Tuesday, January 9, 2001
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Posted on: Tuesday, January 9, 2001

Letters to the Editor

New dog-barking law is not in effect yet

Peggy Wray-Nakamura (Letters, Dec. 29) states that there should be no laws about barking dogs and Volker Hildebrandt (Letters, Jan. 3) compared dog-barking to a jackhammer and said he would "pay and extra $100,000 to buy a house in a dog-free zone."

These two letters demonstrate the difficulties surrounding animal-nuisance issues in our community. People with totally opposite viewpoints create a challenge for any organization dedicated to helping neighbors live in peace.

The Hawaiian Humane Society and the Honolulu Police Department both respond to animal-nuisance complaints on Oahu and frequently face the challenge of resolving complaints while trying to assure tranquility and harmony in our neighborhoods.

Hildebrandt claims the new law is not effectively being enforced. The new law is not yet in effect. When it is signed by Mayor Harris, both the Humane Society and the Police Department will enforce it, knowing that some community members will dislike it — for completely opposite reasons.

Pamela Burns
President, Hawaiian Humane Society

Please don’t harm the zoo’s creatures

The keepers at the Honolulu Zoo recently made another grisly discovery: A visitor had severely injured a monitor lizard by throwing a rock at it, resulting in the animal losing its sight in one eye.

It is heartbreaking to realize this is not an isolated incident, but a constant problem at our zoo. Most visitors with their families come to enjoy the animals, but others tease and throw everything imaginable at the animals, trying to get their attention.

We all need to be aware that this type of problem exists. Perhaps the next time you are standing next to someone who is about to throw something at an animal, you can speak up, either to the person or to an animal-keeper or security guard. We need to send a strong message to our children and others that all animals deserve our care and respect.

Carol Boyce

Traffic cameras won’t invade our privacy

Honolulu’s proposed traffic camera system will not violate anyone’s right to privacy, if used as described by the newspapers. Motorists already have but a limited amount of real privacy in their autos anyway: Their actions are visible to anyone who cares to look through the window.

Further, police are entitled to observe the behavior of motorists in order to enforce the Hawaii Revised Statutes against, for example, drivers holding an open container of liquor, or weaving out of control while dialing a cellphone.

A staggering number of people are being killed or injured by speeding, reckless, inattentive or clueless motorists. Traffic victims have rights, such as life, liberty and the pursuit of a destination across the street. In the balance between having your picture shot while nose-picking (and committing a moving violation) vs. a pedestrian’s right to cross the street safely, I don’t think there is much doubt as to where the balance of justice lies.

Nothing will be photographed that is not already in plain view. Solution: Keep private behavior private.

Khalil J. Spencer

One needs to graduate from’ an institution

The quality of the English language in any publication should be foremost in the mind of any writer or editor, as well as in the speech of individuals in all walks of life.

Kiwi Camara, an outstanding student, must have been chagrined to read the headline on the front page of the Jan. 8 Advertiser stating that he had "graduated college." No one can "graduate an institution," and graduating a college is a non sequitur. One graduates from college, and the college graduates the student.

It is the most common error made by young people and one that is not restricted to these Islands. It seems to be allowed universally, and our schools should be responsible for correcting its usage.

H. Paul Weber

Junk-car problem isn’t going away yet

Kauaians who read the encouraging news item Jan. 5 about Kauai County solving its junk-car problem should know by now not to hold their breaths.

It was in October 1998 that Mayor Kusaka’s administrative assistant announced at a meeting of the County Council that "the Puhi facility would be ready to receive junk cars in two weeks." Two years later, the same assistant announced that the county’s request for bids to operate the "Puhi Metals Recycling Center" had drawn no response. Hence the Dec. 29 notice of another request for proposal.

Expectant Kauai residents should recall that another expensive and unoccupied facility, the Kauai Materials Exchange Center (popularly known as the White Elephant), completed two years ago with $2 million in federal funds, still sits empty while awaiting the outcome of a fourth request for proposal for an operator. Waiting for salvation but not holding my breath.

Raymond L. Chuan
Hanalei, Kaua

Hawaiian music is still being ignored

Over a decade ago, I sent a rant to the editor lamenting the absence of Hawaiian music from the Grammy nominations. As I read this year’s nominees, there’s a juxtaposition of elation and disappointment. While Latin is well represented, the omission of at least two more categories of music was glaring: traditional Hawaiian and contemporary Hawaiian.

Numerous Hawaiian musicians have graced the stage of Carnegie Hall. They have toured the country and overseas. Their popularity beyond these shores is spreading. So what is it going to take to get the process moving toward an effective inclusion into the Grammys?

Not to diminish any of the present nominees — every musical expression has its fans — but it is past due for Hawaii’s music to be on that ever-expanding list.

Mayra Vega

Legislators aren’t being held accountable

Jerry Burris wrote a good, thoughtful column, "New Year’s celebrations also ring in host of laws" (Focus, Dec. 31), in which he pointed out that legislators "operate on hunch and hope, as much as on fact and reason." He also said they were, in making law, "no different than the rest of us."

