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Wednesday, April 14, 1999


Why are regents quiet about controversy?

In all this business about the University of Hawaii School of Public Health, where are the members of the UH board of regents? They have stewardship of the university. They have the duty to inject vision and strength and honor where these are lacking.

They need to put saving the school on their agenda and demand action. They need, even more fundamentally, to validate the effectiveness of politically appointed trustees on which so much doubt has been raised in recent months.

Charles J. Hardy

Tobacco money should be used for UH school

Hawaii is going to receive some $1.2 billion to be distributed over 25 years (or about $43 million annually beginning in 2000) from its tobacco settlement. There is general agreement that the money should be used to promote good health for our community.

Couldn't the University of Hawaii School of Public Health use some of that money to institute efforts to limit tobacco use, especially among adolescents?

I can think of no better way to use part of this money than to earmark it for the institution which, for almost 40 years, has been graduating professionals committed to protecting people's health.

Shirley Gerum's eloquent plea (Insight, April 10) to save the school spoke of the tragic consequences if Hawaii were to lose the institution that trains public health professionals. Gerum concluded her article with the perfect question: "How can Hawaii be the 'Health State' if it cannot even sustain a School of Public Health?"

Joan King

Editorial is wrong on hate crimes

Your April 9 editorial claiming state law is adequate to deal with so-called "hate" crimes is at best ignorant and more likely just plain homophobic and wrong.

You state that it is "despicable to attack persons because of their race, color, religion or national origin," and you accept that current federal law provides for prosecution of such acts. Fair enough. You do not call for a repeal of these laws. Then you say "it is despicable to attack persons based on sexual orientation," but, suddenly, state law is adequate.


Richard Miles

No BOE autonomy before schools get fixed

I hope that the recent "out-of-the-box" thinking declaration by the Senate includes making the Department of Education fiscally whole prior to cutting the Board of Education adrift. After years of enduring a shrinking operational budget, the BOE is faced with seeking a significant increase to the education budget to effectively operate the public school system.

To ensure that we don't educationally "fail" more generations of children, the 1999 Legislature should make all efforts to ensure that the school system is brought up to an acceptable operation standard -- including facilities, text books, salary increases, etc. -- prior to setting the BOE on the path to fiscal independence.

Richard Y. Shiroma

Special needs kids should be counted

It is important that the general public understand HB 855, which proposes that special needs students be counted in the class-size ratios for regular education.

Most of the special needs students are in regular education classes every day, yet regular education teachers do not count them in their class size. The irony of this is that the very students "not counted" often require the most time and effort. And, starting this year, the regular education teachers are required to attend the Individual Education Plan of each special needs student.

We have a federal judge threatening the DOE in the Felix lawsuit. He expects the needs of every special needs student to be met in a timely fashion, with extensive paperwork, and with the regular education teacher being an integral part of this success.

What happens when the parents of the regular education students realize their children's needs are not being met, because the teachers have large class sizes and are spending much more time on the required paperwork for special needs students?

Jim Wolfe

Unions made Hawaii a better place to work

Does Donald Allen's April 8 letter, "Unions are destroying these islands," mean that he would probably be glad to return to 12-hour work days, child labor, six-day work weeks, no vacations, no sick leave, no health insurance, no overtime pay, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, no minimum wage, no equality in the workplace, etc.?

Unions cannot be blamed for this state's economic stagnation. Hawaii has been economically dependent on tourism and defense spending for the last 30 years. Tourism is now in a slump due to economic conditions in Asia, and defense expenditures by the federal government have been decreasing since the late 1980s.

Allen should take a trip to Haiti and see how great its economy is doing without union labor.

Jacob V. Bradley

Fireworks ban must take effect before 2000

The Legislature has established the effective date of Jan. 1, 2000 for the fireworks ban. This means that there will be no change to the current fireworks ordinance and that New Year's Eve 2000, as expected, will be worse than the war zone atmosphere of New Year's 1999.

This also means that we will still suffer the aftermath of fires and hundreds of complaints caused by legal and illegal fireworks, as well as unknown Y2K problems.

With the pandemonium expected on the eve of the new millennium, the Legislature should change the effective date of the fireworks ban to sometime prior to Dec. 31 of this year.

