to the Editor

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Thursday, July 1, 1999


Senate must protect right to burn flag

How sad that Congress would vote to amend our nation's proudest manifestation of freedom, the First Amendment, by prohibiting desecration of the American flag.

It has always been a source of great pride for Americans that freedom of speech and expression, upon which our democracy depends, applies even to expressions and ideas we detest. The strength of this essential principal, and of our own love and resolve for freedom, has until now been demonstrated by our willingness to allow those with whom we may deeply disagree to express their political opinions by desecrating the symbol we cherish: the American flag.

What other nation in the world is so committed to freedom and so principled in its application? The members of the U.S. Congress (happily not Hawaii's delegates) who voted to amend the Constitution and weaken the First Amendment should be ashamed.

Let's hope the U.S. Senate stands up for freedom of speech.

Richard Miller
Via the Internet

Flag must be respected, not vandalized

In grammar school, we were taught that the American flag stood for its original 13 colonies, for the present 50 states, and for bravery, loyalty and purity. We were always to respect the flag and never let it fall to the ground.

The flag does not stand for cowards, traitors or present administration policies. Any person desecrating the flag should be considered an enemy of the United States of America.

Warren K. Fukushima
Pearl City
Via the Internet



"It's kind of hard not to have mixed feelings. It's not something I dwell on (but) it came at the right time for me."

Scott Carr
Kaneohe resident
Describing his feelings after getting a successful liver transplant from a victim in the Sacred Falls landslide

"Unfortunately, there's no law against standing up on one of those hills, flapping your shirt around, and screaming and yelling."

Steven Bethel
Palolo fire captain
On how a Wilhelmina Rise hiker, just for fun, decided to take off his shirt and make loud noises to see if someone would see and hear him. Someone did and called the Honolulu Fire Department, which dispatched a couple of rescuers.

Let supporters fund Natatorium restoration

What will it take to convince our tax-dollar spending city government that the Natatorium project should never have seen the light of day?

As a retired career Marine Corps officer, I'm certainly not against preserving the facade as a fitting memorial to my deserving World War I comrades. But there is absolutely no valid argument (politics notwithstanding) for spending a cent on a salt-water pool that was a major headache from the beginning.

Here's my simplistic solution: If this is such a great project, with such significant promise and a large following, get everyone of like opinion together and let them fund the restoration and subsequent operation as a private venture.

I assure you, support would drop overnight.

Gary Meyers
Via the Internet

Old Natatorium was haven for muck

In the early 1960s, I took my children to the Natatorium almost every Sunday. Those were the days when the Natatorium had a diving tower.

One afternoon I decided to find out what was at the bottom of the pool. I dove in and brought up two handfuls of black muck. The clean appearance of the pool's surface certainly belied the filth at the bottom.

We then stopped going to the Natatorium and spent our Sundays at the beach, where the ocean water and sandy bottom were clean.

I wonder if, after spending a small fortune to rebuild the Natatorium, we are just going to have a filthy swimming pool.

Dan Dougherty
Salt Lake
Via the Internet

State magazine got undeserved criticism

How to explain your newspaper's fixation on the state's new magazine, 'Imi Loa? It can't be the $3,000 it costs taxpayers that warrant its front-page news placement above the fold.

For years, other organizations -- from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to the University of Hawaii -- have spent 10 times as much on similar publications and accepted advertising. OHA collected a whopping $168,000 in its state fund between August 1997 and March 1999 to support publication of Ka Wai Ola.

The only difference is that these other organizations have large discretionary ad budgets, so the media doesn't bite the hand that feeds them.

Three weeks after distributing 'Imi Loa, we haven't received a single negative call from a citizen -- just one negative letter (from a member of the media) and a great deal of positive feedback and requests for copies.

Jackie Kido
Director of Communications
Office of the Governor

Pride can be shared in Shinseki's promotion

The promotion of Gen. Eric Shinseki to U.S. Army chief of staff is something we can all be proud of. I feel that I can share in some of the pride, since I served under the general in 1993, when he was the ADC-M for the 3rd Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany.

I would also like to congratulate Mrs. Shinseki, since she played a huge part in the general's success.

Seeing Gen. Shinseki one step away from the highest ranking position (a five-star General of the Army) makes me feel that anything is possible if you work hard and support one another. The people of Hawaii can learn much from this great man.

Daniel K. Kamanao
Redmond, Wash.
Via the Internet

Discarding lit cigarette should be a felony

One thing mentioned in your June 22 story on brush fires should be emphasized: Throwing cigarettes out of a car is just plain stupid. The act alone should constitute a felony. A person who does this is indiscriminately putting anyone at risk of losing everything, including their lives.

A lit cigarette burns in excess of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. How many homes near our roads, highways and fields are made to withstand that type of heat? A low number, I would guess.

I wish we could report the license plate numbers of vehicles whose occupants are observed discarding burning cigarettes on our island roads. Then a ticket or warning could be mailed to the address of the offender or owner of the vehicle.

Use the ash tray. If you have any doubt as to how a fire destroys dreams, accompany me on my next home fire call to see the look in people's eyes when they realize their house is gone.

C.L. Thames
American Red Cross volunteer
Via the Internet


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