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Smoking is everyone's 'business' decision

Economist Eric Abrams contends that "Smoking is a business decision" (Star-Bulletin, March 17). In his view, comfort, health, safety, or any other matters are not relevant to laws on smoking in restaurants.

Exempting business from such matters is inhumane and outdated. In the past, it allowed the employment of children for long hours at unsafe work for very low pay. It allowed asbestos makers to conceal their knowledge of its harmfulness for decades. It allowed Enron and Arthur Andersen to cheat their employees, customers, investors and the nation.

Abrams should note Adam Smith's wisdom: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

He should read Smith's "Theory of the Moral Sentiments," as well as learn about Friedrish List and Sir Maynard Keynes to better grasp the scope and limitations of economic theories.

Jerome G. Manis

Ed makes good case for Hawaii's interests

State Rep. Ed Case has recently challenged his Democratic colleagues on many issues -- balancing the budget, not raiding the hurricane fund, privatization, collective bargaining and health care.

Where has Ed been all these years? The most genuine thing about this man is that he votes with his own heart and the feelings of his constituents and doesn't let his party platform get in the way. When he retreated from the leadership in the House, he did so because his party failed to perform for the people of this aina. This man is the best hope for saving the Democratic Party in Hawaii.

Washington Place is calling Case. He has proved himself as a visionary and a hard worker, and he has shown the people of Hawaii that he really cares about our future.

Ed's caseload as our next governor outweighs the caseload he has in law practice. Experience matters in this gubernatorial race and Case is the most qualified, the most humble and the most caring.

This race should not be about Republicans or Democrats controlling the high office but should be based on the individual and, surely enough, it seems like Ed has made the best case.

Joao Torres


"Is that reasonable or unreasonable?"

Clyde Namuo

Office of Hawaiian Affairs administrator, revealing to legislators that 28 percent of OHA's funding goes for overhead.

"For the first time, we were able to see the jet's expanding lobe as its hypersonic bow shock wave slams directly into the underlying gas disk of the galaxy. It's like a huge wave smashing onto a galactic shoreline."

Jean-Rene Roy

Astronomer, describing images available from the Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea of a faraway black hole squirting matter into outer space.

Environmentalists are blind to human needs

Radical environmentalism is hurting America by promoting the fallacy that protecting endangered plants and animals is more important than protecting the rights of Americans to make a living. Last year, in Oregon's Klamath Basin, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service cut off irrigation water to 1,400 farmers to protect a species of fish. It didn't seem to matter that farmers would go bankrupt. Now the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service plans to designate 99,000 acres of Kauai and Niihau, and one million acres across the state of Hawaii, as "critical habitat" to protect native plants, some of which may no longer exist.

Radical environmentalism has become a religion. Its followers worship nature. To them, a tree is not a useful object or a renewable resource but a sentient being whose life is far more valuable than that of a logger, or an aborted baby, or any other type of human. A whale is a god. A rare bug, bird or fish is worth vastly more than the livelihood of a thousand farmers.

Because environmentalism has become a religion, its staunchest adherents are as self-righteous and as blind to their own limitations as any Jerry Falwell or Ayatollah Khomeini. They're on a mission from the whale god, and God help anyone who gets in their way.

Evelyn Cook
Kapaa, Hawaii

Reasons for anyone to hate CarePlus

Regarding "Lawmakers, public ought to love CarePlus," Joan P. White's commentary in Sunday's Insight section:

The Republicans should hate CarePlus because this party stands for minimum government and low taxes.

The Democrats should hate CarePlus because this party traditionally stands up for the working person and the poor.

The public should hate Careplus because it takes away their choice. Don't need long-term care coverage because you are rich enough to finance it yourself or poor enough to qualify for Medicaid? It doesn't matter, because this tax is mandatory -- whether you want it or need it, or not.

This is not a private plan. If the government decides on the amount of the tax, collects the tax, appoints the board to oversee financial stability, and sets the criteria for benefits (which it can change at any time), this is a government entitlement program. If it walks like duck ...

Laudra B. Eber
Long-Term Care Hawaii, Inc.

Ag plan threatens quality of life

Mayor Harris's proposed Let's-Save-the-Remaining-Agricultural-Lands ordinance will do nothing to sustain the quality of life for Oahu residents, contrary to the belief of Randall Fujiki, director of planning and permitting (Letters, March 17). The only thing the ordinance and the mayor's Central Oahu Sustainable Communities Plan will sustain is the interests of local developers.

The proposed ordinance would protect prime agricultural lands designated in the Central Oahu plan that is up for approval by the Council. Approval would pave the way for lining both sides of the H-2 freeway from the merger of the H-2 and H-1 to Mililani with more than 24,000 housing units, while offering no solutions to regional transportation needs.

Approval of the plan not only would make a mockery of our county General Plan -- which calls for urbanization in Ewa, not Central Oahu -- but it also would continue the downward spiral of the quality of life in Central Oahu.

If the mayor were serious about protecting prime agricultural lands, he would include the 1,200 acres of prime ag lands at Koa Ridge scheduled for urbanization in his plan and down-zone all of the prime ag lands already approved but not yet urbanized -- use it or lose it -- at Gentry Waiawa.

Doug Thomas

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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