Busways are not part of city transit plan
The opponents of a mass transit system for Honolulu are at it again, using confusion as a delaying tactic. These people, who are always against any form of mass transit, are now claiming to support busways. Interestingly, these are the same people who opposed a busway system several years ago when the city was proposing the Bus Rapid Transit system or BRT.
Why the change of heart? Apparently to stall mass transit progress.
The Honolulu City Council extensively analyzed the busway concept last year in its deliberations to choose Honolulu's locally preferred transit alternative (LPA). The Council held a series of lengthy public meetings and finally decided on a well-defined fixed-guideway alternative to address the need for the future transportation mobility. As Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi clearly stated during a Council Transportation Committee meeting recently, the LPA fixed guideway alternative the Council selected was not a busway.
Kobayashi says she was puzzled by any discussion of busways at that committee meeting because the alternative is not on the table, and it's a concept she's always opposed.
Let's hope the so-called busway proponents understand this concept is not under consideration and we can work toward providing Honolulu citizens the transportation solutions they so badly need and deserve. It's time to move on.
City Department of Transportation Services
Where's surplus when school kids need it?
Gov. Linda Lingle looked into her crystal ball and saw lower tax collections in the future and decided not to release $110 million to repair Hawaii's rundown schools ("Funds to repair schools withheld,"
Star-Bulletin, July 22).
Maybe I missed something concerning the state of the state's finances. What happened to Hawaii's budget surplus of more than $500 million we had just about a year ago? Will it vanish like the huge surplus President Bush had when he took office, or is it already history?
What is more important than investing in the islands' children, the future of Hawaii?
442nd soldier took care of his friends
Our Tommy Kakesako story ("442nd veteran was a gem of a friend,"
Star-Bulletin, Aug. 9): My father-in-law was Harry Kawahara, who carried a BAR rifle in "L" company of the 442nd. His ammo carrier was Joe Wakamatsu. Their squad leader was Tommy Kakesako.
One day during the rescue of the Lost Battalion, these three men captured a pillbox full of German soldiers. The very next day a "tree burst" from German artillery exploded next to all three men. Tommy was severely injured; Harry and Joe were less so. They knew they could fight no more, so Harry and Joe took turns carrying Tommy several miles down the mountainside, along with their rifles and ammo, to get medical help.
When they reached the doctors, Tommy told Harry, "I will take care of you someday." After the war, Harry went to Kakesako Jewelers to pick out a special wedding ring for his new bride. When the ring was ready, Harry went to pay Tommy but was told with tears in is eyes, "I told you I would take care of you!" Harry told me that Tommy was good to his word all his life.
Rules of occupation are different from war
Elan Journo's empathy for American troops who are not permitted to "fire at will" is understandable ("Military Matters," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 5), but his lack of reference to the circumstances under which our troops were sent to Iraq is not. We invaded Iraq without a justifiable cassus belli under international law. Having deposed its government, we are now engaged not in a war between nation-states, but in occupation and nation-building.
The rules of war and occupation are vastly different. The occupation and nation-building have been thoroughly mishandled from the beginning, but that does not permit or justify permitting our troops to shoot at will in response to Iraqi hostility.
If the welfare of our military personnel were the prime consideration in our Middle East policy, we would have long since gotten them out. Their presence in areas deemed sacred to Islam is seen as a provocation by most Muslims -- and certainly by Arab Muslims.
However, our blundering in Iraq has left us without palatable options. If we pull out precipitously, we risk a genocidal civil war, possibly engulfing the whole region. If we stay, our troops will be seen as the occupying enemy. That is the apparent choice until we decide to involve Iraq's neighbors in achieving political solutions to the ethnic, tribal and religious conflicts inherent in Iraq. We have not yet done that, and our troops are paying the price. Journo's compatriots in the neoconservative community created this mess. His jingoistic ideas would only make it worse.
Thomas Graham Gans
Obama shows more courage than rivals
"Seasoned," longtime politicians are calling presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama naive for his statement about getting Osama bin Laden even if it takes bombing in areas where bin Laden is known to be, with pretty accurate information. Others such as Hillary Clinton and John McCain are just wimps and not making a stand to get bin Laden. They say that Obama is naive, but they don't have any solutions.
Maybe it's not wise to listen to old, longtime politicians who make a lot of noise but do nothing. We need someone with a strong backbone like Obama!
Francis K. Ibara
Veterans need better service from delegates
The only time that the members of Hawaii's congressional delegation (Hirono, Abercrombie, Inouye and Akaka) seem to mention veterans' healthcare or benefits is when they can use the occasion to Bush-bash.
For instance, Sen. Daniel Inouye sent out a blurb last month regarding the immigration debate. He mentioned that America is a nation of immigrants-yadda-yadda. He mentioned his support of an amendment in favor of benefits for Filipino veterans of World War II. What he didn't mention was an amendment for in-state college tuition for illegal aliens.
What part of illegal does Inouye not understand? Why not some imagination and initiative by Hawaii's congressional delegates to craft a separate bill for veterans' healthcare and benefits? Why group together Filipino veterans and illegal aliens? Why not in-state college tuition for all veterans in Hawaii?
In my opinion, 90 percent of the Department of Veterans Affair's problems could be eliminated by switching to mandatory funding; the VA is now funded by discretionary funding. Quit throwing us crumbs and show some initiative.