to the Editor

Write a Letter to the Editor

Saturday, January 3, 2004

Football brawl gives Hawaii a black eye

Mahalo nui loa to Coach June Jones and his team for repeatedly demonstrating our aloha spirit to the world ("UH's 54-48 victory over Houston is a real riot," Star-Bulletin, Dec. 26).

Unemployed tourist industry workers salute you -- but not with a shaka!

Rico Leffanta

To cope with addiction, take responsibility

I have spent the last three years in prison. I am a drug addict. Sometimes I wonder what it is about me and my life that allows me to continually pick up a bottle of beer, which leads to a cocaine pipe.

Initially I blamed my failures on my former employer. Then I blamed my diagnosis of manic depression. (I am in good company: da Vinci, Toulous Lautrec, Van Gogh ... give or take an ear). Recently I have taken comfort in blaming society and the sins of corporate America.

Well, enough is enough.

My former employer did not abandon my children for the sake of a cocaine pipe; I did. My mental health diagnosis did not tell me to shoplift; my desire for more drugs did. Society did not put me in prison; I did.

Only I am responsible for my choices and actions, for how I prioritize my wants, needs and responsibilities.

I'm 48, divorced, broke and careerless. I am starting life over without blame. I hope and pray that I will be released in a few months.

If you have drug and/or alcohol issues, do not dwell on the problems; work on the solution. For me, the solution lies in prison, treatment and the acceptance of responsibility. I blame no one, not even myself. I have learned from my mistakes and I am responsible.

Michael Spiker
Inmate and addict
Waiawa Correctional Facility

U.S. media give wrong image to foreigners

Compared to most countries, the United States of America is the land of opportunity and freedom. OK, great. But the spectrum of freedom is so wide, we have extremes at both ends. We are free to be the best, but we also are free to be the worst.

It's easy for foreigners to be selective in how they view us. If they want us to look like the Great Satan, yes, we've got crime, violence, race problems, poverty, pornography, obesity, bad taste, ignorance, junk food ... you name it. But while we've got some of the worst, we've got more of the best.

In Canada I met several young Europeans backpacking around the world. I asked them why they didn't see any of the U.S.A. They said they were afraid to travel in the United States because of all the crime and violence. (Uh ... Europe has none?) Their negative perceptions were wildly exaggerated, thanks to Hollywood and the news media.

The negative slant on the news starts right here in America -- "if it bleeds, it leads." Once the Arabs, Europeans or whoever get hold of it, they continue to select and distort to advance their own agendas.

Good people and good deeds abound in the U.S.A., but foreigners rarely hear it. Let's show the rest of the world not only how strong we are, but how good we are. Hey, c'mon! The U.S.A. is not just one big "Jerry Springer Show" -- really!

Michael Van Dorn

Letter unfairly labeled Koreans a threat

Larry Hayashida's Dec. 31 letter suggests that the reason for requiring travel visas for South Korean nationals is based on national security concerns. His sentiments seem to be based more on cultural bias than fact. The 9/11 terrorists came through Canada, not directly from any "axis of evil" countries -- Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Canadians are not required to obtain visas to enter the United States.

If North Korean sympathizers in South Korea pose a threat to our security, as Hayashida suggests, then Japanese nationals should be required to obtain visas as well. Approximately 635,000 ethnic Koreans live in Japan, many of whom are Japanese nationals through marriage. Many ethnic Koreans living in Japan are sympathetic to the North and belong to the pro-North association Chongryun. U.S. and Japanese experts estimate that they send from $100 million to more than $2 billion to North Korea every year.

Moreover, I would imagine a few Japanese have reason to harbor anti-American sentiments as well. We did drop two atomic bombs and fire-bombed a few of their cities during World War II, after all.

His reference to recent anti-U.S. military demonstrations as "further proof" of his beliefs is based on speculation rather than in fact. Those demonstrations have more to do with the popular perception there that U.S. service members are given preferential treatment by their own judicial system. They are also motivated by a desire by some to re-take prime real estate now occupied by some American military bases.

Rather than cast all Koreans in a suspect-class of persons desiring to come to this country, we should recognize that because of 9/11 our country needs to re-evaluate all of its entry and immigration policies.

Roy Yanagihara




What should the city do with
the elegant old sewage pump station?

It's empty and fading, and now it's taking a beating from all the construction going on around it. The O.G. Traphagen-designed sewage pump station on Ala Moana Boulevard, more than a century old, is a monument to the glory days of municipal architecture, when city fathers took such pride in their community that even a humble sewage station became a landmark structure. Millions of tourists drive by it every year, and it's an embarrassing reminder of how poorly Honolulu treats its historic landmarks. Over the years, dozens of uses and excuses and blue-sky speculations have been suggested for the striking structure. Now we're asking you, Mr. and Mrs. Kimo Q. Publique, what should the city do with the elegant old pump building?

Send your ideas and solutions by Jan. 15 to:

Or mail them to:
c/o Nancy Christenson
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

c/o Nancy Christenson


How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

E-mail to Editorial Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --