Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Sunday, November 23, 2008

Disabilities needn't limit lives

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it was inspiring to read Features Editor Betty Shimabukuro and Jolene Oshiro's article about artist Peggy Chun's adventurous and inspiring life despite her ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease (Star-Bulletin, Nov. 20). It was amazing how much she was able to accomplish in art, such as learning to hold the brush in her teeth to paint!

This article also struck home as my late wife, Mary Baum Kam of Elizabeth City, N.C., was handicapped because of scoliosis but was very creative in crafts, from ceramics and crocheting to making jewelry and Christmas ornaments - plus time for bowling!

I do miss Mary, and Chun will surely be missed here in Hawaii.

Frankie Kam

Cheaper mag-lev could extend to UH

Many writers on the transit project, here and online, have expressed concern about the current plan - and budget - not including the University of Hawaii Manoa campus. Those of us who favor the HSST (high speed surface transportation) urban magnetic levitation system know that UH-Manoa can be included within the plan and budget for the initial 20-mile minimum operable segment. The lower construction costs of the narrower (and less obtrusive) guideway for the mag-lev will accommodate four or five miles of added length in the MOS budget, enabling not only the university extension but also the airport routing.

Compared to conventional steel wheel systems, the HSST is faster, much quieter and capable of saving $15 million to $20 million per year in operations and maintenance costs because of its virtually frictionless running. It also is safer because of its wrap-around-the-beam train car configuration.

The HSST is a proven technology that has been in extremely high reliability revenue service in Nagoya, Japan, since early 2005. The administration and City Council must allow the HSST to compete if this city's taxpayers and commuters are to receive the best transit system at the best price.

Frank Genadio

Rail, other projects will boost economy

I applaud the state's efforts to boost the economy by planning new projects for our airports and harbors, and repairing public schools as a way to keep workers employed and inject money into our local economy. This would be financed through state bonds, which must be repaid by local taxpayers. This economic stimulus is needed, but pales in comparison to the economic impact of building a rail transit system.

The biggest shot in the arm for our economy by far is the city's rail project. Rail will create more than 11,000 new jobs for the next 10 years. Honolulu stands to gain from more than a billion dollars in federal funding, which is money local taxpayers won't have to repay.

The public made the right decision by approving rail for our future quality of life and for our economy.

Joe Lee
Hawaii Kai

Higher rates in savings, interest might help

I was listening to CNN and to the various “;experts”; on economics.

I am not an economist, that's for sure. As a matter of fact, I am pretty ignorant on the subject. However, in listening to all the television pundits, they all invoke “;interest rate cuts”; to stimulate the economy.

They also say that governments should keep injecting money into banks so they in turn become liquid and keep lending it to borrowers. But wasn't this the problem in the first place? Low-interest rates, borrowers with no qualifications to repay the money back, merry-go-round in consumer spending for needless things and housing developments galore.

All that said, the question might be: Why do banks have no liquidity? Because people don't put savings in banks anymore. Why? Because low interest rates give little or no return for their savings.

So we create this false economy. Everyone is encouraged to spend, spend, spend. Buy what you don't need or can't afford. With this type of strategy, temporary jobs are created, few people become billionaires, the economy gives the illusion of moving and then bang! The bubble bursts.

Should we not go back to the basics and encourage people to save by giving them decent interest for their money? Higher interest rates would be a natural filter and would separate qualified from unqualified borrowers; banks would have liquidity; and government wouldn't have to continuously print what could soon become worthless money.

Have I got it all wrong?

Franco Mancassola
Hawaii Kai

Rights of disabled should be protected

The state's decision to suspend its audit of the Hawaii Disability Rights Center not only convolutes HDRC's role as a regulatory agency, but essentially grants unrestrained powers to an organization that is now allowed to operate as it chooses.

This decision implies that individuals with developmental disabilities are denied basic rights, which every American should be able to exercise freely. I do not find this acceptable.

Amy M. Sakihama

A view through the eyes of a shark

This is what the sharks say: Yesterday we spotted humans swimming in our hale. We hope they understand that the ocean is where we live 24 hours a day.

Humans have killed thousands of our species yearly. They cut our fins to sell, and then throw us back into the ocean to drown. Humans falsely feed us food (chum) to draw us close to a boat so that they can have tourists pay money to view us feeding. For excitement, they try to get as close to us as possible by swimming in metal cages to view our activities.

Humans must understand that on occasion they will see us, at times close to shore, looking for food, especially at sunrise and sunset. We have a good memory and go back to the same areas where we were fed. We're attracted to smells, especially the blood of animals and humans. We're also sensitive to sound, and make a connection between the noise from a boat's motor and a food source.

When we travel in numbers, we tend to get closer to humans. When traveling alone, we tend to stay away from humans except during the hours of sunrise or sunset. We feed near shoreline waters at night and early morning unless there is an abundance of food in deeper waters.

Some of us become territorial because we are acquainted with an area known for heavy food supply. Some of us stay along the shoreline while our bigger brothers and sisters venture out into deeper water where the fish are bigger. When real hungry, our big brothers and sisters will resort to eating the smaller and weaker of our species.

When the water is dirty and wave action restricts our view due to sand turbulence, we are known to make mistakes. Sometimes we might chomp at things we mistake for food, other times we are known to bite anything when hungry.

Shark sightings have been noted in the recent months. This story is from the shark's perspective. Remember, their job is to keep their ocean home clean.

George Downing
Save our Surf

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