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Sunday, September 14, 2003

Americans must stop harm Bush is doing

I have always considered Cynthia Oi's "Under the Sun" columns gentle yet insightful. I particularly admire Sept. 10's "Don't let Bushies slip another by you," in which she acknowledged that it is not easy to stay informed, but "if we let the details steal by, we relinquish our responsibilities as citizens. We fail to keep our leaders accountable." Well, now is the time to hold them accountable.

I would imagine that the greatest fear a politician has is that ordinary citizens will wake up to their abuse of power and say, enough. Enough of this greed at the highest level! Enough of these acts of vengeance! Enough of these lies and half-truths!

That edition of the Star-Bulletin also had a wonderful picture of protesters at the Santa Cruz, Calif., city hall, where the city council passed a measure asking Congress to impeach President Bush. Now it is time for the Honolulu City Council to pass an identical measure, and may the call for impeachment spread across America.

"Enough" to the great harm that the Bush administration's policies have brought to the American people and the world.

Pat Blair

Don't let anyone else slip one by you, either

Cynthia Oi stated in her column on the Bush administration that for us readers, "it isn't easy to stay informed." She should know, since it's her job and she's been doing it 26 years. But how does she know Saddam Hussein wasn't involved in 9/11? Where did she get that information, or is it her opinion? And that there's "no evidence of funding" al-Qaida? Do you really think that someone like Saddam, who ruled his country with an iron fist for years, didn't know an al-Qaida-sponsored group was training inside Iraq? Try reading Jonathan Schanzer's article on El Ansar Islam for more "details." After all, as Oi writes, "the devil is in the details."

Oi's column is another example of someone who has not researched the facts and instead is pushing her own political views; it's happening way too often on both sides of the political spectrum. So be careful, readers, and become informed before you take position on an issue, or someone might try to "slip another one by you" when you least expect it.

John Colwell

Waimea Outdoor Circle saved jacaranda trees

Editor's note: Parts of the following letter were mistakenly deleted when it was published Thursday. This is the correct version:

The Schuller Homes development off Mamalahoa Highway at the entrance to Waimea town has been building for some months now, but it came as a shock to the neighbors when the bulldozers showed up to make the left turn lanes necessary for the development. The neighbors called the Waimea Outdoor Circle to ask for help, since everyone knows when trees are threatened; WOC is the place to call.

A letter was sent to Mayor Kim asking that an arborist be present when the trees were trimmed and reminding him of their beauty at that entrance to town. The mayor called a meeting of all concerned and it was agreed that certified arborist Mike Kraus would do the pruning, leaving a 15-foot canopy with paving to be 18 feet from the trees.

Marva AhLoy, a neighbor who owns many of the trees in question, shared the history of that majestic stand. She said they were planted around the turn of the last century by a group of Parker Ranch employees' wives, who also planted many of the older trees in town.

WOC wishes to thank Parker Ranch, the developer of Schuller Homes, Mayor Kim and the homeowners for working together to find a solution to this problem. Rather than butchered trees, we now have appropriately pruned trees and the necessary road-widening. Waimea Outdoor Circle is committed to helping keep Waimea clean, green and beautiful.

Arlene Block
Waimea Outdoor Circle
Waimea, Hawaii

Neoconservatives are targeting Hawaiians

A social movement called neoconservatism is alive and well in Hawaii. The proponents of this ideology use the cry of reverse discrimination as their mantra while adding other key elements of conservative ideology such as individual rights over community rights.

We now are seeing a backlash against the community of the kanaka maoli through the various lawsuits against the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Kamehameha Schools, the unresolved ceded land issues and the battle over the Akaka bill.

Through a process Michael Omi calls "racialization," neoconservatism "signifies the extension of racial meaning to a previously unclassified relationship, social practice or group." The key phrase here is "previously (racially) unclassified ... group," which includes the Hawaiian people. Racialization has become a political construct thrust upon Hawaiians.

I thank the trustees of the Kamehameha Schools for their article, published in the Star-Bulletin Aug. 24. I agree wholeheartedly that Kamehameha needs to be able to continue its services to all Hawaiian families. It needs to be the flagship and emblem of the Hawaiian community to do exactly what the trustees stated in their article -- to "heal our own."

Johnette Maielua

Kamehameha should give up its tax break

The acrimonious debate over the admissions policies of the Kamehameha Schools has erroneously been centered on either the variously interpreted facts surrounding the overthrow of the monarchy or the exact terms of the will establishing the Bishop trust -- two disputed matters of history, neither of which is relevant to the current discussion.

