Humor is essential in cancer treatment
Three rousing cheers to E. Shan Correa for her breast-cancer essay "First, You Laugh" (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 10
)! It's been 18 years since I had to say, "The right side is the right side to remove."
I kept quiet to my family and friends on the mainland about my diagnosis until I was sure I was A-OK. Some of them laughed with me when I told them and others were aghast. Why? Because I alternately said telling them was "something I needed to get off my chest" or "I needed to make a clean breast of things"! Humor along with massive doses of George Mcpheeters, M.D., James Penoff, M.D., Michael McManamon and Judy and Jim Wilbert were vital to my cure.
Petroleum cartel needs more controls
Recently Bruce Smith, Tesoro chief, demonstrates disregard for consumers just as the petroleum industry has done for years. He blithely states that we are a capitalistic society; consumers set the price for gasoline. He maintains that prices should not be artificially regulated by our state representatives.
The petroleum industry is a cartel; consumers are not offered meaningful competitive prices. Yes, Smith is correct -- we can either buy the gas at the prices the industry hoists upon us or we can choose not to buy any gas. Unfortunately, in today's society, gasoline is a necessity just as electricity is. Perhaps we should stop fooling around with gasoline price caps and treat the petroleum industry as what it is -- a public utility that needs government control.
State's transit fee should be reduced
Sen. Lorraine Inouye's decision to hold Senate Bill 930 (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 6
) is troubling. She indicated uncertainty as to whether or not 5 percent or $5 million, whichever is less, is enough to cover the state's expenses for handling collection of the general excise tax surcharge that will fund mass transit for Honolulu. If this bill and its companion bill in the House (HB 724) are not passed, the 10 percent provision in House Bill 1309 (from 2005) will remain. Over the life of the surcharge, this will result in anywhere from $225 million to more than $300 million going into the state's general fund rather than the city's special fund for transit.
After declining to testify on SB 930, state tax director Kurt Kawafuchi needs to provide the Legislature with a reasoned estimate of what surcharge handling will actually cost. To me, even the low figure ($5 million yearly) in the bill is more than enough. Anything more is either ludicrous given the requirement, or indicative of huge waste in state government operations.
Both SB 930 and HB 724 need to be passed in this session.
Residents should take advantage of the sun
Regarding the story "Power shortage blackout is averted" (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 2
This and most other power problems could be reduced if Hawaii used solar power. Our state is blessed with lots of sunshine (even windward areas) and very strong sunshine because of our latitude. It is crazy to burn coal when the sun is available for free. If you're on the grid, all you need is panels on your house and an inverter. Given our sky-high electric rates, payback can be in a few years. Solar hot water has the fastest payback.
When will the Legislature and governor take the lead and really do something about using solar power? Very soon, I hope.
Mark A. Koppel
Incumbents shouldn't fear public funding
Thanks to the Star-Bulletin's Richard Borreca
for keeping the problem of money and elections before the public. In his "On Politics" column Sunday
, he noted again how tinkering around with the current campaign spending laws in the attempt to keep the influence of special interests limited is useless. Only comprehensive public funding, where candidates take NO money from private/special interests, will achieve this goal.
Each year legislators say they will vote for the bill, but somehow it never passes. In truth, if the majority of the legislators wanted this legislation, it would pass. Perhaps this will be the year! The incumbents, who fear their opponents will be able to have enough money to launch a credible campaign, do not have to fear it. They, too, can take public money and claim, "Until now I had to take private money, but with the public funding, I don't have to."
Given that equalizer, the incumbent will always have the advantage anyway, because of name recognition and work done in the Legislature. Let's hope they get on with it this year.
Chickens pose big public safety threat
The 1900 bubonic plague outbreak is considered the greatest public safety disaster in Hawaii history. Bird flu has the potential to be the second.
If the city of Honolulu continues to allow people to raise poultry in residential areas without proper enforcement (number of birds, sanitation), then the city should be held liable when, not if, the bird flu pandemic hits Hawaii and these birds cost lives.
Allowing roosters and chickens to live in residentially zoned backyards is like storing gasoline with a book of matches.
Cathleen "Cate" Matsushima
Accidents caused by unsafe conditions
I walk the streets often. I observe the traffic laws by crossing only on marked crosswalks and with walk signals. On two occasions, I narrowly avoided being the victim of a traffic accident. In each case, the car that missed me also was going through the intersection with a green light. In neither case were the drivers speeding; everybody was obeying the laws.
Giving tickets to the victims of bad traffic conditions will never solve the problem. We must correct the conditions, which are: inadequate streets, with potholes and broken blacktop; sidewalks that are too narrow and in deplorable condition; vegetation obscuring the view of both pedestrians and drivers; giving a green light to both pedestrian and driver to occupy the same space at the same time.
It saddens me when the City and County of Honolulu tries to solve its problem by giving tickets. Traffic on Oahu is increasing daily, and our facilities are not keeping pace. The excuse that we don't have the money and/or the facilities to meet the needs of the people is just that -- an excuse.
William W. Dicksion
More bus stops, fewer pedestrian accidents
Yesterday's headline "3 pedestrians hit in 8 hours"
and the many other pedestrian deaths this year are evidence of failed city policies. In trying to improve the flow of traffic, the city is ignoring many residents. Crosswalks need better design and modernized traffic lights.
A bad action is the removal of an Ala Moana bus stop between Piikoi and Queen streets. That bus stop fronts three large condos with thousands of residents. Going east, they will have to get off at the Ala Moana Center and cross busy Piikoi or cross three streets to the Ward Theater center.
We can speed up traffic and kill more pedestrians or improve crosswalks and bus service. The fixed rail system will not help. Only an improved, free bus system will be safer, much, much cheaper and benefit everybody.
Jerome G. Manis
It's a day to think of the meaning of love
The meaning of Valentine's Day is when someone
who makes you feel good
who brings out the you
who is joyful and giving --
This is the Meaning of Love
that gives you a chance to be strong,
or truest in another to help you along --
This is the Meaning of Love.
that you feel like
you've been forever --
a place where you're growing
and learning together --
This is the Meaning of Love.
I've found the someone
who accepts me as I am,
yet helps me to become
a better, more fulfilled person ...
I've found something
that allows me to be strong,
yet gives me comfort and support
whenever I need it ...
I've found the somewhere
that makes me feel sheltered
yet free to grow and develop
on my own ...
I've found what it seems
I had been looking
for forever --
the beautiful, and very real, is
the meaning of love!
Arsenio Ramirez Pelayo