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Saturday, September 9, 2000

Ideals were lacking in
Uyesugi's attorneys

I would like to respond to letters about Jerel Fonseca and Rodney Ching representing Byran Uyesugi, specifically Melanie Fonseca Kohler's (sister of Jerel Fonseca) Aug. 19 letter and T. Ono's Aug. 30 letter.

They are oblivious to the fact that Uyesugi's defense was a business arrangement driven by money, not a moral obligation based on "judicial representation which was his (Uyesugi's) right."

Uyesugi's family suffered the shame of the crime and probably suffered further indignity by being asked to financially support his defense. If Fonseca and Ching were so fueled by moral obligation, why wasn't their representation pro bono? And where is that obligation in the appeal of the guilty verdicts? Apparently, it is now with the Public Defender's Office, as Uyesugi's financial resources have dried up.

Melanie Fonseca Kohler spoke of her brother's integrity and compassion. Integrity for what? Fonseca and Ching were verbally chastised by the court for late submission of documents and a lack of comprehensive reports by mental-health experts. As for compassion, it was never witnessed by the victims or families in the courtroom from the defense table.

As for T. Ono of Hilo: Has he ever experienced the misfortune of having his spouse and best friend taken from him in a senseless crime and having to endure going to six other memorial services within two weeks?

I wonder if Ono would then find it in his heart to speak of rights of legal representation for the perpetrator.

This is a pain I will live with for the rest of my life. Until anyone walks the walk, don't dare talk the talk.

Uyesugi did no one justice by claiming insanity -- not himself, his family or the city. The only winners in this case were Fonseca and Ching, who reaped money and notoriety.

Lynn Kataoka
Widow of Ron Kataoka,
Xerox shooting victim

Tapa

Economy isn't better despite what experts say

Are we truly better off today than we were a year ago? According to our Legislature and Paul Brewbaker of the Bank of Hawaii, the state's best economist, we are.

Yet gas prices are up over 14 percent; thanks, Chevron. Food prices are inflated by 20 percent; thanks, Fleming Foods. Shipping cost are up as much as 6 percent (if you can find all of those hidden charges); thanks, Matson. So how can we say we are better off?

Sure, tourism occupancy levels, new car sales and retail spending are up, but so are my taxes. When I look at the bottom line, at the actual dollars I have left, it is about the same if not less. So I made more but the government took a lot more, too. Thanks a lot.

The next time our governor, Brewbaker and anyone else claims that we are better off today than we were before, tell them to do the math. The numbers don't lie.

Michael K. Griffith

SHOPO leadership and Harris are in cahoots

The reneging of the SHOPO membership's overwhelming vote to endorse Mufi Hannemann for mayor smells like spoiled akule (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 18).

Alexander Garcia, president of the police union, and his cohorts have embarrassed the entire police community with their deplorable actions.

Garcia and his clique should resign for the shame they have caused. How can they maintain trust? This is a case of police brutality; they have brutalized and messed with people's minds.

Mr. Garcia, local police officers are a reflection of our local community. We're all catching up to Mayor Harris' games and politics, i.e. granting the police the three-day, 12-hour work week and overtime pay at this late date. Any decent mayor would have granted these things a long time ago.

Enough already.

James Watkins


Quotables

Tapa

"I'm 72 years old and I'm tired.
I'd rather resign than
get dumped."

A. Frenchy DeSoto
OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS TRUSTEE
Who submitted her resignation as trustee and
announced that she will not run again. All nine
trustees resigned yesterday in a show of solidarity
after federal and state challenges to their election.

Tapa

"I saw how he (Harris)
made decisions and it wasn't necessarily
based on what was good
for the public."

Michael Nakamura
FORMER HONOLULU POLICE CHIEF
Saying the mayor is a micromanager who tried to
influence decisions at HPD for political gain,
which is why Nakamura supports
Mufi Hannemann's candidacy


National health care needs improvement

For some time now, especially around elections, we hear promises from politicians regarding health care.

President Clinton promised to reform health care for Americans. But no sooner did he move into the White House did he hand off that hot potato to Hillary. We deserve health-care plans as good as our public servants get.

