Letters to the Editor

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Prisoners can do valuable civic work

Event though our state economy shows some strong numbers, we are reading daily that the state is having a financial crisis. We also hear of the prisons being overcrowded. What a great opportunity for our dear state Legislature to start a new program and have those inmates weed our freeways, paint over graffiti, repair chain link fences along freeways and schools, make new street signs and license plates, and clean up our beaches.

We also could have them pedal on a treadmill to activate the pumps of our $250,000 yearly expenses for the fountains in Waikiki, the system will certainly attract more tourists and certainly more state officials for an innovative solution to financial crisis.

Guy Belegaud

Not all police officers act like 'rookies'

In response to the June 11 letter regarding the conduct of Honolulu police officers, I would like to share my experience. I, too, was pulled over for a traffic violation. While this is never a pleasant situation, I was not treated in a disrespectful manner. It is certainly unfortunate that your reader did not feel as if they were treated with the "respect" and "courtesy" they deserved, but I also find it inappropriate to generalize one officer's demeanor as the demeanor of all Honolulu police officers.

The letter writer said this officer looked and acted like a "rookie." How, exactly, does she propose our officers start theirs career if they aren't rookies first? It is too bad that your reader felt picked on by Honolulu's finest. I, on the other hand, understand that I was pulled over for a violation that I am solely responsible for and don't expect police officers to candy coat the situation and act like my best friend.

Melissa Irlmeier

Rail won't help those who stay in cars

Much has been written and said, pro and con, about a light-rail system for Oahu, but one fact has been ignored by the pro-rail folks. The city and the state have already admitted that the rail system will not relieve our traffic problems on the freeways. It will only offer an alternative form of transit. With this in mind, why must we pay for a billion-dollar boondoggle that will not solve our traffic problems?

Our elected and appointed officials who drive cars and congest our roads are part of the problem and not the solution. They will only mouth a line that they think will please and pacify voters and make no real effort to find solutions.

The real solution will have to come from members of the public themselves. They will have to decide that there are too many cars on the road and stop buying and driving them. Of course, this will never happen and the problem will always be with us!

David Bohn

Leaders have courage to do the right thing

What is the difference between a leader and a politician?

» A leader is one with foresight and courage to plan, analyze and promote the building of the most efficient rail system for all the residents of Oahu.

» A politician is one who is myopic and shortsighted in thinking to say that he will not increase taxes to solve our massive congestion problem.

We all remember what happened to our sewer system when our taxes were not increased for more than 15 years by previous administrations. Please don't let history repeat itself!

Richard Mori
Pearl City

Too many sirens blaring in Honolulu

The recent letters about sirens in Honolulu struck a note with me. When I lived in Honolulu, before moving to Bangkok, I used to walk every day -- either along King and Beretania Streets or Ala Moana Boulevard -- for a couple of miles from downtown. I don't think there was a day that an ambulance or police car, with siren blaring, didn't pass me along the route somewhere.

Whenever I heard a siren approaching, I had to seek shelter. Those sirens were pitched in a way that, at the volume used, was physically painful.

Since living in Bangkok for the last 4 1/2 years, I think I have heard fewer sirens than in any month in Honolulu. Even when an ambulance with its siren on passes by, it is neither too loud nor pitched to a painful level.

That's just one of the blessings I find from living here.

Lanny Williams
Bangkok, Thailand

Bees in trees should do as they please

I am disappointed at recent actions taken, presumably by the city of Honolulu, to "protect" its citizens against a relatively harmless hive of honeybees in a street tree near my residence. I live on a busy street with numerous exposed telephone, cable and electrical lines draped almost at eye level running up and down the sidewalk. The street trees were poorly chosen and poorly pruned, but I guess they can't be blamed for having been planted directly underneath the utility lines. One of these trees developed a narrow crack and a hollow that provided a perfect home for a hive of honeybees. I rode my bike and walked past these busy bees several times a day every day, admiring the touch of untamed nature in an urban center.

The city decided either on its own or via a complaint from some concerned citizen that the bees posed an unacceptable public health risk. It sealed up the hollow with cement, trapping the unsuspecting bees inside.

It pains me to reflect on the uncaring attitude of the city toward a social insect that has been so beneficial and important for human agriculture and society for millennia. We should make a place for wildness in our cities and encourage respect, not fear and denigration. Besides, I was hoping eventually to get a taste of the wild, urban honey those bees were making. Now all I have to look at as I ride by in the morning is an ugly tree with a cement scar on its trunk. Aloha, indeed.

Travis Idol

We have too much mercury in our fish

I am very concerned about mercury levels in our fish. The state Department of Health has warned people not to eat swordfish, marlin and shark, and to limit quantities of tuna and other fish, due to high mercury levels.

Yet despite these serious public health threats, the Bush administration is pushing a bill that would allow power plants to emit seven times more mercury than our Clean Air Act allows. I urge Sens. Inouye and Akaka to stand up for strong enforcement of our Clean Air Act and to stop the Bush administration's so-called "Clear Skies" initiative. No more mercury in my fish.

Moira Chapin

Law and order should not be 'reasonable'

Your "Law and order in parks should be reasonable" editorial (June 17) is absolutely ridiculous. Laws are simply treaties whereby one group of people agree they can best live together in peace.

The oath and duty of all law enforcement officers is to enforce those laws without "discretion"; our judicial system determines mitigating circumstances.

As you should have learned in social studies, when any law is not enforced, it immediately pits one segment of society against another, causing conflict -- as you should be well aware after reporting jail sentences for so many of our legislators, Council members and trustees.

Your claim that law enforcement officers should use "discretion" because some people would rather gamble than gambol in our parks, or that some families prefer beer to water, has as much validity as the excuse of a litterer who could not be bothered to use a trash can.

An editorial should be a reasoned discourse, not an irresponsible attitude published without care of consequences.

If you think people should be able to gamble and drink beer in parks, publish a reasoned discourse that persuades people to change the law. Encouraging people to break the law, as well as encouraging law enforcement officers not to enforce the law, is a criminal action.

Rico Leffanta

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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E-mail: letters@starbulletin.com
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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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