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Friday, June 30, 2000


More on medal winners



Veterans excelled despite discrimination, racism

Thanks for the wonderful coverage on the achievements of Japanese-American veterans.

Sad and ironic, isn't it? The members of the most decorated unit of that war -- or any war, for that matter -- were the very soldiers who were discriminated against so severely. Their families' internment was approved by Congress.

There has never been a greater display of honor, duty and country. It all just makes the achievements of the 100th and 442nd that much more impressive.

Steven R. Abe
Command Sergeant Major
1st Battalion, 487th Field Artillery

442nd vets were American, through and through

Your outstanding articles on the long overdue recognition of our 442nd Regimental Combat Team veterans, unfortunately, made a critical mistake. One called the U.S. their "adopted country."

But nearly all of them were born and raised in Hawaii or the United States. That would make them as American as apple pie.

Leslie Saulibio
Kwajalein Missile Range
Marshall Islands

If not for Akaka, vets would be forgotten

Many of us applaud our government for finally awarding Medals of Honor to veterans of Asian-American descent. But I couldn't help but think that, if Sen. Daniel Akaka had not initiated legislation to review the war records, this grave injustice might never have been rectified.

It is sad and unfortunate that the government did not see fit to award these extraordinarily brave men, based solely on their battlefield performances immediately after the war. Instead, racism was obviously a factor in not recognizing them.

How nice it would have been if other members of Congress besides Akaka had taken up the torch to correct this shameful injustice. I suppose that's too much to expect.

Still, we should be grateful that Senator Akaka took it upon himself to make things right for these remaining war heroes, before it was too late for them, too.

Gary Takashima

Memorial builder goes extra mile for Asian soldiers

As mentioned in your coverage of the Medals of Honor awarded to 22 Asian-American World War II soldiers, some of the recipients will come to this city on July 1 to see the unveiling of the new names at the Medal of Honor memorial in Indianapolis.

IPALCO Enterprises, builder of the memorial, decided that in placing the names of the 22 men on the memorial it would not perpetuate the segregation that delayed their recognition for half a century. John Hodowal, president of IPALCO, was quoted in the Indianapolis Star as saying, "We came to the conclusion these people had been segregated too long from recognition and the people they served with. We decided to redo 17 panels of glass so we have the names listed in accordance with the overall scheme of the memorial, so they are incorporated, not appended to the memorial."

Joe Stevenson
Indianapolis, Ind.

It's sad when motives are unfairly impugned

It was depressing to read Barbara Jessee's June 24 reaction to Senator Inouye's statement at the Medal of Honor ceremony, when he said, "It will be many more generations before the effects of racism are erased."

Jessee gathers -- and she must have had some bad experiences to bring her to surmise this -- that the senator was really saying: "...before white people are erased."

This sentiment makes me wonder, at least for a second or two, why people risk their lives for a country in which even their sacrifices are suspect.

A.Y. Tanaka
Kealekekua, Hawaii


Mayors travel the world on taxpayer's dime

Imagine this: Your employer gives you about $20,000 and tells you to travel the globe on behalf of your company. You happily go (Star-Bulletin, June 27, "Mayors log 22 trips out of state").

On your return, the boss wants to know what tangible, quantifiable gains your trip has resulted in. Your answer: "Boss, you did the right thing in sending me. Send the big guy for the money, I always say. I worked my butt off, I tell you. The company really got its money's worth. Tell me, how do you put a value on that? By the way, when do I go again?"

Do you think you'd get away with that? Apparently, our four mayors do. What a job!

Patrick DeBusca Jr.

Marijuana editorial ignores suffering of sick

Your June 17 editorial, "Medical marijuana law is a mistake," reveals a consistent lack of compassion for those with serious medical conditions, such as cancer and AIDS.

Therapies for these often fatal afflictions are so toxic that patients frequently cannot eat. They sometime perish without the positive effect of cannabis medicines on the human digestive system.

Instead of endless hours of nausea or violent retching, patients often regain their appetites -- if they can find some of this expensive remedy. Many have survived when given little or no chance without this herbal medicine.

The editorial asserts that smoking marijuana "can be harmful just as tobacco is -- even more so."

