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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 25, 2006

Letters to the Editor



This past week, I bagged up more than 80 empty spray cans from one graffiti site. I estimate that there were approximately 150 linear feet up to about 6 feet high covered with graffiti. I think that Councilman Djou's ideas for control of graffiti are good, but I would like to propose some of my own:

  • Make 21 the minimum age for the purchase of spray paint. And, like liquor and cigarettes, make it a crime to purchase spray paint for underage users.

  • Require recording a purchaser's ID, much like what is now done with products containing pseudoephedrine. Limit the number that can be purchased to, say, 10 cans in any 30-day period.

  • Put a high refundable deposit on spray cans, say $2 per can, and require the stores that sell spray cans to redeem the empties.

    I am sure these measures will not be popular with businesses whose sales of spray paint will be impacted, but either we get serious about the problem or learn to live with it.

    Raleigh Ferdun



    The governor and lieutenant governor of Hawai'i are the only state officials elected by all the people of Hawai'i. Every other state politician has a smaller constituency to represent. Therefore, one would expect the governor to have higher standards in upholding the rights and prosperity of all of Hawai'i's people and not one special-interest group demanding privileges and benefits based solely on its ancestry.

    Given the governor's sworn oath to protect all people in the state of Hawai'i without regard to race, how can the governor support the Akaka bill, which would seek to separate people rather than unify them?

    In her zealous, unreasoned support of the Akaka bill, Gov. Lingle would give away the choice of 90 percent of those, including Native Hawaiians, who voted for Hawai'i to become a state in 1959. Given the voters' mandate for Hawai'i, why, then, shouldn't voters be the final voice on the Akaka bill, which would eventually give away huge tracts of land and billions of state dollars to a new nation that even Native Hawaiians have not been allowed to vote on?

    The United States is a federal system, and the federal government derives its power from individual states. Gov. Lingle seems to believe the federal government should determine what is best for Hawai'i while its own citizens are left out of the process.

    Rather than stumping in Washington, D.C., to pass the Akaka bill, she needs to return to Hawai'i and allow Hawai'i's voters to determine our own destiny.

    Earl Arakaki
    'Ewa Beach



    A possible solution to the problem of our young people having to wait in long lines or for a long time to obtain their driver's license could be the following: Could the schools that have more than one driving instructor have those instructors certified to conduct road tests? Then when students are ready, have these instructors test each other's students.

    The students could then be issued a certificate of completion or something similar to present to the licensing division for issuance of an official driver's license.

    Seems to me that this approach could save all of us a lot of time and money.

    Robert Mandap




    In the letters of proponents of the Akaka bill, I hear the common argument that because tribal groups on the Mainland are recognized by the federal government, so should Native Hawaiians. The fact is, current Federal Indian Policy is under attack in the courts, and America's version of apartheid is only a Supreme Court decision away from being abolished.

    The U.S. Constitution specifically disallows more than one class of citizen. The framers knew that a just and fair society was one whose citizens were all treated the same under the law, not differently based upon racial blood quantum levels.

    In 1959, over 93 percent of those voting chose for Hawai'i to become a state and to become full citizens of the U.S.A. with the same constitutional rights of all other Americans.

    The Akaka bill is an assault on the U.S. Constitution and on the unity of Hawai'i. If all the citizens of Hawai'i were to have a chance to vote on it, I am sure it would be rejected.

    I guess that is why the politicians who support it have never supported a public plebiscite on the merits of the bill.

    Stephen Aghjayan



    Hawai'i imports all of its ethanol while countless thousands of acres of sugarcane land have been fallow for many years.

    Typical backward thinking for state "planners."

    As far as cars running rough on ethanol fuel, the state should do a lot more than open a hotline for complaints. To make Hawai'i oil-independent, it should subsidize whatever engine conversions are necessary to make ethanol burn cleanly and efficiently.

    In the foreseeable future, when gasoline may cost $10 per gallon, this relatively small investment could easily be returned tenfold to the state economy.

    William Starr Moake



    My problem with Rep. Ed Case is that some of his votes are pro-Republican, such as his vote to extend President Bush's tax cuts for corporate America and upper-income people.

    In addition, his implication that Sen. Daniel Akaka is too old to be in office offends me as a 74-year-old. In the U.S., many outstanding seniors have contributed to the building of our nation.

    John "Boogie" Lu'uwai



    In a May 22 letter to The Advertiser, a plea was issued to Gov. Lingle regarding the proposed increases in cigarette taxes. The letter was signed by someone from the "Americans for Tax Reform" (ATR) group in Washington, D.C.

