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Wednesday, April 12, 2000


Where's proof that town center is viable?

I have questions for Gary Okino in response to his April 3 letter headlined, "Aiea project would benefit community." If the Aiea Town Center is really "full of benefits," why does his association and supporters feel the need to take public money to develop it?

Surely a project that is the best Okino has seen in his 33 years as a city planner would be able to raise all of its funds privately, and charge fees for its usage without placing one more burden on taxpayers.

The truth is that Okino himself does not know in real terms (dollars) what the value is to the community or its costs, because he has not asked individuals if they would voluntarily pay to use it or hasn't found investors willing to put private money into it.

How can Okino possibly know the benefits to a taxpayer in Aiea, if taxed money is a foregone conclusion? Where is the feasibility study that private developers are always required to show to investors and the public?

Come on people, you're banking this project -- not the mayor. Demand proof that it's viable.

Guy Monahan

Don't force depressed people to get help

I was shocked upon reading your April 6 article that anyone would advocate forced medