Letters to the Editor

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Adult student drinkers aren't the problem

As a legal consumer of alcohol as well as a University of Hawaii student, I must disagree with Lt. Gov. James R. "Duke" Aiona's opinion on banning alcohol on campus ("Gathering Place," March 22).

Aiona almost scoffs at the idea that "a campus bar 'actually serves to teach students how to be mature and responsible.'" What exactly is so bad about it? At the UH bar, IDs are checked before customers are served. There are no rowdy, drunken customers. It is not dirty, loud or smoke-filled. It's just a great place to eat lunch, chat with a professor or simply cruise with friends.

I fail to see the connection between having a bar on campus and rampant underage drinking. The underage group targeted by the lieutenant governor has nothing to do with UH.

As far as alcohol being a "gateway" drug, Aiona is again very quick to misplace blame. Claiming that underage drinking "often leads to abuse of other substances such as marijuana or crystal methamphetamine" is, in terms of causation, as ridiculous as saying that converting to Islam leads to terrorism, since there are Muslim terrorists who converted.

There is a problem with underage consumption of alcohol. Alcohol is served at UH. Underage people go to UH. Close the bar? Problem solved. And since underage drinking "has been associated with poor academic performance, violence, suicide, risky sexual activities, victimization and other problem behaviors," banning alcohol on campus should take care of pretty much all of our problems in society as well, right? The lieutenant governor should start associating blame with facts.

Elbridge Z. Smith
Junior University of Hawaii-Manoa

What a way to go, Mr. Mayor ...

It appears that Mayor Mufi Hannemann is launching a campaign against former mayor Jeremy Harris. What better way to tear down the former mayor's image than tearing down some of his highest-profile projects, especially those that involved landscaping to beautify our increasingly concrete jungle of a city? Is this really the way you want to go, Mr. Mayor?

Lawrence J. Connors

Conservatives, liberals are switching roles

Has the whole world gone crazy? We have conservatives arguing for big government (asking Congress to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case) and liberals arguing for states' rights (maintaining that the gay marriage issue should be left to the states). It used to be that conservatives wanted the federal government out of their lives, and liberals wanted the federal government to solve all their problems.

I guess it's true that, at least for politicians, the ends justify the means.

Keala Ede

Jesus is quite clear about helping Schiavo

As a pastor, I get many questions about issues of morality and ethics, so you can imagine the queries surrounding the Terri Schiavo controversy. They center around WWJD -- What would Jesus Do For Terri? Fortunately, we know the exact answer; Jesus answered it in Matthew 25: 44-46:

"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

She is thirsty and sick and the judiciary is not willing to help her. Jesus says "... whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." Jesus also says, "Then they will go away to eternal punishment ..."

May God have mercy upon the U.S. judiciary, and may we end this terrible descent into a culture of death.

Gary Langley
Pastor Windward Worship Center

Armed women would lower crime rate

Detective Letha DeCaires of the Honolulu Police Department has some great advice for the elderly women of the Kaimuki area ("Police investigate 2 attacks on elderly," Star-Bulletin, March 17): "Do whatever it takes to survive" and "look for avenues of escape" if they become victims of crimes. Recently we also heard of the sexual assault on a pregnant woman in Waianae. The suspect in that case had 37 prior convictions and was free to roam.

Here's my advice: Educate yourself on the use of a firearm and purchase one. Until the police and the state get serious about taking these career criminals off the street, citizens must defend themselves. DeCaires is fortunate to be a police officer and can carry a firearm whenever she chooses; the rest of us are subjected to the inadequate justice system of Hawaii that allows someone with 37 convictions to be free on the street.

Thirty-seven states allow law-abiding and qualified citizens to carry concealed firearms. All have lower crime rates than Hawaii. Of course the socialistic mentality of our legislators will never allow concealed-carry laws in Hawaii. So I guess we will have to just "do whatever it takes to survive."

Robert Thurston

Many canned drinks don't have Hi-5 stamps

An open letter to our beloved legislators: Shame! Shame and more shame! Recent newspaper reports says that less than 5 percent of the people are returning their Hi-5 cans What a bunch of lies!

I have been monitoring how they have labeled these Hi-5 cans. Major labels such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi have duly stamped all their cans since the bottle bill passed. But others like Aloha Maids, Mountain Dew, A & W, Shasta and store brands are not stamped at all.

I went to Kmart, Longs, Times, Star and Safeway; few are stamped. Most interesting is Aloha Maid. I bought two cases of juice, and only three cans had the Hi-5 stickers.

