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Sunday, July 14, 2002

Afghan victims deserve U.S. aid

President Bush called the president of Afghanistan to express sympathy for the death of Afghan civilians killed in a U.S. bombing raid, as reported July 6 in the Star-Bulletin. Most of the 40 or so dead and 100 or more wounded were part of a wedding party. The news report noted that "Bush's words, while not an apology, were the strongest and most formal expression of regret yet" about the incident.

As a nation, regret is as far as we get.

Peaceful Tomorrows is lobbying to change this. Peaceful Tomorrows is an organization of family and friends of innocent civilians who died in the World Trade Center. The group is asking the president and Congress to create an Afghan Victims Fund. Members have visited Afghanistan twice, where they met with dozens of families harmed by U.S. military action.

They met children who had lost limbs, families who could not afford to rebuild their demolished homes and widows with nowhere to turn.

An Afghan Victims Fund is estimated to cost $20 million. We spent $1 billion per month during the main bombing campaign. Some families of World Trade Center victims have received millions.

Let's not be a country that has compassion only for innocent civilian victims that are made in the U.S.A.

Norrie Thompson

Hard-working Hirono best choice for Hawaii

We need workable leadership and Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono has proven that she has got it. I've watched her during the years and what we will get from Governor Mazie will be hard work, sincerity, fresh ideas, high personal ethics and an effective bridge builder.

Mazie works with people to solve problems. We win big with Mazie.

Homer M. Campbell

Mahalo to all who helped injured dolphin

Last Sunday morning, a young female Hawaiian spinner dolphin was found on the breakwater rocks off Magic Island. Surfers took her to the calm waters inside the breakwater and, assisted by others, held and stabilized her.

Veterinarians and volunteers from the Hawaiian Islands Stranding Response Group, notified by the National Marine Fisheries Service, responded to the stranding. The Honolulu Police Department provided support and maintained crowd control. Representatives from NMFS and the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement also were on site.

The animal was taken to a marine mammal rehabilitation center at Marine Corps Base Hawaii for treatment and, it was hoped, eventual release back into her home pod. Unfortunately, despite efforts by the veterinarian and others, she died en route.

An autopsy showed that the dolphin suffered from a fractured upper jaw and trauma to the head. Samples were taken to help determine the cause of death and to advance our understanding of Hawaiian spinner dolphins.

We would like to extend a big mahalo to the surfers and onlookers who provided help and to HPD, NMFS, DoCARE and the U.S. Marine Corps for their participation, help and support.

Robert C. Braun, DVM Marlee Breese Paul Nachtigall
Hawaiian Islands Stranding Response Group

Curfew wrong answer to bad teen drivers

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is proposing a 10 p.m. driving curfew for youths under age 21 ("MADD pushes for tougher laws," Star-Bulletin, July 5).

Hawaii Youth Services Network, a coalition of more than 40 youth-serving organizations statewide, is concerned that this proposal reacts to the illegal and hazardous activities of a few young people by restricting the driving activities of all youths.

There is no doubt that actions must be taken to deal with such dangerous activities as drunken driving and highway racing. However, these activities are not restricted to youths. Further, youths who are willing to violate the law by driving under the influence of alcohol are unlikely to comply with a law prohibiting them from driving after 10 p.m.

For young people living on neighbor islands where there is little or no public transportation, this law would affect their ability to participate in evening school or work activities.

Traditionally, parents have been responsible for determining the driving restrictions for their adolescent children, based on their personal knowledge of the individual's driving capabilities and level of responsibility. Let us continue to respect parents' judgment about their children and look for more effective ways to address the serious problem of drunken driving.

Judith F. Clark
Executive director
Hawaii Youth Services Network

Allegations against city bear investigation

I think City Corporation Counsel David Arakawa is wrong to dismiss out of hand the allegations made by city employee Milton Migita, even if it isn't his responsibility to investigate them ("Worker alleges city Transportation Department violations," Star-Bulletin, July 2). Given all the wrongdoing that has been going on in city and state governments, these charges shouldn't be taken lightly, even if the source is a disgruntled employee.

It must be someone's job to investigate these kinds of allegations. It shouldn't be too difficult to look into the department's reported purchase of a $20,000 van to see if procurement laws were broken. Surely the van is still in use; it's not like a No. 2 pencil that gets used up. If the procurement of the van proves to be questionable, then dig a little deeper.

The timeliness of the complaint shouldn't be the issue. The fact that procurement laws may have been violated should be the issue.

Bill Nelson

Next time, get funds before building library

There are practical and educated reasons for library requirements. One good example for the existence of requirements is the desperate call for a total disregard of such requirements by those who cry for Kapolei's library to be downgraded and opened as a "reading room."

If society is to try to educate and encourage an informed public, library standards should not be slashed at this time. The building will remain until the funds are available.

I hope legislators are learning a valuable lesson: Just erecting a building does not a library make. In the future, the funds for the requirements of established standards need allocation prior to groundbreaking.

Carolyn Martinez Golojuch
Past president
Friends of the Library

Tourists would love smoke-free hotels

Florida has featured totally smoke-free hotels for years for folks who want to rent rooms that don't smell smoky. Business is brisk in the coffee shops, which are open to public, and many non-guests eat there. To get a reservation, you have to go on a waiting list. The hotels don't need to advertise; guests flock to the fresh-air hostelries. Think about it. Hotel honchos saw the need and filled it sans passing laws.

