Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Don't look away—reach out a hand

It seems that there are homeless people wherever we go in Honolulu. The most tragic of all are those homeless senior citizens who end up sleeping on the sidewalks and bus-stop benches. They pray for help and yet help never comes. Have our hearts been so hardened that we fail to hear their silent pleas for assistance, and to see their invisible tears of sadness?

What kind of society would abandon their elderly citizens and have them out to die on the streets, feeling hungry, dirty and all alone? Have they not worked hard for decades and paid their state and sales taxes? The state and city governments should take care of them at such a time of desperate need.

Actions speak louder than words. We can say “;the spirit of aloha”; all day long, but as soon as the visitors arrive, they will soon see that this society does not care for the poor and homeless people. They especially will abhor the way we neglect the basic needs of our senior citizens who have become homeless.

Cecilia Graybeal


Asians, islanders should vote more

OCA Hawaii Chapter applauds and celebrates the historic significance of the election of an African-American to the U.S. presidency. Yet we wonder why so many local residents chose not to exercise their right to vote, resulting in Hawaii's dismal record as the state with the lowest voter turnout in the country despite the fact that the candidate is a native son.

A nonprofit national organization founded in 1973, OCA is dedicated to advancing the social, political and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the U.S. Members of OCA here and on the mainland joined spirited campaigns to sign up new voters and promote voter education. However, despite the valiant efforts, we were disappointed with the low voter turnout. No one can force us to take personal responsibility to exercise our privilege to vote in a free society, but when citizens give up this right, they are not helping our democracy of the people by the people. In order for democracy to work, we must all participate.

History is being made every day, with more Asian Pacific islanders, Latinos, blacks and women joining the Obama White House. Let us be careful not to exercise adverse discrimination as well—everyone is entitled to equal treatment and equal opportunity and the celebration of our cultural differences. We are after all, the United States of America.

Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock
President, OCA Hawaii Chapter


Put president on trial for alleged war crimes

I found the topic chosen by columnist Jay Ambrose an interesting one (”;Should there be war crimes trial for Bush?”; Star-Bulletin, Dec. 15). I disagree with his idea that President Bush “;did make mistakes”; and believe he uses the term to minimize the atrocities sanctioned by the Bush administration.

At a recent dinner I asked the guests if they believed any country in the world would have the guts to try Bush in absentia as a war criminal. The quests were mostly conservative friends of my host. They did not want to discuss the matter. However, as I continued to offer a few short arguments why this could happen, I got no response.

Ambrose has more courage than the dinner guests. But, he is wrong. Bush acted no better than the kind of Third World leader the United States continually berates, and he should be held accountable for his actions.

Richard Lucero


Predatory towing hurts residents and tourism

If Hawaii doesn't revise its laws about towing vehicles, your island paradise will soon become a paradise for predatory towing. I run a blog about predatory towing (http://www.towingutopia.com) and I draw this conclusion after reviewing your state's statute, inspired by a recent “;What's The Law”; column (Star-Bulletin, Nov. 25).

Hawaii's law about towing caps the mileage fee at $7.50 per mile, but the law is silent about towing companies setting up shop someplace like Sand Island, possibly for the purpose of maximizing mileage revenue. The law requires towing companies to “;accommodate”; payment by accepting cash or checks, or by having an automated teller available. But what is to stop unreasonable surcharges on the automated teller?

The most distressing part of the statute, HRS 290-11, is its reliance on archaic notification systems such as a certified letter. What is wrong with requiring a phone call or e-mail?

Most important, towing information should be available online to owners, police, insurance companies and car rental companies. People should not have to wonder, “;Dude, where's my car?”;

If predatory towing takes root in Hawaii, mistreated tourists won't wish to return. It might be happening already. I ask the people of Hawaii, please, take a look at your laws about towing and make sure they are up to date.

John Hoff


War harms marine life more than training

Regarding your editorial “;Despite ruling, Navy should mitigate harm to marine life”; (Star-Bulletin, Nov. 15): As with all subjects, the military will do its best under the given circumstances. It is always necessary to keep in mind training for war must come first—under the most realistic conditions possible.

If we lose a war due to failure to train, there will be tremendous harm to the environment. Safety first—always.

Stanley A. Wilson