Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Thursday, February 19, 2009

Anti-gays should clean their own houses

I'm always surprised to see letters from people who are opposed to extending some benefits to same-sex couples. I would like to ask ... where is the aloha? Some of the writers remind me of “;family values”; people like the Rev. Ted Haggard and Republican politicians like Larry (wide stance) Craig, Mark Foley and Bob Allen. They should understand that being gay is the way God made some people and being conservative is a choice, although some folks seem to think the opposite.

I'm also surprised that organizations like the Catholic Church aren't doing more to help the homeless in places like Kapiolani Park when they spend their time and energy speaking out against equal rights. Just think how much good they could do if they didn't have to pay all those billions of dollars to the families of their sexual abuse victims.

Injustice against any minority will never prevail in a free society. How could extending equal rights to 1 or 2 percent of Hawaii residents harm anyone?

Walter Mahr


Too many older people involved in accidents

What is being done about the continuing maiming and killing of pedestrians on our streets? It seems to me it's been about once a month or more frequent. I suspect it is higher than the mainland average of a city our size.

One common denominator comes to mind. I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong. Frequently I read either the pedestrian or the driver or both are above 60 years old, and sometimes well over. Elderly pedestrians plus elderly drivers are becoming a dangerous combo on our streets. For the elderly pedestrians, I'm on their side. We've got to use all the technology and intelligent design (not the religious kind!) available to make our roads safer for the older folks. They deserve it.

However, for the elderly drivers, I'm of the school that feels it's time to take a look at some practical test, or for them to retake the driving test to renew their license past a certain age, instead of simply a vision test. But just like safer roads, we need safer drivers. And old people need to be treated like anyone else, if not more strictly, in the case of operating a machine that can kill.

Allan Toh


Rail project will surely stimulate our growth

The economy is on everyone's mind these days and much of our hopes fall on President Obama and the national economic stimulus package. All states are looking for “;in the pipe, shovel ready”; public works projects that are planned and ready to go so that people can be put back to work right away. Let's not forget that the largest public infrastructure project in the history of our state, Honolulu's rail transit project, is ready to go with groundbreaking set for the end of this year. The city has already issued a call for contractor bids to start on the first phase.

Rail would provide our economy with thousands of new jobs for the next decade and beyond, and bring in more than $1 billion in new federal grant money, which does not have to be repaid by the city or local taxpayers. With the multiplier effect, new employment and public investment would benefit our entire economy and all residents.

Rail is a both a needed transportation improvement and an economic stimulus for Oahu.

Jason Wong

Hawaii Kai

Kick Butts Day fights kid-friendly tobacco

As Hawaii prepares for Kick Butts Day 2009, youths across the nation face more pressure than ever to smoke. Everywhere we see the latest tobacco promotions convincing us to use “;zesty, tasteful”; cigarettes.

As smoke-free laws take effect around the world, including here in Hawaii, tobacco industries have found clever solutions to develop other tobacco products (OTPs) that are appealing and accessible to youths, many of whom get around smoke-free laws. These OTPs come in a variety of flavors and forms, such as chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco and snuff. Tobacco companies have also launched OTPs that look like candies, gums and mints, which are popular with young people.

A movement has started to increase the taxes on OTPs to make them less accessible to youths. Research shows that when taxes on tobacco products go up, tobacco use among youths goes down.

Now we are asking Hawaii's state legislators to increase taxes on all tobacco products, including OTPs, to help protect youths from these addictive products. At this year's annual Kick Butts Day on Friday, Feb. 27, youth around Hawaii will ask state representatives to join our fight against tobacco and pass legislation to raise the taxes on OTPs.

Katie Kaahanui

REAL Hawaii Youth Movement Exposing the Tobacco Industry

Kalani High School '09




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