Letters to the Editor
Traffic cameras will have bad consequences
Consider the difficulty of always conforming to that standard in a 25-mph zone. Have you ever accelerated to join traffic from a driveway or a side street and found yourself going much faster than you had intended? You were more aware of merging safely with traffic than the absolute letter of the speed ordinance.
Now you would be wiser to glue your eyes on the speedometer while you accidentally plow through "collateral damage," i.e. the blind, the hobbled, toddlers, pets, the aged, the mentally impaired. Has anyone considered the unintended consequences of the laws we enact?
Insurance rates are going to go through the roof, people are going to be less civil because of the constant stress caused by "Big Brother," productivity will diminish because so many drivers will wind up in court, and the turmoil will extend to the businesses they work for and affect their families when they lose their jobs for missing workdays.
If we must use super-efficient means to catch lawbreakers, target the ones causing the most deaths. Speeders on the freeways from 10 p.m. to dawn seem to be likely targets. Don't waste the time or effort on those going 5 or 10 miles over the speed limit when the real danger is irresponsible thrill-seekers going 80 to 120 mph.
Do you think the public is unaware of the money grab being conducted here? Consider how much is involved per year. It's a staggering figure that benefits potential political contributors. Pray for a public backlash against less-than-gleaming politicians who want to use legal means to pick the pockets of hard-working, if occasionally errant, citizens. Pray harder, please.
"General" Rogers showed he cared
He stood across from the Hard Rock Cafe, rain or shine, and let everyone passing by know where he stood: firmly under the flag he served for most of his life.
Some mornings it was quite noisy on that corner as one had to blow a horn to the General and wave to let him know that he did not stand alone. He added a smile to most everyone's face. His television appearance provided us with a glance at a self-assured, caring man. His passing leaves a void. Someone else may take his place but it won't be the General and it won't be the same.
Thank you, General John Rogers, for your caring. I hope somewhere, someone adds a sixth star to your hat. You deserve it. Aloha. I shall miss you.
Arnold Van Fossen
Dobelle must learn university limitations
Evan Dobelle is a great addition to academia in Hawai'i. He has wonderful foresight for new programs for the University of Hawai'i. I like his plans for adding to our superb university.
But someone needs to give Dobelle some insight into our community. He wants the campus area full of restaurants and coffee houses so that students can mingle and share ideas with each other as they do on Mainland campuses.
Where are these kids going to get the time, let alone the money, to do all this socializing when they have to hold down two or three part-time jobs just to be able to afford going to UH? How are these cafes going to be able to offer low-enough prices so the students can afford to leisurely sit and sip coffee while contemplating the world and still stay in business?
Another idea our new university president proposes to implement is to tear down high-rise dormitories and build cluster-style housing so students can live in individual houses and share communal living in a homier atmosphere. Does Dobelle have some magic wand that is going to create the land and affordable construction to accomplish this?
Someone needs to tell him that the University of Hawai'i is a commuter school and to leave it at that and concentrate on making the classrooms and curriculum better and more affordable to those who want a higher education.
'Pinky' Thompson opened his home to us
It is with a sense of gratitude that I write a small tribute to our passed-on kupuna, Uncle "Pinky" Thompson.
As a "calabash" nephew, and "small kid times" neighbor, one of dozens (and surely hundreds over the years) who spent countless days and hours at their house and farm in Niu Valley, I pay my respects.
The Thompsons' doors were always open (literally) to children who came to play and enjoy the special brand of Hawaiian hospitality that the Thompson 'ohana shared with all. His soft-spoken determination and aloha instilled respect and self-esteem in us all, especially as a Hawaiian.
For those whose lives he has touched, we all do well to remember and learn from what this kupuna has passed on. His death is truly felt in the Hawaiian community, of all races.
Property assessment doesn't reflect reality
At the top of the real estate market in 1989, my wife and I purchased a leasehold condo on Kapahulu Avenue at an interest rate of 10.6 percent. We have recently tried to refinance our loan through two local banks, Bank of Hawaii (with whom we have our existing loan) and American Savings Bank (with whom we do our banking).
Both of these banks, after extensive research into the real market value of our property, building and recent sales within the area, concluded that the unit was currently worth just below $100,000. Since our existing loan is just below $145,000, neither institution would offer us refinancing, stating that if we were to default, they wouldn't recoup their money.
Now along comes the city with our 2002 real property assessment notice stating that "this year's assessed value" for our property/unit is $156,600. This, after a long real estate slump in our state and the recent events of Sept. 11, which rendered our property flat as a pancake. Last year we were assessed at $133,300.
A jump of $23,300 in this depressed market? No way! Just how does the city conduct its assessments? Either the two lending institutions are correct in their numbers or the city is, but both sides can't be right.
Something is very rotten in city government, and our city and state representatives owe it to the citizenry to sort it all out.
Chapter 19 targets bullying of students
Regarding the recent Department of Education/Chapter 19 stories and letters: Including the wording "sexual orientation" in the Chapter 19 anti-bullying rule has nothing to do with a student's actual sexual orientation or any "agenda."
What it seeks to protect are students who are bullied for the perception of being gay, lesbian, bisexual or questioning. Students are not bullied around sexual orientation because of any overt action on their part. Indeed, they are often trying their best to stay safe by conscientiously avoiding any overt actions. Bullies pick on their victims because they feel that their victims look or act like someone who is a gay or lesbian. But what exactly does a gay or lesbian look or act like? What does a heterosexual look or act like, for that matter?
The wording needs to be there to protect students from perception that can happen to any student regardless of their actual sexual orientation.