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Tuesday, April 21, 1998

Legislature must be made to feel the heat

The Legislature is not yet done, but clearly will not give us what we need.

We need bold steps to boom our economy. Instead, the Legislature is giving us timid steps that won't help.

We need a big tax cut to encourage business investment and hiring. Instead, we get a little less taxes here, a little more there.

We need privatization to cut the drag of taxes on our economy. But the Legislature will give us little or no privatization.

Now is the time to note what your legislator is doing. You have the power of voice and vote, and you should prepare to use it.

"Remember in November," of course, but act now. Find and support a candidate for office who thinks as you do. If the Legislature will not see the light, make them feel the heat.

Mark Terry

Is estate getting muzzled or doing the muzzling?

According to Bishop Estate spokesman Kekoa Paulsen, the state attorney general's subpoena of local radio stations for records of recent Bishop Estate commercials "is clearly an attempt to muzzle us and keep us from getting our message out."

Speaking of muzzling, hasn't the estate been muzzling its teachers and keeping them from getting their message out for years?

What goes around comes around. He who muzzles eventually gets muzzled.

Christie Adams

Anti-marijuana bill must be defeated

Congress will soon be voting on a heartless anti-medicinal marijuana resolution. House Resolution 372 declares that marijuana "should not be legalized for medicinal use." This extremist resolution further urges "the defeat of state initiatives which would seek to legalize marijuana for medicinal use."

If passed, this non-binding resolution would not create new law but would send the wrong message -- that our federal legislators support putting seriously ill people in prison for using medicinal marijuana.

Patients should be allowed to use medicinal marijuana if their doctors approve. Furthermore, doctors should not be penalized for recommending such use.

Whether one supports changing the medicinal marijuana laws, whatever happened to states' rights? The U.S. House should not go out of its way to dictate to the voters what their state laws should be.

This arrogant, Washington-knows-best attitude must be defeated.

Cynthia V. Powell
(Via the Internet)

People of Japan aren't in denial about WWII

After reading your April 8 editorial on the Japanese film about Tojo, Japan's former prime minister, I was left wondering how you could come to the conclusion that the entire nation of Japan is apathetic and guiltless about the war. As a resident of that country, I found your editorial to be somewhat ridiculous.

Because a studio chooses to produce a film which is controversial in subject doesn't neccessarily mean an entire nation agrees with its message. Most Japanese I come in contact with every day have feelings of disgust over the war, and of war in general. They regret the war but, at the same time, don't feel responsible for it nor feel the need to apologize for it, much the same way as I, an American, feel no responsibility for the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan.

It's not our fault that the generations before us chose to engage in atrocious acts of senseless killing.

So when a movie of this sort comes along, we watch, learn, hem and haw, and form our own opinions. Last time I checked, it was up to individuals to decide what ideals they will follow. Nobody's being forced to watch the film or to agree with its message.

Richard Walker
Oiso, Kanagawa, Japan
(Via the Internet)

Teens need help to live up to society's expectations

As a teen in Hawaii, I'm perplexed by the expectations set for us by adults. I understand that the older generation wants us to be industrious and productive individuals, but society isn't helping.

Economic cutbacks are hurting Hawaii's educational system, which doesn't allow students to receive the education they deserve. The scarcity of jobs and extra-curricular programs are also allowing students to have too much time and nothing to do, compelling them to participate in unacceptable activities such as gangs, drugs and violence.

Society should do something to help teens be more productive, whether it be through job training or extra-curricular programs. Teens appreciate the current help we receive, but more will be needed.

That is the obligation of the present generation -- to leave a better path for the next, which we hope to do also.

Ikaika Perreira

Titanic disaster is fitting metaphor for economy

While it may seem an overly obvious metaphor for the condition of Hawaii's economic system, I was struck last week by the educational value inherent in employing the Oscar champion "Titanic" to examine the path of world political economy. This may be just in time, since we have not struck the iceberg yet.

The economic ship is steaming across what seems perfect calm seas under a romantic starlit sky. Like the seemingly unsinkable global economy, or the awesome power of the living biosphere, the great ocean liner floats and all its passengers are in it together.

Inevitably, the great crash of man's construction and nature occurs. And before long, it is apparent that not enough life-boats have been stowed to save all the ship's passengers. The tragedy of the Titanic proceeds into the icy ocean waters, with inevitable results.

I hope enough of our society's leaders see the film to lead them to these conclusions:

1. The shipping company must build more and better lifeboats before casting into the flow of global markets.

2. The speed the ship sails at must be reduced (the coal in the boilers need to be conserved) to allow the supply to last the extent of the journey.

3. A new course must be plotted which steers the great ship and its passengers out of the ominous path of transnational and foreign investment icebergs.

Just one passenger's thoughts.

R.A.I. Weigel
(Via the Internet)

Lottery for education is not so wonderful

I haven't lived in Hawaii for almost 20 years but, thanks to the Internet, I've been able to keep up with some of the local news. One topic of particular interest is the discussion about whether or not to create a state lottery.

California has had a state lottery for several years now and I would hate to think that Hawaii would make the same mistake. Remember that the lottery doesn't create any new money. It merely moves it around from one group to another.

The overhead imposed by managing the lottery always reduces the money available for payouts to winners or beneficiaries, such as the state general fund. If an outside (mainland) firm is hired to run the lottery, then there quite possibly would be a net loss of money to the state.

A very common argument in favor of the lottery is that it will benefit public education. Not so! Very often the lottery works to the detriment of public education funding. It's very easy for legislative bodies to assume that, since funds for public education will come from the lottery, they can remove regular appropriations.

Kalfred Kam
Sunnyvale, Calif.
(Via the Internet)

Governor didn't slash tax credits for poor

Please correct Richard Borreca's April 15 column, "Repairing the damage from 1995 tax measure." He's wrong to say that Governor Cayetano eliminated tax credits for the poor to balance the budget when he first took office.

Back in 1995, Governor Cayetano wanted to reform the food tax credit by reducing it from $55 to $50 and giving it only to those who really needed it -- the poor and people earning low to median incomes.

The Legislature wanted to give the food tax credit to everyone, including millionaires. That's what happened. In the end, the food tax credit was reduced from $55 to $27 for everyone.

Kathleen Racuya-Markrich
Press Secretary
Office of the Governor

How does gas merger help people of Hawaii?

Regarding the Texaco/Shell merger, the attorney general's office strikes again. I am unsure how the AG thought the divesture of Texaco would benefit the people of Hawaii and the gas prices. The numbers don't bear out that theory.

Combined, Texaco and Shell do not have anywhere near the market share of the remaining companies. It would seem as though the AG does want to help Aloha Petroleum and narrow the competitors for gasoline suppliers, which in the minds of most people would tend to drive the prices of gas up.

Either I have totally missed the rationale or perhaps the AG could enlighten us.

Denise Walker
Kurtistown, Hawaii
(Via the Internet)

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