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Smoking ban works just fine in California

Congratulations to Hawaii for finally taking action to ensure that the wonderful, clean environment that many of us go to Hawaii to enjoy is maintained ("Smoking ban divides eateries," Star-Bulletin, June 24). It was always a disappointment to visit Hawaii and walk into a smoke-filled restaurant. We've had a statewide ban on smoking in all indoor areas in California for some time now, including bars, and it does work. People still go out to eat and drink.

It's just much nicer to be able to walk into an establishment without coughing and having your eyes sting from other people's smoke. I am certainly looking forward to our next trip to Hawaii.

Steven Olson
Los Angeles, Calif.

July 4 is good day to pause and reflect

How shall we observe Independence Day (July 4)? Celebrating with a picnic or fireworks is common. At the same time, what about taking a few minutes, alone or with family or friends, to jot down three brief lists?

>> Things about our country and its history for which we can be thankful. (For example: the Marshall Plan for Europe after World War II, Martin Luther King Jr.'s nonviolent movement for justice and equality.)

>> Things about our country and its history for which we are sorry. (Slavery; our treatment of Native Americans, Hawaiians and others; our excessive use of the world's limited resources).

>> What can we do to help make this a better country? (Give up our racial and other prejudices, live more simply so that other people in the world may simply live).

In the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln called for a national day of fasting and repentance. He said that more important than the question "Is God on our side?" is the question "Are we on God's side?" Perhaps July 4 would be a good time to reflect on his words.

Armin Kroehler

Coordination needed to fight drug abuse

The June 12 Star-Bulletin article on the 2001 ADAM (Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program) report on the dramatic use-levels of "ice" (crystal methamphetamine) by arrested males in Honolulu begs the question of why Hawaii has such a high rate of use and what can be done to address it. Accessibility of drugs, biological and environmental factors all contribute to a person's drug use and whether or not he/she will become addicted. What also needs to be factored in is the initial decision for the drug user to "use or not use."

The field of prevention is relatively new. Single-strategy efforts of the '80s, such as "Just Say No", have few proven results 10-15 years later. Current research shows that programs that develop a range of social and personal skills in the school, family and community are significantly lowering rates of drug use in participants. These kinds of programs need to be further tested with Hawaii's communities and local programs that incorporate cultural values and practices.

President Bush's FY2003 recommended budget calls for a drastic $45 million reduction for the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the federal government's preeminent prevention agency.

The Coalition For A Drug-Free Hawaii feels the reduction is unwarranted and will cut short its newly instituted Ho'omau (Strengthening Hawaii Families) program, which serves five elementary schools and more than 200 youths and families on Oahu. We can only hope to solve the ice problem in Hawaii with coordinated strategies that include prevention programs supported by adequate resources and given time to prove their effectiveness.

Alan Shinn
Executive director
Coalition For A Drug-Free Hawaii

Closing ticket offices weakens United

The changes United Airlines has been making these past few years concern me. The most recent one is the decision to close ticket offices ("United Airlines will close 3 sales outlets in Hawaii," Star-Bulletin, May 30).

This will greatly affect the public, which has supported the airline all these years, but it also affects the faithful, dedicated workers who have helped to make United what it is today.

The executives making these decisions should give it a little more thought before instigating such drastic changes.

Polly Seto

How to write us

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.

Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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