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Saturday, January 22, 2000

Golf course must not be sacrificed

We've already given our visitors Hanauma Bay, Waikiki and other favorite sites. When the white elephant known as the Hawaii Convention Center was built, residents were asked to avoid driving in the area and to accept other inconveniences with gratitude.

Now they want to give over Ala Wai Golf Course to tourism as a park. The strip moves deeper and broader into our neighborhoods, with more room for visitors to spend their money and play.

Once Hawaii wasn't broke and the visitor industry and its political minions tried to fix it with more, more, more. So they broke it. Somebody needs to fix it permanently by replacing the word "more" with "enough."

Carol Aiken
Via the Internet

Another bad idea: closing the Ala Wai

Here we go again, the idea of converting the Ala Wai Golf Course into Honolulu's version of Central Park. This time the governor wants this, and the mayor agrees.

There's enough commercialization in the Waikiki area. We do NOT need more. Leave the golf course as it is -- an oasis for everyone in the midst of the surrounding hubbub.

Sure, the land is valuable but there are other means of increasing state revenues -- like changing the civil service structure and the unionization of our educators.

I'm not a golfer, although watching the sport on TV is enjoyable. Our Ala Wai is the busiest municipal course in the nation. Keep it that way for our many local golfers and for those of us who appreciate the tranquility of Hawaii as it was and should be.

L.G. Crockett
Ewa Beach

Cayetano and Espero are not buddies

Joan Gumm (Letters, Jan. 17) should get her facts right before accusing Governor Cayetano of appointing his "pal" Willie Espero to fill the House seat vacated by former Rep. Paul Oshiro.

Governor Cayetano and Espero are not pals in any sense of the word. A number of people expressed an interest in the House seat and were interviewed. Governor Cayetano's first conversation with Espero was the interview for his appointment.

Espero was picked because he received tremendous support from a wide range of people representing all walks of life. He was the leading vote-getter among 20 candidates in the Ewa Beach Neighborhood Board election.

Finally, according to the state Constitution, the governor had to make his choice within 60 days from the date of the vacancy, which he did.

Kathleen Racuya-Markrich
Press Secretary
Office of the Governor

Espero shouldn't brag about Democrats

In a Jan. 15 letter, Willie Espero -- newly appointed Democratic representative from Ewa Beach and former Republican senatorial candidate -- wrote that "Democrats are far better equipped to lead Hawaii into the new millennium."

If the Democrats have done such a wonderful job from 1954 until now, why is Hawaii in such bad shape? Are the Democrats so proud of the way they've handled education, the economy and the cost of living that they want to continue their efforts for another 45 years?

Could it possibly be that Espero knew he couldn't get elected as a Republican but had enough smarts to know that he could get in as a Democrat? To be appointed means immediate incumbency, dollars in your treasury from the unions and PACs, and a better chance at re-election than a challenger, especially considering Hawaii's campaign-spending laws that favor incumbents.

Without an appointment to a vacant representative job, Espero had no chance as either a Republican or a Democrat. It's the man, Willie, not the party.

Marge Young
Ewa Beach

Phooey on fireworks, not wild felines

What's wrong with this picture? The state Health Department sits by as our community is assaulted several times a year by toxic fireworks. Meanwhile, the department's bureaucrats cite public health concerns for their current campaign for legislation to make it a crime to feed homeless animals and birds. Huge fines are in store for local animal lovers and unwitting tourists.

Our Health Department is mounting a public campaign to make people believe that homeless cats and birds pose a big health risk.

It intends to force responsible cat caretakers -- actively and humanely working to reduce the homeless cat population through feeding, sterilization and adoption -- to turn their backs on the animals.

The proposed legislation will ensure that cat caretakers suffer harassment and fines ranging from $25-$10,000 if they continue their commendable animal welfare efforts.

The Health Department urgently needs to re-examine its priorities. Condemn fireworks, not felines, for damaging the public health.

Bette Rodriguez
Friends For Felines-Hawaii

Fireworks are too popular to ban

Anti-fireworks people need to wake up. They say they represent the majority, but it sure didn't look that way on New Year's Eve.

Fireworks are here to stay. Ban them all you want; nothing will change. You can't stop something most islanders want to keep.

Put it to a statewide vote and you'll see the true majority emerge. Even our precious tourists love the practice. They come here at that time of year just to enjoy the festivities.

Nala Morimoto
Via the Internet

Milks, Wong would make great justices

For a better balance in our state Supreme Court, either Marie Milks or Frances Wong should be chosen to replace resigning Associate Justice Robert Klein.

