Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, December 31, 1997

While killings were tragic, keep prayers out of schools

The tragic death of the young people in Kentucky could have been avoided. There is no excuse for the young gunman's actions. A judge and jury will hold him accountable.

However, it is our duty to the youth of today to provide public institutions of learning (i.e. schools) reasonably free from intimidation.

Youth gangs should not be allowed to congest the front of public schools, no matter what names they give themselves. There is enough disruptive peer pressures as it is.

One must wonder why fundamentalists are pushing so hard to get religion back into the schools. According to Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount, it is better to pray in private (in a closet, actually) then to attract attention to oneself.

Daily, pre-school sectarian incantations on the steps of a public schools are inappropriate and serve only to bring attention to the participants.

Michael Quinn
(Via the Internet)

Trustees should resign or agree to work for free

For the good of the whole community, I hope that the trustees of the Bishop Estate will think hard and help find a solution to the intricate situation the Kamehameha Schools are in at present.

It shouldn't be difficult for trustee Lokelani Lindsey -- or for all five trustees, for that matter -- to resign, at least temporarily, until all problems are cleaned up.

Or, if the trustees want to hold onto their positions because there are programs, plans, projects, etc., that they still want to pursue, why don't they offer to serve as volunteers?

That would be testament to their good judgment, aloha spirit and, above all, devotion to the noble cause they have been chosen to serve.

K.V. Le-Thi

Will should be respected on selection of trustees

I no longer reside in Hawaii and depend on my trips home and coverage on the Star-Bulletin's Web site to keep current on local news and events.

The Bishop Estate's policies and practices have long been a concern for even non-Hawaiian kamaaina. But I urge the estate and native Hawaiians to be careful about throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I regret the recently reported decision by four of the five Supreme Court justices to take themselves out of the trustee selection process.

Bernice Pauahi Bishop requested the Supreme Court select trustees for her estate to minimize politics and the dangerous power of demagogues. Charges of possible corruption or political influence should be faced by doing more of these duties in public.

Derek Ho
Laurel, Md.
(Via the Internet)

Bishop Estate Archive

More attention must be paid to pedestrian safety

Our streets are dangerous for pedestrians. Honolulu is ranked sixth in the nation in its proportion of pedestrians killed -- 30 percent of all traffic fatalities. Recently, five of us have been hospitalized or killed after drivers failed to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or near intersections. This intimidation and slaughter of our weakest must end.

Each of us is a part of the problem: driving fast and ignoring pedestrians (drivers), inappropriate road design (engineers), lack of enforcement (politicians and police), and cars designed for speed and comfort of drivers (transportation and insurance industries).

Our leaders must push for the redesign of collector streets, enhancement of midblock crossings and intersections for pedestrians, community participation during transportation planning, prioritizing federal funds for pedestrian safety (now a low 3.3 percent), and enforcement of traffic laws to protect pedestrians.

Please remember that, after we park our cars or leave our buses, each of us is a pedestrian and thus is in jeopardy when crossing streets.

Todd Boulanger
Transportation Planner

Blinking lights could prevent crosswalk deaths

How many people must die before crosswalks are made safer? This question must be on a lot of minds following the death of yet another person in a crosswalk.

In other cities such as Seattle and Ottawa, I have seen cars stop when pedestrians are standing near the curb adjacent to a crosswalk.

How do drivers know pedestrians are approaching a crosswalk? In Ottawa, a brightly lit lantern hangs suspended over the street. It is pierced by a large "X" that flashes an amber light and is nearly impossible to miss.

What is a life worth? What would it cost to install these crosswalk "lanterns" with a flashing amber "X" marking the spot?

If the city is unwilling or unable to solve the problem of crosswalk deaths, perhaps it's up to us to raise the funds and take a big step toward putting an end to these avoidable, unnecessary and heart-breaking accidents.

Tom Dolan

Mentally ill homeless have champion in MHH

Congratulations for Helen Altonn's sensitive, insightful story on the mentally ill ("Hope for the hopeless," Dec. 16) as well as your coverage on the transitional assistance center on the grounds of the Hawaii State Hospital.

It is during the holiday season, more than at any other time, that the homeless and the mentally-ill homeless become the invisible sector of our community. They are often forgotten in the public's desire to help those in need through various community-based activities such as "giving trees," fundraisers, and other causes.

Some people will drive across town to donate or volunteer for one cause or another, but many will walk across the street to avoid crossing paths with a mentally-ill homeless person.

Thankfully, this segment of our community has a champion: Mental Help Hawaii (MHH). While not very visible, MHH is highly respected and recognized by the mental health community for providing quality, outcome-driven rehabilitation services in case management, psychosocial rehabilitation and community housing.

In fact, the national Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission recently surveyed and awarded a three-year accreditation to MHH in recognition of its quality services and facilities.

Walter M. Ozawa

Bishop Estate Archive

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