Sunday, May 13, 2001
Let's nab Pali Highway speeders on cameraYears ago I was involved with Pali traffic safety and control. When someone gets hurt or killed there is great emphasis on remedies. As months go by, this awareness and police surveillance decreases.
Lately, a speed gauge has slowed down some motorists. Motor patrolmen usually tag Honolulu-bound speedsters at the Nuuanu Board of Water Supply Station.
Unfortunately, the major speeders are those after work using the cheaters lane Kailua bound. They start winding up at Oahu Country Club and hit speeds as high as 70 mph by the time they swerve into your lane at Nuuanu Reservoir.
In my 36 years of commuting, I rarely see that lane patrolled. It is a perfect spot to nab the "inconsiderates." Wouldn't it be nice if Olelo had a grant to video the speeders along with the speed gauge? Then they could give a video of "speeder of the week" to the TV news stations. It would show the car, license and operator without having to ID the driver by name.
Plate lunch staples add to weight problemRegarding the article on Hawaii's overweight children (Star-Bulletin, May 9): Fast food seems to be the scourge of the age. However, eating two scoops rice and macaroni salad (or more) every day does not constitute a balanced diet.
I remember reading once that Hawaii used more mayonnaise per capita than any other state in the union. It shows. As delicious as our local delicacies are, they are usually not low-fat or healthy. Combine that with burgers, fries and high-sugar sodas, and what do you expect?
Former Hawaii resident
HMSA raises rates; reduces doctors' feesThe decision for Hawaii Medical Services Association and other medical insurance plans to increase rates because of rising drug costs should not surprise any one familiar with the health industry's problems in this country. As an eye physician and surgeon, I hear many complaints from my patients that a single bottle of eye drops costs $68 (more than the exam by the physician).
What is not widely known is that HMSA also lowered the surgical fees paid to doctors by another 5 percent. The problem with "cost control" in only one sector of the health industry (physician's fees) is that, unless there is an across-the-board price control, there will never be any real health insurance cost containment.
Controlling doctors' fees alone will not successfully curb health-care costs while the public has to pay for the advances in medical technology and drugs.
There are no easy answers, but eventually we must realize that we may not be able to have our cake (the best, most advanced medical care) and eat it too (low-health care) in a free enterprise society.
Dr. Malcolm R. Ing
Notre Dame sisters taught lasting lessonsThe generosity and true humanity of the School Sisters of Notre Dame of Mankato, Minn., who assist in Alzheimer's research (Star-Bulletin, May 7) does not surprise me.
These women were my high school teachers and mentors at St. Michael High School in St. Michael, Minn, in the 1960s.
My memories of them are of women of great faith, wisdom and love.
Father James Berry
St. Michael's Church
"In a way, this is better than getting a loan and buying a house already built -- because we will always remember and appreciate how it came about."
Single mother who is working with Habitat for Humanity to build her family a home in Waimanalo.
"It was the community coming out to give support for the teachers. We encourage the teachers and the legislators to get together and to know each other..."
President of Hawaii State Teachers Association, on the revelation that some donations to teachers from politicians during the public school strike were suspect. The Campaign Spending Commission has warned that politicians should not have used campaign funds to pay for donated goods, such food or drinks.
Bill on exploitation of teens was flawedWith respect to Shannon Mar's May 9 criticism of a legislative bill that sought to outlaw sexual exploitation of a minor: The bill failed solely because it was legally faulty.
No one disagrees that recruiting minors into the local sex trade is reprehensible and that our children deserve to be protected. But the bill in question was so broadly worded that it would have prompted injustice. For example, a citizen who tipped a minor dancing in an exotic club would have faced 10 years in prison.
The bill did not narrowly target the pimps and businesses of which Ms. Mar speaks. The legal defects were recognized by law enforcement agencies. The Honolulu Police Department and Hawaii County Police Department testified in opposition. Much of the conduct that the bill sought to address is already illegal.
The problem of minors in the sex trade is enforcement of laws in place. Police and prosecutors cannot move against pimps and proprietors of sex businesses without the cooperation of witnesses, who are difficult to come by. The bill would not have addressed this problem.
Reps. Eric Hamakawa and Marcus Oshiro must be commended for taking a difficult stance in opposing passage of a bill that, at a glance, looks good for the community. Their courage in protecting the public from ill-advised laws should be applauded.
Hawaii State Public Defender
Shoe brand name insults ChineseShoe stores should stop carrying the "Chinese Laundry" brand and potential customers should not buy the brand. The noble purpose is a protest against ethnic stereotyping of people of Chinese ancestry.
Chinatown's a treasure, but that stench...I love Chinatown and shop there at least once a week. I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, especially along River Street. I love to watch the river flow and gaze at the purple bougainvillea cascading along the river banks. I find many of the retired men and women spend time there at the pavilion playing Mah Jong, checkers and cards.
But one awful blight that ruins this beautiful experience is the overpowering stench of unwashed, sunbaked urine. Can we find a way to overcome this?
Postal service will soon be extinctWhat is this "critical" service that the post office provides (Star-Bulletin editorial, May 9)? About the only service that I can think of may be standard mail delivery to homes.
So what do we get? Well, I get a lot of bills and junk mail. Is that a critical service? Well, I sure won't feel bad if I don't get the junk mail. As for the bills I receive, that too will go the way of some extinct bird. It won't be long before all our bills will be paid through the Internet. So, where is that critical service?
Peaceful protest disappointed manyIt seems the Asian Development Bank protest on Wednesday has surprised everyone around me. One Honolulu police officer told me how disappointed she was that nothing happened. Comments such as, "The Seattle thing really raised the bar for you folks," and "Hey, aren't you supposed to be in jail?" were just some of the input from friends.
