Toughen up on repeat criminals
It is a shame that our police officers daily have to face career criminals, such as the man who was shot to death in Pearlridge Wednesday.
The blame must first go to our judges, who let these criminals out to roam with 40, 50 to 100 or more arrests and convictions. The second must go to the prosecutor's office, which makes plea deals that set them free after a very brief time served.
Third, the Legislature and the public for not electing officials who will demand a crackdown on multiple convicted criminals who roam our streets.
We will continue to see home break-ins, robberies and whatnot unless society demands a change to this madness.
STAR-BULLETIN / 1998
Bicycle riders cruise the bike lane between traffic and parked cars on Diamond Head Road. Unfortunately, bike lanes are few and far between on Oahu, forcing some riders to take to the sidewalks to avoid hazardous road conditions.
A few guidelines can prevent collisions
I concur with Robin Hart (Letters, March 21
) that sometimes there is no real choice but to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk, and that there is a right way to do it. I consider myself an experienced cyclist -- been doing it for more than 30 years -- so I can handle myself in traffic. But my short commute to work would put me on the road during rush hour, and unless I'm suited up and on my fast road bike, I feel like a sitting duck on the road.
Here are some steps I've taken to try to make my ride on the sidewalk safer for everybody. I have a bell on my handlebar and I use it when approaching pedestrians, especially from behind, to give them a heads up. I don't speed on the sidewalk. I yield to pedestrians and give them as wide a berth as I can. I stop when passengers are getting on or off the bus. When there's not enough room on the sidewalk, I dismount and walk -- never ride through a crowd.
Hopefully by doing this I'm not a hazard to anyone. We can coexist on the sidewalks, but we bicyclists have to make more of an effort to ride safely.
Being careful doesn't matter -- just don't ride on sidewalks
The recent letters to the editor from bicyclists about getting along on the sidewalk with pedestrians are just wrong. Cyclists always need to yield to pedestrians, but get off the sidewalk! Defaulting to sidewalk riding has proven to be most dangerous for bicyclists. It promotes conflict with pedestrians and is illegal in most parts of town. The drivers don't expect or see bicycles on the sidewalk, and visibility is poor at driveways and intersections.
Bicycles should take their place on the street whether a suitable shoulder exists or not. Otherwise, choose a more favorable route. Bicyclists always fare best on the road when they act as, and are treated as, drivers of vehicles. By law, bicycles follow the same rules of the road as cars. If the bike path runs out and there is no shoulder to ride on, then you should take the lane that serves your destination, riding as visibly and predictably as possible and following the rules of the road. You should always communicate your intentions and make sure it is clear before making your move.
Bicyclists need to take their rightful place in the natural flow of traffic. These are topics that all drivers and cyclists should study. Walking, bicycling and learning how to share the road will promote safe routes and healthy communities.
Get off the sidewalk and claim your lane
The claim that cyclists and pedestrians cannot share the sidewalk is absurd. Cops and security guards on bikes do it everyday in Honolulu. It just takes proper behavior.
Sadly, however, many cyclists aren't trained, do not educate themselves or do not practice proper discipline. So society has pushed all cyclists into the street because of those dangerous few -- which is a shame.
Now, many cyclists say they don't feel safe riding Honolulu's streets. They feel the 8 inches of gutter isn't safe. That's because it isn't. A cyclists needs more room than that, but many motorists and ignorant police officers deny them that legal right. Cyclists have every right to "claim the lane" around them. As a former bike messenger in Honolulu and now a current cyclist in Seoul, South Korea (the most congested city on Earth), I can tell you that claiming the lane is the best way to go.
Stay off the sidewalks -- since apparently that's illegal -- and claim your lane!
Formerly of Hawaii
Council should listen to transit experts
I don't understand why the Honolulu City Council members think they know better. The expert panel members gave their best recommendation based on their collective background and experience: They recommend steel rail.
The panel already considered magnetic levitation, rubber on concrete and steel technology, including noise, rust and cost. Their recommendations were credible, logical and made good sense. These experts have no stake in this project, so why doesn't the City Council believe them?
It is obvious that no matter what the experts say, some Council members are only listening to what they want to hear. It sure looks like certain Council members favor the Phileas bus system: Who and why?
