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Monday, January 10, 2000


Lawmakers should do what constituents say

People have been saying that our lawmakers are "gutless" for not acting on a fireworks ban. Yet these lawmakers were elected by us to represent us, and the majority of people in Hawaii do not want to see fireworks banned.

Surely, there are other ways to deal with this. Tax fireworks heavily or sell them only a few days prior to Dec. 31.

Let the people decide. A total ban is not the answer.

Makamae DeLima
Via the Internet

No tradition encourages people to break laws

The Legislature's failure to regulate fireworks came through loud and, because of the smoke, not so clear on New Year's Eve.

Over the years, I have introduced bills to return the regulation of fireworks to the counties, where it rightfully belongs. After all, what may work on the Big Island may not work on Oahu.

This year, I will also be introducing bills to ban fireworks in counties with a population of more than 500,000 and to impose a 100 percent tax on the purchase of fireworks.

I remain hopeful that we can consider these ideas this session. However, the argument for an outright statewide ban becomes more compelling due to:

Bullet A noticeable increase in the use of illegal fireworks, including aerials and highly explosive devices.
Bullet A growing number of people who totally disregard the legal time period and set off fireworks at all hours.
Bullet The desire of businesses to capitalize on the demand, allowing unlimited purchases.
Bullet The increasing danger of storage and transit of illegal fireworks on the black market.
Bullet The lack of supervision by adults, resulting in injuries and fires.

"Culture" is the main reason cited to keep this tradition alive. I don't know of any tradition that encourages the breaking of laws, depriving neighbors of their right to a safe and quiet community, and imposing great risks to pets and people with health problems.

Roy Takumi
State Representative
Pearl City-Waipahu (D)



"The Hawaii economy needs a live-by-your-wits mentality."

David McClain
New dean of the College of Business Administration at the University Of Hawaii-Manoa
On how promoting more entrepreneurship will be one of his goals

"How much risk are we willing to subject our people to?"

Timothy Johns
Hawaii Land Board chairman
Pondering what the state can do after lawsuits began being filed as a result of the fatal rock slide at Sacred Falls last Mother's Day

Wong would have hard time suing newspapers

Peter L. Nelson's Jan. 1 letter, "If (Richard "Dickie) Wong was defamed, he should sue," was a demonstration of enormous naiv-ete. Nelson suggested that, if Wong wants a secure financial future, all he has to do is sue for libel and conspiracy to defame him.

It's not so simple. Wong would have to prove malicious intent, an impossible hurdle. Furthermore, the media -- after having been sued many times -- have learned how to avoid lawsuits. They don't make direct accusations, but quote what others are supposed to have said. They use anonymous sources. Thereby, they give themselves virtual legal immunity.

The newspapers also protected themselves in their campaign to destroy the Bishop Estate trustees by giving unrestricted editorial-page access to the authors of the "Broken Trust" essay. The papers always pointed out how these authors were "revered" in the Hawaiian community.

This novel approach to destroy people should send shivers down the back of anyone who hungers for justice.

It is not my intention to defend any illegal acts that might have been committed by the trustees, but I believe in the American system of justice in which a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

That guilt should be determined in a court of law, not in the pages of a newspaper.

Tom Hansen
Lahaina, Maui

Bishop Estate archive

History shows world needs women leaders

Bravo for Diane Chang's Dec. 31 column about making the voices of women heard a little bit more in the new century. It provides a very important message for men and women alike: that the status quo of men dominating leadership in business and government has just not worked.

History has proven that women leaders provide a necessary equalizing force focusing on peace and human services, and leading to the improved health and welfare of our society.

A balance of gender is necessary to allow men and women to work together toward a better life for all generations. Our children -- boys and girls -- are counting on us.

Li Anne W. Taft
Via the Internet

Movie censorship happens in U.S., too

It was recently reported that the movie, "Anna and the King," was banned in Thailand. This is the ultimate form of censorship. Good thing that it doesn't happen in America.

But it does -- in the form of ratings: G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17, imposed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

These ratings prevent Americans from seeing the same films seen by people throughout Europe. There are scenes, individual shots and additional dialogue that we will never see or hear in a "rated" movie.

Civilized people in other countries have the benefit of viewing the entire motion picture, just as the filmmakers intended, and not what a group of self-appointed censors want us to see. This group of blue-nose individuals does NOT include directors, actors, writers and others who know the most about filmmaking.

If you, as an adult, feel that the decision as to what you want to view should be yours and yours alone, contact theater managers and owners. Ask them to start showing films that are not rated (NR) by MPAA.

Otherwise, we will be no different from Thailand and other countries, whose choices in film are decided by the government.

Michael L. Last
Naalehu, Hawaii

Governor's holiday message is laughable

It was very reassuring to read in Governor Cayetano's annual Christmas message that "aloha" will see us through the new century. Boy, that's a relief. For a while there, I thought the state was in real trouble.

It's nice to know that we don't need to worry about trivial things such as a stagnant economy, third-rate public education, an incompetent Legislature and a do-nothing governor.

Thanks, Ben. I feel a lot better now.

Roy Frank Westlake

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