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Drunken driving is top Hawaii traffic problem

The recent vehicle accidents by drunken drivers are tragic reminders that they are Hawaii's No. 1 problem on the roadways. It troubles me to think that some of the carnage might have been prevented if Hawaii lawmakers were truly more interested in safety than in money-making camera schemes.

Impaired and reckless drivers cannot be controlled by tickets arriving in the mail weeks later. The only way deadly drivers can be removed from the roads before an accident happens is by having more police officers on the roads. Apparently there is not sufficient motivation for them to budget the money to do so. How many more needless deaths will it take?

Ed Aber-Song

British accustomed to speed-limit cameras

The United Kingdom has strict speeding laws, enforced not only by radar guns but by speed cameras. The cameras are permanent fixtures along many of the roads and highways. Sometimes they are loaded with film; other times they just flash, with no film, but they certainly keep motorists aware of the speed limits.

In the case of speed cameras, you do not know whether you have been caught until a fine is posted to you, at which point you have to pay it or appeal. The speed you were doing determines the fine, plus how many points are put on your driving license. The points are cumulative and can reach a level resulting in your being banned from driving.

Oahu motorists get off lightly in comparison to the UK system. While I believe the speed limits here are on the low side and should be reviewed, we must have a system that makes people think about the possible dangers of speeding.

Nicki Whitehead


"I have done my job as a congressman. I have conducted myself as a gentleman and dignified. The only thing different is the intrigue of what's happened over the last summer and the fact that you're all here."

Rep. Gary Condit

Speaking to reporters after losing to Dennis Cardoza in his bid for re-election Tuesday in the primary. Condit has acknowledged having an affair with Chandra Levy, who has been missing since last April. Police say he is not a suspect in her disappearance.


"We counseled the pilot to drop cremated remains over the ocean instead of over land."

Tweet Coleman

Pacific representative for the Federal Aviation Administration, on identifying the pilot who dropped cremated remains over homes in Papakolea. She said the remains were those of a hiker who wished to have his ashes spread over the valley. Police were not aware of any laws prohibiting the scattering of cremated human remains in neighborhoods.

Anti-gas-guzzling bill merits Senate support

America's energy use is an integral part of our national security. As a country we use a quarter of the world's oil, but we possess only 3 percent of the oil reserves. Yet, while we rely heavily on other countries for our oil needs, we are wasteful with our oil consumption. The American fleet of cars and light trucks goes no further on a gallon of gas today than it did in 1980. We can do better. The technology exists to make cars much more fuel efficient.

We need Senators Inouye and Akaka to support legislation sponsored by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., that will make cars go farther on a gallon of gas. By raising the average fuel economy of American cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2013, we can decrease our dependence on oil, protect our precious public lands, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and save American families millions of dollars at the gas pump. The Senate must take a stand on this issue, for the good of the economy and the country.

Brodie Lockard

Global warming bill a step forward

Jeff Mikulina's commentary ("Governor's global warming bill would encourage clean energy use," Star-Bulletin, Feb. 27) provided welcome exposure of the issues. The bill provides for a fee of 25 cents per ton of carbon dioxide emitted by a power plant. Mikulina's piece details the atmospheric and long-term economic costs of fossil-fuel electricity generation. There is another vital issue at stake -- the fragility of our oil supply.

One third of all the foreign crude oil that comes to Hawaii is from China, as of year 2000 figures. The next-largest foreign source is Indonesia with 25 percent. Any disruption in supply from these unstable countries would result in an economic catastrophe in Hawaii, with electric bills doubling or tripling and possible power rationing.

It is important to take whatever measures we can to wean Hawaii from dependence on fossil fuel. We have been hearing this refrain for 30 years, and, in fact, it is in our state Constitution, yet there is no progress.

Hawaiian Electric is a successful company, well managed, with an enviable stock price and dividend. There is no incentive for HECO to stray from its successful business formula of fossil-fuel generation. To do otherwise would endanger the stock price because of shareholders' and financial analysts' aversion to perceived risk and increased costs, both associated with renewable sources of electricity.

It will take forces external of HECO to mandate a change in the dangerous addiction to oil. The state Legislature is such a force. Passage of the global warming bill will be a pioneering step and will set the tone for more efforts to reduce our real and present risk of energy supply disruption.

Jim Harwood

Ukulele adapted from Portuguese braguinha

An Associated Press article published in the Star-Bulletin on Feb. 19 told about the display of the ukulele in the Stamford Museum. The article stated, "The ukulele, which resembles a small guitar, originated in Portugal. It became a sensation in Hawaii when Portuguese immigrants arrived to work in the sugar cane fields."

The ukulele is a Hawaiian instrument created in Hawaii, through adaptation of the Portuguese braguinha. Portugal recognizes it as a true Hawaiian instrument.

The Portuguese braguinha is the instrument that the Portuguese immigrants brought to the Hawaiian Islands.

Jerald M. S. Pang

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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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

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