    As I always used to tell my students to do, I checked up on this source using Google and found that ATR has received the bulk of its funding from the alcohol, tobacco and gambling industries and it is headed by Grover Norquist. Given that information, I see the letter in a different and quite a bit more partisan light.

    Thanks to this powerful research tool at everyone's fingertips, we all can be amateur detectives and find links between people or groups with special interests and their opinions on matters of policy or government.

    Hopefully Gov. Lingle will side with the advantages to public health and sign the bill so that fewer people will start an unhealthy habit.

    Tiffany Churukian



    Regarding the May 19 letter "Fight crime: Seat-belt compliance sweep a waste of time": The tone of the letter suggests to me that the writer must have been cited for not wearing a seat-belt and that he or she found this upsetting, resulting in pointing fingers toward more serious crimes and criminals.

    After reading this letter, I was reminded of the van-cams. Law-abiding, taxpaying citizens demanded that police target speeders and do something about the speeding epidemic in Hawai'i. Well, the Legislature acted, hence the van-cams. Suddenly, all the law-abiding, taxpaying citizens who were also getting ticketed for breaking the law only a little bit became outraged because now they, too, were getting ticketed for speeding (no matter how many miles over the limit).

    These folks were upset because the van-cams did not focus on excessive speeders; they focused on all speeders. Then they demanded the van-cams be discontinued.

    The law-abiding, taxpaying, concerned citizens who got a ticket quickly disregarded the fact that many excessive speeders were caught and/or stopped by the van-cams. They only cared that they had to pay a small fine for their small lawbreaking. They were willing to put excessive speeders back on our highways so they themselves could continue to go 5 or 10 miles over the speed limit without getting ticketed. They did not want attention focused on the little ways they break the law.

    Instead, they vehemently pointed at someone else and said "Hey, look at them, not me. I am a law-abiding citizen; what they are doing is more serious than what I am doing. Why not look at them instead of me?"

    Well, as far as I am concerned (I, too, am a law-abiding, taxpaying citizen who occasionally speeds and often does not wear my seat belt), a sin is a sin, just as a law is a law. Either you are breaking it or not.

    And if and when you do break the law, in any shape or form, you should be willing to accept the consequences when you are cited. If you do not want to be cited, ticketed or jailed, do not break the law. Do not justify your behavior and then distract from it by pointing at someone else's.

    Serena Camara



    Your editorial "Vaccine bill will do more harm than good" misses the point entirely.

    Senate Bill 2133, which would limit the use of mercury-containing vaccines, recently passed the Legislature and is awaiting action by the governor. You should have focused on the science of mercury toxicity, the potential for harm from mercury-containing vaccines, the availability of mercury-free alternatives and some doctor's disturbing insistence on continuing to inject a neurotoxin into people when alternatives exist.

    Instead, you devoted much of the piece to the way the legislation was passed.

    The bill should be judged on the issues it addresses. Mercury is known to cause developmental disabilities. That is why pregnant women are advised to limit their consumption of fish high in mercury. It makes no sense to then inject these women with mercury-containing vaccines, especially when alternatives with less or no mercury are available.

    Why did the American Academy of Pediatrics put out an autism alarm, stating that one in six children are diagnosed with a behavioral and/or developmental disability and one in 166 are diagnosed with autism, and then advocate for the continuing use of mercury in vaccines?

    Dozens of studies show the toxicity of ethyl mercury. A University of Washington study found that injected ethyl mercury resulted in twice as much inorganic mercury in the brains of primates than those eating equal amounts of methyl mercury, the type found in fish. Other studies show mercury harms the immune system, inhibits other important metabolic processes and has neurotoxic effects.

    There is also abundant evidence that mercury in vaccines could be triggering autism in some susceptible individuals. Autistic children are often low in glutathione, the body's compound for removing toxins, and often have unusually high amounts of mercury in their bodies. Other cellular and biochemical differences seen in autism are consistent with mercury exposure.

    While the Institute of Medicine proclaimed that there is no link between mercury in vaccines and autism, the author of the principal study they relied on wrote that his study does not prove or disprove the theory and that more study is needed. Until then, we should take the precautionary principle to heart and not give more mercury to pregnant women and children than is absolutely necessary.

    SB2133 would go a long way toward doing that. It allows for the Department of Health to get an exemption in case of a shortage of mercury-free vaccines, and if people are given mercury-containing vaccines, they will be informed. After carefully studying the science, the Department of Health is not recommending a veto of this bill.

    If people want more information, they should go to www.putchildrenfirst.org.

    Don King