Constitutional rights face new dangers
Boston calls it "Project Safe Homes;" Washington, D.C., calls it "Safe Homes Initiative." Whatever you call the program, the police chiefs in these cities are poised to search, without a warrant, citizens' homes for illegal guns. Of course, the police are trying to skirt the constitutional technicalities by asking permission before entering people's homes. Once in, they can look for anything anywhere. This proposal is one of the most flagrant unconstitutional actions since the government arbitrarily interned Japanese-American citizens in World War II.
Both of these cities trampled on Second Amendment rights; now they are after citizens' Fourth Amendment rights. What is next, freedom of the press?
Go back to the future to save Molokai
Mahalo to Bridget Mowat for her March 28 letter regarding the closing of Molokai Ranch.
For more than a thousand years "native Hawaiians," prior to Captain Cook (1778 AD) stumbling onto our islands, achieved a "sustainable" lifestyle, both in essence and in practical terms without foreign help or interference.
However, subsequent to Cook, the Calvinist missionaries and western democracy and capitalism, the decline of our island resources has now alerted today's politicians to pursue sustainable policies and investments. Western society is incompatible with any real sustainable endeavor the state or private corporations now espouse.
Western-thinking in the sense of capitalism, that is to say, excluding those that have already achieved sustainability, is fundamentally flawed, as we now come to recognize.
Instead of pointing fingers and blaming the people who defended Molokai, why doesn't the Office of Hawaiian Affairs join in helping those immediately affected find a sustainable remedy; like perhaps restoring all the fish ponds that can feed all the islands and employ all the displaced workers.
Government should work for common good
The Bush legacy continues with the Bear Sterns bailout as the feds infuse $30 billion of your tax dollars to prop up ailing financial markets, while suggesting homeowners facing bankruptcy suck it up!
Why is this happening? It's no secret that Republican administrations modify regulations set in place to insure consumer safety, but that may hamper business from maximizing profits. Many lobbyists for the businesses that support President Bush were appointed to government oversight agencies by Bush to remove or ignore these safeguard regulations.
In Hawaii, there's a variation on the theme as Gov. Linda Lingle ignored laws regarding environmental impacts while supporting the Superferry.
In our democracy, we should support businesses (minority) to the extent that they help workers (majority). But when our president or governor acts to harm the majority, it's time to elect leaders who look out for the the masses.
Overseeing cemetery requires sensitivity
Regarding the March 10 letter by Jason Kokaaina concerning the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe:
Kokaaina brought up several issues; the first concern involved family members who planted their own grass and have made other modifications to their loved ones' grave site. I agree with his concern and we are taking many steps to ensure the integrity the HSVC.
The HSVC provides family members with a copy of the cemetery rules prior to placement of the family members remains. These rules state that no person shall memorialize a gravesite for any reason or do any thing to distinguish one gravesite from another.
Such things include affixing anything to a grave marker, altering the cemetery plot in any way, or the planting of unauthorized grass.
The cemetery staff sends letters to the offending families that provide sufficient time to remove the items or to restore the gravesite so it conforms to cemetery rules. Many of these infractions occur during the weekend when cemetery staff is not present.
Second, when comparing HSVC with Punchbowl, one must realize that Punchbowl is a closed cemetery. Punchbowl has no ground space for new first-time casketed burials. It does reopen existing graves to join together a veteran with his or her spouse. Punchbowl's budget is about $2 million annually, while HSVC conducts about 500 casketed burials per year on a budget of about $500,000 a year.
Concerning the use of roadways by individuals to exercise, cemetery rules specifically prohibit jogging, skate boarding, or any other form of sports or recreation.
Our objective is to enforce the cemetery rules while showing sensitivity to family members. We are redoubling our efforts to adhere to the National Cemetery System standards, which are the guiding principles for all veterans cemeteries throughout the United States. HSVC is a sacred memorial to the men and women who have served our nation. The remains of these great individuals now lay in rest and should be respected by all.
Mark S. Moses
Office of Veterans' Services
Government shouldn't enter bail-out business
Our government is struggling to keep Social Security, Medicare and other social programs and yet it bails out Bear Stearns with the excuse that if it went bankrupt, there would be severe repercussions. What kind of repercussion would affect each and every one of us?
Our government should stay out of all private company affairs and concentrate on its own priorities.
Francis K. Ibara
For cyclists, it's safe to stay in the street
I smell burning rubber from the hot topic of sidewalk cycling.
As a longtime Honolulu cyclist, bike shop owner and League of American Bicyclist instructor (as is Chris Clark who contributed an excellent letter on March 23), I would emphasize that cycling in Honolulu's streets is far from sure death and must be reasonably safe, otherwise Chris and I would be dead many times over.
Cyclists should stay off the sidewalks unless they want to travel at walking speed. The streets are actually safer and certainly faster.
I call upon the Honolulu Police Department to enforce the rules against sidewalk cycling. I call upon the government to mount an education program to encourage vehicular cycling for safety's sake and to mitigate many of society's problems of obesity, global warming and land use.
Cyclists, if you are visible and predictable you can safely share the road with motor vehicles. I've been doing it for more than 30 years and tens of thousands of miles without a single car-bike crash. I'm not waiting for bike lanes or other delusional facilities to be squeezed into our city's crowded streets.
I'm out there in the real world of Honolulu sharing the road with motorists and having a great time doing it.
Frank W. Smith
Island Triathlon & Bike
Chong was committed volunteer and leader
The American Cancer Society lost a good friend, lifelong volunteer and leader when the Rev. Frank A. Chong passed away March 9 after a recurrence of cancer.
His four-decade involvement with the society began in 1963 when he walked through our doors to volunteer and never left. During that time, he learned the "7 Warning Signals of Cancer," which he used to recognize a mysterious lump on the side of his neck.
He was first diagnosed with cancer in 1973.
He was our president in 1985-86, then chairman of our board in 1990-95 and on national committees. Recently Frank, as chairman of the Government Relations Committee, led society advocates in the passage of Hawaii's smoke-free laws. Last year, Frank received the division's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Always eloquent, Frank noted, "Cancer is not an intellectual experience. Cancer is both an existential and theological challenge to find your place in time and space -- to find out what your relationship with God is all about."
Virginia Pressler, M.D.
President American Cancer Society, Hawaii Pacific Board
Jackie Young and Tina Clothier
Chief Staff Officers American Cancer Society, Hawaii Pacific Inc.