B&Bs ruining Kailua
Thirty-five years ago, my husband and I bought our home in a residentially zoned neighborhood where we raised our children. As soon as our daughters could read, they participated in the Multiple Sclerosis Read-a-Thon. They went door-to-door and the neighbors pledged so-and-so many cents for each book they read. They read hundreds of books and collected hundreds of dollars for a good cause. Would I let them go door-to-door nowadays? No. Our family-oriented neighborhoods are being transformed into highly priced resort destinations where we no longer know our neighbors. It is no longer safe, and the strangers are not interested in sponsoring little kids' lessons in good citizenship.
When I spoke to an elderly, widowed woman in her yard the other day, she said sadly that she hardly knows any of her neighbors anymore. She has lived in her neighborhood for 45 years and now is surrounded by strangers who come and go day and night. She has lost her sense of security. No neighbor will notice and check on her if she no longer is seen in her yard.
When I asked an elderly man who is caring for his ailing wife how he could get any rest with the noise coming from the next-door illegal transient vacation unit's swimming pool day and night, he replied, "I don't get much rest and it is a good thing that my wife is almost deaf."
What does the proliferation of transient vacation rentals and bed-and-breakfasts do to our residentially zoned neighborhoods? It not only prices local renters out of the market. It also, like a cancer, eats away at our quality of life and destroys our sense of security and community cohesiveness.
Big Isle residents would welcome ferry
Since Maui and Kauai residents can't seem to agree on whether they want the Superferry, perhaps they could give it to us on the Big Island and wait for the next one. Maybe by then they would know it is going to be a good thing.
People are part of the eco-system, too, and deserve a reasonable way to see their families and do their business. Jets aren't exactly eco-friendly, with high-altitude emissions. A ferry is a better platform for future improved engine technology. Jet technology is mature.
And did you know Aloha Airlines received an exemption from noise standards to fly their outdated engines, courtesy of Sen. Dan Inouye? Who is getting the cozy deal?
Jaywalking is safer than obeying law
I lived in Honolulu for 30 years, and I would rather jaywalk when crossing the street than cross at an intersection. Cars do not stop at red lights or look when making right turns on red.
It is more dangerous to cross at an intersection than to jaywalk in Hawaii. I would rather break the law jaywalking than risk getting killed while obeying the law.
Traffic control aids, education can help
I am a retired state police officer who routinely visits your beautiful island. I have been a pedestrian in Waikiki and a rental car operator. I have been favorably impressed by the courtesy displayed by Hawaii motorists to other motorists and pedestrians.
Addressing the pedestrian side, I think there should be a short delay between lights turning red stopping traffic and the lights allowing the pedestrians to enter the crosswalk. This would allow the vehicles within the intersection (legally or not) to clear before pedestrians proceed.
In the more rural areas, pedestrians will use a crosswalk not under the control of traffic signals. If a vehicle stops in the roadway for the pedestrian on a four-lane highway, other vehicles traveling in the same direction cannot see the pedestrian and a dangerous situation is created.
I really think that the carnage you are experiencing can be reduced with education and proper coordination of the traffic control devices within the intersections. Good luck!
James A. Young
Retired assistant deputy superintendent
New York State Police
Clifton Park, N.Y.
The real danger is behind the wheel
What do all of our fatal traffic accidents have in common? Drivers! It's not dangerous roads, intersections, crosswalks or traffic lights. It's the drivers. And until the government, the public and the media acknowledge that and address it, the blood will continue to flow.
Weed & Seed grant helps fight Ewa crime
Thanks to Mayor Mufi Hannemann for granting the Weed & Seed Honolulu initiative $250,000. This grant guarantees that Ewa will continue receiving this premier federal crime reduction strategy for the coming year.
Since 2002, the Ewa site has formed 28 Neighborhood Security Watch teams and eight citizen patrols. Residents' forming a partnership with Weed & Seed law enforcement officers has greatly improved Ewa's quality of life.
The YMCA of Honolulu serves as the fiscal agent for Weed & Seed, providing staff leadership and the infrastructure support. The YMCA theme is, "We build strong kids, strong families, strong communities." The work of Weed & Seed complements the work of the YMCA, and we appreciate their commitment to this community strategy.
Don't let psychologists act as physicians
A proposal before the Legislature would allow psychologists to prescribe medications after a few weeks of crash courses.
