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Money and fame don't preclude bad behavior

I always enjoy columns by "Honolulu Lite" columnist Charles Memminger. However, he was way off base in his July 31 column trying to compare Kobe Bryant's case with that of the case in the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird." To suggest that Bryant cannot be guilty of sexual assault because he is rich and famous and, as Memminger implied, he can have any woman he wants is ludicrous. To suggest that the alleged victim made up this case to get some attention is irresponsible.

I am sure that Memminger will be happy to see how much the woman in this case enjoys the attention she gets. After all, she and the prosecutor have only had one death threat each that we know of. Perhaps the victims in the O.J. Simpson case were just faking it to draw attention, too. But I am sure that O.J. rested easy, because Memminger probably was backing him up from the beginning, and after all, why would a rich, famous athlete who has been pampered since high school ever need to commit a crime?

Let justice run its course, Mr. Memminger -- you do not need to rush to judgment.

Rich Stacey

Water shortage needs immediate action

The water problem is serious and has been a source of worry at state water board meetings as well as the Board of Water Supply ("Board warns public on high water usage," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 3). There have been meetings on sustainability, but the key parameter -- water -- was not well addressed. Over the years, average daily water usage has only gone up, not only because of high summer temperatures, but also because of more people, who need more infrastructure. We also are being warned of salt-water intrusion into the aquifer; what many people don't realize is that once this happens, it never recovers. The world's oceans are dotted with islands that have permanently ruined their freshwater lens.

So one question should be: How much water can be pumped daily from the ground safely, or how many millions gallons per day (MGD) can the aquifer support? Another question: Is conservation the final answer? If not, what are the alternatives?

The Board of Water Supply has been working on a reverse-osmosis filtration plant in Kapolei, but clearly more is needed. We need to set a goal of 50 to 80 MGD from alternative sources within five years, with ongoing development of further resources. We have assets and personnel in the state to solve this problem. Failure to address it with urgency now will result in the eventual contamination of the aquifer with catastrophic consequences.

Nick Dizon

Curbing development would replenish water

Finally, our wells are beginning to show signs of overuse. It's no wonder, since we love to build new subdivisions and golf courses. It's not just the lack of rain, but the paving over of Oahu that is the cause. Pavement and concrete do not absorb water; they cause water to run into the storm drains, which drain straight into the ocean. Thus the water is not absorbed by the soil, which filters it as it makes its way down toward bedrock where it pools, replenishing our aquifers.

The cure:

>> No new subdivisions or paving over of existing green space.

>> Transform empty gulches into reservoirs to be filled by storm-drain runoff instead of going to the ocean.

>> Increase water bills to reflect how precious water actually is and to help limit its waste. People by their very nature are wasteful, but when the cost is high they tend to conserve more than they would otherwise.

Christopher Murphy

Abercrombie was right to call for Iraq query

Our Iraq policy looks like a disaster. Opponents of the war implored the Bush administration to give the U.N. inspectors just a few more months, or even weeks, to determine if Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. They also predicted that war would make us less secure, and could be a quagmire hard to get out of.

If the president exaggerated the danger Saddam posed to the United States to persuade us to support an unnecessary and unprecedented pre-emptive war, we certainly should know about it. An investigation, as called for by Rep. Neil Abercrombie, is urgently needed. I salute our representative for his courage. Your July 27 editorial, "U.S.-Iraq policy demonized by House members," was off the mark.

Norrie Thompson

Adding a sales tax would be overdoing it

Regarding the story "Honolulu, neighbor isles differ over sales tax bill" (Star-Bulletin, July 29): Let me get this straight, we the consumers might be hit with both the excise tax and a sales tax? Whose brilliant idea was this? As if we aren't taxed enough already. All a sales tax would do is drive people to use things like barter to avoid it, just like they do in other places.

Clifford Ishii
Waimea, Kauai

Let's help isle students become great surfers

Much has been said against having surfing as a sport in our public schools. A July 26 letter to the editor compared it to sun-bathing! Obviously many people see no benefit in this ancient Hawaiian tradition, and think it is necessary to keep children in the classrooms.

Why subject them any further to our dismal education system? Why not let them become the best surfers in the world with our support? It is better than them having to steal to pay for contests, or ditch school to go surfing. Hawaii has the best surfing in the world. Why not train our keiki to become fantastic surfers, while sending the message that surfing is a mentally and physically healthy sport that is very difficult to master, much more so than getting a tan? As far as the insurance issue goes, all intramural sports should be stopped if people are worried someone is going to get hurt, and don't let the kids out of the house.

Benjamin Vine




"What can be done with utility poles and lines to improve the view from our highways? Is legislation necessary, or perhaps some sort of invention or new technology?"

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c/o Burl Burlingame


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