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Friday, March 28, 2003

Neighborhood board members AWOL

The neighborhood board elections are upon us again. In the past few years, the neighborhood boards have been wandering, confused as to their purpose and manipulated by the governments they are elected to advise. The Vision Teams have usurped some primary neighborhood board functions.

Some boards, such as the Kailua Neighborhood Board, are having difficulty doing business because of poor attendance by board members. I believe that poor attendance is caused in part by board chairmen inappropriately excusing absences -- leading the offending absentees into thinking that no action will be taken to remove them if they accrue the limit of three absences per year.

Nine of the 19 Kailua board members have missed at least three meetings during this term. At least six of these nine are running again! This poor attendance makes the Kailua board impotent because 10 positive votes are required to take any action. Board members are hesitant to bring up any controversial issues because they will automatically fail because of poor attendance.

Before filling in your ballot, phone the Neighborhood Commission office (527-5749) to check the board attendance records of the incumbent candidates.

Larry Bartley

Profiling makes sense if done with great care

I hope the opponents of profiling are horrified at the results of their efforts. A U.S. Army sergeant who recently converted to Islam and took an Islamic name appears to have attacked his commanding officers, killing two of them.

Screening a recent convert to Islam who was being asked to bear arms against fellow Muslims was possible. Opponents of profiling would oppose any special attention being paid to this individual. They might say that Episcopalians, Baptists and Buddhists also should be screened. This is wrong-headed.

Our country erred in World War II by unjustly incarcerating thousands of loyal Japanese Americans. This is a real stain on our nation, never to be repeated. But we need to make sure that the pendulum will not swing so far as to blind us to common sense. Screening an at-risk individual based upon common sense is no more intrusive than the security we all endure at an airport or a stadium.

Risk vs. reward: profiling involves both. I hope Americans will keep an open mind and carefully weigh both risks and rewards. The civil rights of the slain American officers were violated in the extreme.

Eric Anderson

Bush is like a dictator trying to steal oil

A message from a war protester: The only people who have lost in this war are the dead U.S. soldiers and Iraqis. The anti-war movement is not dead or defeated.

What I wanted before the war started was a victory for domestic and international democracy. The reasons for starting war, alternatives, and the costs of the war in terms of life and dollars should have been disclosed before any build-up -- the same as any large government project. Then, after discussion and debate, all branches of domestic elected government should have voted on what alternative to follow.

What I got was a commander-in-chief using propaganda to drag the country into a war. The thing that scares me most is that the Iraqi propaganda is more believable than ours -- an American dictator is invading an Arab nation to kill their leader, subjugate Muslims and steal their oil.

Maybe I don't wholly support our troops because I would rather see them drop their weapons and come home. But I understand that they have been trained to follow orders and are doing their jobs, so I have nothing against them individually. What I don't support is their commander-in-chief.

Jim Hayes

Bulldozing a civilian is terrible military tactic

In the March 17 Star-Bulletin, there was an article with pictures of an American girl being deliberately killed by an Israeli soldier driving a bulldozer. This was the most brutal display of contempt and disregard for human life. The driver of the bulldozer could see the unarmed girl, yet ran over her several times. He should be sentenced and put in prison for life.

This is another example of the Israeli military's undisciplined behavior and fits its pattern of killing unarmed women and children from the safe confines of a tank. This conduct is unbecoming of any military organization.

I do not condone the bombings by Palestinians, nor do I condone the cowardly killing of civilians by supposedly trained militia.

Semper Fi!

Kenneth S. Foley
Retired colonel, USMC

Cat story was blown out of proportion

Your big, colored photo of Manoa cats was followed by a New York Times article called "Cats -- an invasive species," which told how they spread rabies, feline leukemia and other diseases (March 23). I'm still asking, "What other diseases?" Rabies and leukemia aren't enough? Now, could you explain to your readers that feline leukemia does not transmit to humans? And as for rabies ... well, I think you just set the quarantine problem back a hundred years.

Barbara Ikeda

Tour guides' aloha brings visitors back

Whenever there's an economic crunch in the islands, one group is always ignored. No one thinks of these people as major players in the tour and travel industry, but they are the reason many visitors return and others decide to come. They are the ones who share the real aloha and why islanders generally have the red carpet rolled out to them when they visit the mainland.

We are known as escorts, tour directors, trip directors or tour guides; whichever label you are inclined to use. We help to make visitors' trips memorable; we entertain them, educate them, and even hanai them. In league with us are the travel-desk personnel, the greeters, the historian drivers and the entertainers.

The Japanese visitors bring in their own people to handle their groups. There is no work for us in that market, but the hotels, airlines and shops will get their business.

If anyone is hard hit economically, it's these I have mentioned. Most of us are considered contractual employees. We have no benefits, no medical insurance. No work means no income and no unemployment benefits. We are at the bottom of the ladder. Yet we are the reason the visitors come back, because we share our aloha and ohana. We are Hawaii.

David M. K. Inciong, II
Pearl City

The 'new beginning' has already begun

In response to Emi Chiharu's letter "Where is the 'change' Hawaii voted for?" (Star-Bulletin, March 12):

Positive changes have been taking place for the past 100-plus days, and Governor Lingle's early results speak for themselves.

>> Payment to Hawaiians. Lingle worked with lawmakers and Hawaiian leaders to pay $12.3 million in ceded land payments to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

>> Federal funding to fight drug abuse. Lingle got $900,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help fight "ice" on the Big Island.

>> Improving the business climate. With the help of Mark Recktenwald, director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Lingle has cut online business registration fees and reduced licensing fees for the securities industry.

>> Immediate prescription drug assistance. The governor's Prescription Care Hawaii program brings immediate relief to at least 20,000 needy patients. It fills the gap left when the Legislature passed a prescription drug law last year, which does not take effect until January 2005.

>> Governor Lingle has made eradicating Salvinia molesta from Lake Wilson and other state waterways a priority. Under the leadership of Peter Young, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, a collaborative state, city and military effort is making significant progress in resolving a problem that started more than a year ago.

>> The governor has a 71 percent approval rating. Hawaii's people see positive changes taking place under her leadership, as evidenced by a recent poll.

Are we done? No way, as this is only a partial list of results the governor is delivering to the people, and it's just the start of Hawaii's new beginning.

Bob Awana
Chief of staff
Office of the Governor

Don't use cop's death as political tool

I agree with Greig Gaspar, the brother of slain police officer Glen Gaspar "Slain cop's brother urges patience on three-strikes law," Star-Bulletin, March 22). No one should use the death of a law enforcement officer to make political hay.

Julia Chemotti


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