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Sunday, December 16, 2001

Mirikitani will look good in stripes

I live in the Makiki district and will be voting in the special election in January. I also would be willing to volunteer that day to staff a polling place. There are enough of us who are fed up with Andy Mirikitani and who want to elect a new City Council member. Staffing the polling places with volunteers from within and from outside the district would eliminate payroll costs and greatly decrease the $225,000 cost.

I am appalled by this man's continued disregard for doing the right thing. Getting married when he did; last-minute pay raise; last-minute bonus. Who's laughing now? Not me. Not until I actually see that man in a striped prison suit. Count me as one of the "not so trusting and fed-up public."

Carol T. Chun

Hirono should explain campaign switch

Why am I not surprised by the controversy surrounding Jeremy Harris and the Campaign Spending Commission? That was why I was supporting Mazie Hirono for governor and was disappointed that she had a change of heart and will now run for mayor.

Interestingly, Hirono did not offer any solid, concrete reasons for the switch. I hope a deal was not cut that would really make me wonder what happened to good old-fashioned values, such as conviction, principles and sincerity.

It seems funny though that for nearly eight years Hirono has led people to believe that she really wanted to be governor and then suddenly she turned around and wants to convince us that she now really wants to be mayor. It's starting to smell more than fishy.

Jan Davis


"I think he perceived himself as a private employer and not a public employer."

John Henry Felix

Honolulu City Councilman, on a last-minute pay raise and bonus bestowed on aides by former Councilman Andy Mirikitani. It was misuse of Council staff salaries that led to Mirikitani's conviction on charges of theft, bribery, extortion, witness tampering and wire fraud.

"I don't know whether we're going to get him tomorrow or a month from now or a year from now ... But we're going to get him."

President Bush

Assuring the nation that Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on America, will be captured "dead or alive."

LeMahieu's own acts led to his resignation

When Paul LeMahieu was recruited as school superintendent and arrived in Hawaii, Judge David Ezra, Felix decree court monitor Ivor Groves, and the Felix plaintiff attorneys all, with conviction, proclaimed that our savior had arrived and that consent decree worries were over.

LeMahieu eagerly accepted this immortal role and began a top-down mode, illusion of control reign. From get-go to bitter end, he ignored advice and consent and sidestepped the Board of Education, the Legislature and the governor. He held only contempt for the Legislature and parents. He publicly stated that the Legislature knew nothing. His hand in abolishing the state children's council turned back much progress.

LeMahieu isn't a messiah and no one cares about his personal affairs. State or federal investigators should ensure that the misappropriated federal impact aid money is returned. LeMahieu isn't a martyr and should bemoan his persecution elsewhere.

Steve Bowen

Hamamoto needs to prove her worth

Too bad our new school Superintendent Pat Hamamoto does not remember where she came from. If she did, she would have turned down the $60,000 raise in a sign of solidarity until all of our public school teachers get their full contracts.

So is she the best person for the job? Only time will tell, but things are not looking up for her.

Hamamoto may have overseen the Felix consent decree, but she was also charged with making sure that the changes to Chapter 19 were implemented. Instead of moving forward in a quick and efficient manner, she has dragged her feet. She took her time compiling a implementation task force and then added people to the task force who gave testimony against the changes to Chapter 19.

Because of these actions it is now well over a year since the Board of Education voted to include the anti-harassment policy to Chapter 19, and we are no closer today to having all of our students protected by this change in the law.

To be fair, not all the blame falls on Hamamoto, but she has to take her fair share.

Michael J. Golojuch Jr.

Gambling interests set sights on Hawaii

Here we have a wahine from Detroit, whose husband owns casinos, assuring us that the best thing we can do for ourselves is open a few casinos, preferably under their auspices.

And we have the representative of Sun International, who is related to those characters in the Bahamas visited by Governor Cayetano, who assures us that "just one casino in a selected place" would boost our economy no end.

Just whose economy it would boost seems very clear -- not ours, theirs.

And here we have John Radcliffe, employee of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly and champion (ha!) of higher education for our young people. This spokesperson for the faculty is working his tail off to find ways to convince the legislators that what we need is gambling -- this in the face of clear evidence that the largest growing number of addicted gamblers are teen-agers.

And then there are the legislators themselves. A few of them are clear about their opposition to gambling. Unfortunately, more of them are inclined not to want to stick their necks out, so the solution will be a referendum.

Terrific! The gambling interests are ready to put into the hands of our local TV stations canned spots extolling the virtues of gambling and urging folks to vote "yes" on a referendum. They've got the bucks, and they will steamroll our state with pro-gambling propaganda -- a great way to assure that the voice of the people is heard.

Do the people of Hawaii want to remain the aloha state or become another Atlantic City?

Judy A. Rantala

Vegas leads the nation in social problems

Gambling lobbyist John Radcliffe and Sen. Robert Bunda are still push the "gaming" myth (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 13). The facts show gambling is not an economic solution, except for slot-owners. Both men ignore its costs.

