Letters to the Editor

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Neglectful land owners should be liable for fires

If you had a pit bulldog on your property and it got loose and caused injury to anyone on nearby property you would be liable for those injuries.

The same should be true for landowners with dried shrub and brush on their property. They should be responsible and liable for any fire that travels along their brush to adjacent properties and damages homes and improvements on those lots. If landowners with dried brush are unable to keep the vegetation cut down or low to retard fires, then the City and County should do it for them (using prisoner trustees) and the landowner should be billed.

This concept can save lives and cut down on injuries to homeowners and firemen. It also would reduce the money needed to rebuild damaged property. So the only time you should see smoke is from me or when your government brings it out with some mirrors and a song and dance about increasing taxes.

Smoky Guerrero

Proposed algae 'farms' ought to be enclosed

The dangers inherent in the Mera Pharmaceutical test and production of biopharmaceutical, genetically engineered algae in Kona were accurately summarized in the Star-Bulletin's editorial ("Environmental analysis needed for algae venture," Aug. 4).

Although the company hopes to someday create drugs to fight various diseases, a long road is ahead. To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved a single pharmaceutical that has been genetically engineered into a plant.

The genetically engineered human monoclonal antibodies, hormones and interleukins that have been engineered into these seven strains of algae are "synthetic approximations" of the human proteins. Therefore, it will be many years before the company will know if this test and production will indeed yield what it hopes.

In the meantime, the algal foundations of life in our waters, soils and air could become altered forever. Since this test can be done anywhere, an enclosed biosafe lab would be a wise choice.

Nancy Redfeather
Kealakekua, Hawaii

Hawaiians will repel attack on our future

Regarding the court ruling against Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiians-only admission policy: The enemy continues its centuries-old attack on Hawaiians. The first attack tried to destroy our ties to our past. We didn't let it succeed and have reclaimed our heritage and lineages as both Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Now the enemy has put our future and our hope -- the education of our children -- under siege. We will defeat this attack, too.

Kenneth W. Ordenstein

Non-Hawaiian student not denied education

Regarding federal court decision on Kamehameha Schools, this is not a case where a minority child is trying to go to public school as in the rural South decades ago. The civil liberties of the non-Hawaiian child applying to Kamehameha are not in jeopardy for this child is not being denied a public education.

The Kamehameha Schools was established by Princess Pauahi Bishop before Hawaii became a part of the United States, and the admission policy provides preference for the indigenous people of Hawaii. The school does not receive federal funds, so why should a federal court strike down its policy?

Most Hawaiians today are descended from thousands of orphans who survived after their parents and kupuna had succumbed to terrible diseases brought by Westerners. The trust sought to rectify in part that loss of heritage by creating a school for Hawaiian children.

Once this goal is met, and the kanaka maoli are again the majority in this land, then the mission of the trust's founders will be met. Until then, allow Kamehameha Schools to retain its admission policy.

Carol Bain
Lihue, Kauai

Library staff victim of its own success

Here is more detail about Liliha Library, dubbed as "bunkerlike" in your "X Marks the Spot" feature (Star-Bulletin, July 10).

Writer Burl Burlingame was right when he said the library is one of Hawaii's busiest. In June, only the library in Hilo had higher circulation. The original plans called for a 25,000-item collection. We now have more than three times that amount. The materials that have the most use are those for children, teenagers and our Chinese-speaking customers.

The building opened with a staff of seven. An extra librarian position for young adult services was added in the 1990s. A new workload and time-consuming preparation method of new materials for circulation were also added when the statewide processing center was closed. Computers have helped to streamline some tasks but also increased time demands. It is so easy to reserve books from home that we now spend extra hours filling orders.

We desperately need an additional position to manage the Chinese collection. Our staff of eight is a victim of its own success. The more items circulated, the greater the budget allocation, the more items purchased, the heavier the processing workload, the slower we are with our services to you.

I'm sure your favorite library faces similar problems. Be aware of possible staffing problems and expect some delays.

Sylvia C. Mitchell
Senior librarian and branch manager, Liliha Library

Law will save human and animal lives

Congress has a chance next month to save thousands of animals by passing the Antifreeze Bittering Act.

The sweet taste of antifreeze attracts not only animals but many children as well. By adding a bittering agent accidental ingestion will be avoided or reduced. This will also deter those who use the toxic substance as an intentional weapon against unwanted animals.

Animal welfare organizations, the American Academy of Pediatrics and even the antifreeze industry support this legislation. The Hawaii Dog Foundation urges Senator Inouye, who is a member of the Commerce Committee, to vote in favor of this act. The combination of the passage of this legislation, child-resistent caps, and careful handling of this deadly substance will save thousands of human and animal lives.

Renita Chang
Hawaii Dog Foundation

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
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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