Reality will be tweaked to prove any viewpoint
I'm certainly glad to know that all of Hawaii seems to be governed based on the likes and dislikes of the Japanese tourist market.
According to a March 26 letter to the editor, "The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii is delighted to learn from your report that nearly half of our incoming Japanese tourists love a smoke-free Hawaii more."
And before this letter, there was one complaining about the Honolulu airport not providing enough facilities for smokers -- what those are I don't know. The Narita airport in Tokyo is pretty bare-bones and there were no tourist facilities at the Arizona Memorial (I didn't know that was a theme park to have fun at).
C'mon, people, when are you gonna get a grip?
Last time I was in Japan, about three years ago, I saw a significant amount of people smoking, and there were hardly any signs in English. So please stop using twisted stats to justify your own agendas.
Halt the city's bus stop 'misalignment' plan
The city Department of Transportation Services has been eliminating efficiently placed bus stops and relocating other convenient stops away from bus transfer points. It is perpetrating these egregious acts under the facade of "improving service and making the streets safer." DTS calls this a realignment program, but it should be called "Gullible's Travels."
After all, only the naive or the chronically ignorant would believe that better transit service could be derived from eliminating long-standing, safe bus stops and moving others further away from adjoining transfer points. Moreover, transforming bus riders into pedestrians does not make the streets safer, particularly on Oahu where the pedestrian/traffic accident rate is the highest in the nation.
Those who support this misaligned program stand up and walk to your automobiles. Those of us who are actually affected by this boneheaded plan walk, hobble, limp and move our wheelchairs a couple extra blocks past the old stops to catch the bus.
If the realignment program is so progressive and wonderful, why not implement these concepts at Honolulu Hale and other city buildings? Wow, imagine how fast the elevators would travel if they stopped on every other floor. If walking extra blocks is acceptable for bus riders, then facing an extra flight of stairs should be fine for DTS employees and Mayor Mufi Hannemann. And remember, they don't have to contend with the elements (rain and heat), nor do they have any disabilities -- well, physical ones.
To be fair, eliminating bus stops will be good for a multitude of local businesses. Imagine the surge in business that will occur among physicians, laboratories, pharmacies, ambulance services, hospitals and mortuaries. Oh, wait, you don't have to imagine -- just read the daily newspapers, because it's already happening. But don't worry about our mayor and transit employees; they don't ride the bus.
Despite the atrocious misalignment program, bus riders are standing behind the mayor and DTS. Well, we have to because the government has turned its back on us.
Fellow citizens, always remember: When there's nothing left, write! How else can we right a wrong? So contact your City Council representative, the news media, civic groups and anyone who cares and request that the bus stop misalignment program be stopped. Ask our representatives to restore the former stops and the efficient bus service.
Ronald W. Pike
Police chief should shift his priorities
The recent report regarding "Chief wants funds to keep police in line
" (Star-Bulletin, March 23) is a large part of the problem this chief has with his officers, the union and the public in general. Chief Boisse Correa seems to believe that by using investigation as a coercive tool he can root out all types of corruption within the department. I submit that it might be better if the chief fought to get the men and women who work for him better pay and working conditions, rather then initiating another special group that will ultimately intrude on the authority Internal Affairs already has, and squander resources (both in manpower and money) that could be better utilized.
But that is not this chief's style. His leadership style seems more like, "Me boss, you worker."
The fact that the Honolulu Police Department has relatively little corruption in spite of the poverty-level pay and poor working conditions speaks well to the caliber of men and women who dedicate themselves to serving our community.
Education, not laws, needed on taro
The mere presence of controversy should not cause government to overreact. On the issue of a moratorium on genetic modification research of taro
, we need more education, not more legislation. Rep. Clift Tsuji, chairman of the House Agricultural Committee, is to be commended for endorsing this approach.
Taro has many challenges in Hawaii, and is struggling. Do we really want our researchers to be unnecessarily restricted in their ability to meet these and future challenges?
No Hawaiian taro has been genetically engineered. The Chinese taro "bun long" has been engineered. Since there is no evidence they hybridize, where is the injured party that needs legislative recourse?
The College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources has a long history of responding to farmers' requests for overcoming production challenges, and we use a variety of approaches including modern techniques of plant breeding, such as genetic modification. For more than 100 years, CTAHR has worked with taro farmers to tackle problems, and we took the initiative more than 70 years ago to assemble and maintain a collection of the remaining Hawaiian taro varieties. We follow many truths down many paths, and to have a manufactured crisis threaten this proven approach should be unacceptable to the public and Hawaii's policymakers.
Maui County administrator
College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources, University of Hawaii-Manoa
Mobile hospital just what doctor ordered
I believe the state can use the Med-1 Mobile Emergency Department mobile hospital. This state-of-the-art medical facility for emergency medical care, primary care or disaster relief has been proven to work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Thomas Blackwell, director of the Carolinas Medical Center, made a persuasive presentation Wednesday to the joint Senate and House Health Committees on the feasibility of a Med-1 unit in Hawaii.
This mobile hospital, housed in a semi-truck trailer, would provide two operating rooms, four critical care beds and eight additional general medical care beds that are fully equipped. It is capable of operating for up to 72 hours with its own oxygen, water and power.