This is a biased viewpoint that overlooks the data supplied by various state and federal health departments. They all agree that tobacco causes more than 400,000 deaths each year in the United States, but they are still looking for the first person who smoked just marijuana and contracted fatal lung cancer.

That is not even close to comparable, as tobacco remains the No. 1 health risk in this country.

Thomas C. Mountain
Hawaii Green Cross
Patients Co-op

Coverage of welfare fraud case was fair

Our tenants association is encouraged by your high standards of reporting news. We are referring especially to your June 9 coverage of Peninatautele Fiamate (Star-Bulletin, "Woman indicted in $340,000 welfare fraud case").

Unlike other newspapers and TV stations, your news staff did not sensationalize the case. To do so even before it goes to court for a fair hearing is exploitative journalism.

Our association is supporting Mrs. Fiamate in every way we can. She is a very hard-working woman and a good mother to seven wonderful children.

Darnell Silva
Palolo Tenants Association

Amicus brief shows need for elected AG

That Hawaii filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the New Jersey court ruling concerning the Boy Scouts represents the opinion and actions of an unelected attorney general, not the body politic.

Hawaii's voters decided by a nearly 70 percent margin to prohibit homosexual marriages, and voters in District 32 elected Rep. Bob McDermott twice. For Attorney General Earl Anzai to scold and misrepresent the comments of an elected official like McDermott, as he did in his June 16 letter, supports the idea of an elected AG.

Janice Pechauer

Politician should focus on real education needs

After reading state Rep. Bob McDermott's June 19 letter objecting to homosexuals joining the Boy Scouts, one thing is clear to me: He has no understanding of what has happened with the Felix consent decree.

We need to provide the state Department of Education with the resources it needs to educate our children. McDermott would rather that money be spent paying attorneys to fight parents tooth and nail, so their children can be denied the education they deserve.

While McDermott criticizes the state attorney general for defending everyone's right to associate with public organizations like the Boys Scouts, I criticize McDermott for not doing his job and getting the DOE the money it needs.

He should stop attacking people he claims aren't morally straight and get straight to work.

Mike Wong



"I love interacting with the audience.
It's like a night of hanging out talking,
with some songs thrown in."

Trisha Yearwood
Anticipating her Monday concert on Oahu
at Pearl Harbor's Richardson Field


"I have made some money.
It has put food on the table and
helped to pay for day care.
It beats the office."

Kathleen Keala
One of the Hawaiian families earning money on the
south shore of Molokai planting and harvesting
"limu loa" in Hawaiian or "ogo" in Japanese.
Keala said that, when she was pregnant, she would
eat the seaweed in a sandwich along
with tuna fish and kimchee.

Estate's worth seems to fluctuate

Your reporting of the Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate scandal has shifted gears in terms of fundamental estimates without, as far as I know, any explanation.

The estate's capital has gone from an evaluation of $15 billion in your stories two years ago, to $10 billion more recently and now, in recent stories, to $6 billion, even though, if anything, the public sale of some of its shares in Goldman-Sachs should have increased its value. May the reader know why?

A similar transformation has taken place over the accusations of thefts of the endowment's capital -- from $350 million a week or so ago to $200 million in Saturday's story.

I appreciate that one of the problems is the incredibly sloppy way in which the estate's affairs have been run. But I still think you are rather cavalier to throw these figures around without more documentation and/or explanation to readers in your role as media guardian of the story.

Sol W. Sanders
Kamuela, Hawaii

Bishop Estate Archive
Kamehameha Schools

A standing ovation for HTY supporters

On behalf of the Honolulu Theatre for Youth volunteers, staff members and trustees, I want to thank our community for the outpouring of support this spring. HTY has received nearly $60,000 in donations, many from people who had never donated to us before.

As a result, we were able to close the season "in the black," a small but crucial triumph.

HTY is still paying down a bank loan and needing to match a special national grant, but we face these challenges much stronger now than if we had sustained a season deficit.

Jane Campbell
Producing Director
Honolulu Theatre for Youth

Longline ruling is victory for animal lovers

A big mahalo to both Judge David Ezra for his ruling on regulating and controlling longline fishing and to Paul Achitoff, attorney for Earthjustice Defense Fund, for not giving up. This is long overdue.

