Letters to the Editor

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Saturday, December 4, 2004

Damien community loses good brother

The Damien High School community and the community at large lost a great man last week, Brother Karl Berndlmaier.

Brother Berndlmaier was a man who didn't say much, he just worked. And gave. And gave. And gave.

He was a teacher at Damien. He also did charity work for the Red Cross, was involved in counseling for the Diocese of Honolulu and worked with immigrants teaching them English after school.

He collapsed on an "Encounter" retreat with Damien students, an off-campus spiritual affair that was totally voluntary on his part.

And, oh yes, I first met him as he worked the student bucket-and-equipment brigade at Damien football games, both varsity and intermediate, hauling water, towels, equipment, and sometimes players on and off the field.

I'm sure I've missed some of the things that Brother did, but I do know this: You won't find too many men like him.

Chip Davey

Cheney blocks intelligence reform

Once again, the Republican leadership has managed to fool the American public. Vice President Cheney (the real Republican leader) and his protˇgˇ Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have always been against a reorganization of the various intelligence agencies and the creation of an intelligence czar, as called for by the 9/11 Commission. So now they have orchestrated this grand plan that will result in the death of the intelligence reform bill.

While having the administration and majority leaders outwardly profess support for the bill's passage, they refrain from forcing a House vote on the bill -- even though they know that there are enough votes to pass it. Instead, the GOP brain trust has instructed two faithful, mid-level House Republican members to publicly object to the bill based on some sham arguments. Then, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who has the authority to force a vote, performs his part in this passion play by stating that he will not force a vote, in respect to these two "powerful opponents" of the bill.

The public, the media and even the Democrats, it appears, buy this bogus story. They all seem befuddled by the president's and speaker's reluctance to use their influence and power to get this bill passed. They are "reluctant," people, because Cheney and his associates never wanted the 9/11 Commission-type intelligence reform to begin with.

Roy H. Tsumoto

Democratic leaders should cut smugness

I am respectfully requesting that state Sens. Robert Bunda and Colleen Hanabusa spare Gov. Linda Lingle -- and the rest of us -- their lectures about politicizing issues. Through these patronizing comments they demonstrate a special brand of smugness bred by a 4-to-1 supermajority in our state Legislature. Meanwhile, circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that our governor succeeded in nudging some okoles out of their inertia (those bodies having remained at rest for some time), saying in effect, "Hey folks, it's broke -- let's fix it." Even then, their solution was to place a Band-Aid on a gaping wound, while giving the most regrettable of their smoke-and-mirrors ploys a noble sounding name: the "Reinventing Education" act. It might better have been called the "Old Wine in New Bottles" act.

Like Martin Luther King, I too have a dream: that someday the citizens of Hawaii will realize that one-party dominance leads to arrogance and unresponsiveness, as the power brokers seek to maintain the status quo at all costs. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have cornered the market on fairness and common sense, but it's fairly easy to see that business as usual has not served Hawaii residents well for a long time and that only true balance and accountability will improve our situation. When the process can be manipulated and controlled behind closed doors in committee, we all lose.

David Kammerer

Smokers create vast wasteland in Waikiki

Smokers don't give a hoot, they still pollute.

Their cigarette butts are turning our beautiful Waikiki Beach into one big ashtray. I wonder if anyone was ever given a ticket for littering our beaches, parks or streets with their trash.

Maybe we should put a refund on cigarette butts and/or empty cigarette packs. More ideas are needed to keep our environment clean.

Alvin Wong
Pearl City

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