Las Vegas shows us the price of gambling. It is no coincidence that Las Vegas leads the nation in suicides, gambling addiction, divorce and women killed by men. It is third nationally in bankruptcies and abortions, number four in rapes, alcohol-related deaths and out-of-wedlock births.

Las Vegas also is number five in crime rates and six in prisoner rates. In voter participation, it is 50th of the states.

Hawaii should remain the aloha state, not the pick-your-pocket state.

Jerome G. Manis

Agriculture board carefully
considered CEATECH loan risk

A Dec. 4 editorial on the loan reconsideration made by the Hawaii Board of Agriculture to CEATECH USA was remiss in its understanding of the circumstances involved in the loan and the law that authorized it.

Last year, the Legislature passed Act 78 to help spur economic development on Kauai and assist agriculture and aquaculture businesses due to closures in the sugar industry. The legislation authorized the board to waive normal requirements as it saw fit, with the exception that the interest charged shall not be less than 3 percent per year and the collateral consisted of assets deemed appropriate by the board.

After CEATECH's loan was initially turned down by the Agricultural Loan Division, questions were brought up as to whether the loan application was given proper consideration and review. Since the issue of predisposition on the part of our staff was raised, we sought to insure that CEATECH's application received proper review by hiring an outside consultant with 40 years of commercial loan experience to review the application and determine whether CEATECH has proper repayment ability and sufficient collateral.

After reviewing CEATECH's operation on Kauai, and upon scrutiny of the company's financials, the consultant determined that CEATECH would qualify for a $2.5 million loan under Act 78. Further, the consultant concluded that it was not unreasonable that the state should make this loan to CEATECH. Therefore, the issue was brought before the board for reconsideration.

The board's approval of this loan does not mean that it did not consider the risks. The entire agricultural loan program operates on the premise that we are the "lender of last resort." This means that all the loans under consideration represent higher risks than loans that are made by conventional lending institutions.

In this case, however, we also note that just prior to the board's deliberations on CEATECH's loan application, Central Pacific Bank agreed to loan CEATECH $2.3 million contingent on the board's approval of CEATECH's reduced request of $2.5 million. CEATECH had originally requested $4.5 million in loan funds. This clearly demonstrates the private sector's willingness to share in the risk.

CEATECH's operation on Kauai includes 40 operating ponds and a state-of-the-art processing plant in Hanapepe. The loan would help the company expand the number of ponds, which will help increase its profitability and chances for success.

In making this decision, the board members felt strongly that if we are to encourage the diversification of agriculture and aquaculture, the state needs to take risks with some new enterprises.

James J. Nakatani
Hawaii State Board of Agriculture

Other waste is worse than horse 'litter'

This is in response to Thomas Haae's Dec. 11 letter, "Mounted police leave messy calling cards."

The cigarette butts and trash that litter this island are more disturbing than a bio-degradable waste product that comes from a horse's rear end and that consists of mostly grass. And yes, the police officers riding those horses do pick up the waste.

Adrienne L. Wilson-Yamasaki

Craig's Bakery will be missed far and near

How sad to learn from here in Mount Pleasant, S.C., about the closing of Craig's Bakery in Kailua.

My family lived on North Kalaheo Avenue from 1982 to 1986 and we regularly bought doughnuts, apple fritters and eclairs on Saturday mornings. When we have visited over the last two decades (our son went to Hawaii Pacific University and lives in Haleiwa) we would never miss an opportunity to buy our baked goodies from Craig's.

This past summer we rented a house in Kailua for children and grandchildren to visit from the mainland and every other day or so we made the short drive to Craig's to buy our morning sweets.

Oh, how we Muirs will miss them on our next visit. What sad news.

Ann Muir
Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Committee's questions were unfair to Ashcroft

The Editor's Scratchpad Dec. 10 accused Attorney General John Ashcroft of being out of line in his reply to questions put to him by the Senate Judiciary Committee about military tribunals. I disagree. The committee's questions were purely political. There is a difference between concern for government abuses and a witch hunt. Ignorance is not an excuse to be unpatriotic; even if it was not this committee's intent, that was the result.

Equating current policies on terrorism to King George III and the Senate committee to our nation's declaration of independence is quite a stretch.

Sen. Patrick Leahy and his committee do not serve our country well with their hysterics. I believe our elected officials are responsible for the interest of American citizens before that of noncitizens and certainly more so than that of the enemy.

It was evident prior to the frenzy over lost liberties and the committee hearing that civil liberties were being preserved. The abuse of power was employed, but not by Ashcroft or the current administration.

Terri Mathews

Mideast struggle seems hopeless

Israel's Sharon government and the Palestinian Hamas group are joined in an escalating dance of death to the beat of alternating provocation and retribution, their common political tactic in mutually doomed strategies for tribal proprietorship of land.

Since then the escalation has spread to New York City, Washington, D.C., and Afghanistan. Now President Bush and Ariel Sharon have officially united under the banner of a war on terrorism. Escalation of injustices to the civil world, by both terroristic and military power, contesting issues of economic and political control, will likely expand the "long war" we have been promised.

