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Tuesday, February 2, 1999


High-tech kids give us an inferiority complex

Discouraging news! Burglars stole $10,000 worth of computer equipment from first- and second-graders at Maryknoll Elementary (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 27). I guess you had to print that but how do you suppose that makes us feel -- those of us adults who can't even program a VCR?!

Ted Chernin

A bicyclist is safer on road than sidewalk

Some bicyclists think they are riding safely by going on the sidewalk. Actually, it is one of the most dangerous places to ride. You may be fine as long as you are on the sidewalk itself, but you must cross driveways and dart in and out of traffic to cross streets.

Car drivers don't think to look for other fast-moving vehicles on the sidewalk when pulling into a driveway. They have no time to react to bicyclists suddenly appearing out of nowhere in an intersection. The sidewalk cyclist is likely to be hit.

Accident statistics show that cyclists riding on sidewalks are far more likely to be seriously injured than those traveling on roads. Eight years of daily commutes in Honolulu traffic taught me that the best way to stay safe is to be obvious in traffic, and the best way to do this is to ride with the traffic just as if I were in a car.

J. B. Friday
Hilo, Hawaii
(Via the Internet)

Bicyclists, motorists must learn to co-exist safely

Two letters have recently discussed bicycling on sidewalks. Riding on the sidewalk in a business district (for example, downtown Honolulu, Waikiki, Kaimuki) is against the law. It puts pedestrians at risk because of the speed and maneuverability mismatch between cycling and walking.

In addition, cyclists on sidewalks are at high risk of being hit by cars when their bikes unexpectedly appear in an intersection.

Cycling has more in common with driving than walking, which is why urban bicycling belongs on the road. However, in order to safely coexist on our roads, we ALL must obey the law and ride or drive with respect for others. I see plenty of examples of lame conduct from both motorists and cyclists.

Second, in order to promote vehicular cycling, we should support the Master Bike Plan, an excellent proposal and well worth the relatively modest funding it will take to implement. A mile of Bike Plan costs about 1 percent of what a mile of H-3 did. Much or all of it is eligible for federal funds.

Urban Honolulu currently has a hodgepodge of safe and scary roads, with poor connectivity between sections of safely ridable routes. The Master Bike Plan will create an integrated grid of bike-friendly streets, ensuring that urban Honolulu is a safer place in which pedestrians and cyclists can travel and coexist.

Khal Spencer
President, Hawaii Bicycling League
(Via the Internet)



bullet "I think the stereotype of African Americans is so ingrained that they expect us to come in, take off our clothes and start screaming the F-word."
--Leonard Piggee, leader of the Honolulu African American Repertory Theatre.

bullet "Basically it doesn't follow rules but I inherited this (arrangement) and I'm trying to be responsive. But I won't bend the rules anymore."
-- City Parks Director William Balfour on the use of Sunset Beach Neighborhood Park by a community market while it seeks a permanent home.

bullet "I thought that the timing was extremely unfortunate and that it was inappropriate to come out while the Senate is concluding the president's trial."
-- Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, on a published report that independent counsel Kenneth Starr had concluded a grand jury could indict President Clinton while he was in office.

Clinton has shown that it's OK to lie

It bothers me that Senator Inouye and almost half the U.S. Senate feel our president has done nothing wrong. They have now set the standard for our children and future generations. The message is clear: It's OK to lie.

Yes, the president's family and the people of this great nation have suffered enough. However, the actions of William Jefferson Clinton have threatened our nation, our government and our families.

No longer can fathers and mothers expect their children to tell the truth, because honesty is no longer the best policy.

Andrew B. Conboy

Clinton's 'buddies' are of poor character

I am very, very disappointed with President Clinton. We need to get him and all his low-life buddies out of the picture. Yes, I'm talking about James Carville, the career liar; Larry Flynt, the career pornographer; and Monica Lewinsky, the career leech.

The president is no better than the people he associates with. Anyone who supports or defends a corrupt man like Clinton is contributing to the moral and ethical weakening of this country.

James M. Lee

Waikiki waters aren't 'infected' with viruses

I am writing to correct any impression given to your readers that Waikiki Beach is seriously contaminated with human enteric viruses and is unsafe for swimming. This might be the conclusion of anyone who read your Jan. 23 article, "Infected waters, dying coral alarm ocean scientists."

That story reported that "more than a third of water samples from Waikiki Beach were found in one study to be infected with human viruses." I am not aware of any study in Hawaii which resulted in that kind of data.

In a 1996 study analyzing infectious human viruses in Waikiki Beach, Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona reported that human viruses were recovered from 1 of 13 water samples there. This is a low level; a recovery rate of 33 percent is alarmingly high. During that same study, I determined that Waikiki waters met current EPA fecal bacterial standards and are therefore suitable for swimming.

Finally, a technical correction: It is incorrect to state that waters are "infected" with human viruses since infection means the multiplication of human viruses in water. Since human viruses cannot multiply in environmental waters, and while human viruses can contaminate and pollute waters, they cannot "infect" waters.

Roger S. Fujioka
Director, Water Resources
Research Center
University of Hawaii

Guards at Waiawa are doing a great job

The other day on the news, there was a story about our guards being drunk at the entrance of at the Waiawa Correctional Facility. I'm an inmate who's been here for nine months now, and if there was ever a safe, secure prison in this state that tries in every way to give us knowledge and respect for ourself and society, Waiawa Correctional Facility is it.

Just as much as we are prisoners, so are our staff and guards. During the holidays, the guards work around the clock. Why? Because of the overcrowded prison and the desire to fulfill their families' needs.

In every job in the state, people party after work. Even if the guards were drunk, it was not on work time. As far as I know it, the guards have never brought danger to us or themselves.

Instead of condemning our prison guards, they should be commended for doing a job that no one wants.

Isaiah "Swanie" Kini
Inmate, Waiawa Correctional Facility
Pearl City

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