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Saturday, February 6, 1999


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Fallacies are plentiful in defense of fireworks

Richard Fassler (View Point, Jan. 16) is badly mistakenly. He erroneously says that the use of fireworks use represents .0002 percent of the time in a year -- from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on New Year's Eve. Where are his ears and nose? Fireworks go off from the time they go on sale to many days after Jan. 1.

Simply going into the house and closing the doors do very little to abate the noise and smoke. And with Hawaii having one of the highest incidences per capita of respiratory ailments like asthma, it would be a tremendous financial savings to restrict the use of fireworks. As for those with religious concerns, permitting can be done as it was done on Maui County until the Legislature forced it to allow firecrackers.

Fassler also stated that banning fireworks would send thousands of people to the bars. What source of information substantiates this? Just because people are permitted to play with fireworks does NOT stop them from going to bars or drinking at home profusely.

It's interesting that people who use the word tolerance always apply it to those who want to "restrict" something. Tolerance is good in some instances, but it isn't a blanket benefit in all situations. Perhaps it's time for those who tell others to be tolerant to reciprocate for the general good.

Gary Fuchikami
Pearl City
(Via the Internet)

A few bad apples are spoiling it for all

It is a shame that many people are becoming Grinches over the use of fireworks during the New Year's holiday. It is also a shame that what was once considered fun is now called a nuisance.

The use of fireworks to celebrate holidays was originally a cultural thing. But now fireworks have become a tradition in Hawaii, much like celebrating May Day.

However, a few bad apples out there are ruining it for everyone, especially those who use illegal aerials.

A total ban on fireworks would lead to other questions: Are we going to also ban fireworks on the neighbor islands because of what happened on Oahu? How fair is that? What about cultural festivals that use fireworks in their ceremonies?

Midnight of New Year's Eve would not sound the same with a ban. To me, there is nothing like the simultaneous popping of long strands of fireworks by many houses in my neighborhood, letting everyone know that the new year has arrived.

Marvin Nitta

Here's how to regulate the use of fireworks

Each January, we go through a time-honored and expected wringing of hands and many "we must ban fireworks" speeches. After 11 years of this, it is not only insulting to the people but pedestrian posturing by politicians.

Life could be much quieter and smoke-free if two laws were passed:

bullet Everyone who sells fireworks would deposit sufficient funds with the city to pay for all police, fire and ambulance calls relating to fireworks.

bullet These funds would also pay for the hospital visits of those suffering from breathing problems and possible lawsuits from those who have lost property due to fires caused by fireworks.

This would make the people who sell fireworks directly responsible for the damage done by the purchasers, no matter who purchased it or why it was misused. This would, of course, increase the cost of the fireworks considerably. But if fireworks are used correctly and with caution, the cost of this insurance policy would drop dramatically over the years.

There would be extreme seizure and penalties for those fireworks sellers who do not pay this insurance. Sound extreme? Well, all state attorneys general have accepted just such laws and penalties for the tobacco industry.

Arnold Van Fossen

If fireworks are banned, how would we celebrate?

The idea of taking away our right to burn fireworks on New Year's Eve is unbelievable. The only reason to cancel fireworks would be if there was no wind and the smoke hung in the air.

Imagine a beautiful night on New Year's Eve and the wind is pretty strong -- but you couldn't burn fireworks.

What would everyone do? Watch TV and the celebrations in other states? That doesn't sound like a very good New Year's Eve.

Michael Tom
(Via the Internet)

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Kamehameha Schools are discriminatory

Regarding this latest brouhaha involving the IRS, Kamehameha Schools and the trustees, isn't it about time we stop the hypocrisy and the parsing of the Pauahi will? Let's just admit that this tax-exempt institution is blatantly discriminatory, racist, selective, elitist and profligate in its use of funds.

Now, before you jump off the couch, let me explain. This tax-exempt school and its policy wouldn't last five minutes on the mainland; it would not be tolerated. Yet it is tolerated and excused in Hawaii because of the passively stoic nature of Hawaii's citizens.

Why does it take $30,000 to educate grammar-school kids when most other schools' costs are below $10,000? Why aren't lower achievers, like kids with learning disabilities, allowed into Kamehameha? What about the other poor and underprivileged kids in our community?

Pauahi did not want to exclude anyone because of race. That is a decision being made by the Bishop Estate trustees.

Art Todd

Thought control reigns in Malaysia and Hawaii

The news media tell me that Malaysia has banned a work of art: the animated film, "The Prince of Egypt." But that is to be expected of a little dictatorship with big ideas. I have lived in Malaysia, and know well that religion is politics and is played as such in its made-up universe.

Now the February issue of the national magazine, the Atlantic, tells the world that the Association of Asian American Studies in Hawaii has revoked Lois-Ann Yamanaka's Pushcart Prize because her books give the truth about growing up here. And in our part of the world, race is politics and is played as such.

Where is Al Capp, creator of Dogpatch, when we need him? Why did Walt Kelly, creator of Pogo, have to die so soon?

Li'l Abner would surely see two identical situations and Pogo would surely restate his comment that "the enemy is us."

Goofballs need to be laughed at because thought control is thought control. I thank God that I can see that and can point it out without fear.

Beverly Kai
(Via the Internet)

Immediate action is needed on election recount

Immediate action is needed to regain the trust of the people. There were too many close calls in the last general election.

Legislators need to prove that they are not a bunch of lawyers speaking gibberish. Cut the political rhetoric and get down to the business of recounting.

N. Garrett Chan

Cherry Blossom program inspired by Junior Miss

Diane Chang's Feb. 1 column was a great review of the Hawaii's Junior Miss program. It might surprise readers to learn that recent changes in the Cherry Blossom Festival were inspired, in part, by the Junior Miss program.

The Cherry Blossom Festival enters its 47th year this Sunday at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. In addition to an overview of the festival's activities and programs, 15 young women will be introduced as contestants for Cherry Blossom Festival Queen. Sounds like a rerun so far, right?

The similarities end there. For the first time, the queen contest was opened up to young women of multi-ethnic backgrounds, and a Japanese surname is no longer required. Appearances at shopping malls will be a showcase of our culture, with contestants actively sharing cultural arts and crafts with the audience.

The most noticeable change will be the absence of the queen pageant event. The queen and her court will be chosen at the Festival Ball, which has replaced both the pageant and coronation ball. The new Festival Ball serves foremost to celebrate our community.

Of course, some will point to the queen contestant program as a vestige of a beauty pageant past. Give us a few years, I'd say. The changes are only beginning.

Keith Kamisugi
President, Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce
(Via the Internet)

Abuse in schools must be reported

How ironic that, while parents across the nation live with the fear of violence against their children going to public schools, a real threat may come from the very person we have been taught to trust and respect: the principal ("Mililani Waena principal chokes child," Jan. 22).

The statement from the principal's supervisor that there have been no other reported incidents reminds me of the recent story on the Philadelphia police department: If you don't report crime, you don't have a problem.

Sadly, many parents are intimidated by the principal and an administration that refuses to acknowledge wrongdoing. For the sake of the safety of all children, parents must come forward and expose any and all child abuse in our schools.

Running away from the problem will only make it worse. Parents who care about their children's safety need to speak out.

Laura Brown
(Via the Internet)

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