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Wednesday, June 23, 2004




Front-page photo of body in poor taste

While we often appreciate the Star-Bulletin's attempts to get its readers close to the stories, the front-page color photo of the body of a man killed in a shootout with police (Star-Bulletin, June 18) showing bloodstains on the wall behind, was inappropriate, gratuitous, sensationalistic and in poor taste.

Your readers would be much better served with text descriptions of such events.

Jennifer and Rob Marrone
Honolulu

Stop running away from election mess

I was born and raised in Hawaii and have seen the people of Hawaii not wanting change in politics. People are now moving away to the mainland, to the likes of Las Vegas.

These are the same people who've voted the Democrats into power year in and year out and now they decide they want to run from the mess they have created for this lovely state we call home.

Now it's election time again and, I hope, on behalf of those who left for real change, the warriors will vote for a better change.

Matt Martin
Las Vegas

Topsoil runoff threatens coral reefs

I was thrilled to read that the state and counties are preparing a campaign to protect the reefs ("Coral Connection," Star-Bulletin, June 15). I was surprised and concerned, however, that the "overview of major threats" left out coastal development. Sedimentation and runoff play a much more damaging role to coral reefs than "recreational overuse."

When land is cleared of vegetation, the dusty topsoil blows around in the wind. Much of it settles on the nearby shore reefs. After it rains, this soil ends up in the sea. Muddy runoff smothers reefs, keeping the algae that live in the corals from photosynthesizing. Corals are animals and get much of their nutrition from algae, so when the algae can't grow, the corals start dying. When these coral colonies die, fish and other critters look for a new home.

Kaneohe Bay is a textbook example of this. Fifty years ago it was one of the great reefs of the world. Now, two species of coral exclusive to the bay are on the brink of extinction.

I hope the Lingle administration's pro-development stance will include coastal development in the campaign.

Marie Le Boeuf
Kihei, Maui

Dobelle was fired for good reasons

Vicki and Jimmy Borges refer to University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle's "brilliant academic track record" (Letters, June 21). I would like to see this substantiated, not by his curriculum vitae but by verification from previous employers, faculties and students.

Members of the Board of Regents have been castigated for the way they fired Dobelle. I would like to see some clarification as to the events before the firing. It is my understanding he has missed numerous meetings with the regents, who changed the date of the meeting in question to accommodate him, but he proceeded to leave the state. Who leaked the possible firing to the press? Was it a regent or was it Dobelle, whose expertise in manipulating the media is obvious?

Dobelle has been under fire from Democrats for his failure to finance the College Hill renovation, for not raising the $150 million he promised for the medical school, for using protocol money inappropriately and for paying exorbitant salaries to friends and his wife, among others.

I suggest a look at the Web site www.ilind.net for an eye-opening letter by Meda Chesney-Lind, a respected member of the UH faculty since 1969. She refers to Dobelle's obvious prejudices toward women and says he has been an absent "phone-in" administrator for the past year.

It is time to stop screaming at the regents and wait for the facts. We are not talking about a bunch of morons who made this decision, but an intelligent, diverse board that was in agreement.

Shirley Hasenyager
Kailua

Hawaii's GE tax is not the same as use tax

The questions about Hawaii's use tax that Bill Martin raises in his letter (Star-Bulletin, June 2) can't all be answered here, but I can briefly address a few.

>> The general excise tax and the use tax are not the same, although they are complementary.

The use tax levels the playing field between in-state businesses that are subject to the GET and untaxed out-of-state businesses by taxing the import of untaxed goods, services, and contracting at the same GET rate that would have been imposed had they been acquired in Hawaii.

>> The use tax can be and is being enforced through audit and other programs. For example, those who purchase a car in another state must show that they paid Hawaii's use tax (or sales tax to the other state) before registering that car.

>> Other states have a similar tax and also are having difficulty collecting it. As such, Hawaii is one of many states participating in the national Streamlined Sales Tax Project.

Information about the use tax is included in a brochure available at www.state.hi.us/tax and by calling 587-7572 (toll free at 1-800-222-7572).

Cathleen Tokishi
External training and outreach
State Department of Taxation

Controversial film also is patriotic

This week Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11" opens in wide release. I plan to see this documentary not because I believe everything Moore has to say and want to see the Bush bashing, but because I live in a free nation and I believe in the First Amendment.

So many people point their fingers at Moore and this film and call it propaganda or unpatriotic. It may very well be propaganda, but it is patriotic. Moore dedicated more than a year looking at our nation's leaders and their policies, and his film examines what he found.

Unpatriotic are the people who don't care one way or another. Unpatriotic are those who refuse to vote. What kind of democracy are we promoting to the world when seven out of 10 people don't vote? How has being indifferent become patriotic?

I don't care if you agree or disagree with Moore and his film. Being unengaged and indifferent is unpatriotic.

Ted Obringer
Honolulu

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