Mayor understands myth of free lunch
Kudos to Mufi Hannemann for doing the right thing by raising sewer fees to address the sewer maintenance problems.
For those who do not recall, those funds were raided so a certain prior incumbent could make more parks and more frills for the public without raising taxes during an election year.
Nothing is free, so next time you want the government to do something for you "for free" or automatically, first ask yourself how you will fund it and if it is really worth funding.
Stricter laws needed to fight prostitution
I think it is sad that prostitution still occurs, despite all the news about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (Star-Bulletin, March 1
). I want to encourage the state Legislature to create stricter laws to discourage the prostitution scene. Parents do not pay for their children's food, shelter, health care, clothing and other necessities, just for the children -- male or female -- to be swept up into prostitution.
I think many of the people who ply the trade are hard-drug addicts, and they need help.
Mentally ill deserve first-class treatment
Psychologists have repeatedly promoted failed legislation, regulatory changes and lawsuits to add new autonomy and medical authority to their scope of practice. They have done everything short of getting a fundamental medical education. The medical education part is -- politically -- negotiable.
Their arguments include: primary care physicians do not understand psychiatric illness; there are not enough psychiatric physicians; and a 15-week course on medications can upgrade psychologists to write prescriptions for powerful psychotropic medications.
Arguments I and many like me make are: medical care for people requires medical education for providers; the state has a duty to maintain equal standards for the medical care of all its citizens and must not carve out a special, second-class exception for the mentally ill; work-force shortages are a general problem in health care that is best solved by coherent systems that maintain appropriate medical supervision; and dropping requirements for medical education will subtract and replace, not add to the work force.
Market forces steer systems to the least expensive government standards. Medical education would be priced out of the market. With the state's blessing, the market would establish a permanent, second-class system of medical care for the mentally ill.
Maui Memorial Hospital
Airport security stops grocery-bag threat
Caution Hawaii friends and tourists: Foodland bags are now a terrorist threat.
Six times in the past year, Transportation Security Administration guards have asked me to remove my shoes at the airport check-in security. And six times, I have removed my shoes and then placed plastic bags over my bare feet to protect them from the athlete's foot disease on the floor and carpet where thousands of bare feet have been walking before me.
Last Tuesday, I wore empty Foodland plastic bags. The guard put out her hand and said, "Stop!" I promptly removed the bags to verify that my feet were bare and that the bags were empty. "Foodland bags not permitted," she said. She then instructed me to go over to the security pat-down area where two beefy guards were waiting to inspect the threat.
I explained the problem, and I once more removed the empty bags to expose my bare feet. "Foodland bags are not permitted," they said. "That's the policy."
I asked to see the written policy -- at which point my custodians informed me that they didn't have to show any policy and that I was becoming a nuisance and risked further indignity if I didn't shut up and move on. They brought out my bags and told me to leave.
I went down to the next checkpoint and walked right through. So, I supposed that not everyone knows about the policy regarding the Foodland bag threat. Or perhaps TSA guards are on their own to invent ways to entertain themselves at the expense of the traveling public?
Aloha, TSA Hawaii -- not flying soon through your checkpoint.
Port Townsend, Wash.
Openness can ward off misunderstandings
Na kanaka maoli (native people) have a responsibility for how olelo Hawaii (native language) is used, especially when relating to non-native people. The word haole used in our native tongue is not offensive.
According to kanaka maoli history, this word is used to describe the ancient demigod Kamapua'a. Our ancestors were not in the habit of disrespecting our gods, so the word haole was not used as a racial slur.
But that was in the context of olelo Hawaii. Pidgin English is not our native tongue. It's a dialect of the English language invented to allow plantation managers (lunas) to communicate with the different ethnic groups. It is no wonder that when native words such as haole are taken out of context and used in the Western vernacular, they are misunderstood and often offensive to those who do not understand the native language or culture. It is our responsibility as native people to teach non-native people who come to our islands, with an open mind and heart, to understand our culture and language in a nonconfrontational manner. It is the responsibility of all visitors to learn and understand. It is when neither party is willing to teach and learn respectfully that we have visitors defining native words and na kanaka maoli offending visitors by using words such as haole in a Western context.
It is ridiculous to consider the incident at Waikele a hate crime because the accused perpetrators used the word haole. It is a hate crime because of the brutality of their alleged actions, not the words they used.
Mass transit affects more than its users
Any large-scale technological infrastructure affects a society in ways well beyond the immediate problem it was intended to solve. The Internet and mass transportation are both prime examples. A rail system does not simply move people between the locations it serves. By influencing social connectivity, it also affects the ways in which communities and economies develop. The choice of a rail route that literally leaves our major institution of higher education and our major international transportation center disconnected from our social and economic center speaks volumes about our priorities.
Every location in the country that has benefited economically from the high-technology revolution has had a research university at the center of this change. The proposed rail route is at odds with our governor's vision to build a high-technology economy and with the convention center's wise decision to leverage our unique advantage as the bridge between North America and Asia.
I do not deny the transportation needs of Salt Lake, but ask that we all consider the design of mass transportation as a strategic choice that could affect whether our children have an economic future in Hawaii. It's not merely a solution to congestion on the freeways.
Crossing circles keep cars at a distance
How do we protect our pedestrians? Europe has many areas with much higher population density than we have, but they do not constantly kill their pedestrians with cars.
I have noticed that many accidents are caused by cars turning through protected crossings while the pedestrians are in them. My husband saved my life a few months ago by pushing me out from in front of a car that made a left turn through our protected crossing. Red light for the car; we had the white crossing sign in our favor; she did not even slow down. She yelled, "I didn't see you!" as she sped off.
Drivers often seem to be confused as to just when they are allowed in the intersection.
When I was in Europe, they had "crossing circles." The entire intersection becomes a pedestrian right of way, and no cars are allowed in. Pedestrians may cross in any direction as long as they stay in the crossing circle. This allows for fewer interruptions of the vehicular traffic flow, and clarifies when a car may enter the intersection.
This works well for traffic calming and protects pedestrians. I think Hawaii should use crossing circles. It is a simple and inexpensive way to save lives.