Thursday, February 15, 2007

February 26 program: Shopping for a nursing home


11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Miyama Main Hall, Harris United Methodist Church
Nuuanu Ave. and South Vineyard Blvd.
Ample parking - driveway off Nuuanu Ave.

11:30 LUNCHEON: Eggplant Parmesan w/Pasta, salad, Dessert by Eloise. $5.00 donation

11:45 Welcome, Introductions and Remarks, Larry Geller, President

12:00 PROGRAM: Lynda Johnson: Current problems in our community's nursing home services, shopping for a nursing home, getting into a nursing home and the pitfalls in the whole process.

A Victory for Kokua Council—Embedded Interns

Business and industry representatives will not be allowed to work as interns for legislators, according to new state House and Senate rules.

Last session Hawaii employees lost the important protection of health care premium regulation, raising the issue of whether an HMSA Foundation executive working as an intern in Rep. Bob Herkes' office might have played a role in the defeat of that legislation. The issue was brought to light last year when Kokua Council president, Larry Geller asked the Ethics Commission to investigate. The Ethics Commission has not settled the issue, but nevertheless, the presence of these corporate people within legislative offices was a questionable practice from several points of view.

Kokua Council appreciates the change but, we will remain vigilant.

President's Letter: February 2007--Why aren't traffic laws enforced in Honolulu?

If you're an older person living in Honolulu, best thing to do may be to stay off the streets. At least until the City Council issues body armor to anyone over 55.

2007 is only a few days old and already the body count is climbing. Recently, a 91-year old pedestrian was hit in Liliha.
Much of the eldercide is taking place in crosswalks. There is little excuse for drivers hitting pedestrians anywhere, but particularly when they are in a crosswalk. It doesn't matter whether the person crossing is young or old, moving quickly or slowly, or whether the light has changed before they have managed to get across. It's just not ok to hit them with your car, period.

Many drivers are calling for education. I agree with that: education of drivers.

I seldom refer to letters in newspapers, but one that was printed in the Star-Bulletin 2007/01/19 impressed me as particularly obnoxious. I think the writer would be an ideal candidate for an education program. The problem is, many other obnoxious drivers may agree with him. That's part of the problem we face. His letter was practically a death threat to our elderly. He's pretty explicit, closing with the advice "Step onto a roadway and you take your life into your hands."

The behaviors he describes are commonplace and normal. People these days talk on cell phones whether they are walking or driving. Which is the more dangerous? I've experienced drivers cutting in front of me in a nearby crosswalk while talking on the phone and gesturing with one hand. It's unlikely, by the way, that granny even owns a cell phone, but if she happens to be talking on one while crossing, drivers should take care that she does get across safely, not take aim.

I hold that deaths and injuries would be reduced greatly if (1) the traffic signals were fixed to eliminate the problems uncovered by the AARP survey, released last August but never implemented by our traffic people, and (2) if police were regularly deployed at intersections to enforce the laws already on the books so that drivers are alert (for cops, if not yet for pedestrians) every time they make a turn or approach a crosswalk.