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Speeding must be taken more seriously

We live with these warnings: "speed kills," "cross at the crosswalks" and "look both ways before you cross the streets." Yet these warnings have not penetrated into our thinking. How many more precious lives must be lost before we begin to strictly enforce the speeding on our freeways and at pedestrian crossings. Set the positive example now before our keiki begin to follow the adults tragic footsteps.

Efrem Williams
Ewa Beach

Proposal would create flood of new felons

Everyone hurts when someone in our community is injured or killed by a reckless driver (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 14). Although stiffer penalties may be necessary to address the problem, we must proceed with caution.

The proposal by Sen. Cal Kawamoto to make driving 30 mph over the posted speed limit a Class C felony is a mistake. If enacted, anyone who has ever driven 65 mph on Likelike Highway (while not advisable) could become a convicted felon. They will have to live the rest of their life as a second-class citizen, stripped of their rights to vote, keep and bear arms and hold public office, among many other things.

Michael Hartenstein

Anti-speeding bills will run into obstacles

There are several proposals before the Legislature to deal with the speeding problem. Much of the focus of this discussion is on street racing. But it's a much broader problem than that. For example, it's not uncommon to see drivers traveling in excess of 80 mph on the freeway, and they are not racing anyone. I also see vehicles traveling in excess of 60 mph in a 25 mph residential area. They aren't racing, but they are surely endangering the public.

One senator who opposes such measures points to the burden of proof as a problem. I believe any legislation that emerges could define what the burden of proof needs to be.

I'm not sure if this needs to be a felony offense, but I do know the penalty needs to be stiff and it needs to be administered in a rapid fashion. It also should be directed at all speeders, not just street racers.

If necessary, the Legislature should appropriate funds for the enforcement of our traffic laws. After witnessing the backlash over the van cams, this is probably asking too much of our legislators, most of whom view their re-election as more important than public safety.

Bill Nelson

Governors learned little on Baghdad trip

What a joke! Another travelling circus sponsored by the Bush administration (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 11). As a result of a two-day trip to Iraq Governor Lingle seems to be an instant expert. According to a story in the Feb. 15 Star-Bulletin, she said, "that even though her tour was short and and stuck to a strict itinerary," she felt she got "a fair impression of the nation and its problems." You cannot get a "fair impression" of a situation with a strict agenda dictated by the local authority. She also forgets that Iraq is now an occupied territory and not a sovereign nation.

Anthony Locascio

Campaign finance reform is long overdue

The 2004 legislative session opened recently with the usual rhetoric in both chambers about solving Hawaii's problems, yet not a peep has been heard about the need for campaign finance reform.

Every year, millions of dollars are poured into the campaign coffers of our legislators' by corporations and well-funded political action committees, and when big money mixes with lawmaking, who can ever really be sure whether votes are cast in the public interest or as a quid pro quo? The sad truth is that all too often when big money talks, public interest walks.

The problem isn't a new one. Thomas Jefferson decried the evils of corruption, and in 1895, a newspaper article quoted a congressman as saying, "There are two things important in politics: money and ... I can't remember the other one."

But change is in the air. Six states have enacted laws for "clean money" reform and in Hawaii, the movement is alive and well. Attempts to get a bill passed in Hawaii, however, have been repeatedly bushwhacked by a few self-serving politicians. Last year, a reform bill made its way easily through the House only to be quashed in the Senate by a committee grandee. In previous sessions, party bosses have blocked reform measures even before they could be read in chamber.

Most Americans agree that a cornerstone of our greatness is our free enterprise system. But there is one thing that should not be up for sale -- our legislators' votes. Now is the time for campaign finance reform.

Bruce M. Middleton

Candidate's message resonates in Hawaii

One Democratic presidential hopeful stands taller than the rest, but he is being ignored by the media. He has said:

>> "Big business, big government and big media are all out of touch with mainstream America. They do not know how thoroughly disappointed, utterly disgusted, and fed up ordinary people are."

>> "When big business pays taxes, government is better able to collect the revenues necessary to maintain services."

>> "Privately controlled companies seek low wages, no unions and tax giveaways."

>> "We (the people) did not authorize the administration to wage war anytime, anywhere, anyhow it pleases. We did not authorize war without end. We did not authorize a permanent war economy."

Whether this man gets the party nomination is not the issue. By acquiring delegates he will be able to carry these issues to the Democratic Convention -- and they will be absorbed into the party platform. Political courage of this sort is rare. Disaffected Hawaii Democrats, go to the caucuses on Feb. 24 and support Dennis Kucinich.

Rich Zubaty




Can you design a quarter that represents Hawaii??

Some states have issued collectible quarters that commemorate their entry into the union. The front of the coin looks the same but the eagle on the back has been replaced by something that represents that state. For example, Georgia's quarter has a peach on it. If you could design Hawaii's quarter, what would it look like?

Send your ideas and solutions by Feb. 17 to:

Or mail them to:
c/o Nancy Christenson
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

c/o Nancy Christenson


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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