Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Wednesday, March 10, 2010

AIA downplays rail safety issue

In recent forums and media interviews, the American Institute of Architects has not provide all the facts when discussing safety of a light rail system that operates on ground level.

A reason the city selected an elevated system is to avoid possible collisions with other vehicles.

The Phoenix light rail system that opened last year and runs on the ground, faces this problem. There have already been 52 documented collisions between trains and cars, according to the Arizona Republic. In addition, half of the Phoenix collisions occurred along a 1 1/4 -mile stretch running through downtown Phoenix. This is identical to the AIA proposal of operating at ground level through downtown Honolulu.

Train reliability is another issue. Service in Houston was halted for hours last month after a bus collided with an at-grade train.

The reality is that a street-level system will have serious safety issues to contend with.

Harvey Berliner

Honolulu Rail Transit Project, deputy project officer for design and construction






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Shark fin soup decimates sharks

I commend state Sen. Clayton Hee for trying to pass a long overdue ban on shark fin soup.

Up to 40 million sharks a year are being brutally killed simply for the prestige in Chinese culture of eating this soup. It is taking a tremendous toll on shark populations. Any tradition that decimates an entire species should be stopped; besides, when living in Hawaii, shouldn't we be sensitive to the traditions of the Hawaiians who see sharks as their aumakua?

Ellen Kemp



Shark fin ban wrong, illogical

I oppose Senate Bill 2169, which bans possession of shark fins. To put it as politely as I can, this bill is paternalistic nanny-state BS, and is equivalent to the foie gras ban bill that was killed in the Senate.

The reasons advanced for this bill by the proponents, and my rebuttal to those arguments:

» “;Sharks are a Hawaiian deity, and must be protected.”;

Advancing the bill for this reason would violate the First Amendment provision saying government “;shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”;

» “;Sharks have a high mercury content and should not be eaten by pregnant women or young children.”;

By this logic, we should ban any food that could harm any subsection of the population.

» “;Finning sharks is inhumane.”;

Killing any animal for food is inhumane, from the perspective of the animal. Are you willing to carry this reasoning to its logical conclusion, and ban all consumption of animal flesh?

» “;Sharks are endangered.”;

No, they are not. The most common shark used in shark fin soup is the blue fin shark, which has a healthy population.

The foie gras ban bill was killed because the people affected by it spoke up. This bill, which would do something similar, only advanced because the people most affected by it tend to be more culturally reluctant to speak up when confronted by injustice. Their silence, however, does not mean they consent, or feel it is right. Humility and a quiet reluctance to confront authority can be a virtue and should not be taken advantage of or punished by such punitive legislation.

Jim Henshaw



Newspapers aid public discourse

I am sure that many others like me believe that reading the newspaper is vital and essential to keeping up with the daily social, economic and sports events. Reading is synonymous with education. Keep publishing the news.

Toshio Chinen

Pearl City


'Star Advertiser' should be centrist

The consolidation of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser (I subscribe to both) can be successful if it has reasonable editorial voices that make smart choices of local, mainland and international news. There are dangers when people get their news from only one source, especially with too much ideology. The loyal viewers of “;fair and balanced”; Fox News believe that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and a recent poll still has them trusting Fox over other news sources.

Publishing an ultra left-wing columnist next to an ultra right-wing columnist only inflames the discourse. Everyone needs a voice, and there should be a place for the disturbed letter writer and the megalomania columnist. However, print media should focus on the center to get the largest readership and survive.

Most important, we need quality reporting of our most newsworthy topics: business, culture and entertainment, education, environment, government and sports. We will still need the pork-gathering politicians and the local corruption stories just to help pay the bills and keep us amused. At the other end, we have our mainland transplants who love our weather but hate taxes and government.

The new Honolulu Star Advertiser must combine the best of both papers. I hope the employees don't have to sell their souls to make the bottom line.

Jim Wolfe



Tam can blame public education

There is no question that Rod Tam is innocent. He's a product of the Honolulu school system—does one expect him to be able to add and read?

Duke Matzen