Thursday, January 4, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, January 4, 2001

Letters to the Editor

What price must be paid for tradition’?

Questions for the members of the 2001 Legislature: How many people must die, how many families left homeless, how much human suffering before you ban fireworks? What price in human life must be paid for the "tradition" to have "fun"?

To those self-centered, inconsiderate idiots who put the "fun" of aerial fireworks above a life, may your sleep be forever haunted with the images of your act.

If your fireworks did not kill or maim someone or burn a house, you can always try again next year. I’m sure there will not be any new laws to ignore and you will still be able to enjoy your recreation.

John Stewart

More illegal aerial fireworks than ever

Having spent another harrowing evening in the Villages of Kapolei for the seventh consecutive year, I was miffed at reading William Cole’s front-page article on the New Year’s Eve Oahu had just experienced.

In Kapolei, it was anything but peaceful. Yes, there was less smoke, and maybe the din was a few decibels lower, but I took note of other factors. There were more extravagant illegal aerial displays than any year since 1994 in the communities of Kapolei and Makakilo. Many houses are zero lot lined for maximum density, which should make every resident uneasy when aerials are aloft.

As I write this letter on the morning after, I take note of the 33-gallon trash bag of Roman candle and skyrocket debris that I have just cleared off my roof, out of my gutters and from the street and sidewalks around my house for the past hour.

Also this morning, I witnessed eight unsupervised children between the ages of 6 and 12 lighting short-fused devices that had not yet exploded. Further, no one seems to care that the neighborhood is strewn with debris, and that debris will remain for weeks.

Total disregard for the law, as well as the health, safety and property of others, is perpetuated through irresponsible parenting and role-modeling. The spineless legislators who can but won’t spearhead effective, enforceable fireworks statutes out of fear of reprisal from constituents will someday bear the consequences of a class-action suit brought by victims such as me, and all of the taxpayers in the state of Hawaii unfortunately will have to ante up their shares because of it.

Sid Potter

Piggyback smuggling

I see how the illegal drugs are being brought into the state. They are shipped inside the packages of the illegal fireworks.

Ray Driscoll

Punahou student was first to ring in 2001

I received a telephone call from Dwayne Steele, who is on a cruise with his family in New Zealand. According to Steele, the first American to ring in the 21st century was a 12-year-old Hawaiian girl, Elizabeth Pualani Steele, a student at Punahou School. She was on board the ship Clipper Odyssey, off the east coast of New Zealand, less than one degree west of the international dateline.

She was asked by the captain to ring the bell because she was the youngest person aboard the ship. She said she was ringing the ship’s bell at midnight, representing the halau Mohala Ilima.

Ron Poepoe

Increase in property values not good news’

Your Dec. 24 editorial on the city’s upcoming budget noted that assessed property values have increased about 2 percent, producing about $4 million more in revenues. You characterize this as "good news."

Surely you realize that these additional millions will come from your homeowner readers and other property owners. As one of those homeowners, I fail to see how such a tax increase could be "good news."

Now if the city were to report that their expenses will go down 2 percent next fiscal year, that would be good news.

Dick OConnell

Traffic cameras are not an invasion of privacy

As told in the novel "1984," Big Brother could see and hear every movement you made in your own home, as well as in all public and work environments. The difference in the proposed cameras to track traffic violators is that they can’t look into your home.

My 16-year-old son drives OK. It’s not him I’m afraid of; it’s those who break the laws and will collide with my boy because he followed the laws and the reckless driver didn’t.

Bad driving encompasses all ages. I’m glad these cameras will be put up. They will make people think before they attempt to run that yellow light. Those who detest them should ask themselves, "What do I have to hide while in the public eye?" Leave your secrets at home and your bad driving to the Nintendo.

How many times have you seen someone cut you off or run a light and you ask yourself, "Where’s a cop when you need him?" You have them now.

Craig M. Watanabe

Band teachers are under great pressure

I have been teaching band for the past 22 years in our public school system, and I have seen several band teachers leave due to burnout.

Band directors are under severe stress with all the rehearsals and performances. In addition, our band takes yearly trips to the Neighbor Islands or the Mainland. Fund-raising is ongoing. Band teachers also have to worry about uniforms.

I have over 200 band students, 92 in just one class. Most band teachers are dealing with huge class sizes. We do not want to deny students if they choose band as an elective. Band teachers also have several organizations that involve attending meetings and paying dues. Most bands have a booster club, with officers and even student band officers. Band teachers do what they do for the love of the students and for the enjoyment.

Most band teachers cannot moonlight, as their band schedules won’t allow it. We also have no family life, as most of the band activities are held on non-school hours and days. There is no such thing as overtime pay for teachers.

If we have a shortage of band teachers, we have no band students. Imagine going to football games, graduations or parades without a band. What happens to the bands at the secondary level will surely influence the University of Hawaii. Where do you think their band students come from?

