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Tuesday, June 15, 1999


Home Depot will bring needed jobs to area

After nearly two years, the City Council has finally approved the sale of the Pearl City Junction site to Home Depot, thanks to Mufi Hannemann and seven other Council members. Hannemann, who represents that district, has been a leader in creating jobs and economic growth throughout the state for a long time.

Home Depot will be supplying good-paying jobs and outstanding benefits to over 400 people in our community. The company is also known for its active community service programs and donations. This is the kind of corporate citizenship we should welcome with open arms in Hawaii.

Kaleo Vegas

Raise fees for bay, municipal golf courses

Months ago, the city projected a $130 million deficit. Now, by shuffling items in the budget, the deficit suddenly is much less. In such a scenario, the most prudent thing to do is to cut spending and increase user fees.

For example, the city should increase the entrance fee to Hanauma Bay. It should also hike the cost to play on municipal golf courses. Since a very small percentage of people play golf, why favor these few individuals?

How Tim Chang

It's not true that city will raise taxes

Dhaun Akiona's June 7 letter is inaccurate and deserves clarification.

The first distortion is the charge that the city will raise taxes this year when, in fact, we are holding the line. As Mayor Harris has said repeatedly since this budget process began, the administration is offering a "revenue-neutral" property tax proposal. In a time of declining city revenues, the administration feels that a revenue-neutral plan is the most equitable.

Akiona's letter also asserts that city spending is not being questioned by the new Council majority. Every detail of the budget is being carefully scrutinized by Council members, resulting in a workable, balanced budget.

Because of a new spirit of cooperation between the new City Council leadership and the administration, the difficult process of creating a balanced budget has been relatively smooth. There's no magic at work here, just responsible government.

Malcolm J. Tom
Chief Budget Officer City and County of Honolulu



"I left feeling we did so much good, that these people are truly appreciative of the efforts that we had undertaken to help make them safe."

Glenn Lockwood
Director, American Red Cross of Hawaii
After spending a month managing Red Cross services for Kosovo refugees in Fort Dix, N.J.

"This is my chance and my opportunity, and I don't want it to go to waste. I think I am surprising myself, and I think I am surprising a lot of people."

Benny Agbayani
New York mets outfielder from aiea
On his sensational .400 batting average and 10 home runs in 73 at-bats since being promoted to the major leagues May 12

City was right to leave religious mural alone

I commend the city Department of Planning and Permitting for rescinding the notice of violation issued against the Sunset Beach Church of Christ for having a mural of Jesus Christ on its building.

The DPP correctly decided that the mural of Jesus Christ does not constitute a sign and, therefore, did not need a permit.

In essence, the Sunset Beach Church of Christ exercised its constitutional right to express its religious belief, which is fully protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 4, of the state Constitution.

Robert K. Matsumoto
State Director American Center for Law and Justice

Karaoke can help promote isle music

John Berger's May 24 review of the 1999 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards ceremony accurately captured the heart and spirit of Hawaii's music recording industry and its ongoing transitions. As a Hawaiian music and karaoke advocate, however, I was surprised to read that a prominent entertainer was quoted as saying it's time to "get rid of karaoke."

Karaoke, a Japanese term for "sing along," continues to be the most misunderstood multimedia technology in the world. It is a technology that empowers the user to sing; it is user-friendly, extremely interactive and self-entertaining. It is a 20th-century phenomenon.

Every day, this technology is positively shaping people's lives and upgrading their attitudes about themselves and others. Karaoke is a proven builder of self-confidence. It polishes social, presentation and artistic skills. Best of all, it relieves stress.

In Hawaii, karaoke has long graduated from its hostess bar and nightclub beginnings. Today it is mainstream and available to everyone. Soon, karaoke will be in every home through cable TV and Internet technologies.

What can karaoke do for Hawaiian music? It can:

Bullet Give everyone in the world an opportunity to sing the music of Hawaii.
Bullet Be the technology to teach and share Hawaii's language, culture and people through its music.
Bullet Give the Hawaiian recording music industry and artists a global audience and wider marketplace.

With all the positive things karaoke is and can be doing for Hawaii, why get rid of it?

Bob Iinuma

Health, medicine should be priority

I have deep concern about the potential closing of the John Burns School of Medicine and the School of Public Health at the University of Hawaii. I understand that the economy of the state has been abysmal for many years. However, this does not justify the closing of these schools.

We are often called the "Health State" but I see little commitment to that claim. We need to prioritize our resources, and certainly the health and welfare of our people deserve this.

As a parent of a child with a genetic condition who requires regular medical care, it is absolutely critical to me that he receives appropriate quality care. In the field of medicine, prevention and treatments are constantly being reviewed and improved.

We need a med school to ensure that we remain on the cutting edge of medicine and that our doctors have access to this expertise. The School of Public Health keeps our environment, schools and workplace free of infectious pathogens; it has been instrumental in training many health-care professionals.

Both of these schools are essential for quality health care for the people of Hawaii.

Alfred Torres Jr.


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