Both of these judges possess intelligence, wisdom and high principle.

Wilbert W.W. Wong

Don't city officials know basic economics?

Why would the city sell the fee interest in Kukui Plaza when property values are at a 10-year low? Taxpayers aren't rocket scientists, but even high school economics students know to buy low and sell high.

While the real estate market is starting to see improvements, the city should hold onto the fee interest for two or three years, and perhaps realize a better return. Does the city need the cash THAT badly, right now?

A better idea than selling the Kukui Plaza fee in a poor market or raising property taxes again would be to collect what the city is due from Harbor Court.

Cy Watase
Via the Internet



"Basically, it's a record-
keeping problem."

Jon Yoshimura
On discrepancies in his campaign spending
reports, which he attributes to volunteers
handling the financial details


"It marinates.
He knows what he wants
to say; he just puts
it together."

Kathleen Racuya-Markrich
On how the governor outlines broad themes,
lets his department heads comment on the ideas,
and then does the final editing of his
State of the State address,
which he will deliver Monday

What's correlation between speed, fatalities?

One point made in the Star-Bulletin's Jan. 10 story about speeding and driving fatalities was that the number of speeding tickets is up and traffic fatalities are down. I can see those two statistics independently, but fail to see the logic in linking one to the other.

More people broke the law by speeding in 1999 than any other year on record. Traffic fatalities were the lowest in 10 years. How can many more speeders lead to fewer traffic fatalities? That is a contradiction.

If the number of traffic tickets issued last year had been an all-time low, then it would make sense. That means people are driving slower and safer.

Greg Smith
Via the Internet

Slow drivers should stay out of left lane

Recently, while driving to town on H-3, I witnessed a scary incident of road rage.

A motorist in the left lane wished to pass a car moving below the speed limit in the same lane. The situation was exacerbated because the right lane was blocked by another car traveling at the identical modest speed as the lead car in the left lane.

I dropped back when the frustrated driver started aggressively tailgating the left-lane vehicle. I trailed this situation for some time until the frustrated driver accelerated and dangerously swerved from the left lane across the freeway to the shoulder lane where he passed both vehicles.

While this type of aggressive driving cannot be tolerated, and violators should be prosecuted, I wonder if this situation might have been avoided by education and courtesy. As a daily H-3 commuter, I often witness oblivious and discourteous drivers "camped" in the left lane while the right lane is unoccupied or the right-lane traffic is proceeding at a faster rate.

Would it be possible to use the overhead electronic signs on the H-3 to remind inattentive drivers to "keep right" and "pass left"? Driving too slow in the left lane certainly contributes to stress levels.

Bill Riddle
Via the Internet

Speeders had better learn to slow down

John Riggins' Jan. 13 letter to the editor is sadly revealing about the state of mind of Hawaii's drivers. He believes road rage is understandable because people drive too slowly in the fast lane.

Most respondents to your survey of drivers' "pet peeves" also cited slow drivers as their No. 1 annoyance. Riggins even asks when Honolulu police last ticketed someone for hindering the flow of traffic.

The obvious response: When was the last time someone's grandmother was killed by a "traffic hinderer"?

Wake up, drivers! It is dangerous to speed, tailgate, run red lights, and not to signal turns and lane changes.

Another reminder: Pedestrians have the right-of-way in a crosswalk, even when you want to turn right on green. So don't menace them by inching forward until you can zoom past at the earliest instant. And stick to 5 mph in parking lots.

Slow drivers don't kill. Speeders and other lawbreakers do. If we obey the law, relax and show courtesy on the road, we'll be fine.

Tim Walker
Via the Internet

Unless all can be included, sovereignty will fail

The Hawaii independence cause needs a wider forum for those who can give voice to the case for it. It must be convincingly explained how all the citizens of Hawaii can be included and have a better life as a result of sovereignty.

Unfortunately, the cause for Hawaii independence has been co-opted by a few vocal xenophobic bigots who have a personal agenda of hate, an agenda that will effectively kill any hope of the restoration of the kingdom.

Paul Pollitt
Via the Internet

Don't presume to understand King's ideals

Obviously, Ken Conklin (Letters, Jan. 15) does not understand the heart or nature of what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for: justice and peace. No justice, no peace. No peace, no oneness. It shouldn't be that hard to comprehend.

When you began talking about lofty ideas of the opportunities this country offers, you'd better check the record and make sure it is offered to all. If not, don't begrudge those who think there may be a better way, whether it's segregation (sovereignty) or desegregation.

No group will allow itself to rest until it feels itself being treated fairly.

Frederic Thompson
Via the Internet


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