Roundabout accidents are costing plenty
On March 1 a motorist crashed into a fluorescent-yellow pedestrian-crossing sign next to the Makiki roundabout at Keeaumoku and Heulu
. The sign was severed at the base.
The roundabout cost about $800,000 -- most of the Makiki Neighborhood Board's $1 million for capital improvements. In the first three years after the roundabout's construction, an electronic speed sign was frequently placed in front of the adjacent preschool. The preschool's fence has been knocked down and the roundabout's signs and trees have been flattened several times.
I hope this information will be used to update the studies employed to persuade the neighborhood board to build a roundabout, instead of first trying a four-way stop. The roundabout was, and continues to be, a huge waste of money as signs and trees must be replaced. Speaking of signs, we have the visual blight of 22 signs in and around the roundabout -- 22 more canvases for graffiti.
Laura M. Fink
Lawyer's grandstanding won't help Watada
The Star-Bulletin story ("Watada's attorney likes the spotlight," March 4
) makes a most convincing case. But there seems to be very little reason for Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada to be optimistic about his prospects for defeating the court-martial charges against him for missing movement and conduct unbecoming.
Watada's lawyer, Eric Seitz, makes the absurd claim, "I am more than happy to see President Bush and Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld tried for war crimes. And I would be the first one to stand up and clap if they were punished as a consequence." Not to put too fine a point on what should be obvious to Seitz, but the president, vice president and former defense secretary are not the ones who face court-martial.
Watada's ordeal recently has been extended by at least another half-year. Evidently Seitz did not adequately explain the pretrial agreement he urged his client to sign. When the military judge learned this -- and out of an abundance of caution for the rights of the accused -- he declared a mistrial. Thanks to Seitz' "brilliance," Watada now faces the entire boatload of charges that were originally brought against him, including not two but four counts of conduct unbecoming.
Thomas E. Stuart
Libby case a mockery of American justice
I hope Americans have the sense and principle to know "The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend." Specifically, I hope Americans realize Scooter Libby's conviction is the third step down an evil path that is illustrated by the convictions of Al Capone, Martha Stewart and Scooter Libby.
In Capone's case, the alleged crime -- tax evasion -- occurred before an investigation and trial began. He was convicted of that crime.
In Stewart's case, the alleged crime -- insider trading -- also occurred before the investigation and trial began. However, unlike Capone, she remained innocent of that crime. Instead, she was convicted of a crime that was precipitated by, and occurred after, the investigation and trial began.
In Libby's case, unlike either prior case, no crime was alleged prior to the investigation. He was convicted solely of a crime precipitated by the investigation and trial.
This is the stuff of the Inquisition, not American law. Can you not imagine how easy it is to force a choice between noncriminal but embarrassing behavior and lying when the government is not required to have a real crime to investigate?
The steps from convicting for a real crime (tax evasion) to convicting for a precipitated crime in lieu of a real crime (insider trading) to convicting for a precipitated crime unrelated to any real crime is an evil path. Please reject it.
George L. Berish
Ignorance and fear fuel hate and racism
Regarding the Waikele beating story (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 22
) and follow-up commentary:
I am white, an island resident for 39 years, married to a native Hawaiian. It saddens me to see white people condemning all Hawaiians or locals for the actions of a few. This is another example of racial bias toward the very people who invited all races to share aloha, only to be stabbed in the back throughout its storied past.
Hate crime? No. A crime against humanity? Definitely! Stop focusing on color and begin to see we are citizens of the planet Earth, and there is no room for this type of behavior. Our system has not protected the people it serves.
Personally, I believe the suspect's son in this incident should be tried as an adult. Let's see how well a 16-year-old can handle being sent to Halawa for five years.
All the talk about hate crimes only fuels a rumor that locals hate military. When I served with the Honolulu Police Department in the '70s, every time a military person was arrested the military would claim we were biased. There are bad eggs in every basket. Being a military brat, I've seen both sides of the ledger; neither is perfect. The only way to prevent hate crimes is to eliminate the fuel that fires the hate -- ignorance and fear.
Words before 'haole' make it racial question
I disagree with Rev. 'Alapaki Kim (Letters, Feb. 26
). "Haole" may or may not be a racial epithet, but when it is preceded by "You stupid" and physical violence, it becomes racial.
For instance, if I kicked a kid and called him "stupid," it doesn't seem racial. But if I kick that same kid and yell, loud enough for everyone to hear, "You stupid Japanese," it clearly takes on a racial tone. To think otherwise is to choose to hear what you want to hear, and interpret it to suit you.
City Council, follow first lady's lead
If the first lady Laura Bush can pronounce "papahanaumokuakea," and get it right the first time (Star-Bulletin, March 3
), then the City Council can learn "howtomakesoundlogicalunifieddecisionsonmajorissuesthataffectusall."
John L. Werrill