Wednesday, January 3, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, January 3, 2001

Letters to the Editor

What’s the real cost of fireworks damage?

We need to consider all of the costs associated with fireworks.

What are the stats for all hospital and emergency room participation and treatment for fireworks injuries, related taxpayer costs, as well as family and HMO expenses? How many were treated?

Also, how about the Police and Fire Department costs and equipment expenses?

Think about this.

Al Streck Sr.
Foster Village

State should push aerial fireworks displays

Regarding yesterday’s article "Fires: Officials fear new law boosted sales of aerials":

We live in a condo community in Pearl City where fireworks of any kind have been banned. We had to leave the premises to set off the legal fireworks we had New Year’s Eve. Upon our return, we witnessed from our own back yards some of the most spectacular aerial shows we’ve seen in years. Beautiful displays could be seen in Aiea, Pearl City and as far away as Ewa.

What a shame that regulations for setting off fireworks in designated safe areas were not implemented. Our hearts go out to the many people who suffered injuries, and for some, the loss of their homes and loved one.

Perhaps our state government should look to Mainland metropolitan areas for advice on how to regulate firework safety. Texas would be a good place to start.

Maybe Gov. Cayetano should consider calling the business community to action to donate funds for scheduled displays and venues. This way we could enjoy the aerials we love in a safe and festive atmosphere.

L. Stalter

Huge new powerline doesn’t belong in Isles

Thank you so much for writing about the 138-kV lines on Wa'ahila Ridge. Mahalo also for the Dec. 29 editorial on fuel costs and alternative-energy development. The two issues are closely connected.

It is our responsibility to be prudent stewards of this land. If this project is permitted to go through, we will look at these steel and concrete towers for the rest of our lives and ask each other how such a monstrosity was allowed to become reality.

I listened closely as Chuck Freedman and others paid by HECO restated that this line is necessary, but they defied logic by insisting that by not spending the $30 million for this line, we will somehow force more cost on the rest of the population.

I also listen closely to people I come into contact with on the Mainland, in airports, in restaurants, all over, who, when they learn I am from Hawaii, say they look forward to going to visit ... Maui, Kauai, but certainly not Honolulu. We are perceived as being like New Jersey - ugly, overbuilt, no longer beautiful.

We should be working to restore as much as possible the incredible beauty of these Islands. To accept this project is to buy into a line of shibai and distorted reasoning that will cost us for generations.

If we are going to spend $30 million on anything, let’s spend it on renewable energy.

Laurie Baron

Letter on dog barking ignores noise reality

Peggy Wray-Nakamura’s Dec. 28 letter is ludicrous, not the city’s dog-barking law.

She either does not understand it or willfully distorts it. To claim anybody goes to jail over his barking dog is impertinent. There is no such law. She also seems to be ignorant of the fact that dogs can be easily trained to not bark all the time at everything.

To compare dog barking, which can be as loud as a jackhammer and be heard over one-quarter mile around, by hundreds of people, with children crying, which at the most can only be heard in the house next door, is ridiculous.

Then she asks "why pick on us?" I will answer that: The barking day and night is so disturbing to my peace and rest that I would pay an extra $100,000 if I could buy a house in a dog-free zone.

Unfortunately, even the new law is not working because of the inept way the Humane Society interprets and enforces it.

Volker Hildebrandt

Krishna, Jesus same Avatar, but different

Regarding the Dec. 29 letter comparing Krishna to Jesus: Of course there were differences between the two. The time and cultures were different. For example, according to the Krishna legends, some hundred adoring women (his gopis) had the simultaneous experience of making passionate love to Lord Krishna. Would such a story be told of Jesus?

And Krishna could be fierce and warlike, as contrasted to the gentle "Do unto others ... " approach of Jesus. As chronicled in the "Bhagavad Gita," Krishna drove Arjuna’s chariot in a great battle among kinsmen while exhorting Arjuna to kill his relatives - but with detachment and love, not with hatred.

According to Eastern thought, Krishna and Jesus were One in their God-consciousness. Each was the same Avatar, or God-man, who descends to Earth from time to time to give a spiritual push to the world. Other manifestations of the God-man include Zoroaster, Rama, Buddha and Mohammed.

Millions in India and elsewhere today expect a new Avatar to soon manifest on Earth and lead us all into a great era of peace, prosperity and scientific achievement that will constitute a New Humanity.

William M. Stephens

Gambling legislation would hurt Hawai

Sen. Dan Inouye has done a disservice to the State of Hawaii and to our future economy by sponsoring a bill to prohibit gambling on ships sailing out of Hawaii. He thinks this is protection for our one cruise company in Hawaii, but it will put us out of the cruise business.

Last May, I took the Regal Princess from Honolulu around the Islands and then to Vancouver. I know this ship earlier went from Honolulu to Tahiti, with another cruise from Tahiti to Honolulu. I am sure there are other cruise ships of foreign registry that do the same thing but would be forbidden to do this if this legislation goes through.

Gov. Ben Cayetano and the state are trying to build a cruise business to bolster our economy and can’t do that if they are hampered by this legislation. Florida’s cruise business would be nonexistent if it had this legislation in effect. The same goes for Los Angeles, New York, Alaska and many other areas. None of the ships have gambling while in port, but they should be able to have it when they are on the open ocean.

