Letters to the Editor
Public needs to know exactly what dengue is
Now is the perfect time to educate the public on the who, what, where and how of dengue fever.
My family was "badly hit," as one news channel put it a few weeks back, and while the state Department of Health paid frequent visits to our home taking blood tests, asking questions and trying to find mosquito traces, rumors spread like an epidemic. Neighbors, relatives and friends avoided visits because they were "just not sure" of what exactly we had and if they would catch it.
Blood samples were sent to the Mainland and then to Puerto Rico for testing (this took at least a week about the amount of time a family member spent in the hospital).
Yes, that dang dengue was carried by a relative from the South Pacific who had no idea that he had it. Both Samoa and Tahiti had outbreaks this past summer and in some places dengue is very common. So why do we have to wait so long and send tests to Puerto Rico when our island neighbors are just five hours away? Why do we stay in the dark? Why don't we send someone to Samoa or Tahiti to study this?
Fighting the war against dengue fever is like the war on terrorism you first need to know who and what it is you're fighting. As a state, we need to better educate ourselves and get to the nitty-gritty of what this dang dengue is about.
And when we find out that people are infected, don't blame them; it's not their fault. Help to heal the matter instead of turning on the coconut radio.
Peter R.T. Tovey Jr.
Boston showing that ban can help businesses
After moving from the Boston area to Hawai'i, I was very disappointed in finding that there aren't more smoke-free restaurants here.
Within the city limits of Boston, all restaurants are smoke free. There are a few establishments (bars) that were grandfathered in, but the smoking area must be away from the dining area. One example is a microbrewery where their smoking area is in a small room in the basement.
When the law was passed in Boston, many believed a smoking ban would decrease business. Just the opposite occurred. Not only did the restaurants have an increase in the number of customers but also a higher table turn-over rate.
The reason is most non-smokers when they finish a meal, leave the restaurant, while smokers tend to linger after their meal to have an after-dinner cigarette. This resulted in higher revenue for the restaurant industry.
C. L. Hunt
Let's not repeat here Flight 587's tragedy
As we grieve over the loss of so many lives and watch with horror the images of the latest catastrophe to hit New York, the crash of American Airlines Flight 587, we observe homes burning to the ground in a residential area and are told that a number of its residents are missing.
The disaster, we are told, appears to be an unexplained accident occurring about four minutes after take-off, as the plane was climbing to about 2,800 feet.
This could happen to us here on O'ahu.
There are many residents in East Honolulu who have expressed their concern about flights crossing over East Honolulu within minutes of take-off. Conditions are similar to the circumstances of the Rockaway disaster: About four minutes after an over-water take-off from Honolulu International Airport, flights make a sharp turn over East Honolulu as they continue climbing toward their cruising altitude.
As a spokesman for one residents' organization, I have complained about this risk and the disturbance of the accompanying noise to our elected officials and to many agencies at city, state and federal levels. But dozens of planes continue to fly over our heads every day.
There may be explanations why flights abandon their over-water course and suddenly veer toward Diamond Head over a densely populated area but there is no excuse for putting us at risk. Accidents do occur most frequently shortly after take-off as anyone following the news knows.
Gov. Cayetano, Mayor Harris, ladies and gentlemen of the FAA, airline executives: Let the tragedy in Rockaway inspire you to prevent such a tragedy happening to our neighborhoods. This danger is unnecessary here. A few more minutes' flying time over water, and aircraft would avoid crossing over O'ahu.
Overhead power line in Palolo not an option
Your Nov. 13 editorial on mediating the Wa'ahila Ridge controversy has some merit and some errors.
An overhead line in Palolo is not an option. The Palolo community sued the Hawaiian Electric Co. in 1979 over an earlier version of this proposal. As a result of the out-of-court settlement, HECO agreed that no 138-kV overhead transmission line would ever be built in the "Palolo overhead exclusion zone."
The permit decision by the Board of Land and Natural Resources does not have to be yes or no. The parties and the board can agree to numerous conditions.
The obvious questions are:
Why is HECO talking mediation after spending $13 million since 1992 on this 30-year ram-and-jam project?
Why did HECO announce it would mediate on the last day of the hearing? Mediation is not a new idea. Our groups met with HECO five years ago. After two meetings, HECO canceled the discussions.
Our state Constitution calls for energy self-sufficiency. This proposal does nothing to reduce our dependency on oil. We await to see what HECO is offering now.
Life of the Land
Football causes more deaths than boxing
With all the anti-boxing feeling here on Maui and in the state of Hawai'i, I wish to clarify some statistics.
While there were nine football-related deaths reported in the United States this year, there was only one boxing death. That is something to consider the next time you feel boxing is so violent.
The football victims included everyone from an established NFL star to an emerging college talent to a 14-year-old high school player. And the causes of death varied from heatstroke to the use of a dietary supplement to an exceptionally hard tackle on a kickoff return.
Imagine if boxers were dropping at such an alarming rate, particularly teenagers (at least four of the gridiron players were in their teens). The radio talk shows and some of our elected officials in Hawai'i and on Maui would be beating the topic into a fine powder.
