the first to congratulate PBS Hawaii for showing Mozart's "The Magic Flute" the other evening. It was sheer joy and magic to me, a non-opera fan, but one of Mozart's fans. The simple plot, the music and the use of background manipulators of the costumes was fantastic.
There wasn't much hype for the opera, so I think many people, especially the youngsters, missed it because it was past prime time. I would like to suggest that the station reschedule the program at a convenient time. I wouldn't mind seeing it again, and it might be a draw for new PBS members.
'Mistakes were made' is an understatement
Earlier this month, when President Bush was asked about his initiation and management of the war in Iraq, he said only that "mistakes have been made." That statement was the understatement of the century. Despite that, following his admission, many in the press characterized the president as "contrite." Saying that the president was contrite was the overstatement of the century.
The Wikipedia online encyclopedia defines contrition as follows: "Contrition is sincere and complete remorse (i.e. regret with a sense of guilt) for sins one has committed. The remorseful person is said to be contrite." An admission only that mistakes have been made falls far short of an act of contrition.
Consider that tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children have been killed in their genocidal civil war. Consider also that more than 3,000 of our brave troops, caught in the middle of that civil war, have been killed and thousands more maimed. Now with this surge, we will be offering more of our troops as targets. This catastrophe would not have been possible but for the hubris, stupidity and criminal negligence of the of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld axis.
We should be as much moved by Bush's admission that "mistakes have been made" as we would be by a supposed statement by Charles Manson, if he were to say, "In managing the Manson family's affairs, mistakes have been made."
Bush policy on detainees harks back to witch trials
The Salem witch trials suffered from many blemishes, not the least of which was that hearsay evidence was not used to convict those accused of this threat to the community. Worse yet was the fact that no one was tortured in order to provide a suitable confession.
Fortunately, America has come a long way from those benighted days. We will now allow trials of anyone suspected of terrorism to include information obtained by "coercion" (torture). And, of course, hearsay evidence will be fully admissible.
Some accused witches back then were found to be innocent. The Bush administration's new policies won't allow that to happen.
Yes. We've come a long, long way from witch trials.
John A. Broussard
How can you call that a plan, Mr. President?
Why, after fighting the war on the cheap and consistently low-balling the number of troops necessary, should President Bush now decide to send more troops? He's tried it before, and it hasn't worked. What's his rationale now? What's his plan?
If this is really a clash of civilizations, the fight of our lives, if it's really that important that America win, why has he so far fought the war so poorly, so desultorily?
Why should those who ignited this disaster, and continued to make it worse with every bad decision, be allowed to sacrifice yet more troops? Why should we trust Bush with leading our young men and women when he has shown himself so inept, so callous to their sacrifice and so unable to effect any coherent strategy?
The sheer banality of what he proposes is shocking; does he believe that simply sending more troops is a plan? And how did he decide on the number 21,500? Enough to sound like a robust muster to the witless, without actually breaking the Army?
I do not hear any plan for what those troops are supposed to do ... other than stand in front of more bullets and bombs. If this is all the action plan Mr. Bush has, he does not deserve the title "commander in chief."
Donald B. MacGowan