Virginia Waracka

HECO has locked us in to high energy bills

It should come as no surprise that Hawaii’s power bills are soaring (Advertiser, Dec. 24). Hawaiian Electric Co. has locked the state into depending on imported oil and coal for over 92 percent of its electricity.

That’s costing small business and residential consumers plenty: over 1 billion additional island dollars drained out of the state over the past year and a half to pay for increased fuel costs.

With this type of massive economic hemorrhaging, you’d think HECO would be doing everything possible to move toward indigenous, renewable energy. But it’s not. In fact, HECO staunchly opposed a bill last session that would have increased the percentage of electricity from clean, renewable sources.

Instead, more of our power in the future will be coming from coal and oil; 605 megawatts of new generating capacity is planned for Oahu in the next 16 years, with no commitments to new renewable-energy sources.

Regardless of whether the utility profits from an increase in the energy-cost-adjustment clause, it is clear that no impetus exists for HECO to move away from oil. Why should it? It’ll just send the cost on to consumers while realizing the maximum allowable profit, as Robert Clarke indicated.

If the rising cost of oil eroded HECO’s bottom line, it’d be seeking to diversify Hawaii’s energy portfolio real quick.

Hawaii’s electricity consumers deserve clean-energy choices to save both the economy and the environment. Renewable energy, especially wind and solar, is being aggressively implemented worldwide.

Hawaii will never be a player in the renewable high-tech revolution if it continues to be held hostage by an oil-dependent electric utility.

Jeff Mikulina
Sierra Club, Hawai
i Chapter

Fishery scientists lacked data, tools

Regarding Paul Achitoff’s response to my Dec. 15 Island Voices commentary: I want to work with Achitoff and other fellow environmentalists to find win/win solutions that protect the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands ecosystem and allow sustainable fishing.

Achitoff’s heart is in the right place. I believe he just doesn’t have all of the pertinent information.

Achitoff’s claim that the fishery was poorly managed 23 years ago is correct. Back then, fishery scientists did not have the data and the management tools we have now. But today’s Hawaii lobster fishery is the most regulated lobster fishery in the world. The primary management control for the fishery is a seasonal lobster quota. If lobster populations fluctuate for any reason, the quota can be modified to ensure the fishery is sustainable.

Recently, the western Australian lobster fishery was awarded Marine Stewardship Council accreditation from the World Wide Fund for Nature environmental organization. I think this demonstrates that properly managed lobster fisheries can coexist with conservation efforts.

The Hawaii lobster fishery is important to the people of Hawaii. Let’s all work together to find mutually agreeable solutions.

Stu Simmons
Seafood distributor and environmentalist

City looks for golfing opportunities

It’s discouraging that someone who leads the Golf Media Association of Hawaii would write a commentary that quotes me without attempting to contact me. If Tom Haynes had bothered to call, he would have gained some additional information about the industry he covers, learned that we agree on some issues and disagree on others.

I’m puzzled by Haynes’ criticism of my position in support of expanding municipal golf opportunities on Oahu ("Golf on Oahu controlled by insiders," Dec. 24). The city provides quality golf at a reasonable price, which is why demand for tee times is always high. Compared to our Neighbor Island counties, Honolulu’s public course-to-population ratio is low.

Simply put, I believe we need more golf at municipal rates on Oahu, more city golf to appropriately support our junior and high school programs, promote senior play and keep our rates reasonable for all. We have a rare opportunity to do just that.

Haynes says the city should not compete with private-sector courses and should take better care of its existing courses. The city is hardly to blame for the decrease in play at private courses. The downturn is more likely the result of inflated fees and excess inventory, which developed as a response to high visitor demand a decade ago.

My support of more city golf acknowledges the well-established history of public golf in the United States, the insatiable demand for play at Oahu’s munis and the fact that representatives for no less than four privately held courses on this island have contacted me asking if there is government interest in acquiring their properties. When desirable property on Oahu is on sale at distressed prices, the city should at the very least investigate the chance of putting it in the public’s portfolio.

I recently had a rare opportunity to play at Ala Wai. It is in great shape, considering the number of daily rounds. While the conditions at our city links are generally good, there are exceptions. I believe the city needs to name a golf superintendent responsible for all public courses so the quality of muni golf is consistent.

As for Makalena, I believe we need to turn to salt-tolerant turf to deal with the unfavorable soil conditions and redesign the course to a British-style links course incorporating tough-to-maintain areas as part of the layout. The home of golf, St. Andrews, is hardly a verdant, well-manicured course. If all fails, we should move Makalena to a more desirable site and redevelop the property for some other recreational use.

Perhaps the city’s most noteworthy accomplishment at its courses has been breaking the stranglehold insiders have historically had over public golf tee times. The computerized reservations system gives everyone a fair crack at a chance to play. The investigation and arrest of several Ala Wai workers who allegedly doled out tee times for cash payments is a breakthrough.

I don’t know whether Haynes has ever taken his concerns to city officials, but I would be happy to meet with him. Good ideas are a start, but real change takes work, not just talk.

Jon Yoshimura
City Council Chairman

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