City should do more steel noise research
The city plans to spend billions for a "steel wheel on steel rail" mass transit system. Engineers have theoretically calculated that the noise generated by a steel rail system will be negligible. However, to reassure the public, the city should arrange for realistic noise tests to verify that the noise levels will be negligible. The tests would be made in a U.S. city that now operates a steel rail system like the system the city plans to build. The actual steel rail noise levels in that city would be recorded at distances of 50, 100, 200 and 300 feet from the rail line -- during the early morning, morning rush, midday, afternoon rush and late night hours.
The city should then play the recordings at typical places along the Oahu transit route, at the distances and hours noted above.
We all can learn from Lanikai egging
As with Gerard Jervis, and anyone else in a similar situation, we have the right to make a citizen's arrest should we choose to do so ("Trio apologizes in Jervis egg incident," March 19
). It was good that the incident resulted in the capture of the students. Had they gotten away, these damaging pranks would have continued to happen, and the students would be looked upon as heroes of sorts. As it should be, the students, their parents and the school felt ashamed and sorry for what happened.
There should be a lot of positive resulting from this high-profile incident. Let us not take sides, but use this as a learning experience for what (not) to do when confronted with choices.
Wesley and Eileen Uchida
Lawful gun ownership lowers violent crime
I am writing on behalf of Lessons In Firearms Education, a nonprofit service club of NRA-certified basic firearms safety instructors.
This is about your March 14 story on the state attorney general's report of a 60 percent increase in gun registrations in Hawaii from 2000 through 2007. You quote Meda Chesney-Lind, University of Hawaii criminologist, "Any time you increase the number of guns in the community, you increase the likelihood of higher suicide rates and higher homicide rates."
The AG's report is about lawful gun possession in our state, not crime guns. Research on U.S. communities shows that suicide rates remain unchanged and violent crime decreases in communities where lawful gun ownership increases.
Although we recognize the issues she raises are complex, and no conclusive studies are available for Hawaii, we note that data from the Hawaii State
Department of Health show Hawaii suicide rates have declined 18 percent from 2000 to 2006 during the same period the AG reports a 60 percent rise in gun registrations.
Suicide using a firearm decreased 13 percent.
Similarly, Hawaii homicide rates, according to the FBI Uniform Crime report, dropped 45 percent during the same years 2000 to 2006.
We believe her statement is unsupported by research and therefore unscholarly.
Vice President, LIFE
Check on those old NRA memberships
Shawn Lathrop of Waikoloa juxtaposes two personal facts in his letter to the editor of March 10. He is an NRA member, and he supports a ban on .50-caliber rifles.
National Rifle Association officials advise us, however, that, after exhaustive search on his behalf of membership records going back many years, they are unable to verify his life membership. They suggest that if he wishes them to research it further, he contact them with more information, like his address label on an old NRA magazine cover, or similar. This advice applies to anyone who wishes to verify membership in the NRA.
Hawaii Rifle Association
Obama hypocritical to support racist pastor
Here's my beef with the Sen. Barack Obama-Rev. Jeremiah Wright issue: If I were sitting in church on Sunday morning and my pastor started to blurt out racist comments such as the ones from Rev. Wright, I'm not going back to that church next Sunday, let alone for the next 20 years. I'm not taking my children to that church, either. Even if I hear wonderful sermons for 51 Sundays in a year, if I hear one racism-filled sermon from the leading pastor who is not immediately removed by the Board of Deacons, I'm changing churches.
What makes Obama even more hypocritical is that he staunchly demanded talk-radio host Don Imus be fired for Imus' foolish, off-the-cuff attempt at being funny. Imus said something stupid off the top of his head and was harshly denounced, but Wright delivers thoughtful, hate-laced sermons and is invited to baptize daughters and officiate weddings.
No reason to fear GMO taro research
Senate Bill 958, the proposed 10-year moratorium on taro research, is a reaction to fear of the unknown. It's not based on scientific evidence. I'm not a biologist, but I'm no stranger to science. I have a Ph.D. from MIT. I understand the science behind genetic engineering, so I do not fear it. My family and I eat genetically engineered crops, including Rainbow papaya, without concern. We also eat taro, and aren't concerned about one day eating genetically engineered taro.
I'm a strong proponent for science- and technology-based education and jobs in Hawaii. These jobs will allow the residents and children of Hawaii to compete in the global economy and maintain living standards. In May 2007, Gov. Linda Lingle signed a law designed to help transform the state's economy from one "based on land development to one based on innovation and developing Hawaii's human capital." This transition will be a journey that will not occur overnight. SB 958 is a huge step backward on this journey, and it sends the wrong message to our citizens.