City muffed policy on vacation rentals
Nearly 20 years ago the city placed a moratorium on vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts (TVRs). For 15 years the city did not enforce it. TVRs opened to meet the demand for their services. Three years ago residents began complaining about their quality of life; too many TVRs.
Maybe they're right. Instead of recognizing a tipping point, where the benefits of TVRs interfere with the quality of life in neighborhoods, and bringing people together, the county responded by trying to beat back TVRs to 1989 levels. The saddest part -- to shut down TVRs they must recruit neighbors to report on neighbors; a horrendously flawed, shortsighted tactic.
For two years, the county sat on proposals designed to address quality-of-life issues and return balance to communities. It's ill-conceived moratorium, years of lax enforcement, fumbled opportunities, punitive action requiring neighbors to report neighbors in order to be effective, then refusing to discuss solutions already available have led to bruised neighborhoods and high emotions that make listening and rational dialogue nearly impossible.
Let's hope our county leaders return peace to our neighborhoods by encouraging rational dialogue and compromise.
Data shows Japanese like anti-smoking law
The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii is delighted to learn from your story ("Smoke-free law may cloud Japan tourism," Star-Bulletin, March 23
) that nearly half of our incoming Japanese tourists love a smoke-free Hawaii more.
Although the article's headline may have given the impression that there is cause for concern, the data presented points in the opposite direction. We see that 59 percent of nonsmokers (who are 78 percent of the population) "love Hawaii more" while 52.5 percent of smokers (who are 22 percent of the population) may be discouraged or say they won't come.
Though the popularity of our smoke-free workplaces law among residents and visitors alike comes as no surprise, it is reassuring when Japanese tourists surveyed indicate such strong support -- nearly four to one in favor of clean air.
Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii
Menor should hear bill on non-ethanol gas
Sen. Ron Menor's has stated that he would not even look at a bill that proposes having fuel available without ethanol added. He must be lacking common sense. He has no concern for the safety and welfare of all concerned about this subject.
He should consult with commercial fisherman on the damage caused by ethanol on their fuel systems and possibly some aircraft and helicopter operators, and then after all that, make a final decision. He must also remember that he is an elected official put in office by the general public to protect our interests and not his own.
Menor should read this month's issue of Hawaii Fishing News. It has good information. This problem has been known for a long time, and the article brings it to the forefront. Remember, politicians are only mediators in what the general public wants.
Lloyd Y. Yamasaki
Copper theft isn't that hard to stop
Here is my solution to the copper theft problem: Stop copper recycling in the state of Hawaii for a few years. The problem will go away!
Early inhabitants captivated by copper
It might be of interest to some others besides history buffs that the recent spate of copper thefts in Hawaii have a long-standing history. Perhaps the first crimes upon the arrival of the Europeans occurred when the natives spotted the copper sheathing on the hulls of the ships. Forthwith they rowed out and attempted, successfully in many cases, to strip the copper from the ships. One occurrence of this activity probably led to the death of Captain Cook.
Take steps now to curb pedestrian deaths
I am appalled, outraged and saddened by the recent number of pedestrian fatalities.
We, as an ohana, community and state need to come together and resolve the issues of pedestrians at risk now, before someone else loses their life.
Here are some ideas to consider implementing.
» No turns on a red light, no matter which direction, left or right.
» Change all the traffic lights to include a pedestrians-only crossing signal with all traffic stopped.
» All crosswalks need some kind of caution signal so motorists know there is a crosswalk in the area. Install speed bumps to slow vehicles.
» Post police on special duty in civilian clothes intermittently at intersections around the island to monitor pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
» Driver's education needs more emphasis on safe driving near crosswalks, intersections and schools.
» New communities need to have traffic signals installed when the houses are built and not after someone gets hurt or worse.
Are we an uncaring and ungiving community that we do not value the lives of our loved ones? Are we a society that's in such a rush, we can't be courteous and safe? The remedy starts in our homes and schools by teaching our keiki to be safe.
Let's do our share to protect each and every citizen in our beautiful Aloha State.
Rachelle V. Sanchez
Hee did his duty in vetting new judge
The Senate, at both the state and congressional levels, has the grave duty of confirming executive and judicial appointments. The confirmation process ensures that fit and qualified appointees serve the people.
An example of the process gone wrong is the U.S. Senate's largely party-line confirmation of Alberto Gonzales as President Bush's attorney general. His unfitness for the position is becoming increasingly clear as he clumsily defends the Bush administration's dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys who did not play political ball.
The Hawaii Senate, through its constitutional duty to advise and consent on key gubernatorial appointments, protects the people of Hawaii from rubberstamp confirmations. That is why we should thank Senate Judiciary Chairman Clayton Hee for thoroughly scrutinizing the nomination of Glenn Kim to the Circuit Court bench.
Hee could have easily taken the other route and been a nice guy in rubberstamping Kim's appointment, but he rose to fulfill his constitutional duty to ensure that judges, with their broad discretionary power in applying the law, have the judicial temperament to serve the people with respect and compassion.
Senator Hee did his job. The public expects no less from any of its public employees.
Russell K. Okata
Hawaii Government Employees Association