Get more in touch -- ride a bicycle
Bicycling is a good idea and makes Honolulu a better place. We need to turn up the volume and "improve the bicycling environment."
A list of attributes begins with the self-evident: economy, exercise, efficiency and, if you regard congestion as a wrongheaded way to live, even rightness.
There is more to it still: A bicycle is an expression of curiosity. People need to scrutinize and question the world around us. Honolulu on a bicycle is both a more intimate and a vaster place. Because the rider is exposed and vulnerable, it is a more engaging landscape.
To ride a bike in Honolulu is to examine the accepted ways of doing things. It's a way of stepping out and seeing things in a different way.
After all, the means of travel define a journey just as surely as its destination.
Roosters a nuisance, possible health risk
We applaud the Star-Bulletin's stance on dealing with Oahu's growing problem of noisy and feral roosters ("Our Opinion," Jan. 31
The Hawaiian Humane Society chose not to serve as a responder to nuisance calls related to noisy roosters for the city because we believe that the only sound solution is to prohibit them in residential communities -- just as pigs and other livestock are not permitted to live in urban areas. Roosters cannot be trained not to crow, and we do not support inhumane efforts to muzzle roosters.
We also are concerned that the growing populations of owned roosters and feral birds in our neighborhoods might put families at risk should an avian flu outbreak occur.
The Hawaii Game Breeders Association is a cockfighting coalition whose members profit by training roosters to fight to the death. And when tax-funded contracts are awarded to them, it gives them legitimacy that is not deserved.
We urge the public to let your legislators and Council members know of your concerns.
President and CEO
Hawaiian Humane Society
The wealthy can have death with dignity
The Legislature's refusal to enact a "right to die" law is a classic example of a "right to buy" attitude all too prevalent here and in much of the country (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 9
If a person is terminally ill here in Hawaii, in practice the question becomes simply, "Can that person afford to die with dignity?"
The wealthy can go to Holland, Oregon or some other jurisdiction where humanitarian decisions on this issue can be made in a rational atmosphere.
Those who lack the wherewithal can keep on in their hopeless suffering for days, weeks, months, perhaps years. Tough!
Right to the end, what counts in our society is how much money you have.
John A. Broussard
Drift racers need a place to play
Auwe! to those individuals who are so narrow minded as to blame our city and state officials for allowing the drift racers to have their events at Aloha Stadium (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 4
Do they not see the fact that it's because of the closure of the only raceway park on Oahu that these drifters have been displaced? Do they not see that it is safer to let them have their events in a safe and secure site, rather than on the streets or parking lots? This is a public safety issue that we should all be concerned about.
They should look at the big picture and help these displaced racers get a permanent site (such as Hawaii Raceway Park), instead letting making ridiculous comments.
I applaud our city and state officials who could see the racers' passion and gave them this opportunity.
Gays deserve better than third-class status
Phil Klein complained in a letter on Friday
that the proposed civil unions law is "spitting in his face" because "Civil union is the same thing as marriage." This is a falsehood, an ugly piece of rhetoric repeated by those who oppose equal rights for gays and lesbians.
Would Mr. Klein be willing to exchange his marriage for a civil union? Until the answer is yes, they are not the same thing.
To correct another misconception in his letter, "70 percent of the people" did not vote in favor of "traditional marriage;" only 70 percent of those who voted cast that ballot to amend the state Constitution, only slightly more than 30 percent of eligible voters.
If Klein loves his "mahu family and friends," as he claims, he should want them to enjoy the same rights that he, as a taxpaying citizen, enjoys. By his declaration that gays should keep themselves to "the privacy of their homes," he shows that he, like so many others, is only interested in keeping this large segment of likewise taxpaying citizens locked in a degrading third-class level of citizenship.
Editor, DaKine magazine
Parents have right to influence curriculum
If you don't think that your children are being subjected to state and special interest group agendas, read what a lawyer for the Lexington, Mass., school system said in response to a lawsuit filed by two couples upset with their children being subjected to the teaching of the normalcy of homosexuality: "The parents do have rights ... but they don't have the right to dictate to the public school system what their children can be exposed to in the way of ideas." Excuse me? Parents do not have the right to determine what ideas their children are exposed to?
Parents have every right to oversee and help determine the curriculum for their children's school. For schools to take it upon themselves to subject impressionable children to values and morals contrary to the parents' own is propaganda in its purest form. I urge parents to take an active interest in what their children are being exposed to and what is included in the school's curriculum, or rather agenda.
