to the Editor

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Thursday, January 3, 2002

Fireworks explosions ruined another holiday

Our New Year's Eve was ruined by the continual launching of dynamite-type explosions from the 5300 block of Poola Street in Waialae Iki Ridge. In my 40-plus years as a Aina Haina resident I've never experienced such frightening, Earth-shattering explosions such as I did that evening.

To imagine the mentality of those "celebrants" is just as frightening. For those thrill-seekers who feel compelled to blow dynamite, go catch your jollies in Afghanistan.

L. Lau

Fireworks permits reduce tax revenue

The new fireworks permit system is not as effective as the politicians would like to believe. Most Hawaii residents will not waste $25 to purchase a fireworks permit for just $2.50 worth of firecrackers.

As you could see on New Year's Eve, many residents used the money to buy illegal aerial fireworks that lit the skies of Oahu.

The state lost big money on the sales tax revenues that firecrackers always have generated in past years. Since the state cannot collect even one penny on blackmarket fireworks sales, it might as well go back to the old system. Firecrackers do not cause as much damage as illegal aerials.

Arsenio Ramirez Pelayo


"Of course people want things back to normal. I want airport security to be back to normal. I want life to be back to normal. But it's just too bad. Things have changed."

Dr. Lorrin Pang

State health administrator on Maui, on the continued lag in tourism brought on by the outbreak of dengue fever in Hana and the damage to Hana's tourist-related businesses.

"It's going to be a big party."

Redley Killion

Kalihi resident and father of Nelna Leslie Marie Killion, Hawaii's first baby born in 2002, describing the celebration that will be in order next year when Jan. 1 will mark both New Year's and Nelna's first birthday.

Militancy hurts efforts of moderate gays

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin should be commended for its balanced and thoughtful Dec. 25 editorial on the recent arrest of Michael A. Petrelis and David R. Paquarelli, both left-wing gay activists in California. It is indeed true that freedom of expression does not extend to committing crimes. Harassing, stalking and threatening behaviors are not appropriate.

There are those in Hawaii who publicly and privately emulate the in-your-face style of Petrelis and Paquarelli. We have been the recipient of such treatment. Law-abiding citizens and organizations reserve the right to seek solutions through the rule of law and the legal process for such coercive and undemocratic behavior.

There are many individuals who have dedicated their lives and resources to combating HIV and AIDS, both of which are increasing. The style exhibited by Petrelis and Paquarelli does not characterize the ongoing humanitarian efforts to combat and eliminate HIV and AIDS.

Hawaii's political establishment is free to choose who it wishes to solicit support from, including those who emulate Petrelis and Paquarelli. Those who believe in reason and thoughtful consideration have found a home with the Hawaii Republican Party.

Jeffrey Bingham Mead
Log Cabin Republicans of Hawaii

American diet is more deadly than terrorists

We were all greatly shocked, saddened, then angered by the loss of more than 3,000 innocent lives on Sept. 11. Our government has taken drastic steps to prevent a recurrence of such tragedy.

Then, on Dec. 13, U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher announced that a hundred times that many Americans die each year of diseases caused or aggravated by obesity, a self-inflicted, totally preventable tragedy. More than 61 percent of adults and 14 percent of children are affected. He estimated the annual cost to our nation at $117 billion.

Yet, our government is not mobilizing the National Guard at fast-food restaurants. It is not detaining hundreds of meat and dairy distributors for secret interrogation. It is not suggesting military tribunals for officials of the meat and dairy industries.

Instead, Congress votes additional subsidies for meat and dairy agribusiness. The USDA dumps meat and dairy surpluses on school children. Government medical programs treat victims of obesity at taxpayer expense, without seeking redress from the perpetrators.

As free Americans, we don't have to suffer from our government myopic perspective. At the onset of the New Year, let us resolve to replace meat, dairy and other fatty foods in our diet with wholesome grains, vegetables and fruits. Let us insist that our schools offer wholesome meals and nutrition education curricula. Let us reclaim our health and get a new lease on life.

Laurelee Blanchard

Traffic camera system presumes guilt

On the subject of photographing the license plates of cars speeding through red lights: The November issue of Smart Money magazine advises that Washington, D.C., will reap $7.5 million from this procedure this year.

In the article, House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) argues that the devices are unreliable and possibly rigged for profit.

Armey is opposed to traffic cameras because "they conflict with the right to due process. When you get a ticket from a red-light camera, there is a presumption of guilt that you were the one driving your car. If you weren't you have to go to court and prove it. Also, there is usually a revenue-sharing agreement between the municipality and the private contractor that installs the cameras. There seems to be evidence that the contractors are very selective in choosing lucrative intersections, such as downhill intersections or more importantly, of shortening the timing of the yellow light to increase revenue. The true goal is to generate big revenue."

He goes on to point out that "in some communities, upon lengthening the yellow light by one second, infractions were almost eliminated."

There definitely would be a conflict of interest if the private contractor could rig the timing of the yellow lights in order to increase revenue for their own company.

Edwin S. Uyehara

Beat traffic cameras by slowing down

If we really want to put the traffic camera company out of business, all we have to do is obey the traffic laws by not speeding and running lights.

That would show them.

L. Anderson

Letter guidelines

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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