to the Editor

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

Phoning while driving is a dangerous habit

It happened again! It was the same scenario for the third time this week. I was in the middle lane behind a car doing 40 miles per hour with the blinker on for several minutes. When I changed lanes to pass, I noticed a woman, cigarette in her left hand, right hand on the wheel, cell phone balanced on her right shoulder, chatting away.

The previous instance was similar. I slowed to allow a car to merge, but it never moved. Another person, talking on the phone, was oblivious that her blinker was on.

This is becoming a common occurrence and is dangerous. The penalty for talking on the phone while driving should be equal to that of a DUI.

To quote a bumper sticker I saw recently: "HANG UP AND DRIVE!"

Lisa Wiley

Fees ought to benefit parks and schools

I don't see anything wrong with charging a fee to visit Hanauma Bay. The federal government charges everyone to enter a park or refuge, regardless of where they live.

Please make sure that any surpluses are used to protect other park lands or to improve the school system, and not just dumped into the general fund or used to create political patronage positions.

I am a resident of North Carolina and have visited Hawaii 15 times in the last 10 years. Thanks for giving me a chance to sound off.

Louis R. Brett
Mocksville, N.C.


"We have heard from the people. They have called us, faxed us, e-mailed us."

Robert Bunda,
Senate president, on the strong public support for overturning the governor's veto of the bill raising the age of consensual sex from 14 to 16. Members of the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to override the governor's decision.

"I swung...and the ball went out of the ballpark and I felt like I was flying around the bases."

Cal Ripken,
Veteran Baltimore Orioles shortstop, after hitting a homerun and being named the most valuable player in the All-Star game. Ripken, 40, has said he will retire after this season.

Feds shouldn't retain gun-check information

The July 2 editorial attacking Attorney General John Ashcroft's decision to not keep background check information on gun purchases beyond 90 days was wrong on all counts.

First, in the United States it is not illegal to buy guns, though that may come as a shock to gun-control extremists. After a person's background check clears him for a weapon purchase, he is not a criminal and there is no legitimate reason, other than Big Brotherism, to keep these records.

The editorial also bought up the fallacy about the Second Amendment's use of the term militia as equivalent to the National Guard. In the 18th century, the militia referred to every male citizen between, say, 18 and 45 who most likely was a landowner and had obtained a certain level of social responsibility, not membership in the National Guard, which wasn't organized until the late 19th century.

Places like Israel and Switzerland still maintain a close approximation of this with mandatory military service and reserve status with weapons stored at home.

Paul Mossman

Highrise will make Makiki more crowded

Think Makiki is crowded now? Chances are you ain't seen nothing yet. The Makiki-Tantalus Neighborhood Board seems poised to approve a 54-unit, eight-story highrise on the corner of one of the busiest and most dangerous intersections in the state. Punahou Street and Wilder Avenue would become the site of the proposed Punahou Vista, a project that will add to the already oppressive density of this area, as well as endanger trees that have a protected status conferred by the Outdoor Circle. Parking in this area is already an absolute nightmare and will become far worse if this highrise is approved.

The Makiki-Tantalus Neighborhood Board will meet at 7:15 p.m. July 19 at the Makiki Park Recreation Center's Arts and Crafts room. Let your voice be heard loud and clear: Punahou Vista must be stopped.

Greg Shepherd

Military families need quarantine fee relief

I was disappointed to learn of the governor's veto of Senate Bill 204, which would have provided assistance to some of our armed forces with animal quarantine fees when they are deployed to Hawaii.

Pets play an important role in maintaining stability for our military families, particularly those with children. These families are required to move every two to three years, and for many enlisted personnel and junior officers, the costs for quarantine are beyond their means. The decision to give away a pet, or worse, have it destroyed because a family receives orders to Hawaii can be devastating.

We know that the strength of our nation's security is not just represented by the tanks, planes and ships in our military; our security is also represented by the people in our armed services. We need to find ways to reduce the costs of quarantine through greater efficiencies and by providing sensible assistance that Senate Bill 204 intended.

Military personnel contribute so much of their time and energy outside of their normal duties by volunteering for countless activities that improve our schools and communities. Hawaii benefits from their generosity.

Glenn Hong
President Honolulu Council
Navy League of the United States

Airline hassles induce passenger air rage

Responding to your July 8 editorial on air rage, I'm glad that you pointed out the many reasons that make some passengers snap. While I don't condone the bad behavior of air rage, I fully understand the frustration.

For example, a few years ago, I flew from Honolulu to the mainland on a certain major airline. I was supposed to depart at about 10 p.m. When I got to the airport to check in, I was notified of a delay and ended up departing about midnight instead.

Those two hours caused me to miss my next flight out of Los Angeles (on a different carrier), and they graciously put me on the next flight, even though it was not their fault.

Fast forward to June 2001 and almost the exact same thing happened on the same airline! This time my family was flying to Los Angeles, and to make matters worse, they also endured a wait of more than an hour to check in.

Two similar incidents have led us to decide to never fly that airline again. My family's trip also included the constant changing of departure times, price fluctuations, overbooking, to name a few. While nobody "snapped," could you really blame them for wanting to lash out?

Vicki Asato
Fountain Hills, Ariz.

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The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.

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