to the Editor

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Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Avenue to safety is the voting booth

Thanks to our marvelous Honolulu Police Department for trying to contain the dangers of street racing on public highways. But its hard work will be in vain without tougher laws to protect law-abiding citizens.

The immediate confiscation and auctioning of seized vehicles is a great start for restitution to victims for damages to life and property. A first offense is enough for license revocation and jail time, but why give law breakers more chances to harm others? Parents need to be responsible for underage drivers.

Why weren't these public safety laws enacted before someone got killed or maimed in these tragic but preventable accidents?

Politicians are not the brightest peas in the pod; it is the voters who need to control their own destiny by voting in competent and safety-minded civil servants for the protection of all citizens. Meanwhile, the root of the evils of street racing is us.

Chester Lau

Housing project offers hopeful sign for OHA

I was pleased to read about the Office of Hawaiian Affairs' planned majority partnership to build prefabricated low-cost housing for Hawaiians. This should indeed benefit the Hawaiian community immensely. Though the project, as described, is not wholly a self-help effort, it is certainly a move in the right direction.

Hopefully this marks a new beginning for OHA in surmounting a public image of a board of directors predisposed to predominantly indulge in posturing and endless wrangling with little results to show for their salaried deliberations.

Larry T. Hayashida

Court behavior shows society's breakdown

The Latchum murder trial revealed a destructive, unraveling process in our society, a lack of caring, ignorance and hate that promise to destroy this state. I don't know what they are teaching kids in school nowadays -- besides computers -- but for the past 10 years we have all witnessed serious crimes against one another, as well as against visitors to our islands.

If the 20-year-old man convicted in the Latchum case had gotten involved with religious activities when he was younger, he would realize that he is never going to be reunited with his family because he will be burning in hell for his crime.

His ignorance in not seizing the opportunity to apologize to the victim's family in court is unacceptable. If I had been on the jury I would have demanded restitution to be paid to the Latchum family so that maybe when this young man dies he'll have learned something about life and aloha!

Keith Vierra


"(They need to) come to us, and they will be hired and placed in very short order."

Paul LeMahieu,
Superintendent of Schools, on recruiting people with bachelor's degrees to ease the critical shortage of teachers in Hawaii. Candidates will be given two years to earn their licenses to teach, he said.

"They are fairly sloppy eaters. One could be surprised if they go in the water and found there are a fair number of ... sharks around them when they're feeding."

Greg Kaufman,
Pacific Whale Foundation president, on the feeding habits of six orcas spotted feeding near Maui. The dolphins, commonly called killer whales, are not a threat to humans, but sharks often follow them to pick up scraps.

Hold mayor, police responsible for snags

Mayor Jeremy Harris once again put political gain before the public's safety, this time in the latest Honolulu Police Department communications system fiasco.

On Aug. 28, in his zeal to show off the underutilized Kapolei Police Station, Harris caused an entire watch of overworked and understaffed dispatchers to be sent to an untested and unproven alternate communications center, where various hardware and software problems caused hundreds of calls for assistance from the public to be disconnected prior to being answered. Many radio transmissions were so garbled as to endanger officers on the road.

On a recent news broadcast, a spokesperson for Verizon, the supplier of the phone system, was quoted as saying, "What we need to do right now is actually test each piece of equipment one by one."

One would think that those in charge would test each piece of equipment one by one prior to using it to protect lives, but, evidently, the administration did not think this was necessary.

Disgustingly, the initial response of Communications Division administrators was to blame 911 and HPD call-takers for the problems -- a common city defense mechanism, where those with the least power take the most blame.

Common sense tells even the most muddle-brained of us that when testing new technologies, backups -- such as manning both the alternate and primary communications centers -- should be in place in case something should go wrong during the test.

But this was not done because of the shortage of trained dispatchers that the HPD has been facing, and has been trying to hide from the public for years -- a problem that could become a much greater danger to our city than this over-budgeted and under-performing communications system.

C. Howard Fine

Would state law allow cloning of humans?

Thanks to a brilliant scientist from Japan, the University of Hawaii produced cloned, fluorescent green mice, using genes from a jellyfish.

I am asking in all seriousness why there is no state or city law preventing the same kind of experiments with human embryos? Why isn't there a law against producing fluorescent green babies? Unthinkable?

An Italian geneticist insists that he will clone a human baby, with all the hazards of producing a hundred with deformities in the process. A religious cult is providing funds. Is there a law in this state that would prevent such a person from doing his work here?

We read about such questions being debated far away. But those cloned green mice were manufactured in green, green Manoa. The technique used is being widely copied in other labs across the world.

So if someone wants to produce a fluorescent green infant, are federal laws enough to keep that from happening here? I think not -- not if private money pays for it.

The Legislature will have to do its homework on these issues, or else the "Health State" laws may allow privately funded scientists to do unspeakable things with human embryos.

Beverly Kai

Dobelle should look closely at contract

Look out, Evan Dobelle. There's a good chance the state will say it only intended to pay you half that amount and refuse to honor your contract.

Mike McCrary

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