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Friday, August 27, 2004




Korean soap operas are addicting

Thanks to Star-Bulletin writer Gary Chun for his July 11 article, "Addicted to Love," in Mauka-Makai, and to the Korean television station KBFD for explaining the local and mainland phenom of a growing base of viewers of all ethnic groups. Once you see those Korean programs, you get hooked! It's true!

I like to watch the twice-per-week soap opera dramas where whole families get involved in the problems of one or more of its members. The two episodes make waiting for the next ones less painful especially when you have theories of what will happen next.

"On the Prairie," "Pearl Necklace" and now "Conditions of Love" have opened up my understanding of some of the thoughts and ideas of Koreans; I also have learned a few new words and phrases.

To those who have not seen a single episode, there is a Korean phrase used often in those dramas; "ahh, I go" (auwe)! Try one episode, I think you'll like it.

Roy E. Shigemura
Honolulu

Quit crying over loss of a few parking spaces

I keep hearing negative comments from a few people who will be inconvenienced when some parking spaces are removed from the Ala Wai in order to widen sidewalks and create a bike lane. These critics are forgetting that people from McCully, Kapiolani, Kuhio, Kalakaua and other nearby streets -- locals -- every day use the Ala Wai Canal's narrow sidewalk for jogging, walking and just plain strolling to get their daily exercise.

Instead of using the fourth lane of the Ala Wai for a dead-end parking lot, why not remove all parking from the Ala Wai and create nice wide sidewalks, with trees (it gets hot since there are not enough shade trees), as well as a bike lane? The sidewalks are very narrow, and people often have to jump out of the way to allow joggers to go by.

The city says it will provide two parking lots, so why the hue and cry from the few? There are many more people who use the sidewalk along the canal than there are people who feel they must park on the street.

Syndy Soucy
Honolulu

Human pairings preceded religion

In a letter to the Star-Bulletin, Nora Schubert brought up some very good points ("Gay marriage foes should study divorce," Aug. 21).

I wish to go further.

Religious people stand on shaky ground when they claim that religions invented marriage. The insistence that it is something created by God is nonsense. Pairing to create mental and physical harmony in your life is as natural as breathing. People paired up because they liked it. The fears and taboos came later, probably created by religious people trying to explain their fears.

In this country, as little as 100 years ago, we were legally trying to refuse blacks the right to marry. The grounds? They were not human. The church and the society of "good, decent people" simply accepted that African Americans, no matter how they paired up (even if it was in the name of Jesus) were not married.

How is the current right-wing effort any different? It is not. That is the point. Thus, let us treat it accordingly.

Brent Kincaid
Lihue, Kauai

Who cares what Kerry, Bush did so long ago?

For the past week the 24-hour news networks have been filled with stories about Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's service in the Vietnam War. Why is there so much attention being focused on what happened more than 30 years ago? I don't care what Kerry was doing 30 years ago, nor do I care what President Bush was doing then either. What good will it do to point the finger at Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney for the multiple deferments that got them out of the war? What good is it to point a finger at Kerry for serving this country by going to war?

I care about what is happening today and what the candidates are planning for the future. These ads are completely diverting attention away from the real issues. Iraq, jobs, health care, the deficit, foreign policy and homeland security are the important issues news channels should be covering daily. The direction of this country depends on what our next president does today, not 30 years ago.

Ted Obringer
Honolulu

Educators should avoid election entanglement

The e-mail between Hawaii State Teachers Association leaders and the chairmen of the House and Senate Education Committees' efforts to get Democrats re-elected requires a response by the Board of Education (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 17).

The "key" to that plan, according to the e-mail, is to have the superintendent make a presentation on the education act at Democratic legislators' community forums. The board is now on notice that there may be a plan to use the superintendent to legitimize political campaigns.

At the first meeting, seven principals, seven vice principals and five other school staffers attended on a weeknight at the beginning of the school year.

It's unfair to expect school administrators to excuse themselves from these meetings when they rely on the Legislature for their budgets.

It is the responsibility of the board to stop the use, or perceived use, of educators for political purposes.

I've asked the board to adopt a policy that prohibits any Department of Education employee from appearing at elected officials' forums 45 days or less before an election. We must remove the temptation for any party to use educators to legitimize their campaigns.

Laura H. Thielen
Member, Board of Education
Windward District


A Legislature dominated by Democrats
created state's money problems

In response to commentary by leading Democrats, "Governor omitted key chapters in her story of 2004 session" (Insight section, Aug. 22):

It's an election year, and obviously, longtime Democratic politicians Sen. Brian Taniguchi and Rep. Dwight Takamine are going to put their political spin on the budget and Gov. Linda Lingle's fiscal management.

There is neither time nor space in this letter to get in to the "he-said, she-said" particulars. The bottom line is that prior to Lingle's election, the Democrats' "tax and spend" policies created a deficit state budget and a stagnant economy in Hawaii.

Taniguchi and Takamine, along with their majority party colleagues, for years balanced the state budget by raiding special funds, raiding the state Employees' Retirement System, raiding the "rainy day" fund, which should be reserved for circumstances beyond our control, and by increasing fees and hidden taxes.

Lingle and her bipartisan support in the community are attempting to put Hawaii's fiscal house in order.

When former Gov. Ben Cayetano submitted legislation to reinstate the right to strike among public employees, it was supported and passed by a majority of Democratic legislators. Two sessions ago, most of those very Democrats contradicted themselves and voted to reinstate binding arbitration. This foolhardy move will cost taxpayers, including unionized workers, hundreds of millions of dollars. It also puts decision-making in the hands of third parties, who are oftentimes from the mainland. The Democrats' flip-flop on this issue certainly reveals their fiscal irresponsibility.

Of particular note is the misrepresentation of how $18 million was put in the budget to fix a longtime liability of the Waimanalo Wastewater Treatment Plant. Prior to the Lingle administration's leadership, the state's only wastewater treatment plant was a large liability and environmental disaster waiting to happen. Democrats had years to fix it and failed to do so. Interestingly, an appropriation was in the budget six years ago to remedy the problem for a lot less money. Governor Cayetano failed to release the funds.

Credit for fixing the wastewater treatment plant should go to the people of Waimanalo, such as Wilson Ho, Mabel Anne Spencer, other community leaders and Governor Lingle, who put the money in the budget. Unlike the previous governor, Lingle released the money immediately upon appropriation. The efforts of Taniguchi and Takamine to give the credit to a House politician is an insult to the good people of Waimanalo.

This year, voters have a choice to support the majority party status quo at the Legislature or join the governor in supporting candidates who will spend your hard-earned money frugally and wisely.

Sen. Fred Hemmings
R, Kailua-Hawaii Kai-Waimanalo
Member, Senate Ways and Means Committee

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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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