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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, June 25, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Public cell phone use requires punishment

In my household, road rage is under control — mostly.

I have accomplished this by living within striking distance of work, putting my car up on wooden blocks during peak traffic hours, and refusing to attend any function at the stadium, Blaisdell Arena or Concert Hall.

I have not, however, been able to elude cellular phone rage. While most people focus on drivers using their cell phones, I refer to cell phone use in public areas — in the grocery store, in the bank, in a restaurant, in a movie, in an airplane, or in any place the phone-aholic feels he or she should make or receive phone calls.

I am embarrassed to overhear their phone conversations and appalled that they think I should be enchanted to listen to them. The stink-eye does not bother them, nor does the loud, heavy sigh.

My solution is to apprehend everyone using a cell phone within 50 feet of a stranger (unless for emergency purposes), tie them to a chair and make them watch the Voicestream "Octopus Girl" commercial for 12 continuous hours. HELLO!

Diane E. Myslicki

HECO isn't addressing Hawai'i's energy needs

Thank you for publishing the op-ed piece of Rep. Hermina Morita chastising HECO for its monopolistic, head-stuck-in-the-sand attitude with regard to addressing Hawai'i's energy needs for the 21st century.

It is time for the public to take note and take action to ensure that HECO is not allowed, through unbridled power, to ensure that Hawai'i stays dependent on inefficient, fossil fuel-powered centralized generators for our energy needs.

The future is now. The future is independence from foreign oil; it is using solar and wind power, fuel-cells, localized generators and other technologies that are cleaner and safer and less wasteful than the old ways of supplying power.

HECO, as one of the largest employers and businesses in the state and our power monopoly, has a profound corporate responsibility to preserve environmental quality, not only for Hawai'i residents, but also to ensure that the tourist industry continues to thrive in an environmentally responsible way. By continuing to advocate air-polluting power plants and transmission from centralized power sources, HECO demonstrates its lack of vision or worse.

HECO's drive to place its high-voltage power lines atop historic, scenic and culturally significant Wa'ahila Ridge in order to fulfill a plan it first hatched more than 30 years ago is indicative of its blatant disregard for environmental quality and its disregard of the superior existing ways to accomplish its goal of reliability.

HECO seems to have so little regard for the environment and its ratepayers. We need a new, improved HECO that will lead Hawai'i toward a safe, clean and sane energy policy for the 21st century.

Laura Stone-Jeraj

Disband HECO in favor of progressive company

Since HECO does not have the wherewithal to plan ahead and to progress with the times by becoming independent of foreign fossil fuel and progress into modern technology and more sophisticated electricity generation, can the governor, county mayors and state legislators disband HECO's monopoly on electrical generation and give the monopoly to a company that has progressive, futuristic ideas and technology that will become current with this 21st century?

Carolyn Walther

Increase revenues by ticketing drivers

I have the perfect way to turn our economy around and eliminate all budgetary problems. First we eliminate all traffic lights.

Since most drivers in this state ignore them anyway, it is rather pointless to be spending the money to install new lights and repair old ones. The savings in electricity alone will be considerable.

Additionally, since the police seem disinterested in actually ticketing those who run red lights, we can save a bundle by reducing the size of our police force, transferring them instead to our emergency services to help handle the increased accident load.

We can also look forward to an increase in the collection of excise and income taxes as slews of new lawyers move to Hawai'i to handle the increase in right-of-way litigation sure to arise from our new free-wheeling traffic patterns.

And let's not ignore the benefit to our already-congested traffic when hundreds of cars, trucks and SUVs are totaled and scrapped. With the drivers totaled and scrapped as well, there will be no rush to replace the ruined vehicles.

Or, the police could simply ticket the thousands of drivers who run red lights daily. The income from that would eliminate any deficit we could possibly create. It might also provide the funds to allow us to pay our officers wages comparable to those on the Mainland.

Andrew Thomas

FACE instrumental in getting bus shelters

In the June 7 Advertiser, the article "Bus stop project nears completion" failed to recognize the work of FACE (Faith Action for Community Equity).

FACE members, myself included, walked Mayor Harris through Waipahu and Kalihi, back on Feb. 18, 1997, to show the need for bus shelters for our members who face the weather daily waiting for TheBus to get to and from work and our elderly residents subjected to rain and sun while waiting to get to their doctor's appointments.

It has taken a lot of time and effort on the part of our FACE Public Safety Committee members these past five years to get this issue to the point where all of O'ahu residents can benefit from new bus shelters outside of the "tourist zone."

Back in 1996, FACE members noticed that the new bus shelters seemed to be going up primarily in the tourist-concentrated areas, and this was the very reason we brought the issue to Harris. We have met with Cheryl Soon numerous times to submit bus shelter sites islandwide and to get updates on sites already recommended to report back the construction progress to our 42,000 members.

