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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 26, 2006

Letters to Editor

TRAFFIC LIGHTS

CROSSWALKS ARE, TOO, NEEDED ELSEWHERE

Kevin Erickson's May 20 letter, advocating banning pedestrian crosswalks that have no traffic signal, got me fuming. Traffic lights or no, streets will have to be crossed sometimes, and crosswalks alert motorists to pay attention to walkers.

One evening we had to find the nearest parking space from our restaurant across Kaonohi Street at Pearlridge. After dinner, we were glad that Kaonohi has a crosswalk in the middle, which is far from the intersection, and that the white stripes reflect cars' headlights, making pedestrians more visible.

The author seems to be anti-pedestrian, and he probably wouldn't walk anywhere he could drive to. In this age of high gasoline costs as well as diminishing energy supplies, shouldn't we be encouraging more non-motorized transportation like walking, bicycling, scootering, etc.?

Mariea A. Vaughan
'Ewa Beach

SOLUTION

BRING THE HOMELESS TO BARBERS POINT

Many years ago, during a previous "homeless crisis," I recommended that the governments get together and make use of the Navy facility at West Loch, which was being closed down.

It had housing, kitchens, a church, medical center and, in short, was fully featured to begin a process of solving the homeless problem in an area that was secluded, restful and had plenty of room. There were no neighbors.

I now recommend that area at Barbers Point Naval Air Station housing, which is close to the post office. There are many buildings there, and a bus could be made available by the city.

Ken Stevens
Kapolei

COMMONPLACE

LAWMAKERS: FOCUS ON PROPERTY CRIME

My sympathies go out to Christine Strobel, the "About Women" columnist who recently had her purse snatched. What a terrible thing for anyone to have to endure.

Unfortunately, property crime and theft have become so commonplace in Hawai'i that many people seem to have stopped caring and simply treat it as part of our culture. Why?

Many here are so liberal that they actually end up feeling sorry for the criminals more than the actual victims. How many times have you watched the evening news with the mother or auntie of a convicted felon sobbing and talking about, "What a good boy he was." Individuals who choose a life of crime do so of their own free will and then prey upon the rest of us with seemingly no consequence.

It has gotten to the point that everyone I know has had their car or home burglarized at least once. Why are we letting the inmates run the asylum?

The solution seems quite obvious: We need to have tougher consequences for property crime and petty theft. I would be happy to pay more in taxes if legislators would guarantee that the money would be used to build more jails and subsequently fill them with criminals.

Right now we are being held hostage by the few societal deviants who break into our homes while we are working and then break into our cars while we are trying to enjoy time with family and friends at the beach.

I urge everyone to speak up! Force our lawmakers to actually do something about property crime, for once. Until attitudes here change toward what many consider to be "just" property crime, we will be stuck with the status quo.

Dave Webb
Waipi'o

SACRIFICE

STAY-AT-HOME MOMS HELP MORAL UPBRINGING

Regarding Mrs. Nancy Jones' letter, "Mothers should be there for children": I am in my 40s. My husband and I carefully planned our pregnancy. We make sacrifices so I can stay home with our daughter, Taylor, who is now 6 months old.

Living life this way is not easy, especially in Hawai'i. It is even harder to make ends meet when you fall in the middle-income bracket, where you can't qualify for any assistance programs.

But we sacrifice so we can raise our child the way we want her raised. Children have only once chance at childhood. It will be one of the most memorable experiences in their lives, good or bad.

Numerous studies have proved that the first five years of children's lives are the most influential on their values and moral judgments. I applaud Mrs. Jones for having the guts to share the feelings of many people in Hawai'i.

Our children are our resources; they will lead our community and our world. As their parents, let's at least give them the best opportunities we can, even if it means the sacrifice of a secondary income, if it's financially possible.

Brenda Loo
Wai'anae

YOUNG OR OLD

TRUCK BEDS NO PLACE FOR PASSENGERS TO RIDE

Along with many other letter writers, B. Cho (May 19) makes a good point about seat-belt law compliance. I do think buckle-up laws should be enforced, along with any other law; but here's the problem:

I see adults sitting on the edge of pickup beds whipping down the highway. Aren't they in as great or greater danger than someone sitting inside the cab of the vehicle?

I also see children sitting in the bed of the pickup, an even greater danger, it seems to me. Why is this allowed?

I've ridden in the back of horse-drawn wagons on the road to town. That "cultural tradition" is gone. What would be wrong with not allowing anybody young or old to sit unrestrained anywhere in the back of a truck?

