Letters to the Editor
Traffic-calming solution: Dig up the city's streets
The city and state keep spending money on efforts to slow traffic. The most recent is the $800,000 project in Kahala. And we can't forget the rumble strip fiasco on the Pali Highway.
I think the method that the city has used to slow traffic on Dillingham in Kalihi is probably the most effective and least expensive, though. Dig some holes in the pavement and cover them with slick steel plates. The areas of the road without steel plates are the home of increasingly deeper potholes (reverse speed bumps, maybe?).
These traffic-calming measures definitely slow my speed on Dillingham and have the added benefit of increasing income for the local tire and wheel dealers.
Zoning and permitting are inherently unfair
Isn't it human nature that when doing good, we believe ourselves absolved of responsibility for any inadvertent harm our goodness may do? Such is the case pleaded by one Eric Crispin, architect turned bureaucrat whose defense of those saintly "vision teams" helped him become director of C&C Planning and Permitting, where he does not grant meetings with mere Native Hawaiian mortals who dispute his lordly but apparently ignorant perspective on land use in Hawai'i.
Hawai'i's land-use patterns were set in the maheles, which first established today's disproportionate control over nearly all of the land of the sovereign nation of Hawai'i by missionary-era land trusts and state government. Zoning and permitting of today merely codify mahele patterns and so are inherently unfair to the rest of us. It is still an open question that the mahele was not fraudulent.
Do the good burghers toiling selflessly on "vision teams" and neighborhood boards understand they are blindly and wrongly reinforcing an inherently discriminatory land-use system? Or realize that their service places them in legal jeopardy upon federal judicial review of this inherently discriminatory land-use system as they may have no 11th Amendment immunity themselves?
'Tour' of motorcycle ward is convincing
As the physician and I came to the end of our "tour" of the motorcycle ward at Duke University Hospital (many years ago), he announced, "Isn't it wonderful. None of these people would be alive if they hadn't been wearing a helmet."
As a motorcycle rider, I always wore a helmet, despite the fact that it was heavy and blocked my peripheral vision and blocked some sounds that I thought were important.
I never wore a helmet again after that tour of the motorcycle ward at Duke.
Before I took the "the tour," arranged by my brother to try to get me to stop riding a motorcycle, I was not aware that the medical community could keep you alive on respirators almost indefinitely. I never knew that someone could die from bedsores, which can eat right through bone. I didn't realize that you could be made to live in a vegetative state for years, perhaps even decades.
I figure that if the federal government really cared about my health and safety, it would help all states maintain and improve roads and highways without tying the issue of helmet use to those funds. After all, some of those funds are mine.
I have searched earnestly for hard, unbiased research data that would support Dr. Jack Scaff's implied assertion that medical outcomes are substantially improved and medical costs are lower for moped riders who wear a helmet. I ride a moped. I'd rather die quickly with a smile on my face and bugs in my teeth than by inches, perhaps over years. I'm looking for quality of life, not quantity.
If anyone has any hard, unbiased research data that examines all aspects of the question for moped riders in Hawai'i, I'd love to see it. I'm flexible. I'm willing to change my mind again and wear a helmet. Just point me to that data.
Carol A. Dickson
Promoting tourism to Hawai'i is redundant
Just curious, but why do we even need a tax-supported agency to promote tourism?
The very mention of "Hawai'i" is practically synonymous with the word "vacation" all over the planet. Why do we need to spend copious amounts of taxpayers' money to lure people to our shores with what turn out to be false promises?
We need to be spending some of that money to enhance the visitor experience so they will come back.
We could start by addressing the litter problem. Our streets and beaches, highways and streams are in deplorable condition. Trash and cigarette butts are ugly and unsanitary, and they are everywhere.
We could spend the money on programs like Sunset on the Beach. We could do something to alleviate the crisis in interisland travel. The list is endless.
But the HVCB? A giant boondoggle.
Complaint over carrier wasn't based on facts
The climate of anxiety and pessimism expressed in Tony Castanha's July 3 letter regarding the negative effects of basing an aircraft carrier group in Hawai'i warrants comment. He portrays this increased military presence as a magnet for terrorism, with the military inflating the local economy and being a detriment to the environment.
Faulty assumptions lead to invalid conclusions.
Fact: Terrorist acts in this country on 9-11 were committed against prominent national landmarks and institutions, and to date, none against military bases. Aircraft carrier port calls at Pearl Harbor have been routine for decades.
Fact: Castanha's belief that the military has no more than a "break-even" effect on the state's economy ignores the major impact of billions of dollars the Department of Defense pumps into the economy over a long-term basis. The military is the second largest industry in this state, and without the infusion of those defense dollars, our stagnated economy would be beyond resuscitation.
Fact: Military personnel are not free-loading off taxpayers. They pay taxes just like everyone else, as do their working spouses. Millions of those dollars find their way into our economy.
