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It's just crazy to ask people to take the bus

This is in regard to all letters about traffic that have been written since Governor Lingle started discussing transportation programs.

We can't impound cars that don't have insurance. Police have enough to do already, and it's not fair to make someone keep insurance on a car that isn't driveable or is in need of major repair and has to remain parked.

We can't make people who've been here less than 10 years use anything but a car. That's just lunacy. We can't make college kids ride the bus. They have busy schedules and that's not practical. We can't ask people who spend ungodly amounts of money on their cars to take the bus. You can't get people out of their cars.

I for one, love my car. Expensive or not, there are no realistic, practical solutions to our traffic gridlock. Jus' deal.

Katie Bretschneider

McKinley code reflects less enlightened era

The McKinley High School student who recently settled a suit against the state about the wording on a wall plaque (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 29) missed what many might consider the most offensive word in the text -- the "R" word, referring to "all races" in Hawaii. It's a sad reminder of the times.

That plaque was hung years before University of Hawaii genetics researcher Dr. Rebecca Cann and others produced mitochondrial DNA evidence supporting the presumption that we are all, indeed, the same species -- Homo sapiens. It's our hard-fought freedom that ensures the rights of citizens of different creeds under our Constitution.

If it took taxpayer money to process this suit, then perhaps the lesson paid for affirms that in America, citizens are free to challenge wording in public places.

If taxpayer dollars were rewarded as part of the suit settlement, some might argue that a good place to donate that money would be the many nonprofit organizations that provide workshops for science teachers and award scholarships to deserving students.

The more we explore the sciences, the more we will be in awe of our diversity. The elegant irony is that the more we explore the sciences, the more we will find proof that we are more alike than we are different.

Shirley Black Gerum

HECO should try long-term planning

Regarding the story "Power safeguards sought for hospitals and military" (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 3): Is it my imagination or is HECO having more than its share of problems lately?

In the last 10 years, had Hawaiian Electric Co. been forward-thinking, it could have avoided problems such as generator shutdowns, power failures and having to compensate customers for outages. Our legislators need to re-think the monopoly on power that HECO guards so viciously. They may be expensive now, but all of the other forms of renewable energy also could have prevented these problems. Hawaii should get with the program and measure the value of an electrical system that is far more reliable than what we have today.

Carolyn Walther

We should strengthen the United Nations

We need to be clearer about strengthening the United Nations. The United Nations was built for trouble. It has often succeeded in difficult assignments. Concern for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is justified. Now is no time to abandon the United Nations or circumvent international law.

The United States has been ambivalent about the U.N. and international accords, e.g. nuclear arms control treaties.

A look at history is not reassuring. A Republican-controlled Senate prevented the United States from joining the League of Nations in 1919-20. With the election of Warren Harding in 1920, the League was dead.

The Cold War was characterized by U.S. unilateral interventionism, at times in violation of the U.N. charter. After years of discussion concerning the need for an International Criminal Court that would hold individuals liable for certain crimes under international law, the United States voted against an agreement in 1998.

The current administration apparently is prepared to discount U.N. inspections in Iraq and revert to a historically discredited path of unilateralism.

At this turning point in history, the issue of most consequence may be whether the United Nations will be strengthened by U.S. cooperation or abandonment.

Robert Bobilin
Emeritus professor
University of Hawaii-Manoa

U.S. soldiers in Iraq will be heroes, too

I would in no way detract from the tribute being paid the seven astronauts who died with the Columbia in the line of duty. But I hope that when this almost inevitable war with Iraq commences, the national media and public sentiment will bestow the same honor and thought on each soldier, sailor, airman and Marine who falls for they, too, will be fulfilling their committed service. And their children will be just as deserving of trust funds.

W.C.R. Pollitt

Instead of recycling, burn drink containers

Governor Lingle is correct in saying the bottle bill is designed to make people like the Sierra Club's Jeff Mikulina "feel good" (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 24). The side of the road is not littered with bottles, it is littered with trash that people throw out their car windows.

As a former Oregonian, I can tell you the bottle bill there created a huge problem for families. First you pay the deposit at the store, then you have to set aside space to collect the bottles, then you take them back to the store for refund. Then you stand in line, wait for the clerk to count your bottles, receive your refund slip and wait in line at the register for your refund.

In addition to a bottle bill, Oregon has a $500 littering fine that is constantly enforced and has taught Oregonians for generations that it is very expensive to throw anything out of your car.

A better solution for Hawaii would be to require all drinks -- beer, soda or Slurpees -- to be in plastic containers so they can be burned to produce electricity for our community, thereby reducing our dependence on imported oil.

Garry P. Smith
Ewa Beach

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.

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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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