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Letters to the Editor


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POSTED: Thursday, February 26, 2009

Don't divert funds that fight teen smoking

The American Lung Association of Hawaii strongly opposes House Bill 1731, which would divert monies from the Hawaii Tobacco Settlement Special Fund and thereby reduce funding available for programs designed to reduce teenage smoking.

From 2000 to 2008, Hawaii's teen smoking rate fell from 21 percent to 9.7 percent. The reason is easy to explain. Programs to educate Hawaii's children about the dangers of smoking and to help teens quit their addiction to tobacco were adequately supported by the Fund.

Diverting monies to the state's General Fund would significantly harm these programs, and if the experience of other states is a guide, teen smoking will increase in Hawaii.

Massachusetts, California, Florida, Indiana and Minnesota all saw teen smoking rates increase after funding for anti-smoking programs were cut. We can't let that happen in Hawaii!

Hard economic times are no excuse to short-circuit the intent of the master tobacco settlement and marginalize our children's and future generations' health.

 

Jean Evans

Executive director

American Lung Association of Hawaii

 

Freeway grooves make motorcycles wobble

Police investigating Sunday's fatal motorcycle crash on the H-1 in Kaimuki as well as the state Department of Transportation should look into the longitudinal tining on the freeway surface as a factor.

These grooves, intended to increase traction and reduce the possibility of hydroplaning, can present a handling problem for motorcycles even in dry conditions and especially at high speeds, which apparently was a factor in the accident.

With its small contact patch (the tire surface that touches the pavement), motorcycles even at 60 mph can experience a sudden and severe wobble of the front wheel assembly. At higher speed this “;tank slapping”; can send the bike out of control.

I recall some years ago a police motorcycle officer went down on the H-1 viaduct and it was blamed on the longitudinal tining. I know motorcyclists who have experienced this scary wobble.

Perhaps motorcycle training and safety courses in Hawaii should include warnings about riding on the few stretches of our freeways that have the grooves.

 

Bruce Dunford

Ewa Beach

 

Park closures require coordination, kindness

Your Feb. 16 editorial “;Ban won't solve homeless problem”; correctly observed that “;homelessness is a problem with multiple causes, none of which are easily resolved.”; But it was simply wrong for you to allege that “;City Council members and Mayor Mufi Hannemann have postponed finding solutions to the problem”; in Kapiolani Park.

You pointed out that a round-the-clock ban on sleeping in the park would be difficult to enforce fairly, and that selective enforcement is no option. But it was misleading to allege that we have merely closed other parks at night in ways that “;send the homeless shuttling from place to place.”;

The truth is that we have coordinated park closures with outreach workers, service providers and the state to make sure alternative shelter and other assistance is available. In doing so, we have made affected parks cleaner and safer than they've been in years, while helping many people take steps toward becoming self-sufficient.

Unlike parks closed at night, Kapiolani Park is a large open space with multiple entrances, traversed by public roads. It should not be a permanent crash-pad for the downtrodden or those who decide to drop out of society. But neither is it the private reserve of anyone else. We will continue our efforts to keep the park safe and clean for recreational use, while encouraging the utilization of appropriate shelter that's available elsewhere.

 

Lester K.C. Chang

Director, Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation

 

What 'special rights' do they supposedly want?

Much as I dislike spoiling a perfectly good argument by dragging in actual facts, Bob Bretschneider's Feb. 18 letter against the civil unions bill begs for such an asocial act. He said, “;There is a big difference between tolerance and approval. They (gays) have all the rights as any American citizen but 'marriage' or 'civil unions' NO!”;

Well, no. There are specific legal rights denied gay or unmarried couples in Hawaii that married heterosexual couples enjoy, such as the right to adopt children or the right to file joint income taxes. The civil unions bill seeks to extend these additional legal rights to gay or unmarried couples. Now, perhaps there is a conservative case that can be made against a tax cut for unmarried couples to bring them to parity with married couples. I thought conservatives were generally for lower taxes, but perhaps that defining principle got changed recently. Perhaps there is a conservative case that can be made for having orphans raised by the government rather than by a stable (albeit unmarried) couple. I thought conservatives generally thought that government bureaucrats were manifestly incompetent at virtually any task imaginable, and in particular at raising other people's children, but again it's possible that principle got changed recently.

