to the Editor

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Thursday, December 20, 2001

Religion stories are unbiased, engaging

I would like to say how much I enjoy reading Mary Adamski's "View from the Pew" column and the articles published in the "Keeping Faith" section. I especially respect Mary's eagerness to cover a multiplicity of faiths. Her reporting is always balanced and unbiased, thoughtful and engaging.

Mary is a veteran journalist and it shows in every paragraph. Her stories about the interfaith activities in our community are appreciated by everyone involved, including this atheist. Her willingness to cover state-church separation and other controversial issues is particularly important, since the mainland paper (the Honolulu Advertiser) seems only remotely interested in the topic.

Lest anyone think that I am sucking up to Mary with this letter, know this: She has been a regular critic of my sometimes radical methods -- and most of the time she has been right.

Interfaith activities are changing this nation. Theists and atheists alike should get to know one another because pluralism is the key to peace. The pages of the Star-Bulletin faith section reflect this principle.

Mitch Kahle
Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church

Community rises to AUW's challenge

When the 2001 Aloha United Way campaign began, its goal of raising $13.6 million seemed like a healthy challenge, but not unattainable. Then the events of Sept. 11 changed things dramatically. Focus was now on helping the victims of this terrible attack, and it seemed clear that raising funds to help those in need here at home would be much more difficult than in years past.

Our community rose to meet this challenge. The 2001 Aloha United Way campaign was a success, thanks to the generosity and aloha of Hawaii's people. Thanks also to the hard work and dedication of the Aloha United Way staff and volunteers, especially this year's campaign chairman, Gary Slovin, and his team. Hawaii is lucky to have leaders like Gary who are willing to give of their time and talents to make our community a better place for all of us.

With the generous support and spirit of our community and the hard work of hundreds of volunteers, AUW will continue to make a real and measurable difference in the lives of so many of Hawaii's families.

H. Mitchell D'Olier
Victoria Ward, Ltd.


"It removes competition. With any kind of monopoly, it's not good for the consumer. It is better for the person with the monopoly."

Harry Kim

Big Island mayor, reacting to the news of a possible merger between Aloha Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.

"There are other people in the world besides you, and other people who need your help."

Anna Fryxell

Eleven-year-old Makakilo resident, on the spirit of the holidays. Anna was with her father, Dale, Tuesday evening at a dinner where families in need shared food and entertainment with those who had helped them this holiday season. The families at the Aloha Kalikimaka event enjoyed a kalua pig dinner, Christmas carols and dancing.

Traffic cams generate money, not safety

The state Department of Transportation will delay ticketing motorists who are photographed exceeding the speed limit. But watch out -- the potential revenue from fines is too enticing for DOT to delay very long.

As reported by the Star-Bulletin on Dec. 17, those cameras captured 9,112 vehicles exceeding the speed limit in 11 days. That's a lot of money for DOT and the private company operating the system.

Will these fines make our roads safer, or will they just raise motorists' insurance rates? The answer is the latter. This is a revenue enhancer, one that will cost many motorists and companies with fleets of cars a lot of money.

Speed limits are set unrealistically low. Before the Spy-in-the-Sky cameras, commuters flowed over the Pali in a safe stream, generally 5 to 10 miles over the posted limit. As noted by Richard Brill in his "Facts of the Matter" article (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 16): "The speed at which 85 percent of the vehicles are traveling at, or below, has generally been determined to be a limit that minimizes accident risk and maximizes motorist compliance."

In other words, the vast majority of commuters who drive 5 to 10 miles over the posted limit have not caused accidents on the Pali, as that speed actually made the road safer.

Even if DOT grants a 10 percent leeway, this means commuters who drive at 39 miles in the posted 35 mph section of the Pali or 50 mph in the posted 45 mph stretch will be photographed and fined.

Raise the speed limits to a realistic level, DOT. And stop looking at drivers as a new source of revenue for your department.

Rep. Cynthia Thielen
Assistant Republican Floor Leader
House of Representatives
(Kailua/Kaneohe Bay Drive)

Solicitation at service was in poor taste

As a group from the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation in Washington, we watched our representatives lay a wreath as part of the solemn ceremonies at Punchbowl commemorating the attack on Pearl Harbor.

It was a splendidly managed 60th anniversary observation, but one aspect was disturbing. Fliers distributed at the service asked for money. The organization seeking it backs the construction of a controversial World War II structure right across the Mall in Washington, D.C. Veterans and others opposing it have taken the matter to court. Never before have I been hit up for money at a commemorative service.

If anything was ever inappropriate and in poor taste, it was this. How did it happen?

Angus MacLean Thuermer
Middleburg, Va.

Gambling will cheapen beauty of Hawaii

Just got back from another wonderful week in Kauai and Oahu, and I read about the possibility of gambling in Hawaii. Please, please don't do it! American gambling cities are not like those of Europe. Let's face it, our gambling cities are grunge. There is a cheesy, dirty, cheap, lounge-lizard feel to every one of them. Their crime rates stink, divorce rates soar and all types of abuse are abundant; even in their suburbs you don't escape it.

I am gay male in his mid-40s who spends big money and loves your state for its hiking, sailing, kayaking, great hotels, restaurants, shopping, natural beauty and people. Dare to be different -- find new revenues from your uniqueness. Bring on gambling and you kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Please keep the islands special.

Todd Banik
San Diego, Calif.

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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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