The sole question is whether the school, which as a not-for-profit organization is exempt from federal taxes, should be allowed to ignore federal law forbidding discrimination based on race and ethnicity.

Proponents of the school's discriminatory admissions policy have loudly declared that as a private organization the school should be allowed to set its own policies. They have a clear choice: Follow the law or give up the tax exemption.

This debacle has disclosed a disheartening fact: Many people have forgotten that the last person to base a policy of reward and punishment on the thoroughly discredited notion of blood quantum was Adolf Hitler.

Andrew Thomas

Hokulia developer should have known

Regarding the decision by Kona Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra to halt the massive Hokulia luxury development at Kealakekua on the Big Island (Star-Bulletin, Sept. 10): I know what it's like to see your view of the shoreline and the ocean permanently closed off by sprawling development.

This developer acted in violation of the laws designed to protect the shoreline all over the state. It should not concern those sworn to protect the law that the investor went ahead, without clear comprehension of the limits of the law, and invested in the site. If I acted without advice of competent counsel, I would expect no less than what happened to this developer. That is not anti-development, it's preservation of public right against private encroachment.

Ralph Johansen
Kihei, Maui

Developer attempted to skirt process

Congratulations to Kona Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra's regarding Hokulia developer 1250 Oceanside Partners' attempt to pass off expensive one-acre residential lots as agriculture land.

The company purposefully tried to skirt the state's land use process, then characterized the ruling as anti-business and anti-development. Oceanside was caught in the deception and will have to pay a steep price for what it tried to do.

Hokulia is just another case of outsiders trying to change these islands to extract a profit for themselves with the cost being the loss of Hawaii's aina.

File Keliiaa

Profit, not culture, sustains cockfighting

We want to commend the Star-Bulletin's Sept. 3 editorial about the pro-cockfighting film. "Culture" has frequently been used to justify people's involvement in cockfighting. The Star-Bulletin's excellent editorial clearly rebuffs that position and does it with historical facts, also reflecting the feelings of most of the people in our state.

Money is clearly the driving force behind cockfighting. The Hawaiian Humane Society has often said that if it weren't for the money-making aspect of cockfighting, the activity would quickly disappear.

The vast majority of Americans have shown how they feel about cockfighting by voting since the 19th century to make it illegal, and the vast majority of the people of Hawaii despise cockfighting and see it for the animal cruelty that it is.

Pamela Burns
President and CEO
Hawaiian Humane Society

Bicycling is winner in Honolulu bus strike

In spite of hardships and dislocations, the bus strike has triggered one positive result: More people are choosing to ride bikes to work. Many are discovering that Honolulu is ideal for bike commuting. The distances are short, and our weather is perfect and predictable. They also are discovering the benefits of bike commuting: improved health, lowered levels of stress, less environmental damage and financial savings on everything from gas and vehicle maintenance to health care.

They also may have found, however, that bike commuting can be dangerous. New cyclists often find themselves unprepared and confused about how to negotiate a crowded urban landscape. Honolulu also still lacks the kind of bicycle infrastructure needed to capitalize on our perfect weather and short commuting distances.

We urge all cyclists to educate themselves to be safe and effective riders, and to contact their representatives on the City Council to ask them to move forward on the Honolulu Bicycle Master Plan so that more people on Oahu can enjoy the benefits of commuting by bicycle.

Charles Rosa-Coleman
Executive director
Hawaii Bicycling League

Dobelle's statements 'pretty' confusing

I'm no scholar, so can someone explain what University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle meant when he said UH's athletic "program is pretty strong. I'm pretty confident of our coaches and athletic director."

Does he feel our program is "very" strong? Is he "very" confident of our coaches and athletic director? Or does he feel our program is not really that strong or that he's not quite confident of his staff?

Why is it that when there's an infraction and a penalty is imposed, no one seems to be at fault, no one is to blame? The reason is always "the rule is not fair" or "we did all we could."

It would be refreshing for someone to stand up and admit he made mistakes and that steps are being taken to prevent them in the future.

Something must be wrong if we are being hit with penalties. Someone must not be doing his job. I'm not exactly sure what the reasons are for these infractions, but like I said I'm not a scholar.

Clark Himeda

Bus drivers don't face hazards every day

I'm disgusted by the indignant attitude that striking city bus drivers collectively present to the media and public. They like to remind us that they deserve their pay -- more than firefighters, police and teachers -- because they put their lives on the line daily when they drive a bus, and they constantly have to deal with unruly passengers who may spit on them or challenge their stand-behind-the-yellow-line rule.

