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Thursday, March 9, 2000


Medical marijuana will relieve suffering

The use of marijuana as a medicine is being made complicated and controversial. Distorting and misrepresenting facts merely add to the dilemma. How will those who are most in need of palliative intervention ever realize the benefits?

Physicians consider the risks vs. the benefits when administering any drug. Marijuana is no exception. The first step is to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes, so millions of people won't suffer needlessly.

Carol Hanna

Handguns should be strictly regulated

I strongly support Hawaii's existing laws regarding handguns. Handguns serve no other purpose than the killing and maiming of other human beings at close range. In many cases, the victims are friends and relatives, shot in fits of anger using conveniently available handguns left in drawers and even under bed sheets.

The right to life is the most fundamental of all, yet thousands of people annually in this country lose this right due to a misinterpretation of the Second Amendment. Do handgun supporters ever consider the rights of unarmed bystanders?

The scary idea of people being allowed to carry concealed weapons ignores the influence of strong emotions on behavior. Can gun advocates verify that they have never become furious with another person? Even if this were the case, can they be certain that thousands of their fellow human beings packing guns will always think like them?

Barry Lienert

Elderly need to be protected from abuse

I am dismayed by members of the state Legislature choosing to ignore the inadequacies of our present law to protect the elderly and disabled from abuse and neglect.

In the recent case of a Pearl City adult residential care home operator, the state attorney general successfully obtained a plea agreement to manslaughter in the death of a 79-year-old resident. However, because of the plea agreement, the case does not establish a legal precedent for similar cases.

Under current law, it is only a misdemeanor for someone to endanger the welfare of an incompetent -- an adult unable to care for oneself.

Bills were introduced this session to make endangering an incompetent a class C felony, if the circumstances warrant. These bills were modeled after the offense of endangering the welfare of a minor in the first and second degree.

Adult and elderly abuse, like child abuse, is a serious problem deserving of equally serious consequences. But this legislation is being stalled in House and Senate judiciary committees despite vocal support by police, prosecutors, and elderly and disabled advocates. Are these legislators trying to tell us that our frail seniors and disabled are less important than our keiki?

Bruce McCullough
Policy Advisory Board
for Elder Affairs

Don't waste public funds on old sugar mill

A carefully orchestrated community meeting was conducted in Aiea on Jan. 31 to promote developing a part of the old Aiea Sugar Mill site into an Aiea Town Center. Cost to acquire the property: $5 million.

The first step in the concept is to have the city buy the property. Mayor Harris attended the meeting, received enthusiastic cheers from the adoring crowd, and promised to initiate action to use public money to accomplish the first step. Cost to build the Aiea Town Center and maintain it ($15 million?): not addressed.

Advocates say an Aiea Town Center is needed, contrary to the fact that the community has NOT been able to generate any meaningful private financial support for the idea. Even assuming a valid need, here's a key question: Why spend $5 million of public funds to acquire the sugar mill site when the government-owned Neal Blaisdell Park affords ample space for such a center?

Further, the park sits on a major transportation artery between Pearl City and Aiea, producing a potential combined Aiea/Pearl City Town Center. That location would enhance the mayor's Pearl Harbor shoreline development concept as well.

Why eliminate potential productive business sites at a major cost to taxpayers, when a better, cheaper alternative is at hand?

Richard O. Rowland
Legislative Action Committee
Small Business Hawaii

Start participating in city visioning process

People should stop whining and start participating with the mayor's visioning teams. As a member of the Ewa Neighborhood Board and the Ewa Vision team, I know from experience that those complaining the loudest have been invited to participate in the process but have chosen not to attend.

The Ewa Vision team has worked to include as many people as possible. We have distributed fliers to try to get people out to the meetings. Information on the meetings is advertised in the newspaper and on the city Web site. Anyone interested can call the mayor's office for the date of the next meeting.

As with everything in life, those who show up are the ones who make the decisions. The whiners need to get off their duffs and participate.

Pam Lee Smith
Ewa Beach

Pro-drug advocates don't like DARE

In response to Donald M. Topping's March 2 letter criticizing the DARE program: It is indeed difficult to assess the success of a program designed to make sure that nothing happens.

Therefore the most significant point to be made -- in trying to determine the effectiveness of this program -- is that the drug legalization advocates like Topping don't like it.

And anything they dislike must be good stuff.

Dennis Nishihara



"My father discouraged me
from going into business because women
were not in the work force. They were
expected to have families and not
work outside the home."

Merle Aiko Okawara

On assuming the added responsibilities of being
chief executive officer of the online
auction business eBay Japan


"They had nothing to gain
by playing us, especially when they
realized we had a good shot
at beating them."