To blame the basing of a carrier group in Hawai'i for potential increased terrorism and the military for contributing to the ills of the state's economy are undeserved twists of the facts.
Local coverage of Japan trip unnecessary
I see in the July 15 paper that Gov. Lingle is puzzled about her dog-and-pony show in Japan not being covered in person by Hawai'i's reporters.
I believe she missed the point. Grip-and-grin photo ops in Hawai'i's newspapers and TV broadcasts won't attract Japanese tourists to Hawai'i. Photo ops and warm fuzzy stories in Japan probably will.
As I understand it, Japanese reporters dutifully followed the Lingle entourage and filed stories. Mission accomplished, I'd say. The interesting story in Hawai'i is why it took 44 people and $236,000 to go to Japan. Is it because Japanese reporters can't resist covering mob scenes?
Separation of church and state is narrowing
So, the ACLU is suing the city of Honolulu regarding the Family Day festival sponsored by the Hawai'i Christian Coalition. The July 15 article quotes a figure of "at least $15,000 of taxpayers' money."
That is a pittance compared to the $165,000 the city spent to landscape the 26-foot-tall vermilion torii in Mo'ili'ili, built on state-owned land, by the way. The torii most definitely symbolizes the Shinto religion.
The city also spent $264,668 of the taxpayers' money on the new Chinatown gates, which have plaques of the Taoist Chinese Immortals (Honolulu Advertiser, Aug. 21, 2002). A visit to the Taoist temple up the street on Vineyard will confirm that Taoism is a living, breathing religion practiced here and throughout China.
Consistency and fairness would be appreciated in the ongoing discussion and implementation of the principle of the separation of church and state.
Laura M. Fink
Inconvenience doesn't justify new traffic light
The most recent 'Ewa Neighborhood Board meeting brought to my attention a safety issue: the Honowai Street entrance to the Fort Weaver-Kunia Road corridor.
Because of the difficulty of crossing traffic in that area, Sen. Cal Kawamoto has planned to place another traffic light on that road. His claim is that driving to Waipahu Street is too inconvenient.
I recently drove from Honowai Street to Waipahu Street. The total driving time was approximately 70 seconds.
The solution is simple. I agree it is a safety issue; therefore, the Honowai Street access to Kunia Road should be closed immediately. While this would produce a minor inconvenience to the residents of the area, it would eliminate the safety issue.
During tough economic times, it is hard to justify another traffic light. Closing this access would involve a small cost compared to a traffic light. If the senator thinks closing that access is inconvenient, I suggest he drive the 30 minutes from Geiger and Fort Weaver Road to the H-1 entrance. Then he can explain to the 30,000 residents what an inconvenience really is.
Solving ice problem requires new thinking
Since the people from Kahuku to Kahalu'u went out and held signs declaring that they're sick of the drug problem in their neighborhoods, there's been a lot of stories concerning the ongoing crystal meth problem.
Unfortunately, feel-good activities like holding signs do nothing to temporarily or permanently solve the drug problem. Imposing harsher penalties on drug offenders won't work, either, because that's what we've been doing all along, with little result.
Blue-ribbon panels created by the governor's office discussing the drug problem won't work, either, because they don't involve any stakeholders. (I know, let's form an anti-drug task force. Yeah, right.)
We cannot keep doing the same things and expect different results. We have to use our collective creativity in designing new strategies to fight this problem. That's where the solution lies.
Help us conserve water during statewide drought
I want to commend Advertiser reporter Jan TenBruggencate on his excellent story "No relief seen for statewide drought" (July 15). His story does an excellent job of explaining Hawai'i's drier-than-normal weather and why experts predict these drought-like conditions might continue throughout the summer.
At the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, we're doing our part to help manage our precious water resources during the critical time. We're also asking for everyone's help to make every drop count by conserving water.
We're asking everyone to make an extra-special effort to save. If everyone used just 15 fewer gallons each day, we'd meet our water-conservation goals for the summer, when water demand tends to go up by around 15 to 20 percent.
Everyone can help, and even small actions can add up to making a big difference in helping us manage our water resources wisely. Plant "non-thirsty" plants in your yard, use a broom not a hose to clean your driveway, and fix leaky faucets.
Thanks to everyone's efforts, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply's water-conservation programs have cut water use on O'ahu by nearly 10 percent over the past decade. But, we need to do more to ensure we have "Water for Life," both for this generation and the next.
Comprehensive water-conservation programs for businesses and residents are just some of the ways the BWS ensures O'ahu has "Water for Life." The BWS and its team of top scientists and engineers continue to lead the way in innovative programs and new technologies that guarantee the future of our water.
Unfortunately, we can't control the weather. We can work together to carefully manage this precious and limited resource, both in dry weather and year-round.
Donna Fay Kiyosaki
Deputy manager and chief engineer
Honolulu Board of Water Supply