Indeed. But there is, unfortunately, one major, critical difference. When you, Jerry Burris, or I make personal decisions, we have to stand accountable. If we goof, we pay, sometimes heavily. If we are correct, we collect rewards.

But the legislator suffers not if he goofs. He doesn’t lose his job or his life savings. Matter of fact, it is mostly not even known that he made a mistake. They call it "sovereign immunity." It should be called "a license to steal, pillage and otherwise harm others with no major consequences."

This is a major problem with a government that suffers virtually no restraint in taking from some groups to give to others and then rights that wrong by taking from those earlier rewarded and giving to those recently punished. On and on, bigger and more intrusive. Who pays? You, Jerry Burris, and me.

Voters apathetic? Sounds rational for those not enthused about pleading to some "higher" authority for special favors.

Richard O. Rowland
Legislative Coalition Chair, Small Business Hawai

More on New Year’s Eve fireworks

Use the vice squad to catch scofflaws

Why can’t the vice squad be used on New Year’s Eve to apprehend people setting off illegal aerials? They normally go on raids in plain clothes, don’t they?

People continue to disregard the law because they sense the police will not take any action. Once it becomes known that there is a distinct possibility of being caught at random locations by the vice squad, I’m sure they will have second thoughts about breaking the law.

And finally, a message to legislators: No more of these slap-on-the-wrist penalties for fireworks violations, please.

James Kimphone

Firecracker smoke still threatens lives

Because smoke inhalation is a life-threatening problem for me, I have to leave my neighborhood every New Year’s Eve. This year was no exception, even though my neighbors said they would be setting off only one permit’s worth of firecrackers. I arranged to stay in a hotel overnight.

When I returned, I learned that many more fireworks than one permit’s worth had been set off, as well as illegal aerials. The neighborhood had been inundated with smoke, din and pyrotechnics. I found debris from aerials in my yard and on the roof.

To leave my home for health reasons resulted in leaving it unprotected from the hazards of burning rockets landing on my wooden decks and roof gutters.

I grew up in Hawaii and I share and honor the local traditions that make Hawaii special. But this particular tradition has become destructive and irresponsible. A life was lost in Palolo, houses were burned to the ground, people were maimed.

Home fireworks should be banned and special firecracker zones designated where people can gather to celebrate. The money spent on illegal aerials could be contributed to professional organizations to produce safe displays that everyone could enjoy.

Susan Morrison

Commemorate death with fireworks ban

To commemorate the tragic and senseless loss of a member of our community, I propose the "Lillian Bill," similar to the Brady Bill.

Let’s not wait for another member of our community to fall victim to a severe injury or death as a result of New Year’s Eve fireworks. Let’s act now!

Political Band-aids and unenforceable laws are the direct result of our elected officials taking the easy way out. They tried to find common ground by passing politically safe legislation. Such legislation just isn’t getting the job done. They know it and we know it.

Instead, let’s commemorate Lillian Herring’s death with a bill to ban fireworks and save lives. I’m not referring to fireworks used for religious or cultural purposes. I’m referring to the use of fireworks during New Year’s Eve and the 4th of July.

Martin Schiller

More critical issues in need of addressing

More people die at the hands of drunk drivers each year than from the use of fireworks, yet I see no letters about a ban on alcohol. Why?

I can protect my home from aerial fireworks by staying home and keeping things damp. I can protect myself from the smoke fireworks generate by shutting myself in and turning on an air conditioner or using oxygen. Yet each moment of my life that I spend as a driver, passenger or pedestrian, I must accept the fact that in an instant my life can be snuffed out by someone who has consumed a legal substance.

Drunk drivers who get caught receive slaps on the wrist. Convicted murderers who walk after several years in prison, teenagers who speed recklessly on our streets, underpaid teachers, our poor education system, the high number of people on welfare, the poor condition of city facilities and roads: These everyday things are the things we should be concentrating on, not something that happens twice a year.

Gerald Andrade

Laws won’t protect us from fireworks

I cannot believe the big uproar about lawmakers protecting us from the dangers of fireworks. Are their laws capable of stopping drugs, prostitution, gambling, drunk driving or violent crime? No. We all know that as long as people want these things to go on, they will.

The police can only do so much. Banning fireworks just opens up the black market wider and will drive up prices. We all know the story of Prohibition.

I live in an area where fireworks are dearly loved by many folks. Usually my neighbors have a good old time with the big bunches of firecrackers; this year it was M-80s. Those things are truly loud and dangerous. I guess they figured if they had to go black market, they might as well go whole hog.

Barbara Williams

New law wasn’t fully in effect yet

The new fireworks law has not fully had a chance to affect aerial fireworks, which were seen this past New Year’s Eve. A goodly amount would not have been subject to the law, which took effect in July.

There were notably fewer fireworks this year; however, many areas of the island did not receive any rainfall close to New Year’s Eve, as we have had in the past, which reduces the danger of aerial fireworks.

Those who enjoy fireworks and were conscientious on following the new guidelines need not be blamed for those who did not.

Dan Elmore

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