Letters to the Editor

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Sunday, June 5, 2005

We need homeless solutions, not sweeps

I was sickened to read Friday's story about five upcoming sweeps to rid the city's parks of homeless people. These sweeps, which the city and state are conducting more frequently, are moral crimes against Everyman! While it is legal and the goal is to increase the safety of the public at large; the only thing the sweeps do is criminalize and punish these unfortunate people.

The community service organizations that help the homeless have been given notice, but that notice is misguided. Department of Parks and Recreation Director Lester Chang is quoted as saying, "Hopefully they are offering some suggestion ... and telling them (the homeless) they need to find another place." I challenge Chang, as well as Mayor Hannemann and all elected leaders, to suggest where that place might be.

Our community needs to act against homelessness, not homeless people. Why not address the public safety issue by sweeping out drug use instead of people? Why not set aside a parcel of land and allow the homeless to camp there? They would have a safe haven, the parks would be clean and those who give them aid would know where to find them. You can't just "sweep" this under the rug, you have to clean it up and put it away.

Jeffrey Tillson

What was mayor's real motivation?

Surprised, disheartened, disgusted. That's sums it up rather well. Of course our mayor called the chief of police to discuss procedural matters, right after his wife received a speeding ticket ("Mayor irked by questions after wife's speeding ticket," May 28). Give us a break. He called the chief hoping that this matter could be handled "in house and under wraps." Can he specifically state the dates and times he last called the chief to discuss procedural matters? What were these procedural matters that required his immediate attention? Inquiring minds want to know!

I'm willing to bet that these two officers who were performing their duty might be more hesitant to issue any citations to His Honor or his family.

I think the mayor owes those officers an apology for his "procedural phone call."

John Shupe

Isle-based carrier could best protect U.S.

Regarding your article of May 30, "Isles court aircraft carrier,"as a U.S. Navy veteran of the Korean War who served aboard the Valley Forge aircraft carrier for a brief period of time, it is my opinion that homeporting an aircraft carrier at Pearl Harbor could better protect the U.S. mainland because of our location in middle of the Pacific Ocean.

It would be much easier and quicker for our enemies to destroy the two aircraft carriers with their supporting ships (such as destroyers and supply ships) homeported in Yokosuka, Japan and Guam, with low surface missiles due to their close proximity to North Korea, Russia and communist China.

Of course, homeporting such a battle group at Pearl Harbor is not good for us who live on the island of Oahu because it makes our island a greater target for our enemies.

Wilbert W. W. Wong

We need another Deep Throat today

Why are there still some Americans who believe Iraq was behind the 9/11 World Trade Center attack? What America needs now is a new world order Deep Throat who will connect the dots for the citizens who can't see clearly what is going on.

This Deep Throat would recount how former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill confessed that the Bush administration was auctioning off Iraqi oil fields six months before 9/11.

Then he'd send you a copy of the secret Downing Street memo of July 2002 that revealed Bush's plans to attack Iraq, and detail how this was elementary so Halliburton and other U.S. corporations would profit from their oil pipelines in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, the poor and middle-class U.S. taxpayers pay for this war, while Halliburton and the wealthy with their tax breaks avoid many of these expenditures. Under the guise of capturing Osama bin Laden and locating WMD, neither of which has happened, all Bush did was increase the profitability of many U.S. corporations operating in the Middle East. Example: On March 19, 2003, before Bush invaded Iraq, Halliburton stock was under $21 per share, and two years later it was close to $43.

Ron Rhetrik

Deep Throat was devoted to America

Mark Felt, now known as "Deep Throat," is an all-American hero. As assistant FBI director during the Nixon era, he never lost sight of his loyalty first and foremost to America, its citizens and to our Constitution. He was not distracted by a cluster of elected officials with an imperial mindset who demanded absolute loyalty from subordinates to defend and protect their self-serving criminal act. He wisely chose the means to bring Watergate to the attention of the American public and triumphed in defending and preserving our government "of the people, by the people and for the people."

His family has every right to be proud. He has indeed earned his place in history as a person to be revered.

Larry T. Hayashida

Riots point to basic religious differences

Amazing -- the Christian Bible has gone through 2,000 years of various periods of desecration and persecution, yet Christians use those periods as times of strength, reflection and forgiveness. Conversely, alleged desecration of the Quran has inflamed Islamic extremists to the point of committing murder. This is a fundamental difference between Christianity and Islam.

