Letters to the Editor
TEACHER STIMULATING INTEREST IN LEARNING
I just wanted to thank Advertiser staff writer Zenaida Serrano and The Advertiser for sharing the wonderful article, "This is your child's brain on music."
Jennifer Fixman is doing a tremendous job in her method of making education fun while stimulating children's interest in learning.
There are many teachers who are trying to do their best to teach within the confines of the public school system. There are also those like Fixman who are being innovative and creative in reaching out to students who are not stimulated by today's "programs." I applaud your efforts.Takao R. Kanno
OUR BEHAVIOR MUSTN'T HURT OTHERS
I read with amusement Hawai'i Kai resident Bob Speck's comment that a bill to prohibit smoking in units at state public housing reminds him of Nazi Germany ("Smoking in living spaces under fire," May 11).
My father grew up in Nazi Germany, and in the stories he has recounted of the atrocities that occurred at that time, he failed to mention the Great Nazi Smokeout.
The argument that such rules are somehow unconstitutional or un-American doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
There are already many things that are illegal to do in your own home. You can't walk around naked without the shades drawn and you can't play loud music late into the night.
Fact is, when lots of people live in close proximity, behaviors have to be moderated to make life livable for everyone.
Yes, people should be able to do whatever they want in their own homes — as long as it doesn't hurt the health and welfare of others.
Having consideration for other people's quality of life is hardly a Third Reich plot.Tom Leupold
NOT FACSIM TO ENSURE SMOKE-FREE LIVING AREA
Further to "Smoking in living spaces under fire" (May 11), the owner of a condo should be free to smoke in his own property as long as the secondhand smoke and tobacco stink do not enter any neighbors' property.
Many people appreciate living in Hawai'i because of the clean, fresh air.
It is hardly "fascism" (as alleged by Jolyn Tenn of the Hawaii Smokers Alliance) to have rules that ensure that any resident can be free from secondhand smoke and tobacco stink in his own property.
A smoker's rights end at the neighbors' windows.Charles W. Lambert
SMALL NUMBER USE PORTLAND'S RAIL SYSTEM
It would be helpful if you would vet the obviously partisan comments on rail transit for their factual basis.
For example, on May 9, Ryan F. Holznagel wrote, "My native city of Portland, Ore., opened a light-rail system, called Max, in 1986. At every step of the way, the project was opposed by people with the same objections: too expensive, elitist, nobody will ride it. Max was indeed expensive. And from the very first, ridership has been far greater than estimated."
There have been just two official federal government assessments of ridership projections for Portland's MAX lines. First, the U.S. Department of Transportation's 1990 Report, which found that Portland's ridership on the lines built in the 1980s was 54.7 percent less than they had projected. The second was the Federal Transit Administration's CPAR Report of September 2007, which found that the new lines had been used 17 percent less than what had been projected at the time the LPA was chosen.
To put MAX in perspective, at the last Census only 5.7 percent of Portland's commuters used public transportation of any kind. Of those, some 35 percent use rail and the others their buses. Thus, one can safely assume that only 2 percent of Portland's commuters use rail. The emperor really does not have any clothes on.Cliff Slater
Chair, honolulu traffic.com
DRIVERS GETTING USED TO KAMA'AINA WAYS
I noticed that I had been complaining for more than two years about rude, speeding drivers.
I missed the kama'aina style of driving with aloha, which I'd grown accustomed to since moving to Hale'iwa 30 years ago from northern California. (I live in town now.)
Just last week, I felt that a change had crept into drivers' styles, that aloha had seeped back into traffic, and I wondered why.
It dawned on me that what with all the condo and hotel building, a surge of off-island drivers new to our traffic style had been driving like they were still on the Mainland. But now a few years have passed, and the newer drivers finally relaxed. Mahalo, guys.Pete Cronburg
LITTLE EVIDENCE OF GASOLINE CONSERVATION
Regarding the May 9 headline on how gas prices are affecting driving on O'ahu: Are you kidding me?
I would submit that gas prices still haven't affected most car owners on the island. For evidence, all one has to do is sit by the Kunia onramp and watch the H-1 traffic throughout the day.
During rush hour, more than half of the vehicles, bumper to bumper, are large pickups, SUVs or vans. And more than 90 percent of all vehicles on H-1 during rush hour have a single occupant.
During the rest of the day, watch how many of the vehicles are going the recommended gas-conserving speed of 55 mph. Again, the vast majority of the vehicles are going at least 60, with many faster than that.
I'm betting you won't see serious conservation (carpooling or gas-conserving driving) on O'ahu until gas hits $5 a gallon.
Until it's really painful, don't expect to see real change.Larry Dove
ABSENTEE VOTE BILL A BIG CHANGE FOR HAWAI'I
Even though it was a tight budget year the Legislature passed SB 156, authorizing permanent absentee voting for anyone who prefers to vote by mail.
This is an historic change. Maybe now Hawai'i will stop being one of the lowest voter-participation states in the U.S.
Once applied for, voters will automatically be mailed the ballot for each election. To stay on the permanent absentee ballot list you must vote in every primary and every general election. If you drop off, you can reapply.
It took two sessions to get this bill passed, but it never would have happened unless Sen. Roz Baker had worked with the Office of Elections and found matching federal funds to pay the cost of implementing the change.
Thanks to Rep. Tommy Waters for drafting the wording needed to overcome objections to the bill, and thanks to Sen. Russell Kokubun and AARP for unwavering support for this election law change to help seniors vote.Al Beeman
LEGISLATURE WRONG TO OVERRIDE DRUG-BILL VETO
Doesn't the Legislature read the newspaper? On the same day The Advertiser ran its editorial on the deadly import of the drug heparin, the Legislature overrode the governor's veto of House Bill 7.
HB 7 forces the governor to allow Hawai'i residents to import prescription drugs from Europe and Canada. With drug importation, there is a risk of drugs being shipped to the U.S. that haven't been approved by the FDA.
According to Advertiser, the contaminated heparin drug was linked to at least 81 deaths in the United States. The contaminated drug was traced back to ingredients manufactured in China.
One would think this information would have given the Legislature pause. Instead, lawmakers charged ahead, ignoring the warning signs of bad legislation.
As the governor's veto message states, this bill violates the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which is designed to protect the American public from receiving unsafe, ineffective and poor quality medications. The governor was right to veto this bill.
Unfortunately, the Legislature has embarrassed itself once again. Worse yet, they are putting Hawai'i residents, including children and the elderly, in danger.James Gilbert
BUS CHANGES PLEASE 'AINA HAINA RESIDENTS
We are writing to express our thanks to the officials at the city Department of Transportation Services and the O'ahu Transit Services (TheBus) for their cooperation in working with the residents of 'Aina Haina to redesign area bus routes for our neighborhood.
As a result of the hard work of all of those involved, our community will soon have bus service consistent with the needs of all of our residents, especially our youth, elderly and challenged.
Although the total number of buses in East Honolulu will be reduced, we feel that the level of service in our area will not be diminished.
This has come about by eliciting community input and by extended consultation with city officials.
Everyone listened, and all sides learned and grew in the process. The city cooperated when residents organized and presented their concerns at well-attended public meetings.
This method worked very well for us, and we would recommend it to other communities as a way of addressing transportation concerns.
We would like to thank Wayne Yoshioka, James Burke, and Jon Nouchi in particular for spending so many hours working with us. There were many evening meetings and even a holiday session.
Mahalo for being such model government employees.Wayson Chow
President, 'Aina Haina Community Association