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Sunday, June 2, 2002



HARRIS LEAVES DEMS IN DISARRAY


Democrats flounder without Harris

I am a Democrat who sees a party with out a rudder. Mayor Harris was set up to fail, and he was our best bet for governor. Ed Case doesn't have what it takes to be governor yet; Andy Anderson is a flopping fish sure to look out for his own interests; and Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono will be the party's Eileen Anderson, the controlled pawn. Auwe!

City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi has been campaigning against Harris through the newspaper. She has had more coverage and more pictures than the mayor and the governor combined. Is this the democratic strategy to make Kobayashi governor? She has more name recognition now than Case, Anderson or Hirono.

I have been involved in my community for 15 years. Harris has made it possible for anyone who wants to get involved to participate. We get notifications of what is going on so we don't miss the opportunity to stay involved. Before his invitations, we were not privy to all the various city functions. Whether it is transportation, sustainability, community vision or breakfast on a beach, we are informed.

Wake up, Democrats, the stench is strong. We do not want the Republicans smelling like a rose; the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer.

Clara Olds
Kailua

Latest move show's Harris's character

Jeremy Harris's decision not to run for governor shows once again that this politician cannot make up his mind, make a decision and stick to it.

It seems like just yesterday Harris said he was thinking about running for governor. He seemed to swing one way, then the other, and then finally decided not to run.

The latest move by Harris is almost a deja vu. The scary part of this whole situation is that he still has two more years in office as mayor of the City and County of Honolulu. Will he be able to make decisions, right or wrong, and stick to them, or will he become wishy-washy again, wasting time and tax payers' money?

His decision to pull out of the race is probably best for the state. Had he actually won the gubernatorial race, it could have spelled ruin for a state to have a governor who can't stick to a plan.

Jeff Kino

Dem leader is off base in Lingle attack

Perhaps to divert attention from her own party's turmoil on the eve of its convention, state Democratic chairwoman Lorraine Akiba is repeating the red-herring charge that Republican gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle's mainland fund-raising means she will be more responsive to out-of-state interests than those of our state.

The fact is, Lingle expects to raise approximately 20 percent of her campaign budget from the mainland. By contrast, Sen. Daniel Inouye received 98 percent of his contributions between 1997 and 2001 from outside Hawaii. According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, Inouye topped the list of U.S. senators in such out-of-state fund-raising. (Twenty-seven percent of Sen. Daniel Akaka's contributions during the same period came from out of state.)

I have no problem if candidates raise funds from out-of-state supporters, as long as these contributions are duly reported so voters can see and decide for themselves what the sources of funding may say about the candidate. But for the Democratic chairwoman to call into question the agenda of a Republican candidate who raises a modest 20 percent of funding from outside the state -- when the state's leading Democratic politician raises 98 percent from out of state -- is an outrageous exercise in doublespeak and an insult not only to Lingle's personal integrity but to the intelligence of Hawaii's voters.

I am confident that the voters will see through this shibai.

Richard W. Baker

Dems fighting over the right to lose

The Democrats seem to have a problem in getting a lamb willing to go to the slaughter of the governor's election this year. First, Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono rightly determines she cannot win the race, even though historically it should have been hers for the asking. Now, Mayor Jeremy Harris sees the race as unwinnable and he intelligently bows out. The only lambs left are state Rep. Ed Case, former Republican Party chairman Andy Anderson and Hirono, who got back into the race after Harris quit.

The Democrats need to quit fighting over who will lose to front-runner Linda Lingle in the November election. It really doesn't matter which Democrat wins the right to lose. Let's just get on with the race.

Garry P. Smith
Ewa Beach

City wasted money on fancy invitations

Last week we received a fancy printed invitation to the Sunset in the Park in Aiea ("Fancy mailings to 'Brunch on the Beach' by the Harris administration come under scrutiny," Star-Bulletin, May 30).

It listed all of our elected officials for the Aiea-Pearl City area and was mailed from the mayor's office. I took offense at this because I felt it was a totally unnecessary expense for the city. The event was very well publicized all over the Leeward area as well as on the radio. Only someone living under a rock might have missed the publicity.

I was particularly offended as I had gone to the Blaisdell Center a day earlier to attend a job fair. The event was supposed to be free, but when I got to the door I was told to pay $2. When I spoke to the production manager at Blaisdell, I was told "tough luck," in so many words.

So, the city can spend all kinds of money to promote itself at our expense and then charge students and the unemployed at a sponsored job fair. It is not so much the $2 (although that would buy a gallon of gas) as it is the principle. Wait a minute, I'm one of the unemployed, so that $2, along with the $3 parking fee, adds up to $5 -- and lately that is a lot of money.

Rather than printing those lavish invitations, why didn't they spend money on something important, such as hauling away the derelict vehicles blighting city streets?

Judy Magin
Aiea



Replacing stadium turf makes economic sense

Larry Price argues that we do not need to replace the Aloha Stadium's AstroTurf because, according to the engineering study, it is in good shape and will last for years.

We don't care if it will last a million years; we are more concerned about keeping the Pro Bowl around for another 11 years or more. What is a couple million dollars to replace the AstroTurf with FieldTurf compared to the many millions of dollars that the Pro Bowl brings in to our state each year, or the exposure of having BYU play the University of Hawaii on ESPN?

It is sad when we allow one person to possibly screw up all the money we get in tourist dollars and national and international exposure just so Price's feelings don't get hurt by having the Hawaii Tourism Authority or the state override his decision. Look at the overall picture and install the turf.

Jeffrey Ung

Why no seats belts on city, school buses?

The Department of Transportation lost its cash cow the "Scam Cams," and now we have "Click it or Ticket," the latest money grab with a catchy name. If these folks were really concerned with safety, they would require seat belts in buses. I see buses going down the freeway with people not only not belted in, but also standing up. Also, our state transports thousands of our children in school buses with no seat belts.

