to the Editor

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Wednesday, February 3, 1999


Judges must be tougher on DUI defendants

As an HPD officer, I understand the concerns of Chelsea Fernandez in her Jan. 26 letter, "Police need to enforce laws for safer roads." But they need to be directed elsewhere.

Fernandez needs to convince lawmakers and judges to enforce current laws, make new laws and provide stiffer penalties for offenders. Ask the judges why, when an officer arrests someone for driving under the influence, they refuse to convict them. Or why this state requires such a ridiculous amount of paperwork to process someone charged with DUI.

I recently went to court on a DUI case in which the suspect, who was convicted of a previous DUI, refused to submit to a breath test. The judge refused to prosecute him because I stopped him for a defective headlight and did not see him driving recklessly. I guess he needed to hit someone before I should have pulled him over.

This kind of case happens daily at District Court. Unfortunately, until one of the judges has a family member or relative killed by a drunk or reckless driver, nothing will change.

J. Grindey

Rail transit plan nearly bankrupted city

Mayor Harris' latest mass transit proposal should shock us into remembering that, but for one vote in the City Council, the last city administration would have burdened us with a billion-dollar-plus railway, bankrupting the city in return for jobs in the construction industry and windfall profits for a few developers and large landowners.

Our city's current financial troubles are nothing when compared to what might have happened if the building of the over-priced railway of questionable ridership had been approved.

It is absolutely frightening that we came so close to financial disaster. It should frighten us sufficiently to scrutinize any future mass-transit or mass-borrowing/spending proposal as if it would kill us. For a few years ago, it almost did, financially.

Richard Y. Will



bullet "This case is about a mother who repeatedly abused and tortured one of her sons to the brink of death."

--Deputy Prosecutor Dan Oyasato in the trial of Kimberly Pada, accused of second-degree attempted murder for the assault of her son, Reubyne Buentipo Jr., 4, now in a vegetative state at a convalescent home.

bullet "We would support any type of manual recount for the entire election, and have even offered to pay for it."

-- Tom Eschberger, an official of Election Systems and Software, which provided the electronic ballot-counting machines used in last year's election here. The state Senate is investigating reports that some machines malfunctioned.

bullet "He opened it, he didn't get water, he tried again, he still didn't get water, so he just moved on to the next hydrant."

--Acting Fire Chief John Clark, explaining why a hydrant in front of a burning home in Pearl City was not used by firefighters.

There's no such thing as 'soft' gambling

Steven Burke's Jan. 27 letter advocating the legalization of "soft" gambling brings to mind being a "little bit pregnant." The record of the gambling industry shows that it uses "hardball" as well as "powerball."

Charitable gambling cracks open the door. The lottery opens the door and casinos break the door down.

The history of shipboard gambling is that it starts a few miles offshore at first. Eventually, though, boats tie up permanently at the dock, thus becoming a land casino. Horse racing's decline on the mainland is leading to pleas to put slot machines and video poker at the tracks. Lotteries expand into convenience and grocery stores.

Gambling appears to be a quick fix for our economy. But the hard research shows gambling creates serious social and costly problems and harms small business.

Dorothy M. Bobilin

State Chairwoman,
Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Perhaps some Hawaiians like being Americans

Now that the Hawaiian sovereignty convention election is over, all the pundits are trying to figure out why the turnout was so low.

Yes, maybe some people did boycott, and some were watching football, but is it possible that maybe, just maybe, the vast majority of Hawaiians are happy being Americans?

Victor Moss

Info kiosk was placed in unfortunate spot

It's very important for Waikiki to provide excellent services to visitors, and we support the efforts being made by the city. But we don't understand why an information kiosk was placed in front of the Minute Cafe near the corner of Kaiulani and Kalakaua.

Was it to take away the view from the only outside seating restaurant on Kalakaua Avenue or to scare off the street performers? Also, it's exactly the spot where tourists used to take pictures of the Sheraton Moana Surfrider hotel. We used to go there once in a while and always noticed how much people enjoyed sitting outside and taking in Waikiki's bustle.

The placement of this booth is especially weird because there is another one just a short walk away in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. The information provided there is available in every hotel at the front or travel desk, so we are really wondering what sense this makes.This money could have been spent for a more useful purpose.

Steve and Patricia Vierra

Fireworks are nuisance and must be outlawed

It's obvious that C. Richard Fassler doesn't live in my neighborhood (View Point, Jan. 16). According to him, fireworks are used "only .0002 percent" of the year. In Haleiwa and Waialua, fireworks (including aerial rockets) began going off regularly before Christmas and I still heard them in mid-January.

Does his suggestion for "those who dislike fireworks to avoid the smoke and the noise (by going) inside and shut(ing) their doors and windows" mean that babies, the elderly and animals should suffocate? Not everyone has air-conditioning.

As for tradewinds blowing the smoke away, to where? Away from our noses, perhaps, but the pollution has to end up somewhere. And as for ethnicity, this is not a Hawaiian tradition. "Embodied in our Asian heritage," perhaps, but this is Hawaii not Asia.

Lesmeri Sun
(Via the Internet)

Controversy continues on millennium's start

J.M. Clark's Jan. 23 letter is correct that the "new millennium" starts on Jan. 1, 2000. However, it is a mathematical fact that the last day of the 20th century is Dec. 31, 2000. For this reason, the 21st century begins on Jan. 1, 2001.

Alan Lloyd

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