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Your Views for March 30

Clogged aisles

It was nice to see that the Hilo Farmers Market is being brought up to snuff by the county for safety reasons. Now it would be nice if they brought the same energy to some of the big box stores when it comes to their aisles.

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Walmart and Home Depot have large, generous aisles for customer traffic flow, but these aisles are clogged with displays placed in the center of them that make navigation difficult at best and would be an absolute disaster if people were trying to get out of the store during an emergency.

Imagine the scene if there was a fire or an active shooter and people were panic-driven to exit? Those displays would create an obstacle that would be difficult for many people, and those that couldn’t move fast enough, our elderly and impaired, would be trampled.

Even if our county and state government officials don’t care about the safety of those shopping at the big box stores, I would think the stores themselves would care and fix the problem.

Should there be a problem, and people are injured or killed during a panic stampede, I would think the resulting lawsuits would erase any profits these obstacles might have made for the store.

I am sure that when the plans for these big box stores were presented to the building and planning departments that they did not show these displays in the middle of the aisles.

Fix the problem before something bad happens and the customers of these stores are hurt.

Roger Schweitzer

Volcano

‘Silly’ cartoon

The March 25 cartoon depicting county Prosecutor Mitch Roth avoiding the “hot potato” missing drug evidence case is baffling. Why would you publicly insult someone for doing the right and proper thing? Could your cartoonist, Gary R. Hoff, possibly be that ignorant? Or is this just a cheap political shot?

Police and prosecutors have a close working relationship. The police investigate and present evidence that the prosecutors use to file charges and prosecute crimes. Police work closely with prosecutors during trials. It is not unusual for members of the prosecutor’s office and the police officers to become friends.

In your article of March 21, Mr. Roth states, “We’re referring it to avoid even the appearance of impropriety or conflicts.”

That would seem to adequately cover this situation. They are avoiding the public perception that they were protecting a friend if the case is ultimately decided in favor of the police officer in question. In the event the matter is decided against the officer, they are avoiding the complaint that the prosecution was overzealous because the prosecutor did not want to be seen as protecting a friend.

The ideal solution is to let some other prosecuting office handle it, and that is what Mr. Roth is doing.

I am a retired Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, and I have been involved in a number of criminal matters that had to be referred to the attorney general for reasons similar to Mr. Roth’s referral. Our referrals never caused any silly cartoons that I can recall.

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Phil Millett

Hilo