June Jones

After the University of Texas Longhorns
confirmed that they will bow out of their
scheduled Sept. 2 game against UH at
Aloha Stadium, citing several factors

OHA logo

OHA's future

Keep board of trustees intact until solution arises

The Hawaiian people have stated their choices via the ballot box. I don't disagree with the Rice decision, but find no good reason to appoint trustees other than those elected by the Hawaiian people to lead the Office of Hawaiian Affairs until this controversy can be resolved.

The continuity of the program is most critical at this time; the confidence of the Hawaiian community must be maintained. Any other decision will only lead to further distrust of government, and enforce the thinking that state leaders are not sincere in furthering the dreams and aspirations of our Hawaiian community.

D.G. "Andy" Anderson

Don't condescend to Hawaiians about rights

The opinions you are publishing seem to have come from toilet walls, especially the March 2 letter asking how Hawaiians would feel if they were not allowed to vote in "our" elections. What defines "our"?

Hawaiians would probably feel just like those thousands of Native Americans who paid taxes, fought in "our" wars and died without ever being permitted to vote in any election.

Or they'd feel like the millions of intelligent, talented, successful women unable to vote in "our" elections because of their gender.

Our concept of law is based on "a reasonable man." I question what reasonable man would "vote'' for someone else to manage his finances.

Rico Leffanta

High court ruling has broader implications

The OHA trustees seem to be in denial about the Rice decision.

The Supreme Court justices spent six pages reviewing the "events which intertwine Hawaii's history with the history of America itself." They explained that "Hawaiian" as defined by Hawaii Revised Statutes is a racial classification: "One of the principal reasons race is treated as a forbidden classification is that it demeans the dignity and worth of a person to be judged by ancestry instead of by his or her own merit and essential qualities."

The high court finally said that, as the state seeks political consensus, "One of the necessary beginning points is this principle: The Constitution of the United States, too, has become the heritage of all the citizens of Hawaii."

Does that mean that only OHA voting is affected? Does anyone really think the Constitution allows or should allow a racial classification to be used to determine who may run for public office? Or who may be a beneficiary of public land or money? Is it fair to judge the dignity and worth of a person based on ancestry instead of merit?

H. William Burgess

All of us came from somewhere else

I find John W.K. Luuwai's March 3 letter to be extremely hypocritical. He writes that since Harold "Freddy" Rice is an outsider, he should research his roots and go back to where he truly belongs.

Maybe Luuwai, of Huntington Beach, Calif., should go back to where he came from himself. I'm sure that if he researched his own roots far enough back, he would find that he "truly belongs" in Tahiti or Rapa Nui.

Where does this end? Can't we just all get along?

Susan Mathewson

Alaska natives provide good model for sovereignty

How ironic that OHA Trustee Mililani Trask, with all her education, finds that civil disobedience is the only recourse to what's happening at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

No, Trustee Trask, the road to sovereignty is not through your methods.

Look at the Native Americans in Alaska. While the Hawaiian community once ridiculed the Southeast tribe for being a federal minion, that same tribe has self-determination and sovereignty today.

Frank McCafferty

OHA should seek independence from state

If the media are to be believed, native Hawaiians aren't happy with the Rice vs. Cayetano decision, and especially with the impending removal of the OHA trustees elected in an apparently unconstitutional process.

If Hawaiians wish to maintain the results of their questioned elections, perhaps OHA should repay the state for the cost of the elections. In doing so, wouldn't the elections become privatized and therefore not be an issue related to use of public funds?

Perhaps OHA itself should become privatized. The cost of running the office could be paid for by a combination of Hawaiian trust funds and supplemental grants from the state or federal mandates.

Wouldn't this then give Hawaiians complete responsibility for, as well as control of, that operation?

Fred and Sheri Pacheco

Justice didn't 'wow' islands, he wounded them

For Star-Bulletin contributing editor A.A. Smyser to write that extreme right-wing Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia "wowed" his Hawaiian audiences is a joke (Hawaii's World, Feb. 29). Scalia sure didn't wow me or anyone else who doesn't admire his agenda.

Would Scalia have had such an "enjoyable Hawaiian sojourn" if the Rice vs. Cayetano decision had been known? Did Smyser mean to write that the jurist "screwed his Hawaiian audiences?" Can he ever come back to the islands without guards to protect him from those he supposedly "wowed?"

Richard Miles

Bullet U.S. Public Law 103-150
Bullet OHA Ceded Lands Ruling
Bullet Rice vs. Cayetano
Bullet U.S. Supreme Court strikes down OHA elections
Bullet Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Legislature Directory
Hawaii Revised Statutes
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