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First it was 'slow down,' now it is 'speed up'

It's too early in the morning to figure this out, so someone please help me.

The state Department of Transportation starts the traffic-camera program as a way to reduce speeding and thereby reduce accidents. The van cams are placed on freeways because, we are told, that is where the problem lies.

During the controversy, DOT talking heads tell us the program is working; speeding has diminished and there are fewer accidents on the freeways.

After the traffic-cam program is trashed, the DOT announces its plan to increase the speed limit on the very same freeways the van cams were located to reduce speeds.

How you figgah?

William C. McCorriston

Higher speeds will mean more hazards

With the demise of the traffic-camera system and Governor Cayetano's proposal to increase the speed limit to 65 mph, there will be more auto accidents. With a 65 mph limit, drivers will be going 70 mph. The increase in auto insurance rates just announced by one company will be further increased in the future.

How Tim Chang

Politicians' twisted logic is baffling

I wonder if anyone else has seen the disconnect here. On one hand, we have state legislators thinking of regulating the price of gasoline because they think we pay too much for the stuff.

On the other hand, we have the U.S. Senate pushing an idea to require the use of ethanol in fuel, which of course increases the cost of gasoline.

Now we have Governor Cayetano increasing the speed limit in some areas.

Translation: Fewer miles per gallon equals more gasoline bought.

Jerry Okamura

Gas cap is going nowhere this session

I think we all know Hawaii voters are spinning their wheels trying to get the Senate to cap gasoline prices in Hawaii. All you need do is to look at the Senate committee assignments for bills that would cap gas prices to see that the Senate has no intention of working for the people of Hawaii, but rather their Big Oil benefactors.

All we can do is start working to rid ourselves of the Big Oil lackies. Let's get on with it.

Robert G. Devine
Ocean View, Hawaii

Clergy should remain exempt from juries

According to the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 612-6, relating to jury service occupation-based exemptions: "A person may claim exemption from service as a juror if the person is: A minister or priest following the minister's or priest's profession."

House Bill 828 would repeal this exemption for the clergy. I believe this could put members of the clergy in harm's way. Many of our duties in the clergy pertain to the rehabilitation of those who are incarcerated and released from correctional facilities.

Being present at trials could put someone at risk of a loved one who may be on trial who does not know the defendant's family member or relative is being counseled through their ministerial duties. Undue risks and legal challenges could come from a clergy's compromising position in hearing such cases that might jeopardize the confidence warranted the expected conversation with those seeking repentance or absolution from a crime or sin.

At the very least, it would detour the clergy from accomplishing what many believe is a divine calling in shepherding those looking for healing, not necessarily through the states court system.

I hope lawmakers will not strike this exemption for the ministry.

Seaward B. Grant
Spiritual healer

Harris's warning lacks pertinent information

I don't know if it's just me or the political climate, but I find Mayor Jeremy Harris's prediction of possible layoffs and jeopardized public safety to be unreliable and based on what I perceive to be hidden motives ("Harris predicts possible layoffs," Star-Bulletin, April 18).

Perhaps, it's a bit unnecessary to use the words "hidden," "motives" and "Harris" in the same sentence, as they usually imply to me the same thing, but I must raise doubt over the mayor's claim that a 5 percent cut in the city's operating budget of $1.2 billion will bring devastation to the city. I think we need to see some real numbers regarding just how many vacant and funded positions actually exist. Why the big secret? Even City Council Budget Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi seems to be scratching her head about the secrecy.

Whether the 5 percent cut is passed or not, it's hard to ignore Harris's prediction or accept it as even remotely valid. I think the mayor is simply trying to start Halloween a little early by frightening everyone. And people want this guy to be our next governor? Yikes! I'm scared already.

Chas LeRoy

Vendetta is behind Harris allegations

I find it ridiculous how Bob Watada of the Campaign Spending Commission has done everything in his power to smear the reputation of Mayor Jeremy Harris. I feel that Harris has done a lot for our city and am confident that he would do the same as governor. He is honest, hard working and has many good ideas.

It is time that we put a stop to this abuse of power. Watada has made allegation after allegation against Harris and seems to have no facts to prove them. He has some sort of personal vendetta and will do whatever he can to try to ruin Harris's campaign for governor. Let's just hope that the public sees through the smokescreen and starts ignoring Watada's bluffs.

Rich Logan

Bush should ask for Clinton's expertise

Considering the seriousness and apparent hopelessness of the situation in the Middle East, with government-sanctioned terrorism killing innocent civilians on both sides, perhaps President Bush should call on former President Bill Clinton to bring the two sides together. He's the only one who has done it before. Maybe he could do it again.

Keith Haugen

Matsuura ignores democratic principles

At his faux hearing on the death-with-dignity bill, Sen. Matsuura held up a fax he claimed to have received from Attorney General John Ashcroft cautioning that Oregon's assisted-death law would be overruled on the grounds that prescribing a lethal dose of medication, even though legal under Oregon law, was a violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act.

Matsuura tried to imply that any hearing on Hawaii's bill was irrelevant because, being modeled after the Oregon law, even if it were to pass it would become mired in a legal battle with the federal government.

On Monday, federal Judge Robert E. Jones issued an opinion rejecting Ashcroft's ruling. The judge indicated that in a pluralistic society we must respect the will of the majority and should respect the democratic and legal process.

The Jones opinion affirms that individual states have a right to make their own laws without fear that the federal government will take away that right. It also shows that the personal beliefs of one man must not dictate policy that goes against the will of the majority.

Unfortunately, despite support from 72 percent of polled voters, passage in the House by a 30-20 margin, and the governor stating he is ready to sign, the fate of the Hawaii death-with-dignity bill remains uncertain, suppressed by another man who has placed his personal agenda before the wishes of the majority. I encourage Matsuura to read Jones' opinion and act in accordance with the oath of office he took.

Roland L. Halpern
Social Justice Council
First Unitarian Church of Honolulu

School used threats to put child on Ritalin

I am the parent of a special-needs child and I, too, was told that if I did not put my child on Ritalin, the school would need to inform Child Protective Services due to "child neglect" ("Special-ed parents perceive threats," Star-Bulletin, April 15). My child currently is taking the medication so he can stay in school. I wonder how many other parents have experienced this.

Beverly Kaeo

Cost won't keep teens from smoking

I am writing in regard to the letter about raising the tax on a pack of cigarettes ("$2 tax on smokes would save teenagers," Star-Bulletin, April 16).

Whoever said that increasing the price of cigarettes will decrease the number of teen smokers does NOT know what they are talking about. I started smoking at 14, and I will tell you that we didn't care how much cigarettes cost. We still smoked. Just as with drugs, no matter what the price, people will pay it.

Amelia Woods

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The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). 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 and include a daytime telephone number.

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