The Star-Bulletin chooses a monthly Golden Letter winner. The award is given to the letter writer who has best expressed his or her views in an informative, entertaining or persuasive manner. We have some catching up to do, so here is October's Golden Letter winner.
When the power went out, they turned on
After the Oct. 15 earthquake and subsequent near-statewide power outage , we received a lot of letters from readers who were upset that it had taken so long for Hawaiian Electric Co. to get the lights back on.
Ron Valenciana of Pupukea had a different take on the blackout: He was thankful for it.
First, he fell asleep while staring at a blank TV screen. Awakening refreshed, Ron wrote, "I then spent several hours in intimate conversation with my wife -- something we hadn't had time for in quite a while. At dusk we put up candles around the house and spent a romantic evening together. We were somewhat disappointed when the power returned around 11 p.m.
"To think I would have missed all that and spent all day at work in the office," Ron wrote. "Mahalo, HECO. I anxiously await the next unplanned power outage."
Assistant editor, editorial page
Put the next dump in their backyards
Thank you, City Council members Charles Djou and Barbara Marshall, for your transit vote on Friday. I am glad that they have nominated their districts for the next dump and industrial park, respectively.
No matter what the price tag for rail -- and it should be rail, not just more buses -- the people of these districts should think that it's a small price to pay for not having the dump or industrial park in their backyard.
Rail is the future for Oahu, and by voting against rail they have voted against the future of every resident of Oahu.
Michael Golojuch Jr.
Watada shows more courage than Bush
Shame on those who don't dare to stand up for our constitutional rights and who call 1st Lt. Ehren Watada a coward for offering to fight terrorism in Afghanistan instead of killing innocent people in the illegal and immoral Bush/Chalabi Iraq war. They should get the facts.
Watada is certainly not a coward. Compared to them, he is a true American patriot. How many of his detractors would stand up for our Constitution at the risk of being put in prison for many years?
Nearly 80 percent of Americans now realize that President Bush lied and misled all of us, America and the world community, when he attacked, invaded, occupied and continues to rule Iraq, which had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attack on our country by Bush's Saudi friends.
When the Saudi terrorists attacked us in 2001, I wrote to the president and offered to be re-called to serve again in uniform, if my skills were needed. Did any of these naysayers offer to serve alongside Watada in the fight against terrorism? I think not.
I, and many other veterans against the Iraq war, admire bravery, and I believe that history will show that Bush was all wrong, and Watada was right. It is not as if Watada went AWOL or deserted as Bush did in the Vietnam War, or refused to take a drug test and lost his flight status as Bush did. The Army knew where the lieutenant was at all times and could have assigned him to a unit headed for Afghanistan where we are fighting terrorism, but for pressure from Washington to make an example of this man who dared to stand up against illegal orders to fight an illegal war.
U.S. Army veteran
Why should Watada be able to come home?
The accused Army officer whom I call "detainee Watada" was granted leave to come home
from the military while facing serious charges. It seems so unfair to the thousands of loyal military servicemen and women who serve our country during this holiday season to allow this detainee that privilege. Everyone who has ever served in the military knows that authorized leave of absence from your unit is at the discretion of your commander. It is a tough time for commanders to decide who has earned the privilege, and who should stay and man the fort.
To make matters worse, detainee Watada abused his time to again publicly denounce the military he promised to serve. Hero? Huh? What am I missing here? How can he be called a hero?
George B. Furtado
What if all soldiers refused to fight?
If all soldiers thought like Ehren Watada, it would be like the peaceniks were saying long ago: "What if there was a war and nobody came?"
Rummy was so great, how can it get better?
During the ceremonies honoring the departing secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush said, "This man knows how to lead and he did, and the country is better off for it."
And Vice President Cheney proclaimed, "I believe the record speaks for itself -- Don Rumsfeld is the finest secretary of defense this nation has ever had."
Just imagine what triumphs American foreign policy will continue to achieve when we can afford to jettison such an important, successful and universally beloved administration official.
John A. Broussard
Another year, another property tax appeal
So, I got my new tax assessment from the city.
But the city has yet to address my appeal of last year's assessment.
I haven't had a hearing or heard boo.
So now I get a 2007 assessment and a chance to send the city another $25 appeal fee.
That will be $50 they are sitting on. There are about 3,000 residents on that waiting-for-the-appeal list.
This is just not right, especially when you have a viable appeal.
Readers, tell us about 2007
THE tick of the clock from December 2006's last second to January 2007's first is really no different from any other. Nonetheless, it marks a turn of time regarded as a genesis -- a beginning.
The Star-Bulletin would like readers to submit their thoughts, ideas and hopes for 2007. Tell us what you would like the year to bring or what you expect 2007 will be like. Feel free to get the family involved -- we'd like to hear from our younger readers, too. And you're welcome to express your feelings in a photograph or drawing rather than words, if you prefer.
Comments and observations may be personal or global, material or spiritual -- whatever is on your mind. We will publish your words on New Year's Day, along with some photos and other artwork you send.
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send mail to Editorial Dept., Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI, 96813.
We look forward to hearing from you!