to the Editor

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Friday, November 30, 2001

Shark tours are a disturbing practice

The article "Up Close and Personal with Sharks" (Features, Star-Bulletin, Nov. 26) left me disturbed that sharks are being fed, thus lured and viewed from cages just off the North Shore of Oahu where the majority of fatal shark attacks occur.

I recall that shark feeding and viewing tours were associated with the recent increase of shark attacks in Florida and eventually were banned. The article suggests that sharks don't attack and aren't aggressive. History suggests otherwise.

I'm an avid diver and surfer and am concerned about the effects of this daily practice.

Keone Gaspar

Problems made UH overseer necessary

Just so there is no misunderstanding about President Dobelle's recent appointment of Allan Ah San to oversee University of Hawaii construction projects, I do wish to correct my comments as published in the Sunday Star Bulletin (Nov. 25) and repeated in your Nov. 27 editorial.

It is precisely because there have been problems with UH construction projects in the past -- as your reporter cataloged -- that we now have a single overseer who will assure accountability in current and future work that the university undertakes.

My answers to your reporter's questions emphasized looking forward rather than back. To paraphrase: We wish not to dwell on the past, but learn from it, so that we are not doomed to repeat it.

Jim Manke
University Relations
University of Hawaii


"I felt a pounding on my face, and I remember lots of blood everywhere. I thought I was screaming very loudly for help, but my voice was not coming out."

Sebastiana Podell

Visitor from California who received a black eye, a broken nose and a fractured jaw after being beaten by a suspect who tried to steal her purse in Waikiki. The suspect fled empty-handed after the attack.

"I don't think it's really wise to put a sex-offender office in close proximity to a school with 500 girls."

Caroline Oda

Head of school at St. Andrew's Priory School for Girls, citing concerns about the state's plan to move offices of the sex-offender and mental-health parole program from Waiakamilo Road to 1177 Alakea Street on Dec. 10.

Hirono a politician like many others

A reality check is in order in Francis Nakamoto's praise of Mazie Hirono (Letters. Nov. 27).

Hirono is untainted by scandal; it's hard to get in much trouble when you've done nothing for eight years.

The assertion that Hirono is not controlled by the ol' boys -- Who do you think ordered her to give up her run for governor to smooth the way for Jeremy Harris?

Finally, to say that she hasn't sold out is naive; the unions own her. They helped raise $200,000 for her in a single night and they expect a hefty return on their investment.

Jim Henshaw

Oil companies' greed breeds discontent

Thank you for Rob Perez's column (Raising Cane, Nov. 25), revealing the true nature of the multinational oil conglomerates supposedly serving Hawaii.

Their behavior locally is consistent with the worship of the bottom line shown in their business practices throughout the world.

Our dependence on foreign oil is due in no small part to these companies hindering rather than supporting the development and use of alternative fuels.

Instead, the United States props up repressive regimes in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, ensuring that profits keep flowing to the oil companies.

This makes it possible for big shots like Dick Cheney to retire with multimillion-dollar parachutes while impoverished children in the Middle East grow up eating out of garbage dumps, creating a fertile breeding ground for fascists like Osama bin Laden to plant their seeds of violence.

Now that that this amoral cycle has hit home, killing thousands of innocent Americans, these same big shots are telling us to be patriotic and spend money to keep this self-serving system running smoothly. May God help us.

John Gallagher

Republicans' tax relief benefits only the rich

On October 24, 2001, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $100 billion giveaway for the rich and big corporations. How can anyone justify giving 75 percent of the benefits to big companies and upper-income people? There was little tax relief for ordinary people like you and me to camouflage what is really going on.

The alternative minimum tax makes big companies pay some taxes even if they have used creative accounting to claim they made no profits. The Republican bill would give $25 billion in rebates on this tax to big companies. As an example, Ford Motor Company would probably receive some $2.3 million and IBM some $1.5 million.

Many of us pay most of our taxes in income and payroll taxes. The Republican bill helps upper-income people by cutting the capital gains tax. The Republicans claim that this will help ordinary people, but in reality nearly all of this tax is paid by the upper 5 percent. These giveaways from our Social Security trust fund are being done in the name of helping the country recover from the Sept. 11 attacks.

At home, the Republicans in Hawaii have proposed the same things as their brothers and sisters in Congress. So what's new?

Rose Carolyn Wilcox

Ehime Maru saga has gone on long enough

Am I the only one who is getting a bit tired -- and yes, disgusted -- with the Ehime Maru saga? We are very sorry this happened (and have said so many times), but we have spent $60 million trying to recover 9 bodies, and now I see where two of the families have retained lawyers and will be suing us.

On the same pages of your newspaper as this latest article are the stories of our citizens who have lost their jobs and others who will be losing their welfare benefits. Our schools also need fixing.

I believe this money would have been better spent on the living.

Is it too late to sue the Japanese government for the bodies on the Arizona and Utah that are still at the bottom of the ocean -- not because of an accident, but because of a deliberate act of war by another country? We could sure use the money.

And please, no memorials on our island; they should be placed in the home towns of those fine young missing people.

Norma J. Nicholl

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The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.

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