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Wednesday, January 3, 2001


State's anti-fireworks efforts are fizzling

One woman and two family dogs burnt alive in the name of fun (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 1)? A home destroyed by fire? How much longer will this annual madness be allowed? When will elected officials have the guts to ban all but professionally organized displays?

Permits, restrictions and partial bans are useless. Act now, government representatives.

Lois Raynor

Abbreviation of year is more efficient

In the year 2000, we learned, whenever possible, to eliminate the problem resulting from the 1900/2000 ambiguity. Instead of writing just "00," we had to specify which one we meant. This is a good habit.

However, there are still two areas of our lives where I see no reason to change: 1) The way we sign checks and 2) the way we date legal papers. Since checks are considered "stale-dated" after six months, there is no reason to specify the century in which the check originated. To do so would result in redundancy.

Similarly, non-centenarians should feel free to dispense with the "20" when they sign legal documents, since it is impossible -- not to mention legally questionable -- for people to produce signatures before their own births. Therefore, it is unnecessary to write out the full "2001."

So this is what I propose for the new millennium: When signing papers that do not need the full, four-digit year written out, use only the digit that matters, which is the last one. Today's date, for example, would be written 1/3/1.

By cutting down on the number of digits written, we can all save a lot of time and effort, and help make this the most efficient millennium ever.

Bryan Langley

Growth projections are hard to believe

On the front page of your Dec. 29 issue, four charts projected economic indicators for the years 2000 through 2003. There were two known points, and the four years of projections were straight lines going upward.

Sure enough, it takes only two known points for a straight line -- but it almost comes under the heading of hocus-pocus for an economist to make such a four-year projection.

Harold W. Sexton
Aina Haina



"He was in the deep water
and I tried to save him...He grabbed
my shoulders."

Noah Oleyer
Describing, matter of factly, how he saved his 4-year-old
friend, Eola Liwai Manoa (pictured at right), by diving in
after him and pulling him to safety after his friend fell
into a residential pool during a barbecue at a Hawaii Loa
Ridge home. The son of Barbie and Ron Oleyer learned
how to swim when he was 3 years old.


"They're really neat creatures.
I like them. They aren't smelly,
aren't slimy."

Dwain Uyeda
On how snakes like the zoo's 13-foot-long, 110-pound
python named Monty should be revered, not reviled,
especially during this Chinese lunar calendar
Year of the Snake, which begins on Jan. 24

Governor must keep promises of openness

About three months ago, Governor Cayetano pledged publicly to direct his department heads to use some common sense in providing information to the public and media, to act as providers of information rather than guardians.

The Honolulu Community-Media Council and the Star-Bulletin on its editorial pages greeted this news with mixed emotions: applause for the governor's commitment to open government and dismay for his lack of support for the Office of Information Practices. This state agency is charged with monitoring adherence to Hawaii's Sunshine Law and interpreting open records statutes.

Alas, the promised directive has yet to be issued.

We urge the governor to take care of this bit of unfinished business from the old year as we move into the new, and to sign off on the memo, a draft of which, we are informed, has been on his desk for several weeks.

In addition, we urge our lawmakers to fully support and fund the OIP in the coming legislative session. A Media Council survey of candidates for election showed continued overwhelming support for open government and the OIP.

We hope and expect that there will be follow-through on their public declaration on this matter.

Warren Iwasa
Honolulu Community-Media Council

City is ignoring its own development plan

Why is the city even considering allowing a cemetery/crematorium on unstable preservation-zoned land? The East Honolulu Sustainable Communities Plan dated April 1999 does not call for a cemetery/crematorium anywhere in East Honolulu. The city's own studies list the land under Kamilonui Valley as being unstable, subject to movement. Imagine a coffin going six feet down and, in six years, moving six feet. Who's under that headstone?

The developer's answer to unstable land is a layer of top soil and grass. Good luck. The liability for any known land movement area will eventually fall under the jurisdiction of the City and County of Honolulu and its taxpayers.

Roger O. Nakano
Hawaii Kai

State imposes too many laws to limit freedoms

We can be fined for not wearing seatbelts and not keeping our babies in car seats. Now the newest law in Hawaii is that 16-year-olds and younger children must wear helmets while riding their bikes, or they will be fined.

This is an infringement on our rights. Why don't we fine people for smoking cigarettes? I am not a smoker but believe that people have the right to smoke, as well as not to wear seat belts, not to wear helmets, not to wear sunscreen.

Why is it that city buses and tour buses do not require their passengers to buckle up, but require only the drivers to buckle up? Freedom is your choice. Enjoy what remains.

Jim Rosen

Stoning zoo animals is not harmless fun

Kudos to the authorities at the Honolulu Zoo for arresting a boy for throwing a rock at an alligator (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 30). The act cannot be excused as "boys will be boys" because of the risk such conduct poses to the animals.

At a zoo in St. Louis, Mo., an alligator was blinded in one eye by a thoughtless child throwing a coin in order to make the reptile move.

I hope that the counseling mandated for that boy on Oahu will deter his and other acts of future recklessness affecting our precious animals.

Your story about the incident will help educate the public and deter needless injury to animals that live out their lives in confinement for the amusement and education of people.

Robert E. Rapp
Chesterfield, Mo.

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