Crawford Sullivan

Bullet Fireworks Scientific Poll Results
Bullet Fireworks Online Survey Results
>Bullet Hawaii Revised Statutes on Fireworks

"This is unconscionable that
(Attorney General) Margery Bronster
can so abuse her power and take
Richard's family hostage.
Our lives are ruined."

Beverly Bates
After Bishop Estate trustee Wong, his wife and his brother-in-law
were indicted for various charges centering on
an alleged $115,800 kickback scheme

"In Hawaii, people don't have
the same geographic limits in
their giving. People give where
they see the need."

Lynn Carey
On the generosity of Hawaii residents in crisis
situations worldwide, like in Kosovo

United States has a duty to be in Kosovo

Why are we in Kosovo? Because Hitler and the Nazis killed 6 million Europeans -- Germans, Dutch, French, Italians -- simply because they were Jews. The Allies fought a terrible war to destroy Nazism, and 20 million Russians alone were killed.

Today, a half century later, Milosevic and the Serbs are expelling 2 million other Europeans, by killing and terrorizing them simply because they are Muslims.

Milosevic and his gang must be stopped, just as the Allies and President Bush stopped Saddam Hussein, kicked the Iraqi army out of Kuwait and Northern Saudi Arabia, and returned the Kuwaitis to their country. President Bush won the Gulf War, but did not win the peace.

President Clinton must win the war in Yugoslavia, remove the Serbian military, police and paramilitary from Kosovo, and let the million-plus Kosovars return home. President Clinton can do no less than what President Bush did.

Sam Lee

NATO bombing raises many questions

The NATO attack on Yugoslavia has lent itself to many conflicting interpretations. Which of these interpretations is closest to the mark? Is the war:

Bullet A humanitarian operation, as NATO claims, to save Kosovo from ethnic cleansing by the Serbs? If yes, why doesn't NATO act to deter its own member, Turkey, from its systematic oppression of its Kurdish population? Why were the genocides in Cambodia, Ethiopia and Rwanda-Burundi ignored?

Bullet Essentially a grand NATO strategy to contain a declining yet dangerous Russia that is still armed with weapons of mass destruction? Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary have already been incorporated into NATO as full members. Other Eastern European countries are observers in NATO as Partners for Peace. Yugoslavia is the most recalcitrant state in the region and must be subdued if NATO expansion is to succeed.

Bullet Part of a grand scheme to pacify the Balkans as a route for the transport of Caspian oil to the European markets via a pipeline through Turkey that would lessen Western dependence on the Persian Gulf oil supplies?

Bullet An age-old struggle between Muslims and Christians for which Albanians and Serbs are acting as surrogates now with Turkey and Greece edging toward war?

Bullet A grand strategy of the foxy Russians to trap the U.S. in two unwinnable air wars at the same time in Iraq and Yugoslavia in order to demote the U.S. as the single most powerful superpower?

Bullet An emerging new world order led by global capitalism, call it Pan capitalism if you will, that cannot tolerate the kind of political stability that ethnic politics is generating in many parts of the world?

Bullet Finally, is the war the fuel that a military-industrial complex needs to keep its weapons up-to-date, world arms trade robust, and its profit margins high, all in the name of the Trojan horse of humanitarian intervention?

Majid Tehranian

Strategy seems lacking in Kosovo air strikes

I have two comments on the attacks on Kosovo. First, I cannot see that our government has developed a realistic exit strategy. What if the Serbs refuse to knuckle under? Are we to continue bombing and battering them until we have killed all Serbs?Isn't that genocide? And, isn't the prevention of genocide the justification for the attacks?The Balkans have a history of hundreds of years of conflict. Why should we expect them to change now? How will we get out?

Second, the reasoning sounds all too much like that of a typical bully.If you don't give me what I want, I'll strike you.Then, if the bully does strike, he can say that it is your fault because you didn't do what he wanted.Isn't this the same reasoning Hitler used to justify his attacks on Czechoslovakia and Poland?

Lanny K. Williams


Stop the bombing in Kosovo immediately

Why, really, why are the U.S. and its NATO cohorts madly bombing the former Yugoslavia? Why are countless refugees fleeing Kosovar? Is it because of the country's leadership?

Is ethnic cleansing of Kosovar Albanians really happening, as duly reported by media? All this is eminently doubtful. Bombing doesn't liberate anybody. Rather, it kills them or makes them flee their homes.

This murderous adventure must end forthwith, and Kosovo must find peace. Without interference!

J.J. Kaufmann


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