This type of unit could help to alleviate many of the health problems facing our great state today. For example, a Med-1 unit would help address the problems that face rural and underserved populations in Hawaii, such as those that lack primary physicians and specialists or adequate medical facilities. Its mobility allows it to be a beacon of aid if another natural disaster hits our hospitals, as the structural damage October's earthquake caused to some Hawaii hospitals.
The purchase of Med-1 units by the federal and state governments would be a worthy and sound investment.
Only real alternative is 24/7 gridlock
The city is finally moving forward with a rail project and the necessary environmental and planning documents to build the system. Some old-timers might remember that initial planning began 40 years ago. And while we Honolulu residents stood by the sidelines and watched, other cities like Portland, San Diego, Houston and Salt Lake City started and completed their rail projects. Yet traffic congestion on Oahu has gotten worse and worse.
We need traffic relief now. It's time to build the rail system before it's too late and we're stuck with gridlock 24/7.
Old rail route could be converted for buses
Honolulu's bus system has been known as one of the best in the country. But there are two problems with the present bus system: not enough passengers and no roads to travel on. The proposed rapid rail is expensive, covers only 20 miles and is not flexible.
The old OR&L rail right-of-way from Makaha to Waikiki should have an elevated busway where express buses traveling at 60 mph could make the trip in 35 to 40 minutes. This busway could have onramps for each district on the route without slowing down the express buses. The city owns and operates about half the buses that would be required, along with well-trained operators. This route worked for transporting sugar for 50 years; it should work for transporting people.
Charles F. Meikle
Leeward needs rail for better quality of life
One of the biggest challenges we face today is population growth and how we properly plan for it. Much of the new growth on Oahu is directed to the Ewa area. There will be new homes, new jobs, more retail areas and a new university. And there will be more traffic.
Proper planning includes building the proposed rail project. Rail is positioned to be the centerpiece of a comprehensive transportation solution that must be implemented if we are to realize the vision of a true "Second City." Rail transit will be an important component of our future quality of life, especially for those of us who reside on the Leeward Coast.
Too many free throws for political leaders
Most of us think of a penalty as an imposition for violating a rule. Do something wrong and you're punished! But I have never understood some foul calls in basketball. Say your favorite team is down by two in the final five seconds. At the three-point line, your forward launches a shot and swish. The crowd roars and your team wins, right? But wait, the ref says your forward was fouled before the shot, so the three points don't count. If he goes in and makes both free throws, the most you get is a tie and if he misses one, it's all over.
It's not really a foul, it's a strategic ploy for the defending team to gain an advantage, like when opportunists in government lie. Instead of being penalized for wrongdoing, they hand out awards and no-bid contracts to those who helped them gain power. And we are punished by having to sacrifice our loved ones and tax dollars to enrich those who perpetuate needless battles.
Isle delegates' votes undermine troops
Hawaii hosts what might be the largest military population, as a percentage of permanent residents, of any state in the nation. One of our senators holds the nation's highest military decoration as a result of his courageous service in World War II. During that service he enjoyed unwavering support on the homefront. That's why it is such a stunning disappointment that Sen. Dan Inouye, in fact our entire congressional delegation, voted to undercut our troops and impose on them a military defeat.
The recent supplemental funding bill to continue financing the troops was loaded with unacceptable pork and contained, incredibly, a specific date for our troops to retreat from the Iraq battlefield and accept a defeat in the war on terror. The Democratic majority passed this disgraceful legislation knowing it was destined for a presidential veto. The intent was to create a problem for our president, regardless of the message received by our brave troops and their battlefield enemies. Unfortunately, that message was "defeat at any cost."
Our troops are doing a fantastic job on the battlefield. They shouldn't have to worry about their backs at home.
Robert R. Kessler
Retired commander, U.S. Navy
Drug testing students is un-American
The proposal to randomly drug test public school students
is asinine and dangerous. Fueled mostly by the media and under the guise of student and public safety, a paranoia and hysteria has been created. We are about to enter George Orwell's "1984" society, in which government has been allowed to intrude in all aspects of our personal lives.
Why should we stop at drug testing students? Why not test those applying for driver's licenses, going to the doctor, shopping at the local supermarket? The public is in all these places, too. What? The safety of our licensing administrators, doctors and cashiers isn't as important as our students?
Random testing, besides being costly and ineffective, is also un-American. Our Constitution provides for us to be safe from unreasonable searches of our homes and persons. Some will argue that the Supreme Court has supported random drug testing. But at one time the courts also supported the secondary class of women and people of color. Just because it's law doesn't mean it's right.
And once a student tests positive, we do what -- counseling? Incarceration? Those cost money, too. I'd rather have my tax dollars spent on truant officers to keep kids in schools and to buy library books so that our students and their parents can read Orwell's "1984" and learn its message.
Infrared helps Manila watch for bird flu
While entering Manila last week, I was surprised to see at the entry areas for many flights an infrared video camera scanning each passenger's full body and displaying it on a large monitor so that the half-dozen medical personnel could observe the entrance to the Philippines of what I can only guess would be people who might need to be quarantined. Then you must traverse a carpet of some type of poison to eliminate anything carried on your shoes. The Philippines widely proclaims at all airports that it is a "bird flu free" nation.
Hey, I made it home ... not coughing or feverish. Inexpensive and pretty nifty and thorough medical investigating.