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Friday, March 17, 2000


Medical marijuana is not for 'fun'

To compare pot smoking for fun to using it medicinally, as David Shapiro suggested in his March 11 column, is insensitive. It's like comparing someone with a morphine drip in a hospice to someone shooting it up in a dark alley.

Why is Shapiro so vehement about the evils of marijuana and how stupid it renders its users? All of this is not relevant to the debate about its medical use.

Several patients testifying at the Legislature explained how they would take a few puffs of pot before meals to quell their nausea, or eat a brownie with marijuana at bedtime to quiet their back spasms so they could sleep.

These people have serious, debilitating conditions for which they are using a substance that is far milder and that has fewer side effects than the vials of narcotics they have been prescribed.

Carol Hanna

Kalaeloa names have significance

I can think of no better way to educate our senators, representatives and keiki than to drive them through Kalaeloa, so they can discover the meanings and significance of the current street names.

They would understand that, without Tinian, World War II would not have ended as it did. The U.S.S. Indianapolis delivered a top secret cargo to Tinian. The mysterious cargo was assembled on Tinian and loaded onto the Enola Gay.

While returning from Tinian and under strict radio silence, the U.S.S. Indianapolis was sunk. There were 1,196 souls on that ship; 316 were rescued. Among those 1,196 souls were many sons of Hawaii.

Now ask the kupuna and these families how they feel about destroying a small, silent, significant testimony to their bravery and ultimate sacrifice.

Pauline Arellano

Students with special needs are suffering

I'm heartened that people are finally acknowledging special needs children are not getting adequate services in our schools (Star-Bulletin, March 7). The Department of Education's solution, touted as "school-based mental health," has resulted in massive amounts of new bureaucracy, consisting of unqualified people masquerading as "mental health professionals."

The losers in this scenario are:

Bullet The children, who cannot get the help they need without accurate diagnosis and treatment from qualified professionals.

Bullet Private mental-health providers, who are threatened with closing up shop due to lack of referrals from the schools.

Bullet Teachers, who bear the brunt of mainstreaming children into regular classrooms without therapeutic or educational aides.

Bullet Taxpayers, who have thrown a quarter of a billion dollars at growing government instead of cost-effective programs and services.

Contempt of court is an understatement. Contempt of children is the better description.

Laura Brown

Join meat boycott next Monday

I am delighted the U.S. Department of Agriculture has finally shown some interest in protecting consumers. Its new Dietary Guidelines recognize fortified soy milk as a calcium source on par with cow's milk. School cafeterias are finally being allowed to replace greasy hamburgers, laced with cholesterol and pathogens, with wholesome, soy-based veggie burgers.

It's about time. The U.S. Senate Select Committee for Nutrition and Human Needs recommended reduced meat consumption back in 1977. The American Dietetic Association, American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute and other national organizations have advocated increased consumption of fruits and vegetables for more than a decade. Recently, even food conglomerates like ADM, ConAgra and Kraft have gotten into the act by launching vegetarian food lines.

These must be heady times for the folks celebrating the 16th anniversary of the Great American Meatout on March 20. Nearly 2,000 communities in all 50 states are expected to participate in this grassroots diet education campaign.

They will ask their friends and neighbors to "kick the meat habit on March 20 (first day of spring), at least for a day, and to explore a more wholesome diet of fruits, vegetables and grains." It's sound advice that the USDA and rest of us should have adopted long ago.

Richard F. Gartner, M.D.
Haiku, Maui

God didn't mean for water to be fluoridated

If I heard correctly, as I listened to over six hours of testimony during the state Senate hearings regarding the fluoridation of our water supply, Charles J. Hardy has misspoken on behalf of God (View Point, Feb. 25).

The calcium fluoride which God places in Earth's water is good. The sodium fluoride, an aluminum waste product containing arsenic and lead, and which humans add to Earth's water is not. It seems that there is fluoride, and there is Fluoride.

Thanks to Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland for halting this 56th attempt to fluoridate Hawaii's water supply.

Carol A. Holt

Following the Hokulea from afar

Thank you for the beautiful article and pictures about the Hokulea homecoming ceremony in your online edition. My husband and I, who both studied navigation in our youth, saw the voyaging canoe a couple of years ago at the Maritime Museum in Honolulu.

