Letters to the Editor
PUBLIC SAFETY? WHY STOP AT SMOKING BAN?
The smoking ban goes too far. In light of it, I offer additional proposals to improve safety and welfare of the general public.
Ban motorcycles. If not an outright ban, then require helmets, full safety clothing, boots and seat belts. Motor vehicle safety: Require four-point restraint seat belts, air bags, fire retardant suits and helmets. Reduce maximum speed to 35 mph.
Institute mandatory defensive driving courses for all licensed drivers. Require catalytic converters for all combustion engines (lawnmowers, weed eaters, generators, mopeds, etc.).
Clean up the prostitution problem by cracking down on hostess bars and "massage" parlors. Cut back on alcohol-related problems by tripling the existing alcohol taxes and fund alcohol abatement programs.
Pedestrian safety: Enforce jaywalking laws. Moral decency: Ban playing of R-rated music /videos in public — gangster rap lyrics are very offensive.Robert D. Dunn
ESTATE CAN TAKE A CUE FROM MICHELLE WIE
It is wonderful that Michelle Wie has been raised to understand that those who have much have a responsibility to give back. It is ironic, though, that the homeless children on the Wai'anae Coast, most of whom are Hawaiian, are being helped more by a young woman of Korean descent than by the money left by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.
Would the princess be happy knowing how few Hawaiian children are benefiting from her legacy? According to the latest census, Hawaiians are more likely to be living in poverty than the average Island resident. If a majority of the Bishop Estate money were put to use educating the children of Hawai'i, this cycle of poverty could be stopped in a generation or two. What's the holdup? Early education is not enough — K-12 is where the learning takes place.Suzanne Green
USE MONEY FOR RAIL ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING
I am a senior citizen who recently returned to Hawai'i. I was amazed to discover that my rent would be twice as much as my social security. I used to think that the homeless were people who chose between food and shelter, but the choice now is where to hide your shelter so the police won't tow it away.
Instead of spending between $4 billion and $10 billion for a rail system to transport 17 percent to 20 percent of the population, why not use that money to provide low-priced housing for the large number of homeless and/or working poor in Hawai'i? Ask taxpayers if they want a rail system that won't keep single car drivers off the roads or if they want affordable housing for their families?
I agree with Dave Reed, who asked that the mayor and City Council do a referendum before a final decision is made. Hawai'i seems to be losing its sense of 'ohana toward its own residents. How can anyone in leadership in this state think that people want or can afford to pay a higher rate of tax than we already do?Carol March
RAIL SYSTEM A HEALTHY CHOICE FOR THE ISLAND
As the conversations continue between pro- and anti- mass transit advocates, I am struck by the relative silence from the public health community. It is time to weigh in! The public health code of ethics mandates that we do no harm and that we work toward a healthy society.
It is well-known that cars produce pollution and that pollution has a negative effect on human health. Research studies show that exposure to car exhaust negatively impacts lung and cardiovascular health. Additionally, time spent in a car, while in traffic, is stress-inducing and promotes a sedentary lifestyle, both of which are harmful to our health.
Cars will always be part of an American way of life, but we must plan with foresight for a healthier future. If we do not take this opportunity to create alternative ways to get to school or work, we do a disservice to the health of our community. Ho-nolulu needs rail transit and the time is now.Rafael E. Torres, M.D.
HOORAY FOR HANABUSA, FIRST FEMALE ON THE JOB
I am pleased and honored to join the many supporters of Sen. Colleen Hanabusa in congratulating her on being elected Senate president.
As a proud resident-constituent of the 21st senatorial district and former candidate of the 2006 2nd Congressional District race — who publicly endorsed Hanabusa's candidacy for Congress — I stand tall knowing that the visibility of the 21st District will be heightened, concerns of Hawai'i's working class will be favorably addressed and that Democrats and all women will be enriched by the leadership of a strong, independent, highly intellectual woman.
I am anxiously looking forward to following the first woman Senate president in her tenure and career in public service.
I am committed, as a young Democrat, to wholeheartedly supporting her future endeavors.
Holomua Hanabusa!Hanalei Y. Aipoalani
NEW SYSTEM WILL BENEFIT THE WHOLE STATE
Concerning Bill 83. I raised three children in Hawai'i Kai and - duh! - none of them can afford to live there. I am in favor of rapid transit (all the way to UH) for the good of the many, to improve the quality of life for commuters from our expanding residential areas and to reduce our use of fossil fuels. Looking to the future, we need this!
I am disappointed in the short-sighted, "don't-tax-me-for-what-doesn't-benefit-me-directly-and-immediately" attitude of Councilman Charles Djou.
His argument isn't even logical: He says, let's not start collecting taxes until we know the specific costs, and it's surely going to cost more than we've budgeted anyway?
Can't we get past this narrow partisan attitude and squabble for power? I support the vision of our mayor. What's good for all O'ahu is also good for Hawai'i Kai.Katherine S. Hanlon