James Roller

Many subs are happy with pay increases

Not all substitute teachers are unhappy about their pay raise. In fact, many subs from many different schools are pleased about their future pay adjustments. Surely, receiving the amount as established by the 1996 law would have been great, but the money subsequently provided will still help put food on the table and pay many bills!

Moreover, subs are grateful for the Legislature's appropriation of $500,000, despite severe budget restrictions during this legislative session, to bring some financial relief to them. This increase reflects the belief that substitute teachers are a vital part of our public school system and that they do deserve more pay.

Therefore, I would like to relay the sincere thanks of many subs to the Legislature for passing and appropriating funds for Senate Bill 1250; to Gov. Linda Lingle for signing this bill into law; to the Department of Education for agreeing to contribute $3 million of its budget this coming year to fund subs' pay increases; and to everyone who supported the substitute teachers, so that they may continue to do the job they love: teaching Hawaii's children.

Genny Chang

Recycle law should have its own slogan

"Click It or Ticket." The slogan of the day is being broadcast over all available media, and the Honolulu police force is being deployed in record numbers to ensure enforcement of the seat-belt law.

How nice it would be if such attention were directed to the state's recently enacted container recycling law. During four separate visits to two separate recycling centers here in Kailua on a single day, my family's efforts to comply with state law were met with three excuses for being unable to accept containers as a result of unavailability of a truck to pick up containers already present, and one of a lack of funds to recompense.

In light of the boondoggle that has resulted as a result of this ill-planned and ill-fated tax lie, I suggest a new slogan that might be adopted by all of us who are disgusted with the whole affair: Fix it or nix it!

Erick Ahlgren

Women fought hard for their gains

In response to Gerald Nakata's piece about a commission for men and boys ("Gathering Place," May 31), I warn him to be prepared for a lot of hard work and activism and also to be prepared to wait 20 or 30 years before he sees even the littlest change.

He points out that women's health issues like breast cancer have received more funding than men's issues. That's because women became activists and raised the money. It took them many years and much hard work to elevate the issue to the forefront that Nakata now begrudges them.

He points out that there are special programs that help to recruit women to be firefighters, but not for men to become teachers and nurses. There is a shortage of applicants to be teachers and nurses of both genders. Hawaii has just a handful of female firefighters, with no shortage of applicants for those jobs.

Finally, he points to the success women are having in colleges and universities. Well, that may be true, but why then do women still earn less than men?

I hope people like Nakata can rise above the perception that gains women have made are take-aways from men. Equal participation of women in every aspect of our society is a gain for us all.

Jeanne Ohta

Landscapes, culture important to tourism

With various surveys stating that tourists are becoming more frustrated with their experiences in Hawaii, something has to be done to improve their vacations here. This is of extreme importance because tourism is the engine that runs Hawaii's economy.

First, we need to preserve the natural environment. Tourists who come from cities don't want to visit a concrete jungle. I live in the Kau district and tourists always tell me it is the real Hawaii: landscapes untouched by the greed of mankind. It makes me wonder why the state doesn't push ecotourism, which is a trillion-dollar industry worldwide, instead of concrete jungles and rat races.

Second, the Hawaiian culture has to come to the forefront to rejuvenate Hawaii's tourism. We need to be unique to keep the tourists coming back. Just a look at the Merrie Monarch Festival and the Polynesian Cultural Center, which pumps much revenue into the state.

Hawaii has to go a different course than it's going now or else we will be really hurting economically in the near future.

Dean Nagasako
Pahala, Hawaii

Anti-gay viewpoint isn't very Christian

I disagree with Garret Hashimoto's call for Gov. Linda Lingle to veto House Bills 1715 and 1450 (Letters, May 27). Hashimoto's anti-Constitution (and anti-Christian) stance is well known. Somehow, providing equal protection under the law, as promised by the Constitution, for Hawaii's gay taxpaying citizens is wrong, but it is OK to promote religious-based discrimination and special privileges for Christian conservatives.

When I state that Hashimoto's stance is anti-Christian, I refer to his willful disregard and contempt for Christ's teachings. Nowhere in the Bible, and certainly not in Christ's specific teachings, is there any justification for denying housing or employment to anyone, saint or sinner. Christ taught compassion and forgiveness, not judgmentalism or unfairness.

One thing Hashimoto has backwards is his claim that state lawmakers are leading Hawaii down a slippery slope. The truth is, they're leading Hawaii UP the slippery slope. Since its founding, America has been working its way slowly up to the higher ground of providing full equality and protection for all of its citizenry.

Ken Scott
Board member
Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays-Oahu
Honolulu, Hawaii

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