Sure, their occupation has hazards, but to construct a facade of importance the way they do is supercilious. Bus drivers don't run into burning buildings and they certainly aren't shot at on a regular basis. Yet they earn more than Hawaii public safety employees? And what about teachers (who need college degrees), who are assaulted and verbally abused regularly in our school system? I wouldn't be surprised to see a teacher taking the bus to work; so cruel an irony it's almost Shakespearean. Bottom line, bus drivers drive a bus like truck drivers drive a truck and cab drivers drive a cab. If they don't like the pay, they should move to the mainland like cops routinely do. Let's stop pretending they fly jumbo jets, and end the strike soon.

Chas. LeRoy

UH coach's aloof style cost team top prospect

Coach Riley Wallace's recent remark about his style in recruiting for the University of Hawaii basketball team -- "It's not my style to call a lot or write a lot of letters" -- is amazingly naive. That style cost the team perhaps one of the finest point guards ever to grace the hardwoods in this state.

The young man, Derrick Lowe, will now attend Washington State University and people will say he was going there anyway -- wrong. He's going there because the coach, Dick Bennett, called him constantly and sent letters that showed he cared. He even sent his son, Tony Bennett, all the way from Washington to talk to and attend games Lowe played in Hawaii and elsewhere.

Remember, this is a young man -- a junior at Iolani High School -- who like every other human being will respond in a positive way when touched at his most basic human need -- "I care about you and will take care of you."

Coach Bennett understands this and got a prized basketball player as his reward. Wallace, even at this time in his life as a basketball coach, sadly has no clue.

Hank McKeague

Lingle should stand against oil companies

Governor Lingle has been urged to rescind gasoline price controls in Hawaii. Not so long ago oil company executives were testifying they had not formed a cartel, or a trust, or a monopoly, but they freely admitted to price gouging. It seems strange that when one refinery ups the price, the other follows suit. Prices go up quickly, and go down slowly.

The Republican Party, under President Theodore Roosevelt, was the first party to go after cartels, trusts and monopolies. Roosevelt, known as the Trust Buster, went after the Northern Securities Co., Standard Oil and Carnegie Steel, along with 40 other companies guilty of forming monopolies and trusts. His face is on Mount Rushmore for good reasons: He did the right thing when he busted the Robber Barons.

Lingle can carry on the Republican tradition of going after corporations that act like, walk like and smell like cartels. I ask that she not let oil companies continue to gouge the people of Hawaii.

Rick Mahony

Let the price caps on gasoline stand

Many people are saying that a price cap on gasoline could raise prices for Hawaii consumers because the price would be pegged to West Coast prices. Gas prices are high right now in California, which would in turn raise the price in Hawaii.

The cap doesn't say that just because California is undergoing an energy problem that prices have to be raised in Hawaii. If Hawaii's producers and dealers can deliver gasoline cheaper, good for them. If they always charge the maximum allowed under the cap, even though it may not be necessary, then we will know for certain where their hearts are.

What happens when the prices in California fall to $1.65 and we are still paying $2?

That's what the state Legislature was trying to address, to bring our prices in line with the rest of the nation, while allowing for the extra operating expenses for producers in Hawaii.

Governor Lingle should allow the cap to proceed. If things turn out as the doomsayers predict, she and the Legislature can move to cancel it. We will never know unless we try.

By allowing the cap to proceed, Lingle also can remove any suspicion of the links between the Republican Party and big business.

There is one other thing: Reports indicate much of our oil still comes from Indonesia. The last time I checked, we're closer to Indonesia than the mainland is. Shouldn't a shorter distance translate into reduced shipping charges?

Bill Nelson

Freedom of religion mystifies judges

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's Ten Commandments monument has been removed from his court building by federal court order. This is another example of today's twisted understanding of the First Amendment -- that there be no involvement or endorsement of the government with matters Christian.

This twisted thinking is opposite to what was practiced by our Founding Fathers, who mandated teaching Christianity with the Northwest Territory Ordinance, used govern- ment facilities for worship and gave government property for mission use. George Washington himself often preached to his troops on the Sabbath.

When freedom of religious expression cannot be publicly exercised in a free society because of government intrusion, government becomes the god that decides what is moral. Government then becomes incapable of correction, as in Nazi Germany. The founders realized the awesome power of religious and biblical expression to protect and correct wrongs, and gave it the preeminent position as the first of all the freedoms in our Bill of Rights.

Government, especially through the rulings of a few federal judges, has made immorality moral, has made morality illegal. The proper order of authority must be God first, and anything else second. Otherwise, total confusion occurs.

Willis Maeda


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