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Sunday, November 9, 2003





Iriarte is dedicated to people of Pohnpei

In 30 years of living and traveling abroad I have never seen such waste and abuse of government money, or such inept leaders, as I have seen in the Federated States of Micronesia.

The people of Pohnpei, my home state, are leaving in droves to come to Hawaii and elsewhere in the United States to seek jobs and social services because our own government has squandered the funds gifted to the people via the Micronesia-U.S. Compact of Free Association of 1983.

A second Compact is about to be signed into law by the U.S. Congress, and Micronesia is set to hold general elections Tuesday (Monday, Hawaii time) for state governors and legislatures. I am concerned that the same mismanagement of funds will remain the norm if we Micronesians keep electing the same old politicians. Pohnpei, for example, needs at least $30 million per year to operate, but only makes about $4 million in local revenues. So what do our leaders do? They supplement the budget with Compact money. OK, that's what the Compact money is for, but after 20 years we should be well on our way toward self-sufficiency. Such great leaders!

Here's an example of waste: In Pohnpei, the governor's and lieutenant governor's offices get what they call "representation funds" of $15,000 every year, and each of the 23 legislators gets $5,000. (It's the same elsewhere in the FSM.)

There is no way to account for this money; our elected officials are free to spend it on travel, parties or whatever they want. Meanwhile, our hospitals have no money to operate at an acceptable standard and our public schools are some of the worst in the western Pacific. But there is a ray of hope, and his name is William Iriarte.

Iriarte, a candidate for governor of Pohnpei, has an extensive background in public service and business. He founded and ran several successful companies, and his public service includes positions with the Pohnpei Department of Commerce and Industry, Economic Planning Commission and Pohnpei Catholic Schools.

Iriarte has the dedication and the character to improve the welfare of the people of Pohnpei.

Andrew Germinaro
Kunia

Bush, Lingle are bad for working people

President Bush and Governor Lingle need to go. They claim to be for working people, for education, for "change."

The only change they want is to push the middle class lower and to put more money into the hands of their friends, such as Halliburton, Chevron/Texaco and Ko Olina.

The governor does not want to fund the Board of Education's budget request, yet she has the gall to waste tax money to send out a mailer touting her education reform community meetings. I've had enough. Let's elect people who will stand up for the working people, not for special interests.

State budget officials want to cut 97 percent, or $49.5 million, from the board's supplementary budget request, which is largely aimed at meeting the high costs associated with new federal education standards.

The Department of Budget and Finance recommended last week that the governor include only $1.5 million of the board's $51 million request for its fiscal 2005 supplemental budget.

Al Fukumoto
Honolulu

We need a war against crystal meth

The war on ice is long overdue, but there is a problem with drug-specific eradication. We saw this in our state when law enforcement tried to eliminate pakalolo crops on the Big Island and elsewhere during Operation Green Harvest.

Counter to the common belief that if you remove the substance the demand will decrease, in actuality the demand increases. Prices soar while addicts commit more serious and more frequent crimes. Many cannabis users switched to more dangerous types of drugs during Green Harvest. In this scenario, crystal meth gained a stranglehold on our community.

I do not advocate the legalization of any dangerous drug and I am not minimizing the importance of our state's war on drugs. I am simply saying that addicts deprived of their drug of choice often transfer their addiction to other drugs.

The war on ice must be waged as a war on all drugs. The battlefront is on the issues that make our society increasingly dysfunctional, such as the deterioration of the family unit and the breakdown of morality. The eradication of ice is a good start, but alone it is not enough.

Michael Spiker
Inmate
Waiawa Correctional Facility

Cartoon on sex video was in poor taste

Corky's Nov. 6 front-page cartoon depicting a student in sunglasses at a video store counter requesting the Kamehameha sex video was in bad taste.

As a parent of three Kamehameha Schools alumni, I always look forward to getting a good laugh from Corky's cartoons, but this was uncalled for. Has he run out of subjects to pick on? I'm sure other private schools have flaws that haven't been brought into the spotlight yet.

Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon just to make Kamehameha Schools look bad, but we'll rise above all this controversy.

Kanani Koolau
Kaneohe

Waianae, Waimanalo also need recycling

Explaining why he chose Mililani for a curbside recycling pilot project, Mayor Harris said, "We anticipate a good response from the community because our preliminary survey of Mililani residents yielded enthusiastic support." Waimanalo and Waianae are forever blasted with criticism for their trash problems, yet the project goes to a community that is not being criticized. Auwe!

Responsible residents and dedicated volunteer groups are fed up with this continuing problem. I believe this project can help alter people's habits and teach everyone a lifelong lesson. The truck is going in the wrong direction, Mr. Mayor. We, too, can give you a good response to recycling with immense enthusiasm.

Johnnie-Mae L. Perry
Waianae

Lingle broke promise in calling for tax hike

In a reversal from the rhetoric of her campaign, Governor Lingle now says she favors raising taxes to pay for a multibillion-dollar mass-transit system. Candidate Lingle pledged never to raise taxes if elected.

If Lingle were a Democrat, the normally loud and obnoxious Republican Party would be going crazy, calling her a liar and filling the talk-radio airwaves with gross invective for breaking her campaign promise. Instead, all we hear is polite and muted complaints from Lingle's GOP base. Talk about hypocrisy.

Andre Lemond
Honolulu

Unnatural death raises questions about values

On Wednesday we were exposed to two major news items dealing with unnatural death. One was a serial killer acknowledging 48 murders; the other was President Bush signing legislation banning one type of abortion, poorly defined.

This is not intended as an indictment of anything but a feeling of righteousness based upon considering the infant, and only the infant, saved for some sort of future.

When we seek entertainment, it is usually appropriate to block out consideration of persons not intimately involved in the plot. When David Copperfield finds his safe haven, we do not want to be reminded of all the street urchins who do not. But when we are forming our positions on issues like abortion and war, it blinds us to aspects of the truth to do so.

I suggest that there is only one logical way in which abortions can be forbidden: when coupled with an equal concern for the mother's life, and an abhorrence of the death penalty and of that abandonment of civilization we call war.

John C. Roberts
Honolulu

Reducing phys ed will add to kids' obesity

What is the Graduation Requirements Task Force thinking by proposing the reduction of physical education when we are faced with an epidemic of child obesity ("Revised isle grad formula unveiled," Oct. 19)?

High school students are required to take only one year of physical education. If they aren't active in sports, they aren't getting any exercise at all, so why would the task force even suggest removing a half-year of physical education? If anything, it should add a year or two.

Here's a suggestion: Take away electives instead of physical education, and add a few hours of community service as a graduation requirement.

Kids today have too much time on their hands. Why not have them give something back to the community? They just may learn something and be physically fit while doing it.

Tina Inoue
Waipahu


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