A superior method to allow "enduring freedom" is a global campaign for "infinite justice" as the fundamental means to reduce human misery.

Andrew Jones
Pahoa, Hawaii

Bin Laden deserves a fitting title

Any time an American refers to Osama bin Laden, we should bestow him with a fitting title: coward. Osama Bin Laden the Coward. Saying it repeatedly will remind us that who we're dealing with is no one of importance and is even beneath the lowest life form.

Braddoc DeCaires

Add Pinho's name to list of Sept. 11 heroes

Regarding the story about Rochan Pinho, the boy with terminal cancer who raised $10,000 for the Sept. 11 relief effort, (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 13):

Please tell Rochan that he is one of the real heroes for his courage and generosity under pressure.

John Rodwick
Kalispell, Mont.

Film denigrates Hindu saint

The much promoted Hollywood film called "Tomb Raiders" has me steaming. One scene in the film depicts what can be none other than Sri Hanuman, one of the most revered of Hindu saints, as a evil monkey-god that the heroine of the film destroys.

This is such an insult to every Hindu. How this can go unchallenged? I don't understand.

Ron Castillo

McDermott insulted Mink's patriotism

I have had the pleasure and honor to work for Congresswoman Patsy Mink both in Washington and in Hawaii, and I am appalled at the cheap shots and demagoguery of state Rep. Bob McDermott calling Mink soft on terrorism.

For any one of thousands of reasons, Mink is a patriot of the highest order given her decades of loyal service to the nation, and for the steadfastness and depth of her devotion to truth. These are indeed trying times, and for McDermott to take advantage of people's worries for political self-interest is reminiscent of the hate and smear campaigns of the '50s.

McDermott should stand together with colleagues on both sides of the political aisle and respect, as well as applaud, those who have the personal and political backbone to stand above the fray, unafraid to speak their minds -- like Patsy Mink.

Vinnie Linares
Kula, Maui

Charge against Mink was a GOP smear

Bob McDermott should refrain from charging that Rep. Patsy Mink is "soft on terrorism." This argument is reminiscent of the smear charges used during the Cold War to stifle dissent and label those who have honest disagreements with government policy.

It is the lowest form of argument and will surely alert those people who might for other reasons consider voting Republican. Republican politicians have the habit of wrapping themselves in the flag and questioning a person's patriotism merely for disagreeing. This is hardly democratic or worthy of the party of Lincoln.

Alfred Bloom

Bikers say thanks for Toy Run help

The 27th Annual Toy Run hosted by Street Bikers United was again a major success. Many thanks to the members of SBU, independent and neighbor island bikers, and the classic and antique car enthusiasts who came out to support the toy drive, making it still the largest, one-day toy collection in Hawaii. Without their support this could not have been possible. Our hats off to all 2,000-plus participants.

Thanks to HMAA, Ruby Hargrave and the Honolulu Community Action Program, FM-100 KCCN, all the Harley Davidson people, New Violet's Grill, Progressive Insurance and Cosmic Air Brush for funding the event. Last, but not least, mahalo to Andy and Ray Bumatai for spearheading the planning stage and contacting friends in the business to secure the greatest entertainment for all to enjoy.

Street Bikers United's goal has always been to collect as many toys as possible to donate to the Marine Corps' Reserve Toys for Tots Program so that the needy children of Hawaii can enjoy a Merry Christmas and we'll continue to support our children for many years to come.

To motorists who may have been caught in the traffic tie-up in Waikiki, a big mahalo for your patience and understanding. See you next year.

Roy Gomez
State director
Street Bikers United

Businesses created campaign monster

Local business executives say they have to give large amounts of money to Mayor Harris' campaign for governor or they won't get contracts. They all but accuse the mayor's fundraisers of extortion.

Is it possible? Yes, but it is more likely that this is just Hawaii politics as usual come home to roost. The business people and their predecessors have created this monster. They give money to a campaign to gain an advantage in contract allocation and similar access. Then they worry that someone else will out bid them in the campaign contribution (bribery in any other sphere) game.

Once you join the political influence scramble, it is a bit disingenuous to claim you are being extorted when you are caught at it. Come on, guys! Did you really want your contribution to go unnoticed, especially by the candidate?

This is why some of us are beginning to think that anyone with the backing and the personality to achieve high public office may be too dangerous to be permitted to hold it.

Rev. Mike Young
First Unitarian Church

More bumps in traffic cam debate

Few drivers obey the speed limit

I bet if the public was polled, more people would be opposed to the traffic surveillance cameras than those who favor them.

It's no big surprise. Just take a drive on our freeways for 10 minutes and you will see more people disregarding road signs and limits than you see people obeying them.

It's unfortunate, but true. I estimate that less than 30 percent of drivers actually adhere to road indicators.

Alvin Noguchi

Two-wheeled vehicle will avoid speed cams

There is a very simple solution to the newly installed red light and speeding traffic cams: Ride a bicycle.

Jim Rosen

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