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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, August 26, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Infrastructure work not ignored by city

Jim Fromm's recent letter to the editor (The Advertiser, July 22) complains the city spends money on "monuments" while ignoring infrastructure, citing the recent Wai'anae water main break and resulting traffic jam as evidence of this neglect. He implies we've diverted resources to the Kapi'olani Park Bandstand, the new Central O'ahu Regional Park and on efforts to get local residents to return to a revitalized Waikiki.

Our water delivery system is run by the semi-autonomous Board of Water Supply, which issues its own bonds and pursues repairs and infrastructure improvements on a schedule independent of other city agencies. So it's neither correct nor logical to assume that problems with the water system are caused by resources going to other needs.

Improvements that the city has made in Waikiki or elsewhere are the result of community-government-business co-visioning, and not funded by cuts in infrastructure funding. Mayor Jeremy Harris has asked for and received $185 million for wastewater infrastructure this year, the largest single-year outlay in Honolulu's history.

The mayor has also led efforts to build a Wai'anae emergency bypass road and been the prime mover behind Central Oahu Regional Park — another facility which will serve Central and Leeward residents. So Mr. Fromm's claim that the city has focused on Waikiki and East Honolulu while ignoring Leeward residents has as little merit as his speculation about infrastructure resources.

The simple truth is that under Harris all of the island of O'ahu is being improved and beautified, and that infrastructure and facilities which serve all our residents and visitors are being planned, developed and dedicated as quickly as resources will allow.

Carol L. Costa
Director, Department of Customer Services

AIDS program financing must help those in need

Andrew Tabar criticizes the state in his Aug. 20 Island Voices article for not devoting enough resources to "providing services and reaching out to those in Hawai'i who are living with HIV and AIDS." While I agree that those suffering with AIDS should be cared for, I think it is very important that our public officials proceed with caution when dealing with this issue.

Just recently Janet Rehnquist, the Health and Human Services inspector general designate, was asked by two U.S. senators to investigate what has been called the "AIDS Gate" funding scam. This investigation involves the misuse of AIDS funding for vacations, seminars on dating and cruising and printing materials that promote risky, homosexual behavior.

In addition to this wasteful spending on programs that do not help those suffering with AIDS, thousands of federal dollars from the Ryan White CARE Act have allegedly been embezzled by heads of AIDS groups. AIDS activists, such as Wayne Turner of Washington, D.C., have brought attention to this problem by writing a article in the April Washington Monthly. In his article, Turner claims that one bookkeeper stole $50,000 from the Central Florida United AIDS resources.

So if we decide to devote more funding to AIDS, let's make sure it's really to help people and that it's not used for encouraging homosexual sex and posh vacations.

Kathy Martin

Smoking in restaurants not 'fun' for workers

In your Aug. 17 article on the proposed ban on smoking in restaurants, restaurant industry spokes-man Patrick McCain is quoted as saying that most visitor destinations try to be a fun place and accommodate their customers.

Fun at whose expense? Should our restaurant workers be forced to sacrifice their health to accommodate the "fun" of some customers?

Whether or not to protect the health and welfare of our restaurant workers is contrary to Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura's contention not simply a "business decision" that government should stay out of. It is first and foremost a moral decision. Is it not the obligation of the government to protect our health? (See preamble of the U.S. Constitution).

As customers, we can avoid restaurants that expose us to secondhand smoke. Given the labor market situation, most restaurant workers, the majority of whom are women, do not have the luxury of that choice.

"What is the problem?" asks Yoshimura. The problem is that although the harmful effects of second-hand smoke are no longer in doubt, and while we have laws that protect the health workers in many other industries, some public officials continue to buy bogus and morally questionable arguments to oppose the protection of restaurant worker's health. To knowingly allow defenseless workers to be harmed is a dereliction of duty as public officials.

Ursula Retherford

Removal of arrow shaft was ill-advised

The recent tragedy on the Big Island where a father was shot to death accidentally by his son's arrow saddened us all. One small detail prompted me to point out that simple emergency knowledge could have prevented such a death.

I read in your Aug. 16 news that: "... the arrow-head remained lodged in (his) heart even after he wrenched the shaft free, and he died from loss of blood." He, his sons, paramedics and even ER doctors should NOT have touched the arrow that was sticking out of his body! All foreign objects could act as a tamponade stopping massive bleeding. The patient should be taken directly to the operating room. The object should be removed ONLY by the surgeon or under sterile conditions. At operation, the surgeon can control all the blood vessels and repair all the injuries.

Y-T Margaret Lee, M.D.

Incumbent's work not considered valuable

I hope voters in Rep. Joe Gomes' House district remember the alleged Republican accomplishments he boasts about in his Aug. 17 Island Voices piece when he's up for re-election.

Unless they are the more privileged residents of Waimanalo, Keolu Hills and Lanikai, they should ask themselves, "What has he done for me lately?" They might wonder why he's so inordinately proud of legislation that, for the most part, has little value to working class families, women, Hawaiians or other less advantaged groups, the community's health or the environment.

As for the Legislature's "age of consent" bill's veto override, this flawed bill was opposed by many respected individuals and groups because of its harsh penalties. It may well turn out to haunt the legislators who jumped on the Republicans' blatantly political bandwagon to embarrass the governor.

Tom Peters