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Friday, March 14, 2003

Column mischaracterized
campaign-spending complaint

Why no great outcry about actors' salaries?

I just heard on TV that some actor named Gandolfini makes $400,000 (that's four hundred thousand dollars) per episode. Not per year -- per episode, of a weekly show. Where is the outrage from the leftists who speak out so loudly about overpaid corporate CEO's?

Esmond Marks

Charge drug dealer in officer's slaying

It was reported in the media that convicted felon Shane Mark, the suspect in the killing of Honolulu Police Officer Glen Gaspar, was on illegal drugs at the time of the shooting. It is unfortunate that we do not yet have laws that can charge his drug dealer as an accomplice to murder.

There is a basic principle in life that you are responsible for your actions and the consequences of your actions. Until we remove the shield that protects drug dealers from the consequences of their actions, this kind of human tragedy will continue. We need to begin to view drug dealers as terrorists.

Too many decent citizens in our society have suffered physical, emotional and mental pain caused by actions initiated by illegal-drug dealers. It is time our legislators debated the issue of making drug dealers more accountable for their actions. Everyone in our society is vulnerable to the deadly actions of crazed drug users and their suppliers.

Also, there is an old adage that is applicable here and that is: If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. From cocaine-snorting executives of major corporations to homeless heroin addicts who lurk in the shadows of our alley ways and to all those people in between who use illegal drugs -- none of them are as far removed from this crime as they may think. Their invisible fingerprints are on the trigger of the gun that killed Officer Glen Gaspar.

Carlino Giampolo

'Human shields' just out for attention

Ken O'Keefe and the other "brave" human shields experienced first hand that the Iraqi government is a dictatorship, but it still didn't sink in ("'Human shield' from Haleiwa booted from Iraq," Star-Bulletin, March 12).

Going to Iraq to be human shields is admirable. I think all the gutless anti-war/anti-Bush protesters should follow this example and go to Iraq to protect the innocent Iraqis. O'Keefe is actually pretty akamai. The U.S. Air Force uses million-dollar, laser-guided or global positioning satellite-guided bombs that can put the bomb within a few feet of the intended target. The United States is not targeting schools, water supplies or food storage warehouses. Those would be the safest facilities to be around!

If Mr. O'Keefe and his friends were really dedicated and strongly believed that the war is unjust, they would have gone wherever the Iraqis asked them to. Getting booted out of Iraq is proof that their actions were nothing more than an act to get some attention.

All Americans should stand together and support the real human shields: the true-blue, American fighting men and women who serve in our armed forces. They stand between us and those who wish to do us and our country harm. It is time to stop the protesting and start fully supporting our troops.

Dan Saito
U.S. Army (retired)
Bettendorf, Iowa
Former Hawaii resident

Iraq war is intended to protect Israel

President Bush said in his speech that he will do whatever it takes to protect the American people, but he will not put troops on our border. A country whose border is wide open cannot be defended. Common sense dictates this, as well as the will of 77 percent of the American people who want troops on our borders.

He also acknowledged the real reason why North Korea is on his "axis of evil" list with Iraq and Iran: North Korea sells weapons that can hit Israel from these countries.

He stated that by attacking Iraq, we will be protecting Israel's borders from enemy missiles.

It appears that perhaps thousands of Americans may die in this war for Israel's defense, and perhaps millions of Asians in North and South Korea and Japan may also die for Israel.

Ronald L. Edmiston

Cop in jail food case judged too harshly

Retired Honolulu police Maj. Jeffrey Owens and his wife have been my friends for almost 20 years. During that time his family and mine have sat at the same dinner table, gone to church together, and know each other's children. Jeff and I have even done business together.

Not once during that period was there even the slightest hint of impropriety. So I'm sad to see Jeff's career with the Honolulu Police Department end because of the jail food incident (Star-Bulletin, March 11).

Would I trust Jeff with being the executor of my estate and with the care of my wife and children if I were to die? Yes. In all the years I have known him, he has always been a true and honest person.

Yes, he admits that on two occasions he permitted some beef and turkey to be eaten by officers under his command. At worst, it was an incorrect decision based upon good intentions. But not dishonesty. That is just not in the man.

Those who judge him harshly by their absolute standards should do well to reflect on their own imperfections. Because the only person that could lay claim to a blameless life was Christ.

Ken Sutton
Portland, Ore.


Column mischaracterized
campaign-spending complaint

In his column "Campaign reform bill would codify buying votes" ("Raising Cane," Star-Bulletin, March 9), Rob Perez notes, "(T)he bill eliminates the current limits on how much money campaigns can contribute to charities ... as an 11th-hour amendment to the reform bill by ... Sen. Cal Kawamoto, who is under investigation for allegedly exceeding the very limits he's now trying to eliminate. ... Kawamoto proposed the stealth amendment several weeks after the Campaign Spending Commission opened its investigation into the campaign" (Emphasis added.)

Further on, Perez writes: "'There it is in black and white -- you can buy votes,'" said an astonished Bob Watada, head of the commission. 'This clearly crosses the line.'

"Indeed, this kind of political shenanigan has helped breed cynicism among many voters about the overall legislative process," Perez concludes. (Emphasis added.)

Perez's characterization of the amendment as one by "stealth" is far from true, for it is not unusual for amendments to be made after hearing a bill. In fact, approximately 90 percent of our amendments to bills are done in this matter.

Watada's comment clearly evidences his disdain for legislators, his belief that he should be the policy maker, or that he can use a very wide paint brush at will, or all of the foregoing, and possibly more. We legislators set the policies, not Watada, and he in turn interprets the rules, which should be applied fairly, not as unevenly and inconsistently as he has.

The complaint against my campaign committee was filed by an individual who signed it on Jan. 3. At the meeting before the Commission to consider the complaint, we (including my attorney) were ready to proceed, but Mr. Watada was not, and essentially asked for a continuance. Hence, we were left hanging in the wind, while our good name, integrity and intentions were tried by the press.

The press in turn was foiled by a complainant who filed for straight (Chapter 7) bank-ruptcy, and apparently had no assets; and worse, a complainant who apparently represented himself as president of Advocates for Consumer Rights, when in fact said Advocates for Consumer Rights was dissolved involuntarily by the director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs effective Nov. 28, 2000.

I agree with Perez, except for one point: when he speaks of political shenanigan giving rise to cynicism among our voters about the overall legislative process. The exception I speak of is the shenanigans of the press, who well know the truism that the pen is mightier than the sword, and therefore should not abuse that might, nor give a ready made platform for people who are fond of trying a person in the press rather than in its proper place.

Cal Kawamoto
State senator, 18th District (Waipahu/Pearl City)


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