Many grocery stores, drug stores and variety stores sell large quantities of canned juice and soda that charge purchasers 5 cents plus 1 cent. But these can are worth less than 1/100 cent, because the state has lowered the aluminum can price from 25 cents to 15 cents a pound. The people in Hawaii should be outraged about the legal rip-off! Then our elected officials ask how come people are not redeeming their aluminum cans?

Yolan Garrett Chan

Schools should focus on writing skills

I am a student at Leeward Community College and I am having difficulties in writing. Who is to blame? I am not sure. I believe that public school system should focus on teachers more carefully because students' outcomes aren't as strong as they should be.

Unsteady teachers are the big problem in our public schools. Teachers come and go, and leave students not learning the right materials for their grade level or for entry into college. At my high school, students would learn nothing about writing in English. During my senior year, we only studied terms and definitions, read novels and had discussions. Writing papers with accurate grammar was out of the picture.

What could be done to make teachers stay and have the students learn the right materials? Perhaps the government can find a way to get higher pay for the teachers or hire the right teacher for the subject. I just hope that this message gets out so that students will have great outcomes in the future.

Christle Calpo

Dogs brought safety to Ala Wai Park

It is unreasonable to prohibit dog owners from letting their pets play in the Ala Wai Park. We got a dog for my daughter since she has been receiving treatment for depression and her doctor agreed that it would be helpful for her.

The first time my daughters took the dog to the park, a police officer said they could not walk dogs there anymore. Only dogs used this area of the park. Dog owners would like a fenced-in area for the pets to play.

The city has since established a temporary dog park next to the Ala Wai Elementary School. The trouble is that Iolani and Ala Wai Schools use this area, and it is now going to close down.

It is disheartening that homeless people are allowed to camp along the shores of the Ala Wai while people who serve as a constant patrol in the parks are banned. I feel safe when I see people walking their dogs; it brings a sense of safety to an area where you rarely see police officers. I am more concerned about being attacked by the homeless than by dogs.

We should utilize this community resource for the good of the community, not simply dim the lights and turn our parks over to the homeless with the drugs and crime that come with them.

Rodney Evans

The unborn should be free of gender beliefs

I saw a recent TV news report on the British Parliament debating if it is right for parents to choose the gender of their unborn babies. The shocking thing is that some members are in support of this issue.

I am student at the University of Hawaii taking "Sex Differences in the Life Cycle" class. Recently we learned about the drastic effects of this kind of action on people, more specifically hermaphrodites. They have become angry with their parents and in some tragic situations have ended their lives because of the confusion and the battle within themselves. It is not fair for parents to impose their views on gender to unborn children.

Though this news comes from Britain, I am sure that the consideration is not far away in the minds of Americans. I think that we should all be aware of this consideration and allow the unborn to become who they're meant and want to be.

Antenille M. Mendiola

Review of Actors Group play was insightful

John Berger's March 23 review of The Actors Group production of "Copenhagen" was insightful, historically informative and aesthetically perceptive. The play is challenging and multilayered. Berger's review, however, does the play and the actors full justice. I'm sure writing the review was itself a challenge. TAG's experimental and cutting-edge list of plays, and this performance in particular, deserve recognition.

Yet another good reason for having two major daily papers in Honolulu is that we in the public can read more than one critical opinion of the many plays offered in Honolulu's lively theater scene.

Hank Chapin

Corporate culture wins in ANWR

For our senators to describe their stance on the issue of oil exploration in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve as one of supporting self-determination for native people is misguided and misleading.

This is not a majority rules issue; it is an issue of respect for the culture of others, especially those with the courage to be steadfast even when the economic incentive to do otherwise is great. The majority Inupiat, who favor oil development in ANWR, are ocean hunters; and they have lobbied to keep oil exploration out of the Arctic Ocean. The Gwich'in rely on the caribou and oppose oil development on the birthing grounds of the porcupine caribou (ANWR). The conflict of corporate culture -- the promise of substantial financial pay-offs -- vs. traditional culture is taking place between tribes and within individuals.

Shame on our senators for not seeing this more clearly and for not taking a stand on behalf of those whose voice is least likely to be heard.

There is another issue here. What if every migratory bird, caribou and polar bear that dens, calves or nests in this sensitive ecosystem were granted the ability to vote on this issue? What would they have to say about the noise, intrusion and pollution planned for these rich reproductive lands? Suddenly the issue would be much less befuddled by human folly.

Robert Kai Irwin

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