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Tuesday, February 9, 1999

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Linda Lingle should stop complaining about election

Just when you thought Linda Lingle would go into her next permutation as radio or news hound, we find that she is once again harping on the election. Now it's the specter of fraud at the polls! Are we all to suffer from more GOP-funded bellyaching over the November results?

If she were really concerned about the Republican Party, Lingle would become chairwoman of the party, simple as that. But that doesn't seem to be good enough for her, especially when one is casting about suspicions of voter fraud.

Now we have two cats -- Lingle and Donna Alcantara, GOP chairwoman -- yowling to get the "news" out. Of course, the daily papers are listening, since they both endorsed Lingle.

Grant Peters

Test scores aren't good indicator of learning

The testimony provided by James Popham in the trial to remove Lokelani Lindsey as a Bishop Estate trustee produced an interesting observation. Popham stated, "Lindsey's report was wrong-headed in assuming that standardized test scores are an accurate indicator of the educational quality at the Kapalama Heights campus."

Popham went on to observe, "Such tests not only measure skills that a student learns in the classroom but also measure students' inherent abilities and skills they pick up outside the classroom. Oftentimes, socio-economic background is a factor on how well they score on such tests."

I have tried for two decades to drive that same point home with absolutely no success. We still hire and fire superintendents of education on the basis of standardized test results. Public schools are evaluated by legislators, newspaper editors, the media in general and the public on the basis of standardized test results. That is wrong-headed!

Tom Hansen
Lahaina, Maui

Leaders haven't focused on international economy

Hawaii should be the center of the Pacific economically. However, we are in the middle of nowhere. How did this happen? For starters, our leaders have failed to accept that international economic activity is the force that will drive Hawaii, not tourism.

Failing to develop a major transportation center has caused some international carriers to overfly Hawaii for more attractive locations. In the absence of a competitive telecommunication environment, it is almost impossible to advance the economic ball.

For some unknown reason, Hawaii has not been able to expel the plantation mentality. We no longer need protection from plantation foremen, large landowners or the Big Five.

Instead, our elected officials need to wake up and jump aboard that high- tech train -- destination, 21st century.

Billy Ervin
Waianae


QUOTABLE

Tapa

Bullet "If the police would be kind enough to bring the kids they arrested for my building to me, I'd punch them out."

-- Isaac Choy, whose old Manoa Finance building was marred with graffiti over the weekend.

Bullet "It's an excellent method of patrol. We have contact with the community and we have contact with the criminals."

-- Honolulu police Sgt. Clayton Saito on the use of bicycles by patrol officers.

Bullet "Whatever we say, we can't express what we feel. He was my father in what he did and how he loved us. We can't forget him."

-- Osama Mohammed Safi, a 17-year-old Jordanian, on the death of King Hussein.

Bullet "I can close this as a chapter. I think we all ought to do that and think of the healing of the country."

-- Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., on whether to vote for President Clinton's removal from office.


Hawaii has ignominy of being poorly run state

Is Hawaii the "state of denial"? Somehow, we have not grasped the gravity of the economic situation, despite the many learned analyses, reports, conferences and lots of talk.

Instead of pulling together, we look after our own parochial interests, such as maintaining the status quo, excessive union power and, of course, a pathetic "do-nothing" state government.

We now have the dubious distinction of being rated C- and one of the most poorly run states in the nation, as reported in Governing magazine.

The state was once among the best managed. Why can't this happen again? The bottom line is this: What legacy do we pass onto our children?

A. Locascio

Changes in DUI law deserve real support

As a DUI defense attorney who appears regularly on behalf of drunk drivers in District Court, I read with interest HPD Officer J. Grindey's Feb. 3 letter in which he claims that our district judges refuse to convict persons charged with drunk driving.

Grindey is apparently appearing in court in some universe outside Hawaii. I can tell you from experience, dating back to 1975, that our district judges convict well over 90 percent of persons who go to trial on charges of drunk driving; our appellate courts affirm nearly 100 percent of cases appealed by drunk drivers.

In fact, the principal reason the right to a jury trial was taken away from first- and second-offense drivers was because juries were acquitting more than one-third of those who exercised their right to a trial by jury.

Grindey is apparently complaining because the judges get the final say instead of the police. Someone should remind police that we are a nation of laws, not men.

If Grindey is serious about doing something about the terrible problem of drunk driving in Hawaii, he and others so inclined should contact their state legislators. Urge them to support the DUI reform bill presently before the Legislature, which bill was drafted by the state attorney general in conjunction with the Governor's Impaired Driving Task Force, of which I am a member.

Real reform is needed in the area of drunk driving, but unfair criticism of our district judges does nothing toward furthering that reform. Likewise, that reform is not promoted by giving police the power to act illegally, as implicitly advocated by Grindey.

Earle A. Partington
Criminal defense attorney

Some would let Clinton get away with murder

Your Feb. 3 front-page story, "Trial tarnishes Senate/GOP," is typical of the trouble this country is in. Polls are worthless and are used only to sway people to the desired action, whether good or not.

If Clinton were to murder someone, many (particularly Democrats) would applaud. They'd demand that he not be punished, simply because he is important and removal would harm this or tarnish that.

The Senate is in a vital, necessary process. Should the system fail, the country will be even less than what it is and that isn't much now!

We need decent government. Clinton is not it. If crime is ignored by government and the people, the country is lost. Prosecute! And remove the troublemaker!

Stanley A. Wilson





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