Letters to the Editor

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Figures on time lost to traffic don't add up

The numbers from the Texas Transportation Institute don't pass the smell test and aren't realistic ("Report suggests isle traffic on easy street" Star-Bulletin, Sept. 8). There is little said of the methodology other than that the numbers are based on lane counts and traffic volume.

There are better ways to compute your own wasted hours in traffic. Start with 365 days, deduct weekends (104 days), vacation time (15 working days) and holidays (10 days), and you have 236 work days. Each person's situation varies, so work it out for yourself.

Using 236 work days, if you are delayed 15 minutes each day, that equals 59 hours for the year. Thirty minutes a day is 118 hours, 45 minutes is 177 hours and 60 minutes is 236 hours. I am sure many Hawaii drivers waste an hour or more every day in rush-hour traffic.

The Texas results seem grossly understated, even if you assume that an average includes many people who go to work at other than rush hour or live conveniently near their work. So cut my figures in half, if you wish, to allow for half of the working population to be so fortunate. Their figure for the "average" Hawaiian motorist is 18 hours per year stuck in traffic. We all wish!

James V. Pollock

Skirting rules landed Hokulia in trouble

I have read the Chicken Little sky-is-falling stories that the ramifications of the Hokulia project being stalled will hinder future projects in Hawaii ("Judge to rule on motion to reopen Hokulia case" Star-Bulletin, Sept. 9). It is much a do about nothing. If the Hokulia developers had gone through the correct process of getting the land rezoned rural or urban in the beginning, we would not be in this mess today. Instead, Hokulia tried, and partially succeeded, to Trojan-Horse an urban 730-lot subdivision under agriculture zoning.

The same thing goes for future developers if they want to develop a large urban subdivision on agriculture zoned land. They should get the correct zoning to fit the real use of the land and not skirt the rules like Hokulia did.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

March promotes racial separatism

In Waikiki on Monday, red-shirt marchers once again stomped all over our rainbow society's commitment to unity and equality ("Hawaiian march floods Waikiki" Star-Bulletin, Sept. 7). Red was chosen to symbolize the blood shared by ethnic Hawaiians exclusively. Thousands marched to protect and expand racial separatism.

Is it impolite to say we're disgusted? Well, how impolite is it for a mob to march through our streets defending racial privilege? How righteous is it to march against the courts' authority to decide what's legal?

The red-shirts defend segregation at America's most wealthy, powerful school. They defend state agencies serving only one racial group, sucking up hundreds of millions of government money and hoarding it in the stock market.

With children in tow, the marchers lull us into apathy. They smile pretty, but their causes are ugly. Thank goodness most people of Hawaiian ancestry do not support creating a racial-separatist "nation." Perhaps someday the silent majority will speak up and sponsor a real unity rally. Did anyone notice that among dozens of flags not one was American?

Ken Conklin

Lucky you live Hawaii? Not for Waikiki folks

Much to the surprise of my family and friends, I like living in Waikiki. It is convenient and close to work, shopping and many activities.

Living in Waikiki and getting about has become difficult. Many of the side street parking spaces for residents were confiscated and replaced with bulb-out planters. Then work on Kuhio Avenue began, and it continues today. Last but not least, there is Ala Wai Boulevard, with its infamous on-street parking planters.

Doesn't the city administration know that Kuhio Avenue, Ala Wai Boulevard and many Waikiki side streets are already landscaped with trees, flowers and grass? Take a walk -- better yet, take a hike!

Adding insult to injury, the city continues to permit parades, Sunset and Brunch on the Beach during this reconstruction of Waikiki's streets.

I am outraged that Mayor Harris and his administration are cavalier about the impact of cosmetic and non-essential beautification projects. The city administration should provide for only essential services.

Joy Gold

North Shore surfers came to the rescue

I want to thank a Hawaiian surfer named Sims and three other surfers who rescued me from strong currents at the North Shore on Aug. 24.

In minutes, the current pulled me further and further from the shore. As I tired; wondering if this was my moment to meet my maker, Sims swam over and let me rest on his board. Another surfer swam over with a board for me to lay on. Sims guided and pushed me back to shore. I am deeply grateful to those surfers who saved my life. Had it not been for their compassion and kindness towards a tourist, the North Shore would have swallowed me. My heartfelt thanks to each of you who helped me. May you be abundantly blessed for your unselfish act.

Judy Joe
Los Angeles

Man's best friend deserves protection

Thank you to the Star-Bulletin for standing up strongly and speaking out clearly on the issue of selling dog meat on Oahu (Editorial, Aug. 23). Dogs are noble and trusting animals who have formed a bond with man as partners in many endeavors. They are hunters, watchdogs, guides and friends. They deserve the very best from us in return.

Thank you for speaking out for these friends of ours who "have no voice" of their own.

Jim Dorsey
Los Angeles
Former Hawaii resident

State and city governments work hard to prevent DUI deaths

In response to the Star-Bulletin's editorial ("Time to get tough on drunken driving," Aug. 30), about the rise in Hawaii's drunk-driving fatalities from 2002 to 2003, Gov. Linda Lingle, Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, the state Department of Transportation, four county police departments and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are all alarmed at this jump in alcohol-related deaths. We certainly hope the increase is not a long-term trend.

That said, I believe the editorial was unfair when it stated that government has not done enough through the media to address this critical issue. Here are a few points:

>> DOT, on its own and in cooperation with the Hawaii Association of Broadcasters, purchased nearly $400,000 worth of television and radio ads this year targeting drunk driving. These ads, paid for with federal highway safety funds, run year-round but air more frequently during the holiday season and three-day weekends.

>> Working with MADD and 30 nightclubs, bars and restaurants, DOT started a pilot program this summer in which designated drivers received complimentary, non-alcoholic drinks and other incentive discounts. Called "D2" for short, this program focused on reducing alcohol consumption and speeding among younger drivers. We hope to have even more businesses involved in next summer's campaign.

>> DOT is also participating in the "52-12" concept, which spreads out police sobriety checkpoints to a more year-round schedule, rather than just concentrating on the summer and Christmas seasons. This concept produced a drop in alcohol-related deaths on the mainland and we hope it will do the same here.

It's important to realize that Hawaii had nine horrible DUI crashes involving multiple fatalities last year, resulting in a total of 24 deaths. When passengers choose to ride with a drunk driver, they put their lives in someone else's hands. If you know someone has had too much to drink, please take away the keys and have a sober individual drive. If that doesn't work, get out of the vehicle and find another way home.

While DOT, county police departments and MADD are doing all they can to prevent alcohol-related tragedies, it still comes down to an individual choice about whether to drive -- or not drive -- if you've been drinking. If we all do our part, we can stem this tide of needless death and injuries.

Rodney Haraga
Director, State Department of Transportation



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