Letters to the Editor
DDT wrong answer to fight dengue fever
Your Oct. 13 editorial suggests we bring back DDT to fight dengue. DDT was banned for a reason; we need to remember that reason.
DDT accumulates in the fat of living creatures. DDT sprayed on a leaf may get eaten by a caterpillar that gets eaten by a bird. The bird eats more caterpillars until DDT reaches toxic levels. Soon we have the "Silent Spring" of Rachel Carson, but we still have mosquitoes, as there are few animals left to eat them.
DDT gets washed down to the sea on fallen leaves where little organisms accumulate DDT. They in turn are eaten by bigger fish that accumulate more DDT up the food chain to food fish and humans. Before the DDT ban, levels in fish were high enough to make them unsafe for people. Mother's milk, with its high fat, became a dangerous brew for the newborn.
Finally, DDT is linked with reproductive abnormalities in many organisms. The human body can mistake DDT for hormones, determine sexual identity, maturity and ovulation. Some claim that such hormone-mimics threaten the existence of the human race; let's hope they are wrong.
When we have other things to do the job against dengue, why risk using DDT?
David Cameron Duffy
Professor of botany, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
You can't negotiate with irrational people
Gaius Thede's Oct. 16 letter criticizing President Bush for refusing to negotiate with the Taliban ("No negotiations is adolescent response") is naive and wrong. You can only negotiate with rational people who are willing to give you things you want.
When Neville Chamberlain tried to negotiate with Hitler by offering him part of Czechoslovakia, Hitler seized all of Czechoslovakia, then promptly broke the peace treaty and invaded Poland. When the previous Israeli prime minister offered Yasser Arafat generous terms for peace, Arafat turned him down cold and instigated a war.
Have the Taliban made any concessions to show they want peace with us? Have they released the aid workers whom they are threatening to execute for allegedly teaching Christianity? Did they shut down any terrorist bases? Did they arrest Osama bin Laden and propose a list of countries they would be willing to extradite him to for trial?
No, they asked us for proof of bin Laden's guilt (i.e., turn over classified information so they can find our spies and execute them) and asked us to stop bombing while they debate with us (i.e., stall for time until the Afghan winter shuts down military operations).
Negotiations have their time and place, and President Bush did negotiate terms with Pakistan despite its past aid to terrorists. But you have to be realistic about whom you can negotiate with.
We are at war, so make allowances
It truly amazes me that with several thousand bodies yet to be found in New York and our armed forces engaged in combat operations, some people are already beginning to whine about Aloha Stadium security, objective news coverage, civil liberties and the U.S. policy on dealing with the criminals responsible for Sept. 11.
Wake up! We are at war, and if that interferes with your comfort level, that's tough. I am sure there are over 5,000 men, women and children who will not see another sunrise, Christmas or draw another breath who might disagree with your perception of how things should be done.
Let those who are in charge of public safety do their jobs. If they see a point in the future to back off a bit on a particular security procedure, I am sure they will. (Just remember, you are never sucker-punched when your defenses are up.)
If the president of the United States says "no negotiations," he is speaking for the American people. I seem to remember him getting a standing ovation by our elected leaders during his speech to Congress several times as he said this. To believe you can negotiate with the bad guys to quit killing our people and destroying our buildings is naive.
Everyone needs to settle down and understand this is going to take some time. Support your elected leaders, and if you don't feel they are doing a good enough job, when they come up for re-election, vote for someone else you think will. Or better yet, get off the fence post yourself and run for office instead of throwing stones at someone else who is trying his best to protect us, our country and our way of life.
Executive Director, Honolulu Council Navy League of the U.S.
Media pushes fear, offers no solutions
Is the editorial statement that we must not succumb to fear realistic, especially when we have the media ready to report, analyze and speculate on every issue that is at the hearts and minds of people?
Sometimes it seems as if the media are partly responsible for causing some of the fear that so many of us feel. They are in a hurry to report the outbreaks of anthrax cases, then emphasize how difficult it will be to find the source, leaving us feeling helpless. They are in a hurry to expose the weaknesses of our security systems, leaving us feeling insecure. They have commentary shows where much of the time spent is analyzing, speculating and criticizing current issues such as anthrax and security, equipping us with no tangible techniques or skills to be better able to fight back.
Most of all, they continue to emphasize how nervous the nation is, and on top of all this, they repeat their stories over and over.
The media have a responsibility to inform the public, and more importantly, they should be educating the public with what they do know, like what can be done for the dengue fever outbreak. We received tips on what we could do to prevent the infestation of mosquitoes.
Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge everyone has in coping and dealing with anthrax and security issues, the less likely we will succumb to fear.
Wasteful spending won't bail out state
The tragedy in New York is not the reason to give to the state more control over Hawai'i's economy. Aside from some few measures that follow revised estimates of the expectation of mass murder and sabotage, ideas that were good ideas before Sept. 11 remain good ideas. Ideas that were bad ideas before Sept. 11 remain bad ideas. Wasteful state spending is a bad idea.
