Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bill would not help St. Damien

The headline of your editorial for Oct. 11 says, “;Damien a hero to all.”;


St. Damien spent his adult life serving leprosy patients, most of whom were native Hawaiians. He spoke Hawaiian fluently. The cover of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs newspaper for October has a beautiful painting of Damien with Molokai in the background, headlined “;Father Damien: Patron Saint of Native Hawaiians.”;

But if St. Damien were alive today, he would not be allowed to sign the Kau Inoa registry, because Damien lacks a drop of the magic blood. Damien would be excluded from the Akaka tribe as ruthlessly as haoles are excluded from Kamehameha School.

Sen. Akaka was seated in the front row inside St. Peter's in Rome for the canonization Mass while hundreds of Hawaii pilgrims were forced to sit outside in the rain. Akaka was the worst person to be at that ceremony, because of the profound disrespect for Damien in the whole concept of the Akaka Bill. What penance should Akaka perform? Withdraw the Akaka Bill.

Kenneth R. Conklin



Cayetano skipped relevant rail facts

Even when I disagree with former Gov. Ben Cayetano's positions, such as his anti-rail stance, I have always respected his honesty.

In that spirit, I would like to correct the misinformation in his Oct. 9 Star-Bulletin interview about the Honolulu rail transit project.

The governor's comments disregard the intense scrutiny, oversight and supervision that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation exercise over this project, including its financial plan and ridership projections.

For example, the project budget includes more than $1 billion in contingency funds at the request of the FTA and its oversight consultants to cover unexpected costs.

Just a few months ago, Jacobs Engineering, one of the FTA consultants, validated our costs and construction schedule. Earlier, Booze Allen, another third party consultant hired by FTA, validated the city's $1 billion contingency as sufficient for covering rail's construction costs.

Similarly, the ridership projections utilize forecasting models that have been approved by the FTA. Our partners in the federal government would not have allowed the project to advance this far if our facts and figures did not meet their stringent standards.

We would be happy to sit down with Gov. Cayetano to go over the facts about cost and ridership, just as we have with hundreds of others in community group meetings.

Armed with the facts about rail transit, we hope Gov. Cayetano will contribute meaningfully to the public discussion of the biggest transportation project of our lifetimes.

Kirk Caldwell

Managing director, Honolulu City & County


Stopping merger won't help news

I agree with the actions taken by the Media Council of Hawaii regarding the merger of KGMB, KHNL and KFVE. (”;FCC should review TV deal,”; Star-Bulletin, Oct. 10). But realistically what difference will the merger really make?

Our local TV news stations are already carbon copies of each other. They provide little depth and no investigative reporting. The first seven to 10 minutes of each show is “;hard news,”; which consist of police reports, fire reports, traffic problems — without which they would have no news — and commercials. The remaining time consists of where someone went on vacation, what they ate, pretty photographs, Twitter, other fluff, and a duplication of national news. Oh! They do sports and weather very well, thank you.

Are our news people curious about what our elected officials are up to? No, not until after the fact. They seem to fear challenging or asking hard questions of the power brokers.

Local news people have said they don't have sufficient staff or money to do in-depth or investigative reports, but we see two or three reporters on screen sitting side by side finishing each others' sentences. I miss you Bob Sevey.

The most obvious tangible benefit to this community from the local TV news business is the employment of local people.

Kenneth L. Barker



Don't let labels cloud fairness

Republicans, give me a break! Can't you put your petty disdain for the Democrats aside this one time, and revel in the fact that a son of Hawaii has won one of the highest honors in the world?

You would have garnered so much more support for yourselves had you just, for once, been gracious about President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

I, for one, am proud of Obama, not only as a man of Hawaii, but someone who does put world peace at the top of his agenda. I also admit I am a registered Democrat, but I have never voted along party lines. I vote for who I think is the best person for the job, and many times over the years I have voted for Republicans.

And I'm not letting the Democrats off the hook. Can you honestly say that if a Republican leader had won the award, that you would have been any more generous? I can only hope so. That would make me proud — something I have not felt for either party in a long time.

Republicans, Democrats, other party leaders — let's not get so defined by a label that it becomes exclusive, uncaring, crippling.

Mona Wood



Gorbachev was poor example

In your editorial “;Obama deserves Nobel”; (Oct. 10) reference is made to “;positive results”; of the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990.

One year later, the USSR collapsed. That was a “;positive”; development for some Russian intellectuals and entrepreneurs, for national aspirations in former Soviet satellite states and former Soviet republics, for Cold War warriors and the Cold War-weary in the West — and for jihadists.

But for millions of ordinary Russians, it was and remains a humiliating tragedy for which Nobel laureate Gorbachev is unlikely to be forgiven.

John J. Stephan



All Americans should be proud

It's a sad commentary on American values when our president is awarded the most prestigious prize for peace and some citizens can do nothing but criticize him.

Shame on all of you!

I am proud that America's president has been awarded the prize for peace.

No matter your politics, surely you can feel more than a glimmer of satisfaction that our leader is recognized for his potential for peace, despite what you may feel about his politics.

Rob Kinslow



Obama deserves some recognition

I am baffled and depressed by all the negative feedback over the Nobel Peace Prize award to President Obama.

Surely his perseverance dealing with a Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh negative Republican Party and a do-nothing Democratic House and Senate deserves some recognition.

Pat Meyers





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