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Sunday, September 15, 2002



Election countdown

9/11 remembered



Individual liberties are source of U.S. power

America's power is a result of the individual liberties of its citizens; not the other way around. For those who haven't reviewed it lately, here is the First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

And what Congress may not do, neither should anyone else. If someone takes away one freedom, it's easier for him to take another ... and another ...

D. J. Henderson
Kailua

Convention marketing given to wrong team

Dieter Thate was right (Letters, Sept. 5) in saying it's time for a new beginning for Hawaii's tourism, but I want to address the meetings and conventions markets specifically, as I believe we have a serious problem here.

Nobody in the Legislature, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, the Hawaii Tourism Authority or the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau board knows anything about the meetings and conventions markets, yet marketing responsibilities are being mandated to SMG Corp., which has no marketing history.

Meetings and conventions need long-term memberships, constant attention, innovative, long-term marketing and worldwide solicitation. A professional and properly trained sales and marketing team is mandatory.

Meetings and conventions are booked three to five years out, but we don't yet have a budget for 2003, not to mention a marketing company.

Indeed, we have a serious problem. Will someone please address it before it worsens?

Hilary G. Kelly

State has done plenty to help isles' tourism

Dieter Thate's Sept. 5 letter, "Government fails tourist industry," shows that Thate doesn't understand that the Hawaii Tourism Authority was proposed by the business-dominated Economic Revitalization Task Force. The idea, supported by Republicans such as Outrigger's Richard Kelley, was to bring greater flexibility and discretion in marketing Hawaii.

The HTA is neither directed by, nor does it consult with, the governor before making decisions. Moreover, HTA was exempted from the state's time-consuming procurement laws to maximize its efficiency. Currently, HTA's members include two leading hoteliers, a representative of a major airline and a former CEO of a large bank. The only state representative is Seiji Naya of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

In addition to doubling funding for tourism marketing to $60 million annually, the state built the $350 million Hawaii Convention Center. Like most convention centers, it is a loss leader for the state -- but a revenue generator for Hawaii's tourism industry.

To help hotels upgrade facilities and to encourage the building of new hotels, the state provided a 10 percent tax credit for hotel renovations and new construction.

What has the state done for the tourist industry? A lot. Perhaps an equally interesting question is, "What has the tourism industry done to help itself?"

Jackie Kido
Director of Communications
Office of the Governor

Patsy Cline production is great performance

If you are or have ever been a fan of Patsy Cline, you will love "A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline." It is a great performance of a legend in country music. Just close your eyes at times and you will see the real Patsy Cline.

The play originally was scheduled to end Sept. 22, but has been held over. My accolades to Manoa Valley Theatre for this wonderful production.

Robert Zimmer

Mayor, director caused added Hanauma cost

During the opening of the wonderful new facilities at Hanauma Bay, both Managing Director Ben Lee and Mayor Jeremy Harris claimed that a major element of the cost overruns on this project resulted from efforts by the city to accommodate the wishes of the community. The mayor said that the community had "insisted" on moving the education facility from the originally proposed location. This pitch raises -- actually lowers -- the practice of spin to the level of outright deception. The facts are:

>> The community task force on the project, which I co-chaired, recommended a modest, flexible facility -- not the stylish but highly expensive cave replica that the mayor imposed on the project.

>> The task force also recommended putting the facility in a depression closer to the rim of the bay but on the safer (for pedestrians) side of the access road. This was universally supported by the park managers and design consultants, and need not have cost a dime more than the original plan.

>> Subsequent input from the community resulted in the reversal of several ill-considered changes to the education center ordered by the mayor.

>> Additional costs came from a series of interventions by the mayor in various structural and cosmetic aspects. The overall result has been to turn a $10.6 million facility into a $13-plus million facility.

People who gave suggestions are not responsible for the appalling escalation in the cost. The buck stops at the desks of the mayor and managing director. I have asked the City Council to undertake a performance audit of this project.

Richard W. Baker
Former president
Friends of Hanauma Bay

Wahine volleyball adds zest to island life

Wowee! Isn't it a great pleasure to watch our University of Hawaii Wahine volleyball team in action? The timely slams of Kim Willoughby and Lily Kahumoku, the increasing confidence of newcomers Susie Boogaard and Karin Lundqvist and the rest of the team are gelling into a cooperative and well-drilled group of players.