Nothing has given us more pleasure than following the navigation of the Hokulea this past trip. Such wonderful men and women, seekers of truth and knowledge, the real "teachers."

We have been able to follow Hokulea's journey and print out almost everything pertaining to this subject through the Web site (

Barbara Guterman
Panama City, Fla.



"Hula needs to evolve.
You can take a beautiful hula and
lock it away in Tupperware (but)
that is not perpetuating the culture.
It stagnates."

Patrick Makuakane

On his halau's performance of "The Natives are Restless,"
which combines modern music
with hula movement


"You don't build a road that will
end up at the bottom of the sea
and tell people this is the answer
to your problem."

Micah Kane

Criticizing the state's plan to build a bypass road
on the beach at Waimea Bay, which was halted after
surf reported up to 20 feet washed over the work site.
Kamehameha Highway remains partially closed
due to the threat of a rock slide

Good reasons not to show 'Final Exit' suicide video

Your March 11 editorial maintains it would be futile to try and suppress further airings of the video, "Final Exit," since this how-to-commit-suicide information is readily available. Is that the best argument you can make? Obviously, with the Internet, information on anything and everything is readily available. So what? In fact, if the information is so available, why air the video at all?

Derek Humphry contends that the video's intended audience are people with terminal illnesses. However, TV reaches the entire viewing population, including those with mental health problems or with mental retardation or developmental disabilities; teens going through those difficult adolescent stages of life; and the elderly. These people are in need of support and encouragement, not "a way out."

Your editorial said that "presumably no physician would assist a person suffering from depression to commit suicide." To the contrary, there is still a fear in the disability community that medical professionals believe the lives of the disabled are worth less than people without disabilities. Medical professionals have withheld treatment or given inappropriate recommendations just because a person has had a disability.

Because of this sentiment, it is imperative that we advocate for compassionate care for those with terminal illnesses, as well as those suffering from other debilitating disabilities or conditions.

Garrett Toguchi

Video showed dignified way to commit suicide

Those planning to protest future television showings of the "Final Exit" video, which described a dignified way of ending one's own life, should know something about one of the two suicides. According to a close relative of one of the suicide victims, that person obtained the necessary "how to" information via the Internet.

With 99 suicides occurring in Hawaii this past year, isn't the method described in the video preferable to using a gun, or jumping off a building or freeway overpass? Are those opposed to taking one's own life trying to impose their views on the 70 percent of the population that favors legalizing physician-assisted death and physician-assisted suicide?

And what about the recommendations of the governor's blue ribbon panel that supported legislation legalizing PAD and PAS?

This is beginning to sound like a case of the tail wagging the dog.

John E. White

Non-Hawaiians should abstain from OHA voting

I am not offended about never having been allowed to vote in matters concerning the Hawaiian nation, any more than I am offended by being excluded from the matters of other indigenous peoples of this country.

Since it appears that matters concerning the Hawaiian nation will be placed on our ballots this fall, non-Hawaiians can show their support by simply not voting in the OHA contests, thereby respecting the rights of Hawaiians to self-determination.

By the way, I am no relation to the Rice vs. Cayetano plaintiff, Harold "Freddy" Rice -- neither biologically nor philosophically.

Martin Rice
Kapaa, Kauai

Do leaders care about non-Hawaiians?

The media have bombarded us with reporting concerning a "nation within a nation, a sovereign Hawaiian nation, OHA as a separate entity," etc. Yet nowhere have I read or seen any explanation or discussion as to what happens to non-Hawaiians if or when any of the above comes to pass.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka has said, "The underlying issue remains -- how do we best fulfill the responsibility of the federal and state governments to native Hawaiians?"

Hey, wait a minute! Isn't there anyone in state or federal government representing the other ethnicities?

We need information as to what effect all this will have on non-Hawaiian taxpayers. Do we have to organize and threaten civil disobedience, too?

R.W. Levy

Oil companies charge whatever they like

For years now, the oil companies have been telling us that gas prices were only a result of local competition. But now, when oil prices go up, the oil companies suddenly push their prices through the roof.

OK, so now I am convinced that the crude oil price is the determining factor in gasoline prices. So what happens when the price of oil goes down? Is the Chevron spokesman going to tell us again that competition -- or lack of it -- is keeping prices high?

I suspect the Chevron people charge what they want, regardless.

Jesika Yong

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