I received a degree in psychology, which is a social model of training, not medical. I can substantiate the lack of training in basic sciences as a psychology major. To enter medical school, it took an additional two years to complete prerequisites. The bill before the Legislature requires only 12 weeks of training (450 hours) to become qualified to prescribe to those with mental illness. Why should the mentally ill get a lower standard of treatment?
Patient safety should not be compromised. All medications have adverse effects and multiple drug interactions; even common medications are dangerous when prescribed by underqualified providers.
I was raised in a rural area and have family members with mental illness. I am aware of the issues of access to mental health care in underserved areas. Safer alternatives are available to address this, such as House Bill 202 relating to telepsychiatry, Senate Bill 900, which logistically allows more psychiatrists to practice in community health centers and increased collaborations with public, community psychiatrists working in rural areas.
Kristen Low, MD
Med advances caused Walter Reed surge
Before looking for more scapegoats in the Walter Reed medical care case, go directly to the top of the order. Nobody foresaw the inundation of medical cases, just like nobody could predict our immediate failures at the start. With new medical technology and the many skills of our young medics, many more lives were saved on the battlefront.
We have seen and heard of the heroic efforts of the many doctors and on-site medics in Iraq. Result? A huge load of gurney cases passing through the German hospital and Walter Reed. Nobody could predict this tragedy. But better they come back on gurneys than in coffins? Sometimes I wonder.
So don't blame the entire system. Give some credit to the "Hawkeyes" and "Radars" who are saving lives, too.
Famed coach also was a great man
I had the privilege of being coached by Tommy Kaulukukui, who died Friday
, and will never forget what a great coach and person he was. He knew what the football team meant to the community as well as the University of Hawaii. Perhaps some day we will have another wonderful individual like Coach Kaulukukui to lead our roaring Rainbows.
Former Hawaii resident
Communication failed after October quake
It's unfortunate that Civil Defense chief Gen. Robert G.F. Lee (Gathering Place, Star-Bulletin, March 1
) believes that what I wrote in my Star-Bulletin commentary Feb. 19
is negative and misdirected.
After the October earthquake, letters to the editor and news reports were filled with residents' complaints about the power outage and the communications void. Lee seems to say that State Civil Defense can't be faulted if the public was left uninformed in the first hours of the emergency; he suggests that the failure was in the electric grid, not in the communications.
A fundamental principle of communications is that if the message does not get through, there has been a failure to communicate. The communicator must take responsibility for ensuring that the message is delivered. State Civil Defense obviously failed to anticipate what might happen if its cell phones didn't work due to network overload. Also unanticipated was the inability for Civil Defense officials to call the stations that remained on the air because the phone lines were jammed. The failures didn't begin with the electric grid's crash; they began when contingency planning didn't anticipate the loss of the phone networks. Lee's "information delay" was actually an out-and-out communications failure, no matter how narrowly the hair is split.
Citizens Helping Officials Respond to Emergencies
Pardon you? Not so fast, Scooter
Here's news you probably didn't hear from the West Wing. When Scooter Libby accidentally bumped into President Bush, the startled former aide to Vice President Cheney blurted out, "Pardon me," to which Bush replied, "No problem, you won't have to do any time!"
While that might not be how Libby will be pardoned for his involvement in what could be a treasonous act, this topic is in the news. During the investigation of how a CIA operative was outed, Libby was found guilty on four counts including perjury and faces up to 30 years in prison.
Libby's trial revealed the outing of Valerie Plame originated in the vice president's office after Plame's husband wrote an editorial that illustrated how the Bush administration lied so Bush could invade Iraq.
Bush has shredded the Constitution and condemns news media that reveal unpopular or inconvenient truths and is party to this questionable war. Is justice served when Bush can pardon Libby, who could implicate Cheney and possibly even Bush?
If marine life goes, so will our economy
Whether or not we want to admit it, Hawaii's economy leans heavily on tourism. Many of the tourists who come to Hawaii to experience our beautiful natural surroundings do so via the ocean. It dumbfounds me, then, to see that there is little if any attempt to police and regulate the natural resources of our reefs and ocean. Other than Hanauma Bay and Sharks Cove, our reefs and close-shore waters are being decimated by overfishing. Where are the marine police officers or Department of Land and Natural Resources officers who enforce our size and bag limits on offenders? Without protection and regulation, our ocean and its creatures, which we are famous for, will all but disappear, and along with them our tourism.