Being relatively new as a volleyball fan, I enjoy the sideshows, too -- the frequent raising of signs by admiring fans, many of them senior citizens -- and the funny and colorful hat of the band director adds to the excitement of the games.

If you haven't seen the Wahine in action, you must go and see them live and support our local phenomenon.

Roy E. Shigemura

Police used due force in subduing prisoner

Many of our crisis workers are maimed and killed every day in the line of duty while protecting the public. Roger Tansley's Sept. 8 letter, "Police brutal in subduing prisoner," is an all-too-common example of bashing of our crisis workers, and it is not realistic.

Tansley's opinion is unfair, as he labeled as "docile" a suspect who was angry enough to destroy a car window. The alleged kidnapper may have been bleeding because of glass from the police car window he broke.

A violent criminal such as this would not normally surrender easily to the police; usually, they are violent with the officers as well, and commonly cause injuries to the officers. Add the influence of drugs or alcohol, which statistically are present in the vast majority of crimes, and this is an extremely dangerous and physically strong person.

Our crisis workers do far more positive things on a daily basis that go unrecognized. Let's be more supportive of those who serve and protect us.

Michelle Allen
Kailua

No better investment than land right now

Forcing leaseholders to sell the land under condos or other units is thought to be a good thing by Realtor Michael Pang (Star-Bulletin, Sept. 3). He also suggested that if the Liliuokalani Trust sold the fee, it could reinvest the money and earn more income than all the lease rent it collects.

Just what would you invest in these days that is better than land? How can anyone expect the Hawaiians to give up land when few are investing in stocks, but many are investing in land? Why would you sell land when you were taught to malama aina? What can the City Council be thinking about? Throw the rascals out!

I.A. Abbott

Kahle's supporters not all against religion

Many critics of Mitch Kahle's organization, Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church, would have you believe its only supporters are atheists. Not true!

I am a Christian and I heartily endorse Kahle's efforts to remove blatant religiosity from public lands and organizations, as well as such efforts as removal of the politically motivated addition of "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.

It is true that the words "separation of church and state" do not appear verbatim in the U.S. Constitution or Bill of Rights. But the phrase was first coined by Thomas Jefferson, primary author of the Declaration of Independence and the First Amendment, and it remains as the guiding principle of all sound interpretations of the free exercise and establishment clauses.

Our founding fathers may have been primarily Christian, but avoiding a state religion was one of their underlying goals. The state should not endorse a particular religion through "voluntary" prayer or pledge in a public building or allow objects of religious worship on public lands or support religion with tax dollars.

It is insulting to suggest that one must be an atheist to think this way. It is equally insulting to suggest that atheists cannot be good patriots or highly moral, principled people.

Mark McCullough

Bushnell led cause for nun's sainthood

O.A. Bushnell was a great writer and a wonderful human being. His family and friends miss him deeply. The late A.A. "Bud" Smyser, the Star-Bulletin's contributing editor, once called him "Hawaii's foremost resident historical writer."

Ozzy also was a great writer of fiction, but it was in his non-fiction capacity that he served for nearly 30 years as a devoted friend of the Sisters of Saint Francis. The biography he co-authored, "Pilgrimage and Exile," about the life of Mother Marianne of Molokai, won praise at the Vatican in 1983 and was instrumental in her cause for sainthood being introduced the same year.

Ozzy and his gracious wife, Betty, were part of the delegation that advocated Mother Marianne's sainthood to Pope John Paul II. The cause Ozzy was involved in was hers.

Ever faithful and generous, the Bushnells continued their devotion to the cause. Ozzy was an official commissioner along with Agnes Conrad on the research commission for Mother Marianne's cause, which presented 27 volumes of materials to Rome.

We Sisters of Saint Francis of Syracuse wish to express our gratitude for Ozzy's magnificent charity and for the use of his special gifts. As Betty Bushnell recently reminded me: "He always claimed he was Mother Marianne's miracle."

