to the Editor

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Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Damien is right to forfeit games

Brother Gregory O'Donnell, Damien Memorial High School president, made an excellent decision to forfeit Damien's two games to St. Louis High School this season. Safety should always be an issue regarding the students.

Damien has a small student population, stressing academics as its cornerstone. Winning football titles is not the most important thing. What is important is for students to get a great education to prepare themselves for adulthood.

It is good for young men to participate in sports and extra curricular activities, but if students get injured in these lopsided games (415-7 in the last six games), then it is right to accept the forfeits for the sake of safety. It doesn't make sense to see these men get hurt by a powerhouse "college" team like St.Louis.

Brother O'Donnell is just looking out for his students' well-being. It takes a real man to accept responsibility for his students' welfare.

Viriliter Age (Act Manfully) -- Damien High School motto

Mike Hirakawa
Damien alumnus

Police are becoming too aggressive

From a citizen's perspective, it appears there are too many police who are acting not as public servants whose job it is to protect us, but as a lockstep military creating problems rather than preventing them.

Since the gross over-disbursement of "troops" at the Asian Development Bank convention, there prevails a gestapo-like air over a good part of the department:

>> A tank sent to subdue a gun-wielding, disturbed citizen, when a clergyman or a friend might better have soothed frayed nerves.

>> A personal request to have an officer stand by, resulted in an unnecessary shackling and arrest of a minor thief who threatened no one, and would have been better served with a stern explanation of the law.

>> The cuffing and arresting of a homeless man by more than six officers, surrounding in blue and whites, with lights flashing.

There are more disturbing examples of a chosen approach that seems bent on justifying exorbitant expenses in, to name two, anti-riot equipment and a new Diamond Head communication system. As a taxpayer who rarely speaks out about where my money goes, I have found the time to write a letter and ask that the City and County leadership, call in the troops!

Kate Paine


" 'Traffic,' cameo nonappearance, $1,000.'"

Rep. Patsy Mink,
The way the congresswoman reported the money she made acting in the Michael Douglas film, "Traffic." Mink dutifully noted the sum in her financial report to the House clerk, even though her scene ended up on the cutting room floor.

"Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there with sadder histories than us, sadder realities than us."

Luahiwa Namahoe,
Spokeswoman for -o'Aha Punana Leo, Hawaiian-speaking educators, on an estimate by linguists that thousands of world languages could die out during this century.

Owners are liable for dog attacks

So another child is killed by a dog? So what! Who cares? As long as the dogs in this state are free to do whatever they want to do and the owners are not held responsible, then more tragic events like the 18-month-old boy's death on the Big Island will happen.

I couldn't believe that the police referred to the killing of the boy as a "household accident." If the boy's death and the mother's near-death were "household accidents," then shouldn't the father be arrested for animal cruelty for killing the dog with a pick ax?

We have politicians and law enforcement authorities who are cowards when it comes to dog control and making dog owners responsible for the behavior of their animals.

If a person possesses a dog, they should be treated no differently than a person who possesses a loaded gun. If that gun hurts or kills someone while it's in their possession, then the owner should go to jail. It's as simple as that.

Unfortunately, dogs are running more freely than ever throughout our state. Dog owners intimidate the rest of us with their weapons. If you approach a dog owner whose dog isn't on a leash and tell them to tether their dog, you're taking your life into your hands because that dog, being the loyal animal that it is, will see you as the enemy. When are the police going to start doing their job?

Todd Bishop

Penalties for stupidity should be harsher

Regarding recent vehicle accidents:

1. Street racing is stupid.

2. Operating a boat without proper safety equipment is stupid.

This isn't the first time incidents have happened in these two areas, and people don't seem to be getting any smarter. I suggest it's time to protect the rest of us from stupid people.

If you are caught street racing it should mean an automatic forfeiture of the car, loss of your driver's license for three years, plus a $10,000 fine to discourage purchase of another car.

If you operate a boat without the proper safety gear and the Coast Guard has to come out and rescue you, then it's an automatic forfeiture of the boat, plus you are responsible for the total cost of the rescue.

The ability to operate a motorized vehicle is a privilege, not a right. People who do stupid things shouldn't be allowed to continue to put themselves and others in danger.

Robert Becker

Drivers are more polite in Hawaii

Every so often I am surprised to read about the supposedly bad manners of drivers in the aloha state, since I have had contrary experience when I visit the islands, which I still call home. The recent letter to the editor claiming it is better on the mainland is laughable if California is considered -- although it may be true in the smaller cities of the Sunbelt states mentioned.

As an example, whenever I have used my turn signal to indicate that I want to change lanes, about 80 percent of the time other drivers in Hawaii allow me to do so almost immediately. Ninety percent of the time, in Los Angeles, they speed up so you can't. After all, what self-respecting Angeleno would allow someone to get ahead?

In fact, I have had people in Hawaii wave me ahead when I desired to make a left turn facing oncoming traffic, which is unheard of here! I could go on but the point is that the Aloha Spirit is still alive there contrary to what some say.

Dr. Clayton Ching
Pasadena, Calif.

Anti-smoking push is worth the price

While it is true that due to a lack of firm data and some conflicting reports, debate is still possible as to just how serious the impact of second-hand smoke on non-smokers may be, one thing is crystal clear -- smoking is hazardous for human beings.

Enough smoke inhaled by anyone over a long enough time contributes to lung cancer and other ailments that result in premature death. It's just a question of how much smoke over what period of time.

Given this reality, the TV campaign by the Department of Health is right on target. The use of taxpayer dollars to warn citizens about a clear danger to their health is an appropriate use of funds.

Peter G. Flachsbart
American Lung Association of Hawaii

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