Why can't the DOT do its real job, which is to maintain our roads? They are in terrible condition and dangerous in many cases. Brain Manaai and the DOT should get a ticket for poor road conditions.

Randy Prothero
Mililani

Public has the real power in making laws

During the past semester, my U.S. history class has been studying how the Legislature works. I used to think legislators ruled all. They decided what laws were passed and when. They said which government money would go where, and who could use it.

But during the class, I learned something remarkable: Lawmakers don't rule all; they only appear to. When it comes down to it, the public rules. If a bill is passed that we don't like, the public can take it away. If something is there that we need, the public can make it happen.

It is amazing the amount of power that we actually have. This was seen recently in the van-cam issue. When that law was passed, a large majority of the legislators were in favor of it. Yet, a few weeks into the program, as more and more people complained, more and more legislators changed sides. Soon enough, most of the legislators were against the van cams.

Just imagine, if we hadn't said anything, chances are those van cams would still be out there, with a majority of legislative support.

What I suggest is that we speak out more often. It doesn't take that much work to get involved. You can just write a letter, or even go to a meeting. Learn about the bills in progress, and which ones would help you, then support them! It's not that hard, and the legislators will listen.

Julie McInnis
Kailua High School
10th grade

Don't tar commission for bad acts of a few

I've worked first-hand with several city Liquor Commission investigators who were charged with extortion and racketeering, for over year, in collaboration for a project designed to reduce the problem of underage drinking.

As a co-worker, I am disappointed and in disbelief that these individuals did not understand their responsibility; painfully, while I contributed to our steps forward, they took us many steps back.

As a citizen of Hawaii, I am shocked and disgusted that these people permitted and even encouraged the very acts that they were paid to control.

It is tragic that because of this dishonorable corruption, very respectable projects of the Liquor Commission are now tainted and in jeopardy. Although it is reasonable to negatively label this system, many investigators and personnel do believe in the purpose of their jobs. These people know that they must not take advantage of their positions in power to make up for their low wages. There are worthy projects, like that in which I participate, that successfully ensure compliance with the law.

With great power comes great responsibility. Let's hope that the unveiling of the corruption leads to hiring new, inspired individuals who understand that helping their society prosper and be safer is a privilege.

Shayna Lum

Candidates must learn serious lessons

Here we go again, another voting year. We are going to see many candidates campaigning for elected office seats. Speeches will be heard and promises will be made. It's time to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions. Candidates will make promises and we need to start keeping records of how they do. If they don't keep their promises, then we need to kick them out of office immediately. We need to show our government officials who has the power: the people. Not the unions or big businesses, but the people.

In recent months, we saw how some elected officials broke the public's trust and will pay for their actions in jail. Candidates must know that there will be a high price for corruption and favoritism in government. It's time to get involved with our election process, time to bring much-needed changes to Hawaii. For the sake of our children, let's make Hawaii a better place.

Alan Kim
Aiea

Good teacher was key in student's life

It seems like just yesterday that our daughter, Sunny, attended Moanalua Middle School. She just finished her common college application. Her essay was about all the wonderful teachers who dedicate their lives, their money, extra time to their students and will never be recognized. She focused on Florence Asato of Moanalua Middle School, who changed her life, as her prime example. The essay was a touching tribute to a dedicated, caring teacher.

As parents, we are truly grateful that Sunny had Asato as a teacher. She was there to guide Sunny into making good choices. Today, Sunny is at the University of Hawaii Laboratory School, looking forward to an exciting future as a college student. We are proud that she is able to recognize and appreciate all the teachers that contributed to her success. They all faced poor pay, hours of planning, and working with 30 students of varying intellectual, social and behavioral levels.

Teachers, we thank you for your work. You truly do touch the future.

Jo Ann and Harley Sugiyama
Ewa

Maui students benefit from Inouye's program

On behalf of the students of the Lahainaluna High School ohana, we wish to thank Senator Inouye for the wonderful construction projects currently in progress on our campus.

We are the proud benefactors of the Hawaii 3r's Program, an initiative Inouye started a year ago. Through the coordination efforts of Ann-Maile Yamasaki, executive director of the project, and Yuki Lei Sugimura, Maui coordinator, we now are working with the Maui Marriott Hotel to build a fence above an embankment near the cafeteria and to install railings on two stairways. Also, with the help of Clifton Electric and the Maui Electric company, we will upgrade the electrical power on our football field.

It really feels good to be at the oldest school west of the Mississippi and to see the improvements on our campus. This endeavor boosts student morale and increases academic achievement.

We appreciate Inouye's efforts on behalf of all students in the state of Hawaii and especially those at Lahainaluna High School.

Martina Nagasako
Student body president
Lahainaluna High School

Adding to FBI powers is dangerous step

The article headlined "FBI gets broad domestic power" (Star-Bulletin, May 30) gives a disturbing look at U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's perception of the role of law in a free society. As a side issue, it also makes one wonder what the Bush administration believes was responsible for the neglect of two memos forwarded up the bureaucratic ladder.

Dealing with the first issue, Ashcroft answers concern about the loosening of restrictions on domestic spying with a statement as to his motivation: that the powers will be used "only for the purpose of detecting and preventing terrorism."

To quote song writer Cole Porter, then, anything goes if that is the purpose.

I submit that something more than that general purpose must be found to temper excesses and preserve us from government abuses in the campaign against terrorism.

The second issue is that having more agents feeding in more information will not cure the blockade that has been of great concern at a higher level in the FBI. Our approach is like making a stronger first link in a chain whose weakness is somewhere in the middle.

I wish the American Civil Liberties Union well in its response to all this.

John C. Roberts






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