It's time for Americans to compare our so-called leadership on the subject of health care with other nations.

For example, look closely at the plan that covers all Canadians, head to toe, cradle to grave. Look at all other nations, compare costs and benefits, then grade the ability of our leaders against those in other governments.

If I were to grade our politicians, using a bell curve based on the accomplishments of other countries in providing health care, our leaders would fail on a regular basis.

I've written a number of letters to our congressional reps on this issue. Months later I get answers that are vague, off the point and which brag about this or that.

It's not too much to ask our representatives to negotiate a national, competitively priced, across-the-board health-care system. As it is now, insurance companies are running this poorly and clearly for profit.

Steve Purnell

A vote for Nader is not wasted

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman is fond of asserting that "a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush." It is a hollow slogan with a nice ring.

Lieberman's argument posits that a vote for Nader is wasted because Nader has no realistic chance to win. To extend this proposition to its logical conclusion, one would need to vote for whichever candidate happens to be ahead in the polls on the morning of the election, so long as the lead exceeds the margin of error.

Even more troubling is the presumption that some other candidate -- Al Gore, for instance -- is entitled to one's vote before it is cast.

Voters should know that Lieberman's view is, and strives to be, a self-fulfilling prophecy rather than a reasoned argument. Let's not allow interested politicians to force-feed our choices to us.

Ted Shin

UH

Football tab inspires fans near and far

Awesome! Totally awesome! Thank you for an incredible special report on the University of Hawaii football team (Star-Bulletin, Sept 7). The artwork is positively inspired. The text is anointed. The titles and storylines are full of attitude. The whole special makes me want to "be there" for our boys.

Great job. I love it.

Nick Wilson
Springfield, Mo.
(Former Hawaii resident)

Genetically changed foods aren't dangerous

Contrary to Yasmin Taguba's Sept. 4 letter to the editor, there is no recorded instance of anyone becoming ill from eating genetically modified (GM) foods.

Not only do these foods NOT pose health risks, they stand an excellent chance of actually improving health as scientists learn how to transfer genes into crops to make them more nutritious.

Environmental concerns raised to date by GM crops are manageable by standard and good farming practices. Furthermore, these concerns are far outweighed by the promise they hold for alleviating damage to the environment from the overuse of pesticides and other chemicals.

Because GM foods are high yielding, it may no longer be necessary to clear thousands of acres of rain forest for food production. Lands currently in production will be able to meet the increasing demand for food by a rapidly growing population.

There is no reason for consumers to shun altered food. There is every reason to believe that such foods hold out the best hope for our planet over the next century.

Michael Harrington
Interim Dean
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Greens acknowledge responsibility for planet

We are the Greens. We follow the way of the Earth within the Tao of nature. We assert our responsibility for and identity with our planet.

The Green philosophy follows the original conception of Christianity, where nature is God's Divine Presence. In this doctrine, the closer one is to the Divine Presence in nature, the closer one is to God's grace.

This also implies a responsibility for our temple of nature -- which is to keep it sacrosanct.

In other words, we must keep it free from pollution, radioactive nucliotides, toxic waste and other terrors that have visited the Earth and its inhabitants.

Within the Hawaiian spirit of aloha, all of bounteous nature is shared with other members of the ohana. So also with the Green Party, the central principle of sharing and mutual understanding are necessary parts.

Our best aloha to Keiko Bonk, candidate for Big Island mayor, and Julie Jacobson, candidate for re-election to the Hawaii County Council.

Paul W. DIxon

OHA voter eligibility needs to be changed

Now that every resident of Hawaii can vote in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs elections, why can't every voter get to vote for every candidate?

I live on Kauai so I can't vote for anyone running for the Honolulu City Council or candidates in the Hawaii County elections. So why can non-Kauai residents vote for my Kauai OHA representative? Why should folks who live on Maui vote for the Hawaii County OHA representitive or vice versa?

All folks should be able to vote for the at-large OHA representatives, but only island residents should vote for island OHA representatives.

Sharon Pomroy
Anahola, Kauai





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