Perhaps next year vets could get day off
I composed this letter in my head while driving to a client meeting on Friday morning, Veterans Day.
As a consultant, I'm used to working on holidays, including some of the big ones. But as a veteran, I reflected on the irony that Veterans Day has become just another workday for many companies at a time when the country is at war.
Then I thought about America's newest veterans, including hundreds of citizen-soldiers from Hawaii now serving their country in harm's way in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Most will come home next year from their war zone, and many will return to civilian jobs. What will Veterans Day 2006 be like for them?
Will they have a once-traditional work holiday to "recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through ceremonies and prayers" as declared in this year's presidential proclamation, or will it be just another workday?
Nov. 11 will fall on Saturday next year, so maybe it's a moot point. However Hawaii companies choose to recognize and honor the veterans among their employees, I hope they do so with an unmistakable gesture of goodwill and respect.
Like maybe declare Friday the 10th a holiday.
Shinseki vs. Lingle sound like good plan
As the Democrats look for someone to stand up to Governor Lingle in the upcoming election, it seems to me we have the perfect candidate in Gen. Eric Shinseki.
This patriot is obviously qualified. His victory over a Republican governor would make national news, considering the past history of how he was treated by the Republican administration in Washington, D.C.
Our senators and congressman should be doing all they can to persuade the general to serve his country once more.
Military pollution sites finally get attention
Chemical weapons dumped in the seas off of Oahu have finally gotten attention from the media and from Hawaii's politicians (Star-Bulletin, Nov. 9
). The U.S. military is one of the worst polluters in Hawaii, something activists have been sounding the alarm about for years.
The Pentagon lists 798 military contamination sites that have been designated for some sort of response, of which 96 are contaminated with munitions. Many other sites are not yet identified or are not yet listed for cleanup. Military contamination represents a clear and present danger to the health and safety of our communities and the environment.
We must start cleaning up military contamination and protecting the environment from destructive military activities, but prevention is better.
Now that Congressman Abercrombie grasps the urgency of the problem, I hope that he will work to stop the Stryker Brigade, the aircraft carrier and the Navy UARC, which will increase environmental hazards in Hawaii. Public officials must do much more to investigate, treat and prevent the negative health effects of military contamination in Hawaii.
American Friends Service Committee Hawaii
Let's say aloha to UH football coach
Bravo to John Shupe (Letters, Nov. 10
) for expressing what I believe many others feel but are too sheepish to express about our overpaid, underachieving football coach.
I always felt the University of Hawaii Athletic Department made a bad choice in hiring June Jones. Former St. Louis School coach Cal Lee would have done the same, if not better, job for much less money.
Jones' ability to recruit was one of the reasons he was hired. I give him a D-minus in that department. Lee would not have criticized our local players for leaving the state, thus further alienating them.
Besides, the guy has the personality of a stale rice cracker. Time for a new coach.
Stadium officials take advantage of fans
Let me get this straight. The University of Hawaii can't make its own bowl game (what other school gets such a cushy deal of winning just over half its games to make a bowl?), and the argument has turned to whether loyal tailgaters should be allowed to drink a legal beverage before the game? Is it not obvious that the objective is to get supportive fans to buy overpriced alcoholic beverages at the hands of the vendors?
Those connected with this mindless suggestion had better start worrying about the Warriors winning football games and forget about the prices of concessions for the time being. If coach June Jones had built the UH team into a national contender, they just might have been able to get away with it!
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Former Hawaii resident
Waianae bypass bridge is a genuine eyesore
Is it just me or is the Waianae Alternative Bypass road bridge being built across Nanakuli Stream the ugliest, most despicable (and probably a real waster or taxpayer money) bridge ever built in Hawaii?
It blocks the view plane of the beautiful Zablan's Beach -- it has high walls which will be screaming for some graffiti artist to create more eyesores. It places a part of the bypass road makai of the existing highway -- closer to any tsunami threat than the current bridge!
Auwe to our government leaders for being so inept and insensitive and so wasteful of taxpayer dollars!
Who do we attack after bombings in Jordan?
Suicide bombers, apparently under the direction of al-Qaida front man and Jordanian expatriate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, have attacked three hotels in Jordan's capital, killing (at this writing) at least 57 people and injuring more than 100. The hotels were all American chains.
As with the notorious attacks on 9/11, al-Qaida is directly responsible for these deaths, each one an innocent noncombatant. Again, as with 9/11, neither Iraq nor the imprisoned Saddam Hussein had anything to do with these assaults.
The big question now is this: Which country will President Bush decide to punish this time as he tries to obfuscate the fact that he has, to date, failed to catch Osama bin Laden, the individual actually responsible for nearly every cowardly terrorist attack worldwide since Bush first took office? Iran? North Korea? Liechtenstein?
Which brings up two more questions: How much longer will the world stand by and watch as Bush challenges the sovereignty of every nation he dislikes and every leader he abhors? And how much longer will the American public allow him to get away with it?
Lest we forget, in a democracy we share the responsibility for the actions of our elected leaders. When we fail to call a halt to their illegal and murderous activities, we become accessories to those very acts.
ACLU was consulted about pedestrian bill
On Wednesday your editorial said it "would have been prudent to include the ACLU in (my) consultation" on Bill 71, my proposal to increase pedestrian safety in Waikiki. I respect your right to take a position on any issue, but I do want to point out a factual error.
I was "prudent" and did in fact "include the ACLU" in my consultations on Bill 71. I personally met with the American Civil Liberties Union's Hawaii executive director, Lois Perrin, on Oct. 24 in my office. This was more than a week before I introduced my bill, and I specifically asked for comments, input and suggestions from the ACLU on my measure.
My office also repeatedly called Perrin asking for comments on Oct. 31 and again on Nov. 2. I further understand the Corporation Counsel's office solicited but never received any comments from the ACLU on Bill 71.
Finally, I e-mailed Perrin, again soliciting input from the ACLU. The ACLU, however, refused to provide any comment or offer any suggestions to my measure. Indeed, the only response my office received from the ACLU was that it had not even read my bill. Despite the fact that I gave the ACLU the courtesy of reviewing my proposal more than a week and a half prior to introduction, the ACLU stated it wanted the measure delayed but gave me no assurance that it was interested in working with my office toward any resolution.
Charles K. Djou
Honolulu City Councilman
District IV (Waikiki, East Honolulu)