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Wednesday, August 5, 1998

Prison is supposed to be unpleasant

The recent "attention" that the Hawaii prisoners in Texas are getting has me bewildered. It is amazing that criminals of all sorts -- people who have violated others and have contributed to the decline of society -- are better taken care of than people who have not done such things.

Do the American Civil Liberties Union and others make sure the medical records of homeless people are up-to-date and that they are getting proper medical attention? No!

Feed the prisoners enough food to keep them healthy, give them something horizontal to sleep on and somewhere to go to the bathroom. If that sounds unpleasant, damn right. Prison works only when people don't care to go there.

It isn't a country club, it's a jail. The people in it have earned their ticket to attend.

Robert Stepien

'Private Ryan' teaches importance of WWII

Diane Chang's July 27 column succinctly captured my feelings about "Saving Private Ryan." I was moved and disturbed by the film. Days later, I still have flashbacks of certain scenes.

When people ask me if I "liked" the movie, words are inadequate. It's not entertaining. It's not enjoyable. But it is something that must be seen, especially by people of my generation.

I am 33. My grandfathers died before I knew them, and my only uncle was too young to have been involved in World War II. The only thing that had previously touched my heart about the war was the plight of the Jewish people.

When Bob Dole ran for president, I thought he was so old. His talking about losing an arm in the war was just another sign of how out-of-touch he was with me and my life.

This movie chastened me. I now realize now that the out-of-touch one was me.

Hoku Gilbert

Quit dumping unwanted animals in schoolyards

Recently, at the school where I work, we found a precious Dutch dwarf bunny tethered to the back gate. It must have struggled against its leash, because its eyes were bulging and it nearly died.

Last year, someone left an expensive bird cage with bird food at the school. But we found the cage overturned with the door opened, feathers scattered about. But no birds.

Our school has been the recipient of anonymous donations of turtles, guinea pigs and a chinchilla. I would like to tell these well-meaning people that schools plan and control their pet population in accordance with children's allergies, ability to care for, budget to feed and longevity of the animal.

The only thing these people save by animal-dumping is a trip to the Hawaiian Humane Society, which is where we take the unwanted pets anyway. Of course the real solution is for people not to buy a pet for temporary entertainment and, in the future, not to drop their "problems" in the laps of others.

Maureen B. Ko

Nobody should be sitting on Iolani Palace throne

As a taxpayer/citizen, I take strong exception to anyone breaking the rules in a state-owned museum and abusing an artifact. No museum in the world allows objects to be touched except by curator and staff, and then only under the necessary conditions of care.

Anyone who tries is escorted to the exit. Anyone who succeeds is charged with vandalism.

If someone with the class and status of the pretender to the throne can break threads in an irreplacable object, on a whim, no artifact is safe. A real princess knows this without being told.

Beverly Kai
(Via the Internet)

Charter panel discusses proposed changes in public

Chester Obara's July 29 letter is filled with misrepresentations with regard to my role and statements made on the recently convened charter commission. I was nominated by Mayor Harris and confirmed by the City Council, by a vote of 8-1, to sit as the 13th member of the commission.

My quote on the prudence of accepting the mayor's "recommendations" concerned the acting managing director's letter written to me as temporary chairwoman of the commission to accept the clerical help of city staff to record meetings and minutes, type out agendas, and field phone calls and inquiries from the public. The commission has a very small budget and cannot afford to hire its own clerical staff.

The "recommendations" I spoke of were not the mayor's proposals for charter amendments. Those and other proposed amendments are being discussed at public meetings held every Thursday afternoon at City Hall and during evening meetings in Ewa, Wahiawa, Kailua and at City Hall through August.

Darolyn Hatsuko Lendio
City Charter Commission

Money given to widow of slain military man

Wendy Latchum and family were given checks in excess of $12,000 last week, collected by the Waianae Coast Rotary Club. In a short letter, Mrs. Latchum graciously thanked everyone and acknowledged the good will of the people of Hawaii.

Mahalo to Hawaii's generous businesses and residents, especially for their notes of aloha and sympathy.

Anson O. Rego
Past President
Waianae Coast Rotary Club

CrimeStoppers could have paid reward to informant

While Corky's July 29 cartoon on your front-page may be funny to some, it certainly is not to CrimeStoppers chapters in Hawaii and elsewhere. My wife and I are founding members of CrimeStoppers in Hawaii, and West Hawaii CrimeStoppers (WHCS) Inc. on the Big Island in 1981.

Currently, I am in my fourth term as president of WHCS. In October 1997, CrimeStoppers International Inc. elected me president of the worldwide organization for a two-year term.

Corky's cartoon refers to the now well-known case of a Waikiki man calling 911, which led to the recapture of two escaped convicts. Yet he did not get a reward from CrimeStoppers because, Oahu program representatives explained, he did not call into the CrimeStoppers tip line.

I agree that, under normal circumstances, rewards are normally paid only for information received on a hotline and which results in an arrest and indictment. However, in certain cases where the informant is known, and the local board of directors decides the information is worthy of a reward, one is given.

We have done that in West Hawaii, and scores of chapters on the mainland and in other countries have done so over the years.

Alan J. Pratt
West Hawaii CrimeStoppers Inc.

Don't give Bayer Estate special permit for now

I wish to respond to comments made during the hearing about the Bayer Estate and its "Niihau coconut trees" and its "great Hawaiian lawn." Hawaii's botanical literature identifies one species of coconut. All palms appear identical, being grouped into one species worldwide, Cocus Nuciferus L. Native Hawaiians did not breed notable cultigens of this plant.

A visual observation of the property indicates numerous exotic plants similar to those found in the neighborhood. The original native floral environment has disappeared due to historical human impacts. Therefore, vegetation present on the Bayer Estate is not of any cultural or historical significance.

The most sensible comment regarding this conditional use permit was made by Chief Planning Officer Onishi, who expressed concern over the proliferation of commercial wedding activities in residential areas. He suggests that the city review its policies instead of granting piecemeal approval.

Bert Kimura
(Via the Internet)

Does mayor support location of mental health program?

Your recent articles about the state's efforts to relocate the Clubhouse mental health program to the Blaisdell Hotel on the Fort Street Mall neglected to mention that the leasing company, Gerell Management, is run by Bob Gerell. He is chairman of the mayor's Downtown/Chinatown Task Force. As chairman, Gerell has forcefully spoken out on efforts that are planned or have been made to reinvigorate and revitalize downtown.

How does the Clubhouse fit into these plans? Does Gerell speak for Mayor Harris on this subject?

Lynne Matusow
(Via the Internet)

Readily available guns only cause death, havoc

So now they're shooting up the U.S. Capitol. What more will it take to start collecting weapons, starting with members of the National Rifle Association?

If guns weren't available, these things wouldn't keep happening. And if no one had a gun, people wouldn't need them to defend their property and lives!

B.K. Hill

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