Isle GOP can raise student achievement
State schools Superintendent Pat Hamamoto's Feb. 4 "Gathering Place"
column scoffed at Rep. Gene Ward's commentary
suggesting that poverty should not be used as an excuse by the Department of Education for not producing better results. A critical step toward improving student academic performance in high-poverty schools is implementing high expectations for all students, and studies show that limited parental involvement is still a major obstacle to improving student performance. Smaller schools, empowering teachers and engaging students increase academic achievement.
Gov. Linda Lingle has been purposing this formula for the past four years. Yet Hawaii taxpayers are funding $2.5 billion annually to the Board of Education; sending approximately 10 cents from every dollar to the classroom instead of the 90 cents that the governor and the Republicans want to go to the schools. Dismantle the BOE and apply the governor's education plan. What Lingle did for Hawaii's economy she could do for the school system if the voters would support her and Republicans' educational agenda.
Michele Van Hessen
Pedestrians, drivers need to be careful
It saddens me to see so many pedestrians being killed on our roadways. But now Gov. Linda Lingle wants to put more of the responsibility on the drivers. As I drive around Oahu, I see pedestrians cross the road, not in crosswalks and usually after getting off the bus. I also see pedestrians cross in a crosswalk but often going against the red light to catch their bus.
Pedestrians have to realize that being careless will only increase their chances of being injured or killed. I say that when a pedestrian is being careless while crossing the road, they should be held partly responsible for the consequences. To put most or all of the responsibility on the drivers is outrageous. Both drivers and pedestrians have to be more careful on our roads.
Football's Colt, Jones could pair up in NFL
Instead of dealing himself as a quarterback for the NFL, a better deal for University of Hawaii Warriors quarterback Colt Brennan and Coach June Jones is to go as a package deal.
After watching Jones-coached UH football games, all other college and NFL games are so boring. I sure would like to see Jones back in the NFL with a quarterback like Colt, Timmy Chang or Nick Rolovich and with receivers like Ashley Lelie.
If Colt eventually goes alone to the NFL, he might end up like Timmy Chang. Timmy ended up with the most boring offensive coaching (Arizona and Philadelphia). Even though they were down by three or more touchdowns, these two teams kept trying to stay with their game plan, running first and passing second. A Jones-coached team would go into the two-minute offense as soon as the game started and stay in the two-minute offense until they were about 40 points ahead. Lots of NFL teams that have never reached the playoffs, should use the June Jones offense.
We'd all hate to see Jones leave the UH program, but I am also getting tired of the NFL teams playing musical chairs with the same coaches who ended Chang's NFL initiation. New England has gone to the passing game a lot, and has been very successful.
GOP ensures future rule of Democrats
Being seen as the party of war against, and destruction of, the South destroyed any Republican presence south of the Mason-Dixon line for a century.
Being seen as the party responsible for the excesses of the robber barons, oppression of workers and for the economic collapse during the Great Depression ended Republican hegemony and leadership in either house of Congress for three generations.
Now the Republicans of the Senate and House, having learned nothing of history, stand behind their president in lobotomized unison, oblivious to facts, oblivious to the opinion of their own experts, oblivious to the will of the people and, sheep-like, prepare to make Republicans an unpalatable choice for voters for the duration of hostilities in Iraq, and perhaps a generation or more beyond.
As a shattered America tries to pick up its pieces of an economy destroyed by reckless Republican spending on a war of choice, coupled with tax cuts for the wealthy, and tries to rebuild its international reputation besmirched by the shame and enormity of scandals surrounding an illegal war, prisoner abuse, domestic spying, war profiteering by the vice president and the president's uncle, voters will wisely shy away from this cadre of untruthful and delusional Republican candidates. This leaves the prospect of unchallenged rule by the Democratic Party for the foreseeable future.
God help us all.
Donald B. MacGowan
Feral pigs deserve better treatment
The feral pig population in Hawaii is being falsely demonized. Everywhere they are being hunted, snared, starved, stabbed, arrowed, bitten by dogs, dissected and disdained simply for being pigs ("Twice-weekly pig hunts target feral population," Star-Bulletin, Jan 31
The explanation for such treatment is that pigs are not "native" to the islands, and therefore should be destroyed for the protection of land, limb, and resources.
Please, this is ridiculous! How many of us can say that we are native to the islands ... or even to America for that matter? So why is it necessary for people to feel that way about pigs and justify it with unfeeling eradication?
Instead of apathy and callous disregard, people should give these intelligent creatures the respect and appreciation that they deserve for having to sacrifice and contribute so much towards our sustenance and way of life.