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Sunday, January 4, 2004





Traffic-calming project at Salt Lake is A-OK

As a long-time resident of Salt Lake, I would like to express my delight about driving through the new traffic-calming device at the intersection of Ala Napunani and Likini streets. The yield signs on all entering lanes makes it a first-come, first-served basis as to who has the right of way. Most people approach this area slowly and with caution, and strangely enough I sometimes feel the aloha spirit from drivers who wave me through even if they have the right of way.

The traffic circle also saves time and gas during non-peak traffic hours because you don't have to wait for a traffic light to change.

The students from nearby Moanalua High School are the main beneficiaries of this project. They need to cross six lanes of traffic on Ala Napunani Street, so this project definitely will relieve some of their safety concerns. I hope many other Salt Lake folks share my feelings about this improvement.

Roy Uehara
Salt Lake

Taiwan should oppose 'one China' pressure

Columnist Frank Ching wrote about China's brazen arrogance provoking a shift in Taiwanese attitude toward independence (Insight, Star-Bulletin, Dec. 28).

He correctly observed that the people of Taiwan increasingly consider themselves Taiwanese rather than Chinese. And this has helped to push Lien Chan, Taiwan's opposition party leader, to reverse his "one China" policy and embrace President Chen Shui-bien's "one country on each side of Taiwan Strait" policy.

But Ching reached the wrong conclusion that China could reverse this trend in Taiwan by allowing Taiwan to enter the World Health Organization as a "province" of China.

Taiwan has become a de facto independent nation with a vibrant democracy where freedom and human rights are protected. These achievements are the foundation of the Taiwanese sense of nationality. Though entering WHO is a desire of the people in Taiwan, it certainly will not replace their desire to be independent from an oppressive totalitarian communist regime.

The people in Taiwan will definitely be delighted if a visionary Chinese leader will let go of the "one-China" policy and embrace Taiwan as an equal and brotherhood nation like the United States and United Kingdom.

Naoky Tsai
Kailua

Hawaii showed class in Rainbow Classic

The Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic basketball championship was an outstanding example of how sports can be an uplifting event for our community (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 31).

The final game, where Hawaii beat Fairfield 50-49 in overtime, was intense and the crowd engaged. Yet the most touching experience at the Stan Sheriff Center Tuesday night was when the crowd gave the visiting team a standing ovation and cheered loudly for our visitors. It showed that Hawaii and our fans have real class. And, contrary to popular misconception, the aloha spirit is very much alive in Hawaii sports.

What a great way to end the year and to welcome a new one!

Mike McCartney
Kahaluu

Don't forget Houston was fighting, too

This is in response to all of the letters about the University of Hawaii/Houston fight after the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Day. First, two teams were in this fight yet I hear people complaining only about the UH and Coach June Jones. What about the Houston players and their coach?

Second, I believe that we each make our own choices; each team had players who chose whether to fight. The fight might have been prevented if officials had listened to Coach Jones; then again, the officials seemed biased anyway.

Last, I think that if people who watched the fight on television now do not want to come and visit Hawaii, then they are better off staying at home. They obviously judged all of Hawaii based on a fight at a football game.

Trisha Kuznicki
Kailua

We all should clean up our acts

I agree with what Bryan Mick says (Letters, Star-Bulletin, Dec. 31) about the great University of Hawaii fans at the Rainbow Classic finals. That was indeed a heartbreaker, like the University of Houston/Hawaii football game.

Where I disagree with Mick is in the little fact that UH football seems to have problems only with Conference USA teams and football fans who like to taunt the opposing teams. There are targets for finger-pointing other than June Jones. I think everyone needs to look within themselves and clean up their own acts.

Elaine Hoffman
Honolulu

Ferry system would serve commuters well

In an exciting move to develop the Honolulu waterfront, the Aloha Tower Development Corp. has wisely specified a ferry terminal at Piers 5 or 6 as one of three state goals.

The Wright Amphibious Transit System compares favorably with a $2.6 billion light-rail transit system in regard to cost, flexibility, environmental compatibility, sources of funding, early readiness, public disturbance during construction, patronage and Hawaiian culture.

In WATS, private cars from West Oahu become "amphibious" aboard fast catamarans into Pier 5. Passengers -- some with their bikes -- are also delivered to the heart of downtown Honolulu.

E. Alvey Wright
Kaneohe

Did Peter Boy have a nice Christmas?

I wonder where Peter Boy Kema is. I wonder if he is well. Is he OK? Did he have a Christmas with people who love him? Doesn't anyone care? If Peter Boy is alive and with the "auntie" his father "gave" him to, he must wonder why no family members have come for him. I wonder and I care. Peter Boy, I hope you are safe and well loved by someone.

Sherry Lynn French
Kapaa, Kauai

Courts should leave 'marriage' alone

What would my chances be if I approached our courts and asked them to change the meaning of legal words for my benefit? For instance, what if I asked the court to recognize the word "father" as male or female? Or say I want to mortgage my wife and divorce my dog? Any judge would sentence me to the looney bin because all these words have a specific definition in the legal world.

What am I driving at? The word "marriage" has a legal meaning and definition (not to mention a long custom and tradition) in all our law books. It's understood to mean -- as nature intended it -- one man and one woman.

Surely our courts could not change the legal definition of the word "marriage." To change it would render the word ambiguous. You would not ever know whether the other spouse is a man or woman. Law books and newspaper stories would need footnotes to indicate this change of meaning.

Our courts should clarify legal words, not change them or try to legislate new definitions.

Ken Chang
Kaneohe

Marriage is not an equal rights issue

In a Dec. 28 letter, Daniel Grantham argued that gender shouldn't make a difference when we consider the institution of marriage. He thinks that homosexuals should have the same rights and privileges that heterosexuals have.

