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Friday, September 12, 2003




Hawaii overthrow worse than Sept. 11

I'll never forget the terrorist attack on the kingdom of Hawaii by the United States on January 1, 1893. The attack on my homeland was nothing near to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Imagine if after the Saudis bombed the WTC, millions of Saudis occupied the continental United States, took over Congress and imprisoned the president.

Then and only then would Americans know how we Hawaiians feel about sovereignty, our Hawaiian homeland, our culture and independence.

Brandish the banner of Hawaiian independence.

Eric Poohina
Kailua

Take their cars away until they settle strike

So the Teamsters and Oahu Transit Services can meet only once or twice a week at 2 p.m., while the rest of us struggle to get to work on time during rush hour and to get our groceries home on foot. Why don't we impound the cars of everyone involved in the negotiations, as well as the strikers' cars, and not return them until the new contract is signed? Require that both sides meet every day at 8 a.m. and continue until 6 p.m.

Let's see them walk, bicycle and impose on others for rides. Perhaps this would hasten a resolution.

Linda Shapin
Kailua

Doing the math shows they make good money

In her Sept. 8 letter to the editor, Nichol Meyers wrote, "Yes, my husband is a driver, and he makes a good living. But his salary wasn't even close to the $44,000 that is being advertised after five years. No way. After 10 years, he now makes under $22 per hour. You do the math."

I took up Meyers on her invitation and did the math. On my calculator, $22 per hour times 40 hours a week times 52 weeks a year comes out to $45,760 per year. That's not only close to $44,000 per year, it's a good bit beyond it!

Robert W. Donigan
Kamuela/Waimea, Hawaii

Strike adds more pain to our aching economy

Sept. 11 hurt our nation's economy. Corporate scandals hurt our economy. The Iraqi war hurts our economy. SARS hurt the world economy.

Now the bus strike is hurting our state's economy. When our economy already was hurt by these insidious actions or occurrences, we did not need and do not welcome this hard-ball action by the bus union and its leadership. Not at all!

Mel Kahele, you are not too akamai! Your leadership of the local Teamsters union is questionable. Your personal motives may be questionable. Is it power or more kala for your pockets or is it both? A more positive economic condition may have helped your cause, but not now.

Think about it! Public sentiment is against you and your union. When the strike is over the public will welcome back the buses, but not the drivers who organized their actions against the good of the public and the tourist industry. Very sad.

Henry Jim
Honolulu

Let's use bus strike to collect useful data

It's easy to get upset while sitting in traffic, but today my degree in civil engineering prompted me to think of the advantages of this bus strike as I snailed along the city streets.

First, I truly hope that the city is taking this opportunity to collect data about traffic patterns now that the buses are removed from the equation. The traffic we are experiencing right now may be indicative of the traffic crisis facing us in 10-20 years. Collecting real data now could lead to a better future for us on our roads.

Second, what a great time this is for the minds of residents to ponder alternative solutions to cars and buses. Wouldn't it be nice if there were a light rail system in place right about now? What about a separate public school-bus service, like many school districts have on the mainland? I'd gladly trade a single school bus for every 30 or so parents' cars on the road in the morning.

Just some food for productive thought as you are stuck in traffic.

Dan Dorszynski
Honolulu

We should make them pay for our expenses

Those of us who are incurring expenses such as taxi fares and parking fees that we would not normally incur as bus riders should be asking for receipts. Then, each week that the strike continues, we photocopy those receipts, type them up in a bill, and send the bill and copies of the receipts to Mel Kahele and his Teamsters.

The longer this strike continues, the more economic damage it is causing. I will be able to survive the strike; however, many businesses are suffering because they have lost customers who depend on the bus. For example, I read that the businesses in Chinatown have lost 80 percent of their customers and income because the majority of their customers depend on the bus. How long will these business people be able to survive?

Yes, it would be nice if the bus drivers and other bus-related personnel could have raises, but this is causing too much damage to too many other people to warrant a strike over a 50-cent-an-hour raise. Compared to so many people who are suffering economic hardship, the union, its president and its members who are out indefinitely because of 50 cents an hour are coming across as extremely selfish and self-centered.

Jeanne Moore
Honolulu

Bushies are steadily destroying America

I am concerned for the future that the American people are allowing to have taken from our children and grandchildren. We live in a country where there will be no clean air, water or food for them. They will be the "free citizens" of a police state. There will be no free thought or free will.

The people in America began the brainwashing, controlled by Bush and friends on Sept. 11. Americans, not wanting to face the truth that their government based invading a country on a lie, began helping to tear down the walls of our freedom and civil rights -- through the Patriot Act and Department of Homeland Security -- that the government was digging up at the foundation.

Seventeen percent of children in America live in poverty. One billion dollars a week is spent in Iraq. Half the residents of Baghdad are children. Parents want their children to have a better life. Is that what the Bush administration is offering you?

If the governor of California can be recalled, so can a president. All politicians are public servants. They are paid to work for us. If any of them is not doing the job you want him to do, fire him. Hire someone else and if he doesn't work out, fire him, too.

Elizabeth Kemnitzer
Honolulu

Parents are main factor in education

Much has been said lately regarding the fact that Kamehameha Schools accepts only "the best and the brightest" students for admission to its campuses. Some parents believe Kamehameha should focus on educating those students who are doing poorly in school, rather than admitting those students who have demonstrated higher achievement. Is this truly equitable? Kamehameha offers a college-preparatory program that challenges Hawaiian students to excel academically. Should these students be denied an opportunity for a better education simply because they have already shown an aptitude for learning and a desire to succeed?

Instead of complaining about Kamehameha's selective admissions policy, parents should set an example for their children by putting education first, rather than extra-curricular activities, by turning off the television and PlayStation and committing themselves to a family reading program. Parents should involve themselves as much as possible in their children's school activities, and attend open houses and parent-teacher conferences.

These actions will improve our children's test scores more than anything else. Kamehameha is not a magic pill that will turn a student who has no desire to learn into a Rhodes scholar.

Gina Mahealani Karas
Kamehameha Schools Class of 1979
Hauula

Whether big or small, problems start at top

There are so many issues these days that one feels compelled to speak out almost every day.

I guess I'm old-fashioned, but I'm frustrated with fashion. How many women actually look good with low-slung jeans and an exposed mid-riff? And just the other morning I saw tennis star Andy Roddick on television in jeans with a hole in the knee. I have great admiration for his tennis playing, but don't think much of his demonstration of respect for the American public.

I could go on and on, but the point I really want to make is this: Last Sunday, I listened to President Bush's speech. What could $87 billion dollars, which he wants for Iraq, do for education in America? Every president for the last couple of decades has tried to attach the label of "education president" to himself. Wouldn't it be nice if one of them followed through?

I hate it that I have become so negative, but I'm so disappointed with my country these days. It sure would be nice to have a really positive surprise for all of us.

Richard McKinney
Honolulu

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