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Thursday, April 25, 2002

Human flaws evident in Arakawa trial

Regarding the Clyde Arakawa case, I know of a couple of criminals who actually meant to go out and hurt someone, and they got a lot less time than Arakawa did ("Arakawa sentenced to 20 years," Star-Bulletin, April 23). This shows the damage that a moment of bad judgment (speeding to beat a yellow or red light while drunk) can do.

Arakawa's defense incensed a lot of people when he tried to blame Dana Ambrose, whom he killed in the car crash, and implied things about her character. Did that come from him or his attorney?

I also found fault in bringing up Arakawa's trespass conviction while drunk 10 years ago. Ten years is a long time. Can we all remember what we were doing in 1992?

Nonetheless, if this helps the Ambrose family, then so be it. Nothing will ever bring Dana Ambrose back and Arakawa should pay for the rest of his life in some form or another.

Don Akiona

Trying to save foreign dog is ridiculous

I am getting a bit appalled at the articles relating to the dog left on the Indonesian tanker, especially in light of the all the homeless people in Hawaii ("Coast Guard takes over mission to rescue dog," Star-Bulletin, April 23).

Not to sound like an individual with a hardened heart, but to what lengths will we go as U.S. citizens to prove how stupid we are? The dog isn't even American; it belongs to foreigners. Don't you think the foreigners are having a good laugh at us?

Maybe every so often, we should take a good, keen look inside our hearts and minds so we can see how ridiculous our perception of life is. Granted, many of the homeless choose that life, many of the drug addicts choose that road, but there are many innocent people whom we can teach to fish in hopes that they will be able to feed themselves one day.

Mapuana Cieslak

Columnist entertains with goofy anecdotes

I consistently get the best laughs from Charles Memminger's "Honolulu Lite" column. His stock of twisted analogies and strange anecdotes seems inexhaustible. If you were to believe his self-deprecating remarks, you might miss what a great writer and commentator he is.

Try to make him work a little harder and put out a column every day.

Mark Denzer

Scare tactics obscure budget realities

Here we go again. The scare tactics about the effects that cuts in state and county budgets will have on the public are delivered to us daily via the news media ("Senate debates budget solutions," Star-Bulletin, April 20). At the state level, I haven't heard one legislator volunteer to cancel his or her CIP funding. If we are in such dire straits, perhaps these capital improvements should be examined. Of course, it won't be, since our legislators need this money to demonstrate that they are looking out for their constituents .

At the city level, I applaud finance Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi's effort to shed some light on how devastating a cutback in operating expenses really will be. We have Mayor Harris trying to maintain his popularity by spending taxpayer money on useless projects, then telling us that any cut in financing would jeopardize city services. It's time to differentiate between "nice to have" and "need to have" programs. Perhaps someone should explain to the mayor that police and fire protection are "need to have" items, while Brunch on the Beach is "nice to have."

Seems to me that at both levels the pork is a holy grail, while services are something you can play politics with.

Bill Nelson

Flawed system lets one lawmaker stifle debate

State Sen. David Matsuura is the poster boy for initiative and referendum.

His demonstration of the ability of one person, directly answerable to a very small percentage of those who must live with the state's laws, to completely stifle discussion of a measure with much popular support (the "death with dignity" bill), is a perfect illustration of why we -- those voters who are not his constituents -- must have another way to bring such measures up for consideration.

I'd think Gov. Cayetano, he of the gambling referendum, would be a supporter.

Nobu Nakamoto

Bus Rapid Transit is the best way to go

We support Bus Rapid Transit. We are some of the hundreds of community leaders, workers, employers, senior citizens and students who see the value of a dependable public transit system. We are the concerned citizens who attended the hundreds of community meetings all over Oahu during the past four years to discuss transportation alternatives.

There is no reason to delay. The handful of people who now wish to postpone building the BRT system can't even agree among themselves. Some want to build monorails, others ask for more highways, some want to limit the number of cars coming into Hawaii, and some want to do nothing at all.

BRT is a practical alternative to costly and controversial rail systems and subways. It is the consensus decision of hundreds of your neighbors who took the time and trouble to weigh the alternatives and help make a choice -- and we think BRT is the best way to go.

Sam Bren
John Dell
Maeda Timson

How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). 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 and include a daytime telephone number.

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