I agree with Achitoff that longliners should pay for the cost of an observer on each boat, since they are practicing bad fishing methods. They can afford it, and now maybe they will be a little more sensitive about killing anything that comes their way.

As for the big fish wholesalers, they shouldn't make people feel guilty for disagreeing with the longliners, who will survive like everybody else in Hawaii. If customers want to eat fish, they will pay the price.

I don't recall any problems obtaining fresh fish at reasonable prices, even before the longliners were fishing here. Think about the dolphins, turtles, sharks and seabirds that were being killed unnecessarily.

Soulan Yuen Cahoon

Judge's decision abridges rights of U.S. citizens

If the federal government is mandating that observers must be on all longline boats based in Hawaii, and there are only two observers in the state, wouldn't it be fair to say that these fishermen will be financially damaged? Will this result in them filing a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. government?

Judge Ezra's ruling may have its merits, but it only hurts those who have empowered this judge, namely U.S. citizens. Judges are supposed to uphold the laws, which are meant to protect the rights of citizens. This ruling does not do that.

Craig Watanabe

Headline was inappropriate for family newspaper

I have to admit that "Live coral sex stars at Waikiki Aquarium" was a catchy headline in your Saturday edition. But I don't think it will necessarily improve your newspaper sales.

In fact, I found such a headline to be offensive. You owe the public an apology for corrupting this generation.

Wayne Chow

It's obvious who put the lock on gate

In my opinion, anyone who thinks that Portlock homeowner Bert Dohmen did not put the lock on the gate blocking access to Seconds Beach is ridiculously naive (Star-Bulletin, June 27).

After all, it was Dohmen who put up the gate three years ago to restrict public access to the beach via the foot path adjacent to his home.

Beach access is a birthright for all citizens of Hawaii. Kudos to City Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura for following through on the city's promise to provide permanent access to the beach.

Dohmen says he removed the lock himself on Sunday. Maybe, but the bottom line is that the gate would still be locked if Yoshimura and the city had not threatened to remove the lock themselves on Monday morning.

Bruce M. Clark

Questions for Yoshimura in Portlock gate incident

So much noise about a lock that a vandal placed on a private gate on a private lane (Star-Bulletin, June 27). Fortunately, I had a locksmith remove the lock before City Council Chairman Yoshimura could complete his staged media circus involving his planned removal of the lock. The media should question:

Bullet What Yoshimura was doing trespassing on private property in the first place. Why did he tell the media that the lane is public, then a few minutes later say that I am delaying the city's efforts to make the lane public?

Bullet Yoshimura's statement that this is the only lane on Portlock, out of 23, which has a gate. He knows full well, from photos, that one-third of the lanes are permanently closed.

Bullet His assertion -- caught on TV news cameras -- that I had put the lock on the gate, when he knows full well that I had the lock sawed off.

Bullet If a new part of a Council member's job description is to go around the island harassing private citizens on their own property.

What an embarrassment for the entire Honolulu City Council to have a chairman who, among other things, was caught for a hit-and-run incident. The Council should seriously consider whether Yoshimura deserves to be chairman, or if he should be impeached for using his position for his own selfish interests.

How long will the people put up with this?

Bert Dohmen

Hanauma Bay coral reef is dead

The city is lying to the public about what it is saving at Hanauma Bay.

If you ask the general public what the city is trying to protect, the response would be the coral reef. Wrong. That's what the city wants you to think.

The truth is it is trying to protect the coraline algae growing on the dead reef. The reef died 400 years ago (although people shouldn't walk on the reef regardless of whether it's dead or alive, because it is part of a live ecosystem).

The algae that grows on the reef is what the fish eat and that is what the city is trying to save.

So essentially, it is constructing a 10,888-square-foot building with a gift shop on the rim of the bay, which will be visible from the lower bay, and a restaurant with tables and restrooms facing the rim of the bay, in order to protect fish food. Yet algae is abundant and everywhere, and the fish will always have enough food.

Kelly Washino
Hanauma Bay Improvements Task Force

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