Basically I have been mocked by just about everyone I know about the lack of violence at the protest, and have decided to offer a public apology. I realize how selfish we were in protesting without what appears to be the expected/required accompanying mayhem. Believe me, I've learned a lot from the reactions to the protest and apologize for letting everyone down.
ADB turned Hawaii into police stateThe repressive measures crafted by the Honolulu Police Department, the city and the state of Hawaii to accommodate the Asian Development Bank meeting and its officials portend further erosion of our civil rights.
Apparently, the law of the land to march on the streets freely does not exist here; we are free to march only after lengthy court suits, impossible permit conditions that changed with the wind -- and behind barricades.
The hysteria and unfair conditions set down by this police state makes one wonder when martial law will be declared. And the ADB affair has made the term "aloha state" an oxymoron. Our international guests are shocked that "the land of the free" isn't.
Lela M. Hubbard
ADB causes problems it's pledged to resolveIn his May 9 address to the Asian Development Bank Board of Governors, ADB President Tadao Chino noted that two-thirds of the world's poor live in Asia, and that Asia's air and water are among the most polluted in the world. Chino cited a goal to halve global poverty by the year 2015, and outlined measures being taken by the ADB to reduce poverty and improve the environment.
Surely we may all applaud these efforts by the ADB. But we may also observe that the ADB's own approach to development exacerbates poverty and environmental degradation. Though Chino noted the devastating effect of rapid urbanization upon poverty and the environment, he did not mention that ADB projects that displace thousands of farmers and others in traditional lifestyles have precisely this effect.
Developing countries granted huge loans by the ADB not only become greatly indebted, but also become the new territory for global corporations from the donor countries for which such things as labor and environmental laws constitute "trade barriers."
In many cases, the influx of mass-produced goods from more developed countries destroys relatively self-sufficient local economies, and indeed transforms them into dependent, specialist export economies and sources of cheap labor. To really help developing countries, we must finally abandon a thinly disguised colonialism, and put commerce in its proper context among other values, including democracy, human rights, local cultural diversity and the environment.
R. Elton Johnson III
State loses money on center againWhen our convention center was built, Hawaii's residents weren't welcome inside. Only out-of-towners staying at hotels and attending conventions and conferences were allowed. Then business slumped and Microsoft came along, and now you can attend the Microsoft sales shows.
Finally, we are putting ourselves on the map; Hawaii has had an Asian Development Bank meeting. The price tag of the meeting is still out, but it will probably cost all of us about $4 million. We, the taxpayers, will have to pay for all the new police equipment that will rot in warehouses. The 500 or so protesters must have surely laughed at that.
So, aside from losing local business, the Hawaii Convention Authority has once again stuck the taxpayer. The Hawaii Convention Center is a big loser. Where is all the outrage on this?
Asian Development Bank
Story is same for all police officers' kinThank you for printing the May 8 Gathering Place column, "For a police officer's family, the anxiety never ends." It was nice to see something so close to home in actual print.
Our family has always adjusted to my police officer husband's varying schedule, not making any definite plans, not making any commitment to attend functions as a family, not having him around during natural disasters.
In general, we often forget that everyone has a life, has a family. These officers are out there every day in contact with people and situations of all types. Every day is an unknown. Every day is precious.
HECO is committed to promoting solarPaul Lerman's recent letter indicates he thinks the electric company should do a better job of promoting solar water heating. The fact is HECO and our neighbor island companies, HELCO and MECO, currently sponsor the largest solar water-heating program in the nation. Since the programs began in 1996, we've paid out about $14 million in rebates which have helped Hawaii residents install 14,000 more solar water heaters. And we have a goal to help install thousands more over the next five years.
We highly encourage anyone who missed the TV or print ads, bill inserts, promotions at community fairs or other publicity about the program to call our Energy$olutions hotline at 94-Power (947-6937) for more information.
Hawaiian Electric Co., Inc.
Kahle should seek out better targetsI'm an agnostic who disagrees with the well-intentioned but misguided attempt of Mitch Kahle, the advocate of separation of church and state, to force St. Jude's Church to remove a cross from its private property.
The Constitution's separation of church and state protects our citizens from having religion foisted upon us by the state. Agnosticism and atheism are religious beliefs (or disbeliefs, if you want to split hairs). Kahle's attack on St. Jude's is an attempt to use governmental power (the state judiciary) to promote his religious disbelief while stifling the beliefs of others.
As a member of a tiny religious minority, I feel I must respect the religious rights of others so they will be inclined to respect my beliefs.
Kahle should confine his attacks to more blatant governmental attempts to impose specific religious beliefs on public property.
There are plenty of targets -- the practice of opening daily legislative sessions with invocations from pastors advocating Christian beliefs, including references to Jesus instead of the more cross-denominational term "God."
Also, where are the faith-based invocations from Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or even agnostic speakers? Shouldn't these groups be given access to the podium?
Hawaii needs lessons in money managementGoverning magazine grades the 50 states in financial management, human resources, information technology and capital management.
In financial management, Hawaii received a grade of "C." The report said: "For a long time, Hawaii's financial management was predicated on the philosophy that it was OK to eat chicken today, even if that meant eating feathers tomorrow."
The state government's approach to the recently concluded teachers' strike was divided with the governor being hard-nosed and the Legislature scrambling to find the funds for an equitable agreement.
If we are to have good public schools, it is time to start with a decent contract for the teachers or continue the slide to mediocrity.
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