But, of course, football is our national pastime, a beloved Sunday ritual. So, let's not make a big deal out of dangerous working conditions, drug abuse, widespread steroid use, and quarterbacks suffering 10 or 12 concussions in a career. Hey, it's all just part of the game (and don't forget parents attacking players, coaches and other parents; not one incident like that is found in amateur boxing).
Besides, don't you go comparing football to boxing. In boxing, you know that the object of the game is to purposely injure the opponent. That's not true in football. Remember that the next time you see a defensive back go for a receiver's knees or watch a linebacker take aim at a quarterback's jaw with his helmet.
Trainer, Bang-Bang's Kihei Boxing Club
Wasted restaurant food could go to the needy
Alice Keesing's Nov. 15 article, "Agencies say hunger plagues many in Hawai'i," prompts me to recount a recent experience I had at a downtown restaurant.
I had gone in for a very late lunch just before closing time. In front of me under the glass displays were several whole pizzas, half filled trays of lasagna, spaghetti, salads and other foods.
This was not half-eaten food, but food that had not been served.
I asked what they did with all the leftovers and was told they throw them out. The employee I talked to didn't fully understand the logic behind this policy other than it might have to do with being sued if someone got sick from the donated food. Ironic, given there is a much greater chance of a person getting sick by eating food out of a Dumpster but then you can't sue the rubbish removal company.
This restaurant is not alone. Since then, I routinely have inquired what is done with leftovers at other restaurants and have gotten the same reply. So why doesn't the state pass legislation granting immunity to any restaurant willing to donate uneaten food and then set up a network to collect and distribute it?
Why? Because the state doesn't want to admit there is a problem, especially one like hungry Hawaiians that might offend tourists. After all tourists spend money, poor locals can't.
Roland L. Halpern
Help fight terrorism by cutting energy use
Recent events have again highlighted the need to break our addiction to Middle East oil.
If we weren't afraid of losing this precious fluid, we wouldn't have to kowtow to the Saudis and their support of violent Muslim radicals, we wouldn't have to pussyfoot around with Saddam Hussein, and we wouldn't have to go begging corrupt governments such as Iran and Pakistan to help us bring Osama bin Laden to justice.
There is a great unity of desire among Americans now to do something to help stop terrorism. It seems clear that the best thing people can do is to reduce their use of Middle East oil.
This will accomplish two important things:
It will reduce the cash flow to countries like Saudi Arabia that fund terrorism.
It will take the handcuffs off our foreign policy in the region by removing the threat of another oil embargo by the oil cartel.
There are two simple things each of us here in Hawai'i can do to help in this great patriotic effort: Conserve energy and use homegrown energy like wind and solar. Drying your clothes outside in the wind here in Hawai'i is almost as fast as using an energy-guzzling clothes dryer, and will save you a lot of money too. Not having a solar hot water heater here is just plain dumb with all the rebates and tax credits.
Na Makani Solar Rebate Program
Kealakekua, Big Island
Government will not find money in people's wallets
On a recent 6 p.m. Channel 2 News brobroadcast, Robert Bunda spoke of the possibility of another special session to raid the Hurricane Relief Fund and to look into raising taxes.
Is raising taxes our esteem elected officials' answer to an alternative to tourism? Raise taxes to take care of the revenue shortfall due to the decline of tourist coming to Hawai'i? Where are the higher taxes going to come from? People who are unemployed? Businesses already suffering and struggling to stay afloat? Or those who have been forced to file bankruptcy?
I suggest our Legislature get off their "ponies" and form a think tank and come up with constructive alternatives to tourism. If it's legalizing gaming so be it!
We are approaching an election year, and I for one am keeping track of the productiveness of our elected officials and will vote accordingly.
Issues handled properly by neighborhood board
Regarding the Nov. 13 letter by Bud Ebel: The Wai'anae Coast Neighborhood Board supports the rights of all the citizens of Wai'anae.
At times, supporting the rights of citizens' actions, contrary to what the majority may feel is right, is called for, as in the case of a member of the board not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. The board received guidance from the city corporation counsel stating that standing for the Pledge of Allegiance is voluntary and cannot be mandated. Ebel is also referred to review the U.S. Supreme Court Decision of 1943 regarding the right of students and those with religious objections not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance.
As to the subject of the board not taking a stand on the Makua "issue," I had agreed to place this item on the agenda at our October meeting, prior to the resolution of the lawsuit between EarthJustice, representing Malama Makua, and the U.S. Army. Subsequent to the resolution of the lawsuit, I made the decision to not add this item to the agenda since the purpose of the neighborhood boards is to advise, and there was nothing left to advise.
In the discussion at the board meeting to place the item on the agenda, the majority of the board felt that adding the item back on the agenda, after the resolution of the lawsuit, would do nothing more than provide an avenue to cause further dissension within the board and potentially the community.
Neither of these are desirable consequences in working to further the welfare of the community.
Lastly, in regard to Ebel's resolution, he handed out a copy of his resolution prior to the meeting but had not contacted me to have it added to an already full agenda, which is published per the state Sunshine Law.
The Wai'anae Neighborhood Board prides itself on its diversity and its ability to handle many diverse and controversial subjects within the neighborhood while respecting the rights and opinions of all of its constituents, and will continue to do so.
Cynthia K.L. Rezentes
Chairwoman, Wai'anae Coast Neighborhood Board No. 24