Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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January 27, 2010 - MidWeek
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Wrong on Y2K

As a former federal employee who worked for several years to help fix the Y2K computer problem, I read Susan Page’s column “Breaking Promises, Grabbing Power” with great interest. I was astounded by her conclusion that “Y2K was just another acronym on the digital dust heap of history with a hefty price tag of $300 billion for fixing the unbroken.”

In my several years working on the problem, both before Jan. 1 and during 2000, I never heard any responsible person say that there was not a problem. Not one of the hundreds of computer programmers and technicians I spoke to ever said there was not a problem. Not one of the many CEOs of large and small companies, who spent considerable funds fixing the problem, ever said there was not a problem. Not one of the many engineers with whom I spoke, who understood and worked on critical infrastructures such as the power grid, ever said that there was no problem.

So I was fascinated by Ms. Page’s conclusion. Apparently she based this conclusion on the fact that nothing significant went wrong when Jan. 1, 2000 arrived. But the whole point of the effort to fix Y2K was to make sure that nothing bad happened.

How insulting to the thousands of us who worked so hard to fix the problem and succeeded for her to conclude that, since nothing bad happened, nothing could have been wrong. Perhaps if she had done a little research she would have learned the truth and hence not drawn such an inane conclusion.

Ed Springer

War zone mail

Those who are defending their right to build and detonate bombs in our community in the months leading up to New Year’s Eve overlook the fact that every explosion before 9 p.m. on Dec. 31 and after 1 a.m. on Jan. 1 is a violation of existing law. Every one of the thousands of bombs and even the millions of firecrackers set off before and after that window of freedom to make noise is a violation of law.

And there is a big difference between aerial fireworks displays and a string of firecrackers at a Chinese wedding or midnight on New Year’s Eve, and pipe bombs meant to terrorize the neighborhood. The latter is an act of terrorism.

As for the Kaneohe letter-writer who said it only happens one night a year, I want to know where she lives. In most residential and hospital areas in Honolulu, it went on for more than two months.

It is a form of terrorism for some, insanity for others. Let’s stop it.

Me ka pono,

Keith Haugen
Nuuanu War Zone

Blame the permits

The issue of fireworks - smoke-polluted air, illegal aerials, bombs. So much discomfort for two nights a year, sometimes a few weeks. So people ask “why?” As a person who loves our traditions of firecrackers, I’ll tell you why: The expensive permit system that was put in place in the early 1980s until now to restrict the amount of firecrackers purchased is what began it all.

Before permits, I can recall very little, if any, illegal fireworks being used. Firecrackers, not illegal fireworks, were the Island cultural tradition. Firecrackers made a lot of noise, but not big, ground-shaking booms! Dangerous fireworks were made illegal in 1956. The amount of powder in firecrackers was reduced from 130 milligrams to less than 50 milligrams in 1976.

To put a total ban on fireworks is absolutely ridiculous. How about a total ban on alcohol, bars and nightclubs? People drive home from these places under the influence 365 days a year. Remember: Most complaints are about illegal fireworks. Oh, and the smoke and noise as well.

Every big city in the USA and throughout the world tolerates garbage and air pollution on a 24/7 basis. Have you ever seen L.A. from the air?

To those of you who complain, locals and newcomers alike, why not move to one of those wonderful cities and leave our little traditions alone?!

D. Costa

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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