I agree with equal rights for all, but what right do homosexuals have to change the basic definition of marriage? For thousands of years, a marriage has been a union between one man and one woman. Most Americans and Hawaii residents agree that this is how it should remain.

Marriage is both a religious and civil institution, but you can't say that marriage has one definition when it comes to the church and another when it comes to our government.

In the end, marriage is not about equal rights, but about protecting an institution that has formed the basis for our societies for all of human history.

Mike Hinchey
Honolulu

South Korea's loyalty to U.S. remains firm

I was stunned to read Larry Hayashida's Dec. 31 letter to the editor attacking the idea of allowing citizens of South Korea easier visa access to enter Hawaii and the mainland. He made several false accusations concerning Koreans and somehow interpreted extending the less stringent visa program to South Koreans as insulting to Japan.

Hayashida was wrong to imply that South Korea was not a strong ally of the United States and that South Koreans are a security risk. South Korea has never attacked the United States or invaded their Asian neighbors. In fact, South Korea has supported the United States in every major U.S. conflict, including the Vietnam War, Desert Shield and Desert Storm. South Korea also has just dispatched 3,000 soldiers to Iraq in support of the United States effort to stabilize and democratize that country.

Hayashida is right to point out that North Korea is a security threat; but he somehow confuses the communist threat from North Korea with democratic South Korea. North Koreans do secretly operate agents in South Korea as they do in Japan, as Hayashida states. But his assertion that North Korean agents make South Koreans a security threat to the United States is ridiculous. He implies that a large number of South Koreans sympathize and support North Korea, which is not supported by the facts. Hayashida's premise is similar to denying Germans from the former West Germany visas to the United States because East German agents formerly operated in West Germany.

Yoon Sook McNally
Mililani

Reopen Haiku Stairs for all to enjoy

It is with great interest that I scan the archives of your newspaper looking for articles related to the opening of the Haiku Stairs. I was an 18-year-old Hawaii Loa College student in 1982 and had the privilege of climbing the stairs. However, I lacked the maturity to appreciate the true value of the experience at the time. I took my 15-year-old son to climb the stairs last summer and to my dismay the planned re-opening had been delayed.

I intend to become a member of the Friends of the Haiku Stairs and assist in any way I can to get this beautiful treasure reopened soon for all Hawaii residents and tourists to enjoy. How can something so beautiful cause so many people to act so ugly?

Julie Manoa

Corona, Calif.

ChevronTexaco case is worth pursuing

I am disappointed in the Star-Bulletin's silence on the flaws of the attorney general's report on the ChevronTexaco case. It was the Star-Bulletin's Rob Perez who first broke the story of Professors Gramlich and Wheeler's research paper alleging that ChevronTexaco had defrauded the federal and state government of billions of dollars in tax revenue. The editors accepted the AG's report without giving some thought whether the process followed was the best way to get all of the facts needed to determine the truth.

A July 24 editorial, which called for a "mea culpa" from the two professors, was an undeserved insult to them. The fact that the Star-Bulletin would take such a leap even before anyone had the opportunity to analyze the report is sloppy journalism.

It is now clear that Governor Lingle and Randy Roth were never interested in getting to the bottom of the allegations. Roth's treatment of the two professors and his (and the state's attorneys') acquiescence to meetings in which ChevronTexaco attorneys and executives controlled what documents and witnesses would be provided revealed that Roth and the governor were looking for a way to exonerate Chevron rather than determine whether it had cheated the public.

When the IRS tried to examine documents relevant to this case, Chevron invoked the attorney-client privilege and refused to disclose them, forcing the IRS to seek a court order. In issuing his order for Chevron to disclose 126 of 648 documents to the IRS, federal judge Steele Langford noted that "the documents themselves adequately support a finding of probable cause to believe that one or more crimes or frauds have been committed or attempted" and in a slap against Chevron's attorneys, Langford went on to state "that the attorney-client privilege communications at issue were created in furtherance of those crimes or frauds." Chevron appealed, only to have a second federal judge, Saundra J. Armstrong, order Chevron to disclose all 648 documents!

Under these facts, it is difficult to understand why Roth and the state's attorneys would enter settlement discussions in which Chevron controlled what documents and witnesses were produced. The final straw, however, is the confidentiality agreements between the state and Chevron, which, barring a court order, will keep what happened in those meetings a secret from the public forever.

The handling of this case is an outrage against the public's interest.

Ben Cayetano
Former Hawaii governor

Losing Musharraf would be disastrous

Had the recent attempts on the life of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf been successful, the United States would have been faced with one of the following scenarios:

1. His successor would be another military officer holding similar political views. Killing Musharraf would demonstrate the weakness of the military and its ability to implement anti-terrorist policies, thus putting a major chink in the U.S. war on terrorism.

2. The government would fall into the hands of pro-terrorist factions. This effectively would create a rogue state similar to what Afghanistan was under the Taliban, but Pakistan would be much more powerful. It would possess a well-trained, disciplined military force, in contrast to the rag-tag warlords dominating Afghanistan. It would have access to nuclear weapons and it would provide a much safer haven from which Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida could plan and launch terrorist attacks on the United States and its allies.

Should this happen, the United States would have no option but to treat Pakistan in the same way it treated Afghanistan. The difference would be that subduing Pakistan would be a task of much greater magnitude with more far-reaching global consequences.

David Welsh
Kahului, Maui


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[ BRAINSTORM! ]


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:

brainstorm@starbulletin.com

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

Fax:
Brainstorm!
c/o Nancy Christenson
529-4750


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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.

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