Manny Russo

Japan has been helpful to S. Korea since WWII

Richard Halloran had it right in his "The Rising East" column regarding the one-sided Korean feud against Japan based on events of a near-century ago ("Koreans still find it difficult to be good sports about Japan," Star-Bulletin, June 30).

I was an early combatant with the U.S. Army in Korea in 1950. Seared into my mind out of this experience was a country in abject poverty, invaded by its northern brethren who compounded the misery with mass destruction, guerrilla tactics and terrorism.

En route to this combat zone, our troop ship berthed at a port in Japan for supplies before docking in South Korea. On my return trip as a casualty of war, I spent time at an Army hospital in Japan before evacuation to Tripler Hospital. It struck me then how cooperative Japan had been in support of the South Korean-American (later United Nations) effort to repel the northern invaders.

I have no recollections of ever having seen in print South Korea's acknowledgement and appreciation for this support by Japan during a 3 1/2-year period. Moreover, wasn't Japan's economic recovery from the ashes of World War II also a boon to South Korea's own recovery via shared Japanese technology, licensing rights and Asian industrial confidence-building?

I see Japan as having been an overall asset to South Korea since World War II. A country in pursuit of peace, it has posed no military threat to any nation. The threat to South Korea is clearly its own rogue northern brethren who not only invaded the south once, but most recently sank a South Korean gun boat in a deadly high-seas skirmish that killed four South Korean seamen.

Propagandized demands on Japan for textbook revisions, begging for forgiveness and so forth strike me as trite and unproductive. It will not happen, as I do not believe the same will ever happen for blacks in America who, in my judgment, had it much worse, with slavery and segregation spanning more than 200 years.

Should South Korea be invaded again by North Korea, will Japan be there once more to accommodate by allowing access to its ports and airfields? Generations of misdirected, one-sided animosity just may find the Japanese not as willing the next time around. The rogue northerners, of course, would simply love to see this rift kept alive. It will make their next planned invasion less complicated if Japan stays out of it all together.

Larry T. Hayashida

Religious extremists taking over U.S.

I cannot see the problem with removing "under God" from our Pledge of Allegiance and returning it to its original version. The United States clearly was founded by people fleeing religious persecution. This simple fact has led us to become what we are today, one of the greatest nations on Earth.

Lately, however, religious right extremists have made a power grab for control of our government system from grassroots levels, slandering and embarrassing those who would run against them.

What has this gotten us? A presidential election that got the guy in second place elected. A Supreme Court that refused to allow a fair vote count, and a president who sees war as a means of maintaining political power and driving home a right-wing extremist agenda.

Didn't Hitler start out like this? Let's restore our freedom, our nation and our worldwide respect. I may not vote Democratic in the local arena, but nationally we need a more inclusive view of the world.

Rodney Evans

Another interpretation of the pledge

The literalist's version of the Pledge of Allegiance: "... one nation, under Canada, over Mexico, with ..."

Jim Henshaw

Pay-per-view will be disaster for TV station

How will KHNL/KFVE General Manager John Fink figure out how to generate commercial revenue on those pay-per-view telecasts of University of Hawaii football games ("Warrior football to air live for a fee," Star-Bulletin, July 10)?

If I had to pay to watch a football game, I'd be damned if I saw a single commercial during the time-outs. Pay-per-view means no commercials. I think Fink is wrong on the pay-per-view idea and it will be apparent when PPV revenues begin to fall after the novelty wears off.

Even if there were no commercials, I would only pay to watch the highly coveted square-offs and wait for the recaps on the 10 p.m. news for the lackluster games. Call me a fair-weather fan, but the UH football program has yet to fill all the seats at the stadium, and now we have to pay not to attend? I think not.

Resorting to PPV tells some of us that your sales team has yet to come up with the magic financial numbers to cover the broadcast costs and turn a profit. Either that, or it's pure greed. Either way, it's wrong, and you will find out soon enough.

Craig Watanabe

Neighbor isle fans lucky to see UH games

I live on the West Coast (California) and I would be more than happy to pay 10 times what Oahu residents would pay to see University of Hawaii football on pay-per-view ("TV deal hard on neighbor islanders," Star-Bulletin, July 11). Those outer-island belly-achers! The former UH players who complained should have the intelligence to know what this means for the university.

Dominic Kiyoharu
Northridge, Calif.

Democrats' advisers didn't just drop by

In Richard Borreca's recent column, "Mainland advisers offer aid, comfort to local Dems" (Star-Bulletin, June 30), he quoted Democratic Party chairwoman Lorraine Akiba as saying, "We didn't request them" in reference to two mainland operatives who were sent to Hawaii to assist the party with this year's elections.

I find it hard to believe that two national Democratic officials just stepped off a plane from Washington and said, "We're here." As far as national politics are concerned, Hawaii does not garner much attention. On top of that, the Hawaii Democratic Party has been in firm control of island politics for the last 40 years. The national party never would have thought it necessary to send campaign experts unless they received a cry for help from our islands. To get such a quick reaction from the mainland, that cry could have come from only one person: Chairwoman Akiba.

Though she may not have come up with the idea of bringing in mainland advisers, she must have been warning Washington of the strong Republican challenge the Democrats face this year.

The people of Hawaii need to decide it's time to elect new leadership this November. We need leaders who will be open and honest with us, not officials who spin the truth even on the most trivial matters.

David Weick

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