If there is some other specific legal right that would be granted to unmarried couples by this bill that the opponents find objectionable, I would be interested in hearing what those rights are and why unmarried couples should be denied those rights.

 

Jim Henshaw

Kailua

 

Civil unions threaten society's survival

A statistic being reported by major newspapers over the U.S. and the government of France blows away the argument that civil unions will not affect the state of traditional marriage. Ninety-two percent of civil unions performed in France last year were performed for opposite-sex couples. The reason: civil unions are easier to dissolve than marriages.

The Housing Minister of France said that France is undergoing “;a crisis of commitment.”; This lack of commitment is tearing apart the fabric of society. If civil unions exist, they will be used to circumvent the commitment of marriage, they won't be exclusive to gays. If you think the state of the family is in sad affairs now, wait until civil unions are an option. Children of single parents, or children left to the charge of the state, will increase, the impact upon taxpayers and the strain on public resources will be as never seen before. Is this what we want for our future generations? This is not a civil rights issue; it is a survival of society in its basic form.

 

James Roller

Mililani

 

Keep Christian values in opposing gay unions

With great sadness in my heart I read of Christian brothers and sisters abusing the gay community and their supporters, including our state legislators. I would personally like to apologize for we who have been abusive and judging and suggest that these are a vocal minority. At Sunday's rally you would have heard the leaders of our faith call us to love and reach out to the gay community who have, for far too long, been abused, ostracized and persecuted even by Christians. They called for us to come clean of our own ways that grieve the Lord as much as those who support House Bill 444.

We do not in any way advocate hate. We uphold the sanctity of marriage, which God ordained from the beginning to be between a man and a woman. In truth, those who advocate HB 444 see it as a stepping stone to the passage of a same-sex marriage bill. Whether or not the opinions and beliefs of Hawaii change as some say they will or have, God's truth never does.

 

Cheryl Rosenau

Honolulu

 

Lawmakers must put gays in their place

We don't need to send the wrong message and proliferate a mass of homosexuals and lesbians “;coming out”; and rushing to lay claim to the same entitlements rightly reserved for those unions of the opposite sex, as has been traditionally and historically recognized for a millennium of years. That traditional marriage should be compromised to include those of the same sex is sacrilegious and downright blasphemous. Many heterosexuals of the same sex cohabitate as roommates to better manage their living expenses, most don't get intimate or push for entitlements. What about them? Are they to sit idly by as you draft this bill that will eventually end up costing them more taxes to subsidize, yet not provide them a single benefit!

Senators and representatives, let's please be rational. You must put these people in their proper place with swift and decisive actions and not allow their ideologies to seep into our mainstream of living and end once and for all their continued, nagging bid to become part and parcel of our status quo. There is simply too much integrity at stake, especially for the future of our children. They must know the difference now and they must know it with certainty!

 

John Ono

Honolulu

 

Cartoonist tried to share his creativity

I should have written this sooner, but about 30 years ago when I was a callow youth working as a busboy at Benihana Restaurant in Waikiki (Michael Sur was the manager then), Corky Trinidad was a lunchtime regular who noticed that I was doing origami for the patrons until a teppanyaki table filled up, and he kindly taught me how to create a ballerina out of the cellophane wrapper that enclosed new cigarette boxes. This was a wonderful work of cellophane-crafted art and the finished product was a sight to behold.

Unfortunately, I could never master the cigarette-cellophane ballerina because of two reasons: 1. it was more complicated than the origami I was doing, and 2. I don't smoke.

Whenever he came to eat he used to ask me if I could do it and when I replied “;No,”; he would demonstrate it again. His patience was endless, as was my maladroitness, and he would have continued teaching me, a lowly busboy, almost every time he came in if the library system had not hired me.

I have never forgotten the kindness of Corky Trinidad and was saddened to read about his passing, but I'm pretty sure which direction he went.

 

David Yasuo Henna

Hawaii Kai Public Library

               

     

 

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