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Letters to the Editor

For Friday, July 22, 2011

LAST UPDATED: 2:23 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Economics is useful to know

What do Hawaii high school graduates know about credit card debt and interest rates, mortgages, foreclosures, national debt, monetary (quantitative) easing, fiscal stimulus and many other important, life-affecting economic concepts? Not enough, I would argue.

While 21 states now require economics to be taught at the high school level, the Hawaii Board of Education is considering dropping a social science requirement, which likely would mean fewer students being exposed to economic studies. While reading, writing and arithmetic are extremely important, I rank economics (especially in today's environment) equally important.

Not to diminish the importance of math at all, but how many times does an adult use algebra to solve a life crisis? Most of us use (or should use) economic analysis to make important decisions. We owe it to our youth to provide them the best possible education to enhance their chances at being successful adults in a very challenging world of financial decisions.

Dick Rankin
Advanced placement economics teacher, 'Iolani School

Police should release records

Thanks to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser for initiating legal action to obtain 911 tapes from the Honolulu Police Department that should be publicly available records ("HPD needs to follow the law," Star-Advertiser, Our View, July 20).

On May 13, a group of HPD officers was reported to have surrounded an apparently mentally ill man and used a new camera-equipped Taser to subdue him. It seemed questionable to me why a group of officers could not have restrained the man in a safer way.

So I requested a copy of the video from the Taser camera and received a reply that it was "being kept as evidence" and would not be released. As your editorial explained, that is not a valid reason to withhold public information.

Larry Geller

Bicyclists need more protection

While I was pleased to see Mayor Peter Carlisle participate in "Zachary Manago's Ride in Paradise," I think he has to do much more to demonstrate his commitment to cycling safety, education and infrastructure.

This circle-island bicycle ride honored a popular, bright young man who was needlessly struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. More than eight months have passed and the investigation is still not complete. If and when this driver is ever brought to trial, I wonder what the prosecutor's office will do?

While the mayor was at his previous position, a public defender expressed his office's opinion at the City Council by testifying (along with HPD) against a carefully vetted and crafted legislation on the safe passing of vulnerable roadway users. A law like this undoubtedly would make it easier to convict drivers in situations such as this.

William Higgins

Anti-rail folks have alternative

Richard Borreca's column incorrectly stated that "the anti-rail contingent has yet to show its own alternative traffic solution" ("City rail plan taking longer to build than Great Pyramid," Star-Advertiser, July 15).

Panos Prevedouros published a "managed lane" study several years ago to eliminate the H-1 bottlenecks at the H-1/H-2 merge and Middle Street merge (available at

The study proposes a 10-mile, three-lane, reversible elevated highway between Leeward Community College and downtown Hotel Street for buses and Alakea Street/Halekauwila Street for sedans at an estimated cost of $1 billion. A similar Tampa highway was built in 2005 at a cost of $42 million per mile. For now, only two flyovers are needed: a four-mile Kamehameha flyover (LCC to Aloha Stadium) and a three-mile Nimitz flyover (airport viaduct to downtown).

Ben Ramelb

Cellphone ban in cars a ruse

Your front-page article about the hand-held cell-phone ban clearly shows that some 25,000 otherwise law-abiding citizens are now law breakers, and county governments gathered $1.6 million from these same folks ("Cellphone-driving violations multiply," Star-Advertiser, June 29).

Clearly missing is any proof whether the new law is doing any real good in preventing traffic accidents. As in real data, not theory.

The Highway Loss Data Institute's study of last year shows laws banning the use of hand-held devices while driving have not reduced the rate of accidents in three states and the District of Columbia.

If the ban is doing nothing to reduce accidents in Hawaii, then this is all an excuse to take more revenue from newly manufactured law breakers, take away another personal liberty, all to feel good instead of really doing good.

Edward Gutteling
Conservative Forum for Hawaii, Hilo

How to write us

The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~150 words). The Star-Advertiser reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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