Teachers are overworked, underpaid and cannot live on love alone. Education is for the future of our kids, so let’s make it a priority.

Max Miura
Band Director, Governor Sanford B. Dole Middle School

Dog owners must control pets’ noise

Regarding the Dec. 29 letter by Peggy Wray-Nakamura on barking dogs: I think she is the one being unrealistic, as well as missing the point with the City Council’s ordinance about barking dogs.

The issue is owner responsibility and ability to control inappropriate dog behavior.

Recently, we were awakened three nights in a row between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. because of a neighbor dog’s incessant barking. This disruption went on for over 30 minutes each night without any intervention from the owner. That’s inappropriate, irresponsible and inconsiderate!

I own a dog and can appreciate his desire to communicate, be it for security or playful reasons. However, I also make every attempt to keep his barking in check to avoid being an annoying nuisance to me or my neighbors. Every dog owner should, or be subject to penalty.

L. Lau

Concealed-carry law would thwart criminals

What hasn’t been tried to stop workplace rampages in Hawaii? Armed defense.

Hawaii and Massachusetts have some of the most repressive (and useless) gun-control laws in the country, which infringe on citizens’ rights to defend themselves. In most states, law-abiding citizens can exercise their right to carry concealed weapons, and studies show a significant drop in mass murder and crime rates in those states.

Absurdly, lawmakers who pass politically correct gun-control laws don’t study the facts but listen to the gun-ban lobby and disarm honest people for "safety." Nothing, however, would have saved the victims in Honolulu or Boston (or Columbine, etc.) except responsible armed citizens — not the police, not "well-defined policies," but the willingness of armed individuals to defend themselves and others against criminal attack.

Criminals will always get weapons, and they prefer helpless victims. Perhaps the prospect of armed defense would have thwarted the attacks, but the victims didn’t legally have that alternative.

Shame on those who voted to infringe our rights to keep us disarmed. In the past, bills to require the police to issue concealed-carry permits to honest citizens in Hawaii have languished in the Legislature. Let’s try what works this time.

Brian Isaacson

The lonely runner

A writer complains that not enough people cheered him on when he ran the Honolulu Marathon (Letters, Dec. 28). I thought people ran for their own satisfaction and not to have people admire them. If he wanted a cheering section, he should have brought it. Apparently, people had better things to do that day than to watch other people run around.

Jay Pasachoff
anapali, Maui

HECO’s approach is prudent one

In the Dec. 28 Advertiser, Mike Leidemann accused Hawaiian Electric Co. of being stubborn about the need to place an overhead power transmission line on Waahila Ridge. If that means we stubbornly fight to provide reliable power and do it in a way that is fair and affordable for our customers, then we agree. Absolutely.

But he asserts that HECO’s motivation is greed, and let me assure the community, Advertiser readers and Leidemann that it is not. The Kamoku-P¬kele power transmission line is necessary because there is no backup to existing lines in the event of a disaster or other emergency. Without the line, over half of Oahu homes, businesses, hospitals and other facilities are vulnerable to a major power outage. That risk is unacceptable, and as Oahu’s sole provider of electricity, we readily shoulder the responsibility to provide reliable power to the community.

As with all our decisions, HECO balanced the community’s need for reliable power with environmental and cost considerations. It would probably surprise Leidemann to know that the Kamoku-P¬kele project involves a significant underground component. The entire section of line in the urban populated areas from Date Street up through the University of Hawaii campus will be underground. Overhead lines will be placed only in the unpopulated mountain area, with poles replacing smaller poles that already exist.

And that brings me to rebut Leidemann’s erroneous conclusion that "greed" motivates HECO to support overhead lines in the mountain area. Make no mistake, our motivation is to provide the necessary reliability at the lowest reasonable cost to consumers. The "greedy" approach would have been to build more expensive underground lines and charge consumers accordingly.

We take very seriously our responsibility to provide power reliably and cost-efficiently. It is wrong of Leidemann to characterize our employees and company as gleefully gouging the community, of which we are a part. The truth is that we continually look for ways to provide energy incentives that reduce monthly bills.

HECO’s solar water heating program leads the nation. Indeed, we are national leaders in energy conservation and renewable energy. We are constantly seeking cost-competitive technologies that will work in Hawaii. Our "Sun Power for Schools" program is a "green-power" opportunity that allows every customer to voluntarily contribute to the development of photovoltaics in Hawaii.

We are taking innovative and practical steps with committed communities to bury existing power-distribution lines with a new cost-sharing policy. Kailua is the first example, and it works because HECO is sharing the cost to underground existing lines with that community. This is a fair solution to a challenging problem.

Leidemann confuses being stubborn with being dedicated. It looks to me as if someone in California should have been doggedly dedicated to making sure there were enough power plants being built to avoid the catastrophe they face today.

Oahu’s people need this transmission or we will face a catastrophe of our own. We at HECO can take being called stubborn when it comes to keeping your lights on at a reasonable cost.

Ed Hirata
Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs for HECO

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