to the Editor

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Sunday, June 17, 2001

Road carnage warns not to drink and drive

What will it take before we, as a community, decide that drinking and driving is a lethal combination? How many more deaths? How many more loved ones must Hawaii lose before we stop getting behind the wheel after drinking?

The headlines over the King Kamehameha Day holiday described a weekend of carnage on our highways. Summer months can be Hawaii's most dangerous months for drinking and driving. These times of celebration -- graduation, beach and farewell parties -- are supposed to mark the best times. Too often they end in tragedy.

In 1999, Hawaii had 43 alcohol-related traffic fatalities. In 2000, Mothers Against Drunk Driving-Hawaii estimates the number will be about 52. Our feeling for 2001 is that we may end up with even more alcohol-related fatalities than in 2000. This is a scary trend.

Hawaii's anti-drunken driving laws are tougher than they ever have been. MADD-Hawaii works relentlessly in the community to get our message out and it's a simple one. Don't drink and drive. If you're under 21, it's against the law to drink.

It's time to quit looking at "them" to solve this problem, whoever you believe "them" to be. It's time we looked at ourselves and decided that enough is enough. Please get involved.

Kathryn Nelson
President MADD-Hawaii

Police are chasing the wrong criminals

People are crashing and dying on our roadways every day. We kill 60 to 70 people, injure nearly 10,000 and waste about a quarter of a billion dollars in auto-related mishaps each year in Hawaii.

Pedestrians, especially the elderly, are being mowed down by speeding cars. People are encouraged to buy Humvees for self-preservation. So what are our police doing? Searching for lap-dancers.

Prostitution is the oldest profession, and lap-dancing a pretty mild version of sex for hire. It's a victimless crime, unless your wife finds out and kills you. But I don't think anyone was ever run over and killed during a lap-dance.

Furthermore, no one has to go to a lap-dancing club, but we all have to use our streets and sidewalks to get where we are going. So let's stop wasting manpower and money chasing these ladies, and start saving people's lives. Put these cops on traffic patrol.

Khalil Spencer

Secondhand smoke is dangerous

The June 12 editorial, "State should rethink passive smoke campaign," sounds like it was written by Phillip Morris or A.J. Reynolds tobacco lobbyists.

Do you really want us to believe that secondhand smoke is harmless? Don't you think smokers can benefit from becoming more considerate and sensitive to nonsmokers? Can't they be better neighbors in restaurants and public places so that others can enjoy their meals, protect their unborn babies, or set better examples for children?

Your editorial sounds like the addict who is in denial of the harmful effects of drugs by resorting to distortion of simple truths.

Jan Nagano

Editors should rethink passive smoke danger

Your June 12 editorial that says the "State should rethink passive smoke campaign" is offensive and insulting to common sense. If this represents your newspaper, you can roll it up and smoke it yourself!

Mitch Werth

Install power lines at Waahila Ridge

How long has it been since the Hawaiian Electric Co. first proposed the Waahila Ridge power-line project -- eight or 10 years? In the meantime, public hearings were held, protests staged, petitions circulated, letters to editors sent ad nauseam, and HECO was vilified as the bad guy for destroying nature.

Have you looked at California's energy problems lately? To be totally unprepared is inexcusable. Our piddly little project does not need new energy sources, no small generators at the end of Palolo Valley, as some wag suggested. Even the Palolo residents are tired of this squabbling about their neighborhood.

According to HECO, the wooden-pole system is about 30 years old. It's a wonder that the termites haven't got to the poles. What will be the consequences when the northern corridor lines to Pukele fail? The lights will go out in much of East Honolulu. Because of the remote location in the Koolaus, choppers must be used to transport men, materials and heavy equipment.

Line restoration and repairs is dangerous work and must take more than a couple of hours. Is it any wonder that HECO employees showed up en masse at the recent hearing? The impact to East Honolulu would be loss of residential, commercial and industrial power to Manoa, St. Louis Heights, Palolo, Kapahulu, Kaimuki, Kahala, Diamond Head, Moiliili, McCully, even Waikiki.

Traffic lights will go out and water supply tanks will be off. Stations won't be able to sell gasoline, and malls, markets and banks will close. About 200,000 residents and countless tourists will be affected.

Renewable energy sources? Wind turbine generator and photo-voltaic solar panel farms? Where? Kahuku? You'd still need poles and transmission lines to bring this power to urban Honolulu. The more delay, the more the cost goes up. Your children and grandchildren will wind up paying for it. The smart ones won't stick around for the bill.

Leonard K Chun

Execution is the final solution to crime

The only redeeming feature the death penalty has is zero recidivism.

