LEGALIZATION WOULD BRING GRAVE COSTS
As the next Legislature is about to open, there may be legislation introduced that proposes the legalization of gambling. Let there be no mistake: Legalizing gambling would be grave. Hawaii must stay the course with its conviction of sustaining and enriching communities. It must be strongly opposed to all forms of gambling.
Gambling exploits those who can least afford it, and undermines community values. Millions of Americans are problem or pathological gamblers, with many between 12 and 18 years of age. Social and economic costs include unemployment benefits, welfare benefits, physical and mental health problems, theft, embezzlement, bankruptcy, suicide, child abuse and neglect, domestic abuse, divorce, incarceration, work absences and homelessness.
Hawaii must hold steadfast against legalized gambling; the costs far outweigh the benefits.
RON BODE | Käneohe
PROJECT A CRITICAL LIFELINE LONG SOUGHT
When some people look at the public transit debate they see a train - a way to move people from point A to B. We see a critical lifeline: a connection to people, places and everyone's well being.
Public transportation moves us to meet our friends and family, and to take care of our health. It connects us to the airport, downtown, educational and recreational centers and communities. The rail transit project will increase everyone's quality of life by efficiently moving people between Ewa and Honolulu, and freeing up resources to better connect the rest of the island.
We have both been strong advocates for rail transit since 1993. Bruce Coppa was vice president of EE Black Construction, the company selected to build the project by then Mayor Frank Fasi. Christina Kemmer has been fighting for transit since 1993 and served six years on the city's Transportation Commission.
We were disappointed 17 years ago when the City Council rejected the project because of fear of the unknown. But where some see problems, we see opportunities. We see job creation and a community more connected.
It is time everyone put aside his or her fears and work together to make it happen.
CHRISTINA KEMMER | President, Communications Pacific
BRUCE COPPA | Chief operating officer, Communications Pacific
WILL OF PEOPLE HAS BEEN WRONG BEFORE
House Bill 444 is before the Legislature again. TV ads by its opponents claim the "will of the people" should prevail in deciding the fate of this bill.
Remember: It was the will of the people, until 1864, blacks were held in slavery.
It was the will of the people American Indians were slaughtered, their way of life destroyed.
It was the will of the people - the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, with subsequent violence against those already in the country.
It was the will of the people, until the 20th Amendment, to deny the vote to women.
It was the will of the people, in WWII, to allow the incarceration of 110,000 Japanese Americans.
It was the will of the people, until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - 100 years after emancipation - that blacks were still in bondage, subjected to violence, and denied civil rights.
It was the will of the people, of 17 states of the Union, to make interracial marriage a criminal offense - until outlawed in 1967 by Supreme Court decision.
In the opposition to HB 444 again we see the will of the people grossly in the wrong.
NORMAN MACRITCHIE | Honolulu
MOON ROCKS COULD HELP RESTORE FUTURE
In response to Ann Allred's letter "Moon rocks: Discovery can help state budget" (Jan. 13), I completely agree. Whoever found the rocks should auction them off to help the schools. The furloughs are taking tons of time away from the courses that need it. The semester courses, like health, need the time to teach students all the relative standards. Plus, we're losing important courses and extracurricular activities that need funding.
The teachers now have to cut things out of their curriculum that are just as important as the rest, to be able to even teach the rest. If children don't learn what they're supposed to, how does the state expect the test scores to increase? If selling the moon rocks will help in the least, then I say they should do it.
Ten million dollars would help the government cancel two furlough days. The people who run the treasury should consider that the children are the future and that keeping them out of school is damaging the chance of a better opportunity.
What kind of outcome do you want?
EMBER BROCK | Student, Aiea High School
INCENTIVES COULD REDUCE POPULATION
We all know that the rats in Chinatown are waiting patiently until the meetings stop and they can get back to simply being creatures of the night, minding their own business, living off the excess and carelessness of the population. Hey, the rats aren't going to just go away, as many rat packs are multi-generational with roots in the community.
What if the merchants and the city considered methods that could help reduce the number of rats by providing incentives? How about longer-term solutions with programs designed to reduce the rat population in addition to reducing open trash on the street or easy pickings in local stores? How about a "Bounty for Rats" or "Cash for Rats" that pays better than copper theft and costs less than the loss of business, image and hours of discussion on what to do?
Getting rid of all rats probably isn't realistic, but reducing their numbers certainly is.
GREG SCHMIDT | Honolulu