Letters to the Editor
Next camera target: Hawai'i's overeaters
The state Department of Transportation stated that the reason for the photo ticketing was to cut down on accidents and deaths on the highway. If the state were really concerned about the death-rate percentage, perhaps it should use the cameras to cite people for unhealthy eating and overeating.
Just imagine, "Big Brother" could be at the local fast-food location, Costco, restaurants, etc., photographing what you eat and how much. If you are above the national weight requirements for good health, then you could get fined and your picture could be published in the paper for consuming too much food for your weight category.
Just think how much the state and private business could cut down on debilitating diseases and the loss of employee work time due to unhealthy and sick employees, as well as earlier death.
In fact, more individuals die due to poor health as compared to highway deaths. I think the state is just looking for more revenue. Preferably, it could go to cover Hawai'i's poor health habits.
Yellow-light timing needs to be improved
Recently, I ran two red lights. I didn't do that on purpose. I couldn't help it. The light changed to yellow when I was too close to the stop line to stop without making a panic stop and most likely getting rear-ended. I kept going and, surprise, the light changed to red before I even got to it.
Now I know the meaning of that very old joke: "What do you do when the light turns yellow?" "Step on the gas to beat the red light."
The traffic engineers are going to have to drive around town in busy traffic and find out what it's like out there.
The yellow-light timing must have been set for the time interval taken by cars traveling at speed. That won't work for slower traffic. The time interval is going to have to be increased, otherwise many innocent victims of the timing are going to be ticketed along with the deliberate red-light runners.
What about red-light runners making left or right turns? I've seen a string of them in close order, like a line of termites, doing that to the extent that the green light traffic or pedestrians could not move. Are the cameras going to catch them?
Traffic camera vans are harassing drivers
The state Department of Transportation says the purpose of the new traffic cameras is to slow motorists, thus making our roads safer. On Jan. 7 at about 11 a.m., I saw two camera-equipped vans on the same roadway, the freeway near Farrington High School and the Bishop Museum, monitoring traffic heading west, both well within a half-mile of each other.
This is not an endeavor to promote safety. It is harassment. It is irresponsible. It is a slap in the face. These people should be terminated.
Gambling wouldn't be good for Hawai'i
It was interesting to read on your Jan. 7 front page about how state regulators are cracking down on the scam targeting Hawai'i women. However, I think the state should stay consistent in its pursuit to protect its citizens from scams that will worsen their situations and lives. In particular, I am talking about gambling.
I have been listening to different sides about gambling lately and have come to the conclusion that it is just bad business. First, I wouldn't want to see my kids growing up in an environment that brings with it addiction, alcohol, drugs and prostitution.
Second, it would ruin a lot of local businesses. Instead of bringing in business, it would take away disposable income that would have been spent at retailers or restaurants. How many independent, locally owned restaurants do you see on the Las Vegas Strip?
Third, it may bring jobs initially, but the majority of the money is funneled out to the casino owners who don't live in Hawai'i but will suck it dry and take with it our aloha spirit and community as we know it.
I think it would be great if The Advertiser could run a pro vs. con section on gambling so that people can make informed choices before it is decided upon.
Many groups need to keep protection
Privatization of government services may work in certain circumstances, but when it comes to those services dealing with the elderly, the disabled, children or animals, we must fight to keep them in civil service.
Employees must be able to speak out about working conditions without fear of retribution. We must speak for those unable to speak for themselves.
Language expert mistaken on impact
As a lowly graduate student in English at UH, I often refer to my dictionary, not only to check on meanings and spellings of which I'm uncertain, but also to discover where words come from and how long they've been around.
Perhaps one loses this habit after becoming a qualified language expert such as Deborah Tannen. In her Jan. 7 Island Life article on the use of lingo, Susan Campbell called Tannen "[o]ne of today's best-known linguists," and quoted her as saying, "As far as I knew, impact is a noun, but now, suddenly, it's being used as a verb."
I'm not sure where Tannen's linguistic researches have led her, but my dictionary (Merriam Webster's Collegiate, 10th Edition) says that "impact" has been a verb in English, both transitive and intransitive, since 1601. It comes from the Latin word impactus, the past participle of the verb impingere: to push against. The noun actually appears to have been derived from this verb form.
When she says "suddenly," perhaps she is speaking geologically?
Brenneman will be great for Hawai'i
I was very pleased to see that Greg Brenneman is one of your people to watch in the year 2002.
As a longtime flight attendant with Continental Airlines and a homeowner in Hawai'i, I know firsthand what a great leader and people-person Brenneman is. He really felt like the heart of the company, the one who truly cares about the employees, remembering my name when he saw me on a flight, and things that we had discussed, and he always seemed interested in what he and the airline could do better.