State spending does not stimulate the economy. Hawai'i for years has ranked in the top tier of states in terms of state and local spending per capita. If government spending is a stimulant, Hawai'i's economy would be booming. It is not. Construction spending does not stimulate the economy. Hawai'i has been on a construction binge since the 1960s. Where is the economic boom?
Pouring concrete onto land controlled by the University of Hawai'i or the Department of Education does not advance education. The state supports bureaucratic bloat (see the Student Services building at UH), pure waste (consider the empty floors of the Ocean Science building), and tilts the balance in K-12 education yet further against the more effective independent and parochial K-12 schools.
Give $100 tax credit to spur our economy
It is vital that government recognize consumers' needs as well as businesses in this economic downturn. It is vital that government, at both the federal and state levels, help by providing incentives such as tax credits for meals and entertainment.
Let's help our people patronize our restaurants and drive-ins as well as go to movies, museums, shows and ice-cream parlors in shopping malls by giving them a $100 tax credit, which in reality is exactly like giving them a gift certificate.
This, in my humble opinion, is one of the best incentives we can give to help our businesses as well as our people here in Hawai'i.
Rep. Lei Ahu Isa
D-27th (Pu'unui, 'Alewa, Nu'uanu)
Art is good for soul in these trying times
With more faith than sense, I opened an art gallery just weeks before the shock attack on the World Trade Center, so I am especially sensitive to the effect it continues to have on our centers of trade.
Americans took the homicidal maniacs' best shot, and as a society we seem to be dealing with it admirably. Our response as individuals will test us and determine the repercussions of that explosive 9/11 wake-up blast. We have the power to determine if it gets worse or better.
The shopping prescription being heralded by business is bittersweet because sacrifice seems to be called for and shopping does not state our sorrow. But then, if people don't shop, the terrorists may prevail in driving the country into a deep economic ditch. There are choices to be made.
As much as and perhaps more than ever, art can play a part in healing our spirit. The quality of our lives should not deteriorate because of the homicidal fringe. Life may be short, but it needn't be more brutish. I want to thank the brave and enlightened souls who continue to have faith in and live lives that include art, music, dance, laughing and celebrating our being. It is time to stop psychologically shaking off the dust of that fateful day and to live well now.
We can all support the effort to root out evil if our spirits are good. Do not let this adversity stop you from living a fulfilling life.
Honolulu Symphony returned us to peace
The Honolulu Symphony opened its Halekulani Masterworks concerts Sunday with glorious music to heal our souls, burdened since the events of Sept. 11. From the bubbling short piece by former composer-in-residence Dan Welcher to the soaring violin of Cho-Liang Lin in Tchaikovsky's "Violin Concerto," we were literally carried to a more peaceful level.
But the orchestra's own offering of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" most perfectly expressed the unconquerable human spirit and confidence in our abilities to rise above the horror of Sept. 11.
As the entire orchestra triumphantly restated the opening theme, it resonated through the hall, entering our bodies and stirring our spirits in ways that most of us had never felt before.
Hatred, Palestinian issue will haunt us
I support military action against the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. Talking is no longer enough. Military action, though, will not solve this problem.
In mosques and schools throughout the world, children are taught to revere the violent martyrs and hate the infidels. As long as these schools and mosques continue to teach their message of hate, there will never be an end to this violence
The other root issue is Palestine. If we don't solve that problem, the United States will never have peace.
So what can the average citizen do about this? Plenty. We need to contact our representatives in Washington and let them know that they need to solve this problem, and that military action alone won't do it. We must close these schools of hate and solve the problem of Palestine or there will never be peace.
Why don't anti-gambling folks want referendum?
Regarding Dorothy Bobilin's Oct. 15 letter against legalized gambling: If her coalition and the other numerous coalitions against gambling are so sure they speak for the majority of the people who live here, why don't they put the issue to a referendum? Are they afraid it will pass?
My feeling is that we should have casinos, but not lotto gambling. Casinos generate a lot of good jobs.
Military retiree was off base on parking
I read with great ire the complaint of W.W. Robinson, USN (Ret.), concerning increased parking charges at Fort DeRussy. In fact, the rate of increase is nominal and not at all "substantial," as he claims.
The cost of parking there for military personnel is probably one-third as much as parking at other Waikiki locations.
It is my understanding that the Hale Koa Hotel does not receive any tax dollar appropriations and must be self-sustaining. It is also my understanding much of the parking revenues goes toward upkeep on the more than 60 acres that make up the oasis-like grounds of Fort DeRussy Park and Beach. In this regard, the hotel does an outstanding job of serving not only the military but the civilian community as well, since the beach and the park are open to all.
I find it difficult to understand why Robinson and others who agree with him do not think they should pay their fair share for parking in Waikiki.