Sister Mary Laurence Hanley
Director of the Cause
of Mother Marianne Cope
Syracuse, N.Y.



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Election 2002

Countdown to
primary election

Council candidates' views are online

Honolulu City Council candidates can be elected outright in the Sept. 21 primary if they receive 50 percent plus one additional vote. If no candidate receives a majority, the names of the two candidates receiving the most votes will be on the ballot in November.

Do we know the candidates' views on important issues that face Honolulu? This question prompted the League of Women Voters of Honolulu to survey all City Council candidates. Their views on development in Central Oahu and the second city, the Bus Rapid Transit project and other traffic congestion problems make interesting reading. It certainly helped me decide on a candidate to vote for in my district.

To see the complete survey, voters may check at the public libraries, look at the League Web site, (http://www.dnet.org) or call the League office at 531-7448.

Robin Loomis
Secretary, League of Women Voters of Honolulu

Turn out those who backed creationism

With the state Board of Education elections coming up, let's remember the stance that current BOE members took on the topic of creationism in the science curriculum. On July 26, 2001, the BOE's Regular Education Committee "approved opening up the science curriculum to other theories." The committee members who voted in favor of this proposal and who are running for re-election are Keith Sakata and Karen Knudsen. The committee's vote later was reversed by the full board after intense public criticism.

Please remember these individuals' choices Saturday in the voting booth!

Eric Sadoyama

Reporting days showed Drelling's work ethic

Voters in Hawaii's 12th Senate District (Waikiki-Ala Moana-Downtown Honolulu) have the opportunity to elect an outstanding candidate in former KGMB-TV investigative reporter and news anchor Jerry Drelling.

I can tell you from personal experience that Drelling gets results. In 1990, my mother, Mae, and I -- she was 87 at the time and I was 59 -- believed we were the victims of a burglary ring in Hawaii Kai that was run by a veteran Honolulu police officer. Investigators from both the FBI and Honolulu Police Department declined to investigate our allegations, citing a lack of evidence.

Six months after the break-in, in which we lost $150,000 in jewelry, we had the good fortune of meeting Drelling. After investigating our claims, he aired a series of reports that led to indictments and prison terms for the parties involved. Eight years later, the city settled our lawsuit against the police department for $500,000.

My mother and I believe that Drelling saved our lives by publicizing not just our allegations, but the many threats that were made against us.

Drelling would make an outstanding state senator because he doesn't hesitate to do the right thing for average citizens who need help.

Glenn H. Williams
Los Angeles

Opponents can't match Lingle's agenda

It is no wonder all three Democratic candidates for governor came out attacking Linda Lingle's agenda. Not one of them has released anything nearly as comprehensive or thoughtful about what they will do as governor.

Did they even read Lingle's agenda? She spells out what she will do in her first 18 months in office. One of the candidates was quoted as saying she is working on the same plans. Well, that is the current lieutenant governor. Where has she been for the last eight years?

All three candidates keep offering us more of the same old failed policies and/or empty promises. Instead of sharing common-sense solutions to the problems we all face, they just want to attack anyone who does.

Well, I've had enough of that. I've read Linda Lingle's plan. I like Linda Lingle's plan. I think Linda Lingle's plan will work, and I appreciate and respect her courage in sharing her vision with us.

Mac Lowson
Lahaina

Candidates' arrogance belies calls for change

Ed Case and Linda Lingle are so arrogant and overconfident it's downright scary.

Both feel they have a direct pipeline to what the lowly masses need and want. Both think that by crying "change" loud and hard enough, people will be blinded to their limited qualifications or track records for meaningful legislation or walking what they talk.

What separates the two is Case's willingness to appear on the same platform with his opponents. But can anyone doubt that if he was a front-runner like Mazie Hirono or had the mainland money for commercials like Lingle, he'd be just as elusive as she has been with Republican John Carroll and her Democratic counterparts?

Tom Peters

Aiona believes in putting family first

As a result of his many years as a Honolulu deputy prosecutor and as a family and Circuit Court judge, Republican candidate Duke Aiona has seen first-hand the importance of strong families in combating the social problems that plague our community. It is no wonder that Aiona shares his strong belief that solving the problems that plague our community must start and end with the family.

