Letters to the Editor

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School fights get too much attention

I attended Waianae Intermediate, then Waianae High School, graduating 10 years ago. One day in intermediate school two girls who were fighting slammed open a bathroom door that I was unfortunately standing behind. The door hit me in the face hard enough to give me a bloody nose (and the rest of the day off from school). There was the occasional fight in intermediate school, and I would say about maybe a fight a month in high school, but I do not remember any of them making it into the newspaper. Why are school fights now suddenly front-page news?

Angela Rigor
North Hollywood, Calif.

President is gambling with retirement plan

I agree 100 percent with your Feb. 3 editorial on Social Security. Diverting a percentage of payroll taxes from a proven insurance program into personal retirement accounts would indeed turn a relatively small problem into a real crisis over the next 50 years, by changing an insurance program into a wild gamble.

Helping workers strengthen their portfolios is a noble goal, but an IRA, 401(k) or any mutual fund/stock market investment is not insurance, since there is no distribution of risk on them. The Social Security Trust Fund, backed by U.S. bonds, is in fact secure and not at risk.

Any adjustment to strengthen Social Security shouldn't be worse than the problem. Private accounts that drain money out of Social Security will cut its guaranteed benefits, increase the debt and pass interest payments on to future generations. I support AARP in working to strengthen Social Security, not dismantle it.

Patrick Stanley
AARP Advocacy Hui member

Smoking ban would irk foreign tourists

I was reading in the Feb. 6 paper that state Rep. Kirk Caldwell wants to ban smoking on the beach because of the butts that people leave in the sand; and because of the smoke that would get in your eyes from the next blanket.

Would Caldwell have McDonald's and Burger King refrain from selling their food because people leave some of their garbage on the sand instead of putting it in the containers?

As far as second-hand smoke goes, I don't think it's a big deal outdoors. My father died of a heat stroke one week before his 88th birthday. He smoked from age 12 until the day he died. My mother also died of a stroke, just before her 88th birthday. So I think this second-hand smoke being bad is a lot of hooey.

I see a lot of young Japanese girls smoking when I go to the mall. Banning smoking on the beach might induce them to forgo Hawaii for more smoker-friendly places like Guam, Taiwan or Thailand for their vacations.

Fred Cavaiuolo

Drivers on cell phones are more dangerous

Before the state Legislature considers new laws regarding the driving abilities of our elderly, they should take a look at cell-phone usage first.

According to a new study from the University of Utah, when young motorists talk on cell phones, they drive like elderly people -- moving and reacting more slowly and increasing the risk of accidents. It doesn't matter whether the phone is hand-held or hands free. Any activity requiring a driver to "actively be part of a conversation" likely will impair driving abilities.

I have experienced bad driving behavior first hand of people talking on cell phones. Only by my own defensiveness did I avoid a collision. I urge the state to look at banning the use of cell phones while driving. Additionally, too many lives are being lost on our roads because of young peoples' excessive speeding and reckless driving, not due to elderly drivers.

James Roller

Realistic speed limits better than cameras

This is why speed cams will fail again ("Bills to reintroduce traffic cameras advance," Star-Bulletin, Feb. 8): During the van cam debacle, lawmakers decided that by allowing for a certain threshold over the posted speed limit, they were encouraging disrespect for the law. So tickets were issued for very small infractions, resulting in public outcry.

This narrow-minded view requires that speed limits be set realistically. California law recognizes the existence of a "prima facie" speed limit -- namely, the speed at which 80 percent of the drivers on a given roadway will travel, under normal conditions. If a comprehensive speed survey were done, without officers manning radar guns at the monitoring points, our new posted limits would be respected by the majority of drivers, and speed cams would be more tolerated.

Michael Hartenstein




Seeking state symbols

Hawaii has a state bird, a state fish and a state flower. What other symbols should the Aloha State have? For example, should we have a state insect? If so, what should it be? Or how about a state bento? Come up with your own categories and share them with Star-Bulletin readers.

E-mail your ideas and solutions -- please include your name and address -- by Wednesday, Feb. 16 to: brainstorm@starbulletin.com

Or fax to:
c/o Nancy Christenson

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

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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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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