Capt. Skip Crawford
U.S. Navy, Ret.

Special session accomplished little

The special session of the Legislature was a Band-Aid process, fixing only what was broken in a couple of bills. Sen. Fred Hemmings tried to get the Legislature to push forward with an agenda for change that included overriding the governor's veto of bills that were approved unanimously in both Houses during the 21st legislative session.

The need for change is immediate. By waiting until next year, the legislators may have missed another significant chance to enact true systemic change in Hawaii. We may be back in a recession with the collapse of Silicon Valley and the depressed stock market.

Lest we forget, we depend on tourism for our economic survival and when the economy suffers discretionary spending, such as tourism spending, is the first to fall.

Brian Young


"A lot of people thought this game was a dinosaur headed for extinction."
Lenny Klompus,
Hula Bowl director, on a deal with the National Football League to partner the Hula Bowl with the Pro Bowl for an all-star weekend of football.

"I quit counting after 1,700."
Landy Blair,
Lifeguard, who, along with University of Hawaii researchers, pulled more than 1,700 jellyfish from the water and shore at Kuhio Beach as a massive jellyfish invasion hit Oahu from Waikiki to Kaimana Beach.


Legislator chose to follow tradition

In defense of Rep. William Stonebraker in the current unwarranted attack on him, I offer the following comments.

Stonebraker has not violated the separation of church and state mandate. What he has done is perpetuate his predecessor's tradition. Parents and students approached Stonebraker requesting that he continue David Stegmaier's tradition of assisting with Kaiser High School's baccalaureate service -- an event seen by many families as the best of what graduation from high school means.

Stonebraker chose to continue the tradition and used his personal resources to facilitate invitations, mailings, etc. Stonebraker chose to preserve a community event that his constituents consider important. I applaud Stonebraker's courage to be true to the people who elected him as well as stand firm on his Christian convictions.

Angela Rickabaugh Shears

Stonebraker honored constituent request

It is disheartening to see an organization such as Mitch Kahle's targeting events that could otherwise be celebrated by young and old alike.

While Kahle's allegations suggest that Rep. William Stonebraker's involvement in the baccalaureate service should have been strictly personal, he fails to consider that Stonebraker's constituents contacted him not because he is an assistant pastor, but for the very fact that he is their district representative. David Stegmaier, the former representative for District 15, had been involved in the service for years, and the parents and students who contacted Stonebraker expressed their desire that he continue the tradition. It seems ridiculous that you could not contact your public servant through his state office if he also happens to be a Christian!

With all the time and energy that Kahle's organization volunteers toward the policing of any religious e-mails and symbols that might find their way into the office of our public servants, perhaps we should question the real motives behind their attacks. Is it genuine concern for upholding the law, or is it more likely that they have their own "religious agenda" to promote?

Brenda Waxman

'Separation' isn't part of Constitution

Regarding the harassment of Rep. William Stonebraker by Mitch Kahle and his cohorts of Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of Church and State: They should read the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Nowhere do the words "separation of church and state" appear. The actual wording of the First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Kahle obviously does not understand the distinction between the establishment of a religion and the freedom of exercising one's religion. His assertion that, in assisting with a baccalaureate service for Kaiser High School graduates, Stonebraker misused his office and violated some hypothetical separation of church and state is absurd.

Stonebraker was not engaged in establishing a religion; he was simply responding to the needs of his constituents.

Janice Pechauer


Baccalaureate was a clear violation

Your June 7 editorial was missing the facts and the point with regard to the activities of Rep. William Stonebraker.

The editorial called the charges "overblown" and questioned whether the courts would "disapprove of a single legislator's invitation to any religious gathering as a governmental establishment of religion."

The invitation to the baccalaureate service included an RSVP request: "Please call my Capitol office at 586-6420. If we don't answer, leave your name and a call back number where you can be reached."

Perhaps the most egregious violation, the seal of the state of Hawaii was prominently displayed throughout the religious service.

On March 15, 1999, the state Attorney General's Office issued a legal opinion critical of similar religious activity promoted by Sen. Norman Sakamoto.

The opinion stated, "using state property and personnel to further one's purely personal matters is not proper." Legislators should "not use any state equipment (except perhaps his or her state phone during non-work hours), and not use any personnel (except perhaps on their own personal time) to arrange a prayer breakfast."

In a recent newspaper interview, Rep. Stonebraker said: "I represent more than my district. I represent people before God and God before people." This statement confirms his purely religious agenda.

The ethics commission and the attorney general are bound by the Constitution to act on this matter.

Mitchell Kahle
Hawaii Citizens for the
Separation of State and Church

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