Jao Ottinger
Makaha Valley

THREE STRIKES

DON'T MAKE EXCUSES FOR VIOLENT CRIMINALS

Attorney Lorenn Walker makes an interesting argument against Hawai'i's new three-violent-strikes law, which mandates minimum prison sentences for career criminals convicted of three violent felonies.

According to Ms. Walker, we "suffer a further decay of humanity by automatically shutting the door on more of our troubled people."

However, Ms. Walker's letter misses the point entirely.

According to the new law, mandatory prison sentences only kick in after a career criminal is convicted of a third violent felony. So in Ms. Walker's opinion, a "troubled person" who has been convicted of two separate murders (and subsequently released by a "humane" parole board) should be coddled by our society after he is convicted of a third murder?

Ms. Walker, everyone in Hawai'i would love to work together to prevent crime, but making excuses for career criminals with three violent felony convictions is ludicrous.

Nolan Kido
Honolulu

DISEASE FIGHTER

BIOPHARMING CRITICAL TO MANKIND

We are in complete agreement with the May 17 Advertiser editorial "Biopharming potential must be closely viewed" regarding the safety of biopharmaceutical crops.

These plants are able to produce therapeutic proteins that could be used to combat life-threatening illnesses, such as Alzheimer's disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, heart disease, hepatitis C, HIV, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and many others.

More importantly, protein-producing plants may offer a cost-effective, sustainable and faster source of medicines for patients and provide access to new treatments that would otherwise be out of reach. With Hawai'i already a global leader in agricultural research, this technology not only represents a gift of aloha for mankind but a tremendous economic opportunity for Hawai'i.

However, this is a new technology, and as with any experimental endeavor, it warrants responsible stewardship and respect for the 'aina. Our industry fully agrees that biopharming, especially in Hawai'i, must be carried out only under meaningful and reasonable scientifically based regulation.

For this reason, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with strong support from industry, rigorously regulates the production, harvesting and transport of these biotech plants to ensure that there is no opportunity for commingling with plants intended for food. Plants producing pharmaceutical proteins are grown in field trials under precise permit conditions set forth by federal and state governments.

These requirements are science-based and take into consideration the type of plant, the protein being produced, the location of the intended production area and crop-handling practices. Field sites are subject to at least five federal inspections throughout the growing year, and personnel are specifically trained in USDA-approved programs.

We believe this technology is not only a good thing for our state, but for humanity as well. With disease and even pandemics a fact of life, biopharming offers the hope of rapid, inexpensive production of lifesaving pharmaceuticals and treatments.

With strict industry and federal oversight, we believe Hawai'i should embrace the opportunity to diversify our agriculture, create new, living-wage jobs and improve our residents' access to new therapies.

Lisa H. Gibson
President, Hawai'i Science & Technology Council

EDUCATION

ELDERLY ABUSE PROBLEM IN ISLANDS WILL ONLY GET WORSE

Advertiser staff writer Rob Perez and all who participated in the three-part elderly abuse series should be commended.

Those who have read the three-day series on financial and physical abuse should discuss and pass on this vital information to those who may not have read it.

Those of us who have advocated for years for the elderly from many positions are grateful that this vital information has reached public attention. We know that it is surprising and unimaginable to many that family members are such a big part of this problem.

Another aspect of this problem is that so many of the children feel that their parents' money is theirs and should not be used for their care. The money and assets that the elderly earned and saved are theirs and not the children's unless the parents legally choose to leave it to them after their death.

The money was much harder for them to accumulate than it is now with higher Social Security, retirement plans, IRAs and other tax benefits that are available.

With twice the number of baby boomers reaching age 60 this year, there will be twice the opportunity for this problem to escalate unless laws with greater protections are passed and enforced, along with public awareness of those who may need help and the reporting of questionable situations.

The Real Estate Commission, the Executive Office on Aging and many others have been working diligently to recodify the Condo Law, which will be effective July 1 (see box below). Part of this new law, called the Good Samaritan section, will be helpful to those residents aging-in-place, but also to owners and directors of condo boards, managing agents and resident managers.

These changes will help all who work with our aging population make more helpful and wiser legal decisions and know where help is available to make their occupants' sunset years more comfortable and happy for them and their loved ones who may be far away.

Ruth Dias Willenborg
Kailua

Condo law

Free public education seminars are now being held in the state on the Condo Law.

The Maui seminar will be Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Cameron Center in Wailuku.

The Big Island seminar will be June 5, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Kona Beach Hotel.

The O'ahu seminar will be June 16, 9 a.m. to noon, at the Hawai'i State Capitol Building Auditorium.

More information is available at the Real Estate Commission at 586-2643 or its Web site.