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Letters to the Editor

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004





Absentee ballots make voting very easy

Anyone who is a registered voter can vote absentee-by-mail for the upcoming general election. You need no excuses -- such as being away on vacation or business trips or having difficulties leaving the office.

Ask the city clerk's office (523-4293) for an application to vote absentee-by-mail. Fill in the required blanks and mail it in by Oct. 26.

The absentee ballots will be mailed to you with return envelopes provided by the city clerk's office. Fill in the ovals with black ink, then mail it in.

This year's general election will have state constitutional and City Charter amendment proposals, which take time to understand and which the above system will provide to voters.

Also, the all-important presidential and vice-presidential offices will appear. With big issues such as Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terrorism, the huge deficit and job losses, voting for the right persons is important.

Roy E. Shigemura
Honolulu

There are solutions to shameful turnout

I applaud Richard Borreca's Sept. 26 column, which shows that at least one journalist is asking pointed questions about the 9,559 votes that were not counted in the primary election. As Borreca points out, that amounts to 3.8 percent of the statewide total.

To place that into perspective, Hawaii has had three presidential elections since 1960 decided by less than 3.8 percent. They were in 1980 (Carter by 1.9 percent), 1976 (Carter by 2.53 percent), and President Kennedy's razor-thin margin of 0.06 percent in 1960.

Borreca's recommendations, based on those of political scientists, are sound: same-day registration, longer poll hours and mailing each voter a sample of the ballot. Voting by mail also would help significantly. Oregon's elections are completely by mail and turnout is 86 percent. Compare that to Hawaii's lowest turnout in the nation and the 537 vote margin in Florida in 2000.

As Borreca correctly concluded, the fault is not with the voters -- it is with the system. That would include our elected officials, and of course, the main culprit for the primary debacle, the Office of Elections.

Borreca pointed out that "after the Sept.18 primary election, the results revealed the problem. If the state does nothing, the shame will haunt us for years." That shame may come as early as the November election.

Al Lynde
Ewa Beach

U.S. has violated its principles in Iraq

Living in this great country, we have come to expect great things and noble pursuits by our government institutions and elected leaders.

Our country stands for the rule of law and justice for all.

But our government and leaders redefined the laws when they decided to invade Iraq.

Where the United States was once looked to for strength and leadership by the world community, our country is now distrusted and vilified for the unfortunate decisions of a few Americans.

The United Nations was created to provide a forum for world opinion to be met by consensus, not by bullying. We should be thankful that Russia and China have veto power as our current leaders still believe arbitrary interpretation of international law is OK.

Our government has not kept its word in Afghanistan. Then we created an even bigger problem in Iraq, and now we are rattling sabers at Iran.

Please, Mr. President, clean up one mess before you make another. My son knows how, and so should you.

Douglas Schott
Waianae

Governor should fund women's commission

I hope that Linda Lingle, as Hawaii's first woman governor, will reconsider her move to phase out public funding for the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women.

As president of the multi-partisan Hawaii Women's Political Caucus and a past member of the HSCSW, I strongly urge the governor to reconsider her budgetary priorities.

The HSCSW is our only state agency dedicated to the health, equality and well-being of women and girls. As such, it should not have to go hat-in-hand to compete with the many nonprofits. It is ironic that this agency, with its already downsized $95,000 annual budget, would even be considered for elimination at this time of our vaunted economic prosperity.

I'd like to commend former commission leader Allicyn Tasaka for her long commitment to public service as one of the hardest working, most professional women leaders in Hawaii. Her recent resignation from the HSCSW and acceptance of a job in the private sector is the state's loss.

Faye Kennedy
Honolulu

Rx Plus isn't targeted only to the needy

It is disappointing to see a rise in the number of our uninsured (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 27), but I am encouraged to see that the governor, the Legislature and the Hawaii Uninsured Project are committed to addressing this growing concern.

However, I must clarify that the bill Gov. Linda Lingle "signed into law creating programs aimed at reducing the cost of prescription drugs for poor people" is not a program exclusively for the poor.

Hawaii Rx Plus is designed to help residents of all ages and from all walks of life cope with the rising costs of prescription drugs. To qualify you need to meet only three requirements:

1) Live in Hawaii;
2) Not ALL of your drugs are paid by insurance ALL of the time*;
3) Meet the income requirement of 350 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (for a single person that's $37,464)

*Even if you have insurance we encourage everyone to apply as insurance does not cover ALL drugs ALL the time. However, please hold onto your insurance as it is still better than a discount.

The Department of Human Services emphasizes that this program is available for anyone who meets our very generous income requirement, and that if you meet that income level, please apply today. High enrollment in this program means bigger all-around discounts beginning in 2005. For more information or to get an application please call 211 or visit our Web site at www.hawaiirxplus.com.

Tracy H. Okubo
Department of Human Services
Hawaii Rx Plus Program



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art

[ BRAINSTORM! ]

Planting an idea


The first and last thing visitors see as they encounter Hawaii -- other than security personnel instructing them to take off their shoes -- is the elevated freeway by Honolulu's airport. Accordingly, when it was built, it was designed to be attractive, including a meandering garden running down the center of the lower level, and, up top, set between the elevated concourses, large planter boxes. The idea was to plant wonderful hanging gardens that would delight visitor and resident alike, and for a while, they did.

But the state Department of Transportation is focused these days on potholes, not on making the roads look pretty. The elevated gardens have become choked with weeds and debris.

So fire up those brain cells. What other use could these midair garden plots be used for? Thematic displays? Lei stands? Minimum-security prisons? Foosball diamonds? Storage for giant downtown Christmas ornaments? Headquarters for our newly reduced National Guard? A place for all the dirt from Castle Junction? Instead of offshore gambling, elevated gambling?

Send us your ideas about what should be done with these highly visible, weed-racked lots.

E-mail your ideas and solutions -- please include your name and address -- by Oct. 20 to: brainstorm@starbulletin.com

Or fax to:
Brainstorm!
c/o Nancy Christenson
529-4750

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

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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
E-mail: letters@starbulletin.com
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813




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