As a life-long Democrat, I have supported leaders who have served the people first and foremost. Government, however, cannot be the answer to all of our problems. Each of us bears a responsibility to help solve our community's problems. Like Aiona, I believe that we must attack the problems of drugs, crime and failing schools one person at a time, one family at a time. Only then will government be able to make meaningful inroads toward helping us.

Aiona's message of putting families first resounds loudly with my family, and it will make him our next lieutenant governor.

Mary Garcia
Ewa Beach

Negative campaigning shouldn't be rewarded

It's coming down to the wire for the primary election. The strategies for candidates to position themselves for the final push commonly falls into two categories:

>> Stick to the issues and work hard to convince the voter you are the best candidate for the job.

>> Discredit or smear your opponents in an attempt to make yourself look good.

I will support candidates who remain issue-oriented, positive and speak directly to voters about their ideas to improve the economy, education and government.

I will vote for those who have the best ideas, and I will not be influenced by negative campaigning.

Geri Green
Kaneohe

Matsuura blocked death with dignity bill

Big Island voters interested in being represented in the Legislature, and not being deceived and short-changed, will support Lorraine Inouye against David Matsuura in their Senate race.

I wrote Matsuura as chairman of the Senate Health Committee in support of the "Dying with Dignity" bill. Having practiced medicine in Hawaii for 50 years, and having rendered terminal care to many patients, I believed he would take my views seriously and respectfully.

Instead, as I found out later, he not only failed to share my letter with other committee members, as I requested, but he obviously did not even read it himself. That's clear from the boilerplate reply he sent, addressed to "Dear Voter."

Matsuura abused his position as chairman by bottling up the bill in committee and, when forced to release it, had three cronies promise support for the bill in the floor vote that they had no intention of providing.

Voters who expect at least a modicum of democracy from their representative should work to remove Matsuura to another line of work where he might do less harm.

Willis Butler, M.D.
Kailua



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art

9/11 memories and hurt linger

Boycott of service rejects understanding

I can't even begin to understand the Snyder family's grief on losing their daughter in last year's terrorist attacks. I offer my most sincere condolences.

But the Snyders' boycott of this year's 9/11 service because a Muslim was scheduled to speak serves only to deepen the misunderstanding of what Muslims are about (Star-Bulletin, Sept 10). The cretins who caused the atrocious acts on Sept. 11, 2001, do not follow the tenets of the true Muslim faith.

We need healing, not ignorance and misunderstanding.

Kent Ross
Kaneohe

Muslim's prayer offered most comfort

I felt compelled to write after reading in the Star-Bulletin about an objection to a Muslim presence at this year's 9/11 ceremony at Punchbowl.

I went to the Capitol's ceremony last year with a heavy heart. Each day at work brought tears and sadness as I listened to the daily news. And I went to the ceremony to pray and find comfort.

All faiths were represented and I appreciated each one's offer of prayers. But the prayer that stood out and had the most meaning to me was the one offered by Hakim Ouansafi. In that one speech, he offered comfort and acknowledged our right to justice. He denounced those who perpetrated those acts and explained his faith. Most important, he brought a lightness to the crowd's hearts.

After the ceremony, I went to look for him to thank him, but he was gone. I would like to thank him now, one year later.

Marjorie Amano

Flight attendants gave their lives, too

Flight attendants go to work prepared to handle emergencies, but never did they imagine that airplanes would be used as weapons against our own country or that flight attendants would be the first line of defense in a war.

Thirty-three crew members died on Sept. 11, 2001. We don't know exactly what happened on that horrible day but we are certain that the flight attendants faced their destiny with courage, taking care of their passengers until the very end. That is what we do.

When air traffic stopped, we were separated from our families. When called back to duty, we wondered if another plane would be hit, if we would be next, but we got back on the planes to serve the public.

Flight attendants fight daily for more training and improved security measures so that the skies will be safer for everyone.

We need to honor the airline crews who gave their lives on Sept. 11. They are unsung heroes. We need to recognize the flight crews throughout the industry for the courage and commitment they display every day they go to work.

Karen Wataru-Nakaoka
Association of Flight Attendants



Special: We Remember






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