FACE is always working to improve the quality of life for all island residents, and the hard work of the FACE Public Safety Committee to get bus shelters into neglected areas of the island is only one example of our commitment to be a voice for the voiceless.

Michelle Tomas
FACE Public Safety Committee co-chairwoman

Stonebraker's 'wrong' was abusing his office

Lani Nicholson asked, in a June 15 letter, "What wrong is committed by Stonebraker ... ?"

On March 15, 1999, the attorney general ruled (in a case involving another legislator) that " ... using state property and personnel to further one's purely personal matters ... is not proper." Legislators should " ... not use any state equipment and not use any personnel to arrange a prayer breakfast."

Beyond abusing taxpayer-funded assets and employees, however, the seal of the State of Hawai'i was prominently displayed at Rep. William Stonebraker's baccalaureate service. By displaying the seal, Stonebraker improperly implied a government endorsement of Christianity, an act that is both unethical and unconstitutional.

In a recent interview, Stonebraker said: "I represent more than my district. I represent people before God and God before people." This statement confirms his purely religious agenda.

Nicholson claims that "students involved in religious activities" will not require "rehabilitation in drug centers ... and jails." As a proportional percentage of population, there are more Christians in prison than those who hold other religious or nonreligious ideologies.

As for her claim that the nation's founders were Christians, Jefferson, Paine, Adams, Franklin and others were deists who rejected the Bible and Christian doctrine.

It saddens me that citizens and government officials do not understand that the constitutional separation of state and church protects everyone from religious tyranny.

Mitchell Kahle
President, Hawai'i Citizens for the Separation of State and Church

Pit bull ban won't have desired effect

In light of the tragic death of the little boy who was attacked by a pit bull, it is not surprising to read that a Big Island County Council member (June 13) is considering introducing a ban on the breed.

However, available information indicates that a law prohibiting certain breeds, such as pit bulls, will not have the desired effect. The American Veterinary Medical Association's Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions just published its report in the June 1 issue of the AVMA Journal. Included in the report are the following statements:

• "An often-asked question is what breed or breeds are most 'dangerous.' ... Although this is a common concern, singling out one or two breeds can result in a false sense of accomplishment. Doing so ignores the true scope of the problem and will not result in a responsible approach to protecting a community's citizens."

• "Following a severe attack, there is usually an outcry to do something, and (that) something often reflects a knee-jerk response. Only later do officials realize that the response was not effective ... "

The task force's report also points out that while breed is not an accurate indicator of whether a dog will bite, sex difference is — with "intact male dogs involved in 70 percent to 76 percent of reported dog bites."

As a community, we must realize that most of our dogs are loving, well-behaved members of our families. When any dog, purebred or poi, is not responsibly cared for, it has the potential to be dangerous. We urge community leaders to be considerate when looking at the best way to protect people and animals in Hawai'i.

Grayson Hashida
Executive director, Hawai'i Island Humane Society

Pamela Burns
Executive director, Hawaiian Humane Society

Rebecca Rhoades
Executive director, Kaua'i Humane Society

Keith Pocock
Executive director, Maui Humane Society

Let the experts decide on what, how to build

Those who read Jennifer Hiller's article on the POST Building snafus should leave with two main points: First, it is their tax dollars that are being squandered. Second, the procurement and management process in high tech is best left to experts in the field of inquiry.

The Geology Department's original Isotope Clean Lab, built in 1987, was planned and executed by an assistant professor, an engineer and a builder. There was no legion of bureaucrats; the team started with a clear idea, and people listened to each other.

Like the Voyager spacecraft, this lab has functioned long past its expected demise, producing excellent data all the while. In POST, the state and University of Hawai'i brought in an army of facilities managers, contractors, engineers, construction teams and bureaucrats. No individual was accountable, no one was on the same wave length, no one was in charge, people forgot what the scientists wanted and the result was repeated failure.

The venerated "low bid" contract award procedures don't save any money unless those managing the jobs have the expertise and motivation to manage effectively. People unfamiliar with the lab's mission have repeatedly used inappropriate building materials and worse: They failed to realize the seriousness of their mistakes.

If the SOEST administration and its scientists, well-versed in the scientific concepts behind the lab, had clear control over these processes, the job could have been done right the first time. There need not be a long, expensive, bumbling and frustrating "learning curve."

If it is ever completed properly, the POST 6th Floor Isotope Lab will be a world-class facility. But in addition to teaching us about the scientific intricacies of the Earth and solar system, perhaps this facility will also have provided UH and the State of Hawai'i invaluable expertise on how to build a high-tech facility: Eliminate the middlemen and empower those who can articulate a clear vision of the job at hand.

Khalil J. Spencer
Associate Specialist, Department. of Geology and Geophysics, SOEST