Although the situations are quite different, and neither Aloha nor Hawaiian are in bankruptcy or in turnaround, I would like to let their employees know how things are so much better at Continental due to Brenneman's management team. We overcame low morale after so many bankruptcies and previous bad management, we stopped fighting with different departments and, when our performance and quality became the industry leader, we felt incredible pride at how far we had come. We really deserved being one of the top 20 companies to work for in the country, and a lot of us feel it was due to how Greg Brenneman put people first.
I've read the letters to the editor that voice understandable concerns, but I encourage employees to keep an open mind. He really cares, and the new airline is going to be a great place to work just look at Continental.
Hawaiian Airlines doesn't need merger
Many of us at Hawaiian Airlines have been following the news of the proposed merger very closely. The announcement was sudden and now appears to have been prearranged with some "special help" and is on the fast track to close before the true effects can be sorted out.
Suddenly, after 72 years of choice and competition, "Hawaiian" and "Aloha" will be gone forever.
Fortunately, however, this may not be a done deal just yet. The spin that the two airlines are hopelessly pathetic and face imminent bankruptcy does not hold water. I'm confident regulators and lawmakers are less concerned about face-saving than what's right for the people of Hawai'i.
Contrary to what the public and government are being led to believe by the profiteers, in the case of Hawaiian Airlines, massive amounts of money have been reinvested into the infrastructure, right down to new airplanes and livery. Record profits have been recorded, and the company has built up a cash reserve of more than $120 million.
Hawaiian appears to be well poised to weather the current economic climate, while positioning for future growth on its own merit.
Department of Health worked hard on dengue
Thank you for your Jan. 2 editorial on the state Department of Health's efforts to control dengue fever in Hawai'i and for The Honolulu Advertiser's continued support on this important public health issue.
If left unaddressed, the spread of dengue fever could have serious implications for Hawai'i. That is why I'm especially proud of the 300 DOH employees who are among some of the top scientists, technicians and healthcare professionals in the nation for responding immediately, with tremendous scientific and technical expertise, and with a deep commitment to doing what it takes to protect the health of Hawai'i's residents.
Thanks to their outstanding work, plus the cooperation and support of Hawai'i's residents, I am happy to report that new cases of dengue fever have dropped dramatically in the Islands, and the situation now appears to be under control.
Dengue fever has reminded all of us that due to the dramatic changes taking place in the world, we can no longer take a passive approach to public heath. Today, public health professionals must be proactive, use technology to deliver health protection and prevention programs more efficiently and effectively, and be prepared to handle large-scale public health crises caused by either natural or man-made forces.
And, most importantly, we must have the cooperation and support of the entire community. At the DOH, we are working hard to meet the challenge of delivering quality public health in a fast-changing world.
Bruce S. Anderson
Director, Hawai'i Department of Health
White-collar crime should be a priority
Congratulations to Ed Kubo, the new U.S. attorney (Jan. 4, "Local boy Ed Kubo stands tall as U.S. attorney"). Not only has he had a distinguished career as a prosecutor, but his development from a contented "C" student into Hawai'i's top law-enforcement officer will be (I hope) an inspiration to many students at the University of Hawai'i, his alma mater.
I would like to prod Kubo about one matter. Conspicuously missing from his list of enforcement "priorities" are white-collar crimes such as fraud, tax evasion, unfair business practices, environmental violations and corruption.
This is a glaring omission. Corporations, politicians, government agencies and other seemingly "respectable" actors commit many of the most harmful offenses in Hawai'i and elsewhere.
In one well-known study, criminologists examined law-enforcement actions against 582 of the largest publicly owned corporations during a two-year period. A total of 1,553 cases were filed against these corporations. That is an average of 2.7 violations per firm in just two years. Of the 582 corporations, 350 (60 percent) had at least one federal action brought against them, and of those with at least one violation, the average was 4.4 per corporation. Violations were especially likely to be committed by the largest corporations.
White-collar crimes will be found in abundance in the business and government worlds if and only if officials like Kubo take the trouble to look for them. Such crimes must not be ignored, and they cannot be adequately addressed by city or state prosecutors.
Traditionally, U.S. attorneys have focused on these kinds of crimes because they are too complex and difficult for local prosecutors to handle. Steve Alm, Kubo's predecessor, did so, and Kubo himself should follow in that tradition.
Images of crime that exclude organizational and white-collar actors are limiting, misleading and extremely harmful to the people of Hawai'i. Kubo must expand his vision and adjust his priorities accordingly.
David T. Johnson
Assistant professor of sociology, University of Hawai'i at Manoa