University library should be protected
In response to your article yesterday about continuing flooding woes at the University of Hawaii-Manoa library
, I can only express chagrin and frustration. How much more loss can be expected before the state of Hawaii expresses sufficient understanding of the importance of this resource? It is a resource not only for students and faculty, but for everyone who enters its doors. Why are tarps still being used to divert water and protect library resources? It seems like a commonsense action to appropriate emergency funds to fix the problem.
As the father of a student at UH-Manoa, I shudder at the inefficiency of the state to maintain its primary center of learning. I suppose the next step to Band-Aid an already insufferable and inexcusable problem will be to tack on an "umbrella fee" to all library patrons and students.
It's a disgusting situation and I am appalled. I commend the Star-Bulletin for giving this issue the attention it does rightly deserve.
Money spent on prisons is not wasted
I must respectfully correct Robert Lebo for the erroneous information in his letter to the editor Wednesday
. The $95 million for a new prison in Arizona is not paid for by Hawaii taxpayers. It was built by our vendor, Corrections Corp. of America, at its cost. Moreover, the $52 million to house our prisoners on the mainland is less expensive than incarcerating them in Hawaii. The cost of $76,000 per inmate, as Lebo states, is wrong.
The main reason our inmates are on the mainland is due to the lack of bed space in our state. We are not "throwing money at the problem," as Lebo suggests. We are incarcerating convicted criminals and, hopefully, providing meaningful re-entry and rehabilitation programs to reduce recidivism and ultimately lower our rising prison costs. The Legislature has been progressive in dealing with our prison population. We know the importance of incarceration but understand the value of rehabilitation to help our inmates in and out if prison.
State Sen. Will Espero
D, Ewa Beach-Lower Waipahu
Chairman, Public Safety Committee
Bounty hunter trapped in his own game
A number of letters in support of "Dog" Chapman suggest that although he used the N-word in a phone conversation with his son, that conversation was private. The writers feel we should take that into account when judging Chapman's racism. They also point out that his son, who recorded the conversation, did so with the apparent goal of making money from its release. That one person would exploit another's private life for money should keep us from throwing stones at Chapman, the writers say. Perhaps.
If so, then I hope these writers, like me, never watch Chapman's show, in which the cameras are rolling as he chases down real folks and makes their transgressions public -- not just for his job, but for the extra money reality TV offers. Dog is a victim of his own form of moneymaking. Right or wrong, he's been bitten by the beast that he chooses to dine upon.
And others choose to watch.
Even 1 month in jail might deter dealers
I agree that Kellie Nishikida did not deserve to spend between 37 and 46 months in prison ("Dealer vows to change," Star-Bulletin, Oct. 27
). Someone who has had no prior offenses should be given a second chance in most situations. However, allowing Nishikida to get off with just probation and six months' home confinement makes me wonder how much authority the criminal justice system has shown this young offender. Has the system just convinced Nishikida that she can commit a crime as serious as selling Ecstasy at the distributor level and in turn just get a slap on the wrist?
I did not like Nishikida's defense attorney's reasoning for her offense. Peer pressure and availability of the drug are absolutely no excuse for such actions. It is comments like this that lead me to believe that Nishikida is not entirely ready to change her ways. Presenting excuses for the whys of the situation does not offer full acceptance for one's actions.
Despite all of this, I do not feel that the federal advisory sentencing guidelines are tailored to provide reasonable punishment for offenders like Nishikida. She would not benefit from serving a 37- to 46-month sentence; however, I feel that she would have a greater fear of the criminal justice system if she had to serve even just a month or two in prison. Some who are more inclined to commit offenses might need an injection of fear to stop them from offending again.
Series exposed veterans' quiet burden
I'm a former rehabilitation counselor with background in assisting people with brain injuries, and I just wanted to write to commend Susan Essoyan's three-part series on soldiers ("Hidden Wounds," Star-Bulletin, Nov. 4-6
). What an exceptional educational piece for soldiers, families and the public that creates an important opportunity to share experiences and begin the healing process. The series was extremely well written, timely, bold and, perhaps most important, factual and unbiased.
Previous experience with brain-injured folks and Vietnam vets with post-traumatic stress disorder showed me that nonjudgmental, basic human compassion was sorely needed to build trust and deliver services. Ironically, the same government system that sent the soldier to war was not necessarily the most trusted vehicle upon return.
I'm glad to see that such sensitive information and options are made public through articles such as these.