Letters to the Editor
AVIAN FLU RISKS SHOULD NOT BE DOWNPLAYED
William Cole's March 23 article reports on recent predictions of avian flu's potential impact on Hawai'i.
While I don't question what the Trust for America's Health says about the economic consequences of an epidemic, I am troubled by the health-related predictions they base on the 1918 Spanish flu.
The 1918 pandemic infected roughly 30 percent of the U.S. population. In today's Hawai'i, that would mean about 400,000 sick.
Although avian flu does not move between persons as it does with birds, it is a worry that the virus will learn that trick soon.
Globally, of those who caught the Spanish flu, approximately 2.5 percent died. So if an equally deadly epidemic hit Hawai'i, we should expect the 10,000 deaths (2.5 percent of 400,000) that the trust predicts.
But if you look at the avian flu mortality rate, the numbers are far more alarming. Of the 256 human cases confirmed by the World Health Organization, 60 percent ended in death.
A 60 percent mortality rate would mean, not 10,000 dead, but 240,000 dead in Hawai'i.
No one knows how the avian flu virus will evolve. But we cannot prepare for catastrophe if, as with New Orleans, we downplay the seriousness of the risks.Kenneth Kipnis
HOW WOULD YOU VOTE ON THIS SIMPLE QUIZ?
Here is a simple quiz that everyone should pass with a grade of A:
Turn in your answers now!Don Neill
HEE HAS GREAT INTELLECT, MUST LEARN HUMILITY
I can attest to Sen. Clayton Hee's bullish behavior. Two years ago, Gov. Linda Lingle nominated me to the Moloka'i Island Burial Council. Before I could testify in support of that nomination, I was told that Hee was going to block my appointment and asked to withdraw my name to save face for the governor.
What I could not understand was why Hee did not think I was fit to volunteer my time to serve the iwi kupuna (ancestral bones) and moepu (burial possessions) of my home island of Moloka'i. I have been doing so for the past 17 years, both as the first director of the State Burial Sites Program and as a member of Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei.
Senator Hee never gave an official reason for his opposition. I was told he just didn't like me.
He is certainly entitled to his opinion. But was that opinion enough to deny me the ability to serve the ancestors of our beloved Moloka'i?
Ironically, I find myself in awe of the intellect and bravado Hee possesses. He is certainly a future leader of the soon-to-be-restored Hawaiian nation and, I am told, a very good man deep down inside — if he would just embrace the awesome power of humility.Edward Halealoha Ayau
APPEAL STILL PENDING IN SUPERFERRY LAWSUIT
Your headline that the Superferry is "cleared" for launch (March 29) needs a big asterisk.
This applies only to the bill that Rep. Joe Souki killed by refusing even to schedule a hearing. It does not apply to the lawsuit on appeal to the Hawai'i Supreme Court challenging the state Department of Transportation's exemption of the Superferry from the state environmental impact statement law.
That appeal has been pending for several years, and it's only a matter of time until the court issues a definitive ruling.
The state Environmental Council, the agency that implements the EIS law, recently ruled that the DOT wrongly exempted the Superferry by focusing only on piecemeal harbor improvements, instead of the whole Superferry project and all its potential impacts.
It's the same old story: A developer twists every which way to evade the EIS law, when in the end, it would have been so much easier and quicker simply to go through the required process and address the public's concerns.
Should the Hawai'i Supreme Court rule that state funding and harbor improvements for the Superferry triggers environmental review, no one should be surprised — especially the state administration and the Superferry.Isaac Moriwake
COVER GRAFFITI WITH UNIFORM PAINT COLOR
As I drive to and from work every day on the freeway, I see the dedicated efforts of the Anti-Graffiti Task Force.
Patches of white, gray, tan, beige, brown and even light pink (in Waipahu) cover the taggers' artwork.
Seeing all these different colors got me thinking, "Is it really any better? Do they have to buy their own paint and supplies?"
Although I applaud the unselfish, dedicated efforts of the Anti-Graffiti Task Force, I think the state should supply them with a standard color so it looks uniform as we drive on the freeway.Pat Takenishi
WAIKIKI AQUARIUM IS WONDERFUL JUST AS IT IS
My wife and I were home last September and visited the Waikiki Aquarium. It is doing just fine.
Expansion is not necessary. It is in great shape.
Every city has a larger aquarium. That's why we have Sea Life Park in Makapu'u.
Leave the "Little Jewel" alone.
This is a great facility for kama'aina and their family outings and is affordable for everyone.Clayton Lum
Coon Rapids, Minn.