Letters to the editor


POSTED: Friday, December 18, 2009

Focus on ending pain, not lives

I strongly disagree with your editorial “;Legalize aided suicide”; (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 15). Presuming that the recent events would have been prevented by assisted suicide is ill-informed and reckless.

Data shows that palliative care, available at the time of diagnosis, and hospice care, available in the last six months of life, are highly effective in relieving suffering. Yet Hawaii continues to rank near the bottom in accessing hospice care.

While calling for legalization of assisted suicide is sensational and might interest the “;worried well,”; people living with illness and those who care for them focus energies on making each day worth living. The other morning, a patient told me he'd take poison if he had some. Hours after adjusting his medications and counseling, he was comfortable and eagerly looking forward to going home to spend his last Christmas among family. In keeping with the aloha spirit, let's focus on ending suffering, not lives.

Daniel Fischberg, M.D.


HPD chief supports D.A.R.E. principles

In his remarks to the media last week, Chief Louis Kealoha stated that the Honolulu Police Department will be focusing on core police services, such as 911 response and criminal investigation, during these tough economic times. The chief also stated that he was looking at reducing resources in the areas of prevention, education, and counseling.

When asked if D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) would be impacted, Chief Kealoha said that the program might be scaled back. At no time did the chief question D.A.R.E.'s value or role in reaching young people. As a former D.A.R.E. instructor, Chief Kealoha remains committed to the principles of the program.

Kevin Lima

Assistant chief, Investigative Bureau

Santa Claus an icon of humility, giving

It seems each year a growing number of people are downplaying the importance of Santa Claus. I would like to express my concern over this.

There has long been some opposition to teaching children to believe in Santa Claus. However, the Claus tradition has religious origins that can be helpful in teaching children of all ages the values of humility and giving.

The legend of Santa Claus can actually be traced to St. Nicholas of Myra, a bishop in the early Christian church who was known for his generosity and love of children. One of the most famous stories of the generosity of St. Nicholas says that he threw bags of gold through an open window in the house of a poor man to serve as dowry for the man's daughters, who otherwise would have been sold into slavery. The gold is said to have landed in the family's shoes, which were drying near the fire. This is why children leave their shoes out by the door, or hang stockings by the fireplace in the hopes of receiving a gift on the eve of his feast day, Dec. 6 or on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

St. Nicholas is associated with Christmas because of his custom of giving secret gifts to children. It is also conjectured that the saint, who was known to wear red robes and have a long white beard, was culturally converted into the large man with a reindeer-drawn sled full of toys because in German his name is “;San Nikolaus”; which almost sounds like “;Santa Claus.”;

In the spirit of St. Nicholas, let us all make each day of the year like Christmas.

John Rogers


Enforce existing law against illegal B&Bs

Kudos to the City Council for not passing the B&B law. Now would be the time to start actively enforcing the existing law. Perhaps the new Special Enforcement Section could include these violators with the cash businesses they are investigating.

Laura Warren


Akaka Bill opposed by many in Hawaii

Public hearings for the Akaka Bill were held only on Aug. 28 to Sept. 1, 2000, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Neil Blaisdell Center. Public hearings scheduled to be held on the neighbor islands were canceled on Aug. 26 due to Sen. Dan Akaka's hip replacement surgery on Aug. 3, 2000. Those from the neighbor islands could fly to Oahu to give oral testimony or submit written testimony. There was an overwhelming opposition to the Akaka Bill voiced by native Hawaiians and other Hawaii residents. This tried the patience of the senators who preferred the support of the native Hawaiians and the rest of the community before meeting with the Senate in Washington on Sept. 3, 2000, in hopes of moving this bill forward.

Since then, there have been a myriad of amendments: changes, retitling of the bill and concessions to make it palatable for Congress to accept. Each time we have opposed the bill and have asked for hearings on all the islands and would have to approve the final draft of the bill as written without any additional hidden changes. Hawaiian subjects/nationals not of kanaka maoli blood who have been snubbed by the U.S. are also in the national movement that oppose this disingenuous bill. Others who oppose this bill do it for different reasons.

Many use imagined arguments to support their positions real or not. Blood quantum is a U.S. American thing that derives from racist doctrines of Manifest Destiny as does the Akaka Bill. Since 2000, there has not been a public hearing held on all the islands and it should be done before the senators submit their bill.

David M. K. Inciong, II

Pearl City




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