Astronaut inspired others to greatness
I have long wanted to pay tribute to Ellison Onizuka since we grew up as neighbors in Kona ("Ellison Onizuka's legacy lives," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 26
). Even if 20 years have passed, the memory of the Challenger disaster is still as horrifying and painful to bear as if it just happened today.
I have flashbacks of Ellison being "kolohe" as a kid, and his mother chasing him around. Those were wonderful memories of him during our childhood. Little did we know back then that he was destined for greatness. In spite of all his contributions in his short life, one has to wonder how much more he could have done. Would he have continued on as an astronaut or in some other capacity in space exploration? Would he eventually go into politics because of his prominence? We will never know.
One thing we know for sure is that he would have continued to give hope and inspiration to the younger generation's dreams, to reach for the stars as he once did as a child in the coffee fields of Kona. I suppose that it would be his most lasting legacy.
Sally Ann Abe Takashima
Bounty hunters are not police officers
I read Friday's letter about Dog the Bounty Hunter
. While there are some things Dog does while performing recoveries that I would do differently -- everyone has their own way of doing things -- the disposal of the "ice" is not one of them.
When being trained as a fugitive recovery agent (which is the term I prefer), one of the first things that is taught is that you are not a police officer. Your job is only to recover the "skip," bring him or her in for incarceration and exonerate the bond. In fact, we are taught to search the person thoroughly and dispose of anything illegal, so that others (especially children) cannot get it. If you take a skip to jail and the jailers find something on them, then law enforcement officers get the impression that you did not perform a thorough search and, therefore, did not perform your job properly.
Rhonda L. Barnett
Barnett Bail Bonds & Mid-MO Fugitive Recovery, LLC
Park Hills, Mo.
Mayor's tax plan will help homeowners
Mayor Hannemann's proposal for a homeowner's classification for property taxes is exactly what's needed for those of us who have no intention of selling our homes, no matter how much they might be worth.
I can only hope now that City Council members will see the wisdom in establishing such a classification so that our taxes can be better controlled and managed in the future.
Trust kids to do the job -- they need the work
Do you ever wonder what it's like to be 12 years old and try to make extra money these days? I am a 12-year-old, and let me tell you, it's no picnic. I'm a paper hawker (those guys and girls wearing vests hustling to sell papers) for the Star-Bulletin. I sell papers for about three hours a day to make a little money.
Most kids today are hanging around pretty much doing their own thing. Most kids have what they want that they can't afford. If kids were given more opportunities to have jobs in the community, there would probably be more kids occupied than hanging around with nothing to do. They would have money to buy what they want rather than stealing it.
More jobs for kids like me would teach us the responsibility of managing money, keep us out of trouble and give us a chance to be active in the community. So trust us -- we can do it!
It's too late to put items back in cave
I have been trying to keep aware of our dilemma regarding Hui Malama and our precious heritage of artifacts. I must say I embrace my "Hawaiian blood" and am so very proud. I believe Hawaii is a special place, and there's an aloha spirit that is real and only dwells here.
Our ancestors placed grave objects in caves with a sacredness given to religious relics; they were not to be looked upon or handled. But that was broken and done by a person who had no respect for our beliefs when he took the items out of the caves for monetary purposes.
Once those artifacts were out in the open, the preservation seal provided by the cave could not sustain.
My thoughts are to have our moepu returned to the Bishop Museum only because it is the one place now to ensure it can be preserved in the proper way.
All else aside, we must protect it the best way we can. It does not belong to any one group of people. All who are Hawaiian: Don't you feel it somehow belongs to us all?
Raceway park keeps our streets safer
Our gummint builds skateboard parks and dog parks so skate boarders and dogs don't do their business on the streets. The private enterprise Hawaii Raceway Park does the same for racers and also saves lives thereby.
It wouldn't take an awful lot to subsidize the raceway park so it can keep running, instead of having to build one to continue that valuable purpose.
Is spitting worse than collecting child porn?
Did I just miss something? One guy got 70 months in prison for spitting on a flight attendant (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 19
But according to a story in the same issue, another guy gets only 40 months for having more than 31,000 images and videos of child pornography.
In a written statement regarding the spitting, U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo said: "The stiff sentence provides notice to all that this type of conduct on our airplanes will never be tolerated and will continue to warrant additional prison time."
OK ... but then exactly what message does only 40 months say to the child-porn people?
This sends mixed signals as to what our priorities are, not only to the criminals but to the rest of the world as they watch what the United States does.
Curtis J. Kropar
Future commuters need more options
Ten years ago, our major challenge during the morning commute was to negotiate a particularly bad section of pavement as we drove on the H-1 through the Pearl City area. Nowadays, our new challenge is to wake up at 4 a.m. to hit the H-1 Makakilo onramp no later than 5:15 a.m. Not 5:20 a.m., not 5:25 a.m., but at or before 5:15 a.m. -- that's the magical door that opens to the morning madness, starting at the H-1/H-2 interchange. Strict adherence to this regimen rewards you with a 30-minute commute into downtown Honolulu, an effortless journey down the H-1.
Get in early, leave early? Doesn't work anymore. Just like smog-free days in Los Angeles, you can count the number of days when the drive home to Makakilo takes less than one hour -- it averages 90 minutes and sometimes two hours.
Is there a solution? Obviously, not an easy one and the solution doesn't become easier with time. Does the Honolulu High Capacity Transit Corridor Project ring a bell, or do you understand the concept of fixed-guideways, TSM or managed lanes alternatives? These are all transit solutions being investigated for Oahu right now, and although they will not be a panacea for all of our traffic problems, we all need to support the effort to investigate these alternatives. You can start by visiting www.honolulutransit.org.
The alarm goes off again, it's 4 a.m. and we return to that all-too-familiar Makakilo onramp on our daily commute.
Who's in charge, Osama or Bush?
On Thursday, President Bush said, "Listen to the words of Osama bin Laden and take him seriously. When he says he's going to hurt the American people again, or try to, he means it." The president went on to say how bin Laden's threat makes it necessary to continue spying on Americans.
Bin Laden is pulling all the strings. He wanted American troops out of Saudi Arabia. They are now out.
He wanted to rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein's secular government. That government is now gone.
Bin Laden wanted to mobilize the Muslim world against the United States. He is well on the way to accomplishing that.
All he has to do these days is to broadcast a few words, and they send the American president rushing off to justify a domestic spying program that bin Laden would be proud of.
Now we know who's really in charge.
John A. Broussard
System has jailed an innocent man
The article on the Shaun Rodrigues case clearly exposes serious flaws in our Hawaii judicial system ("Nagging questions remain in Rodrigues case," Insight, Jan. 15
). The people we've elected to keep our streets safe and provide justice in our courts have failed us.
Rodrigues was "guilty" as soon as Dianne and Dawn Sugihara identified him from a photo ID. Dianne Sugihara did not recognize that the man in the photo as the same person who had installed a home alarm one week earlier. That is, until the detective conveniently pointed it out. She did not have her contact lenses in at the time of the robbery and even admitted later that she did not get a good look at the intruder. Dawn Sugihara only had a two- to five-second glance at the suspect. Yet the prosecuting attorney continually proclaimed that the Sugiharas were "credible witnesses." This was enough evidence for Judge Crandall to convict and sentence Rodrigues to 20 years in prison.
He was convicted without any physical evidence linking him to the crime. The fingerprint lifted from the jewelry case was not his. The intensive police search of the house came up empty. The testimony from family members was disregarded, as were the results from multiple lie detector tests taken by Shaun and his mother that showed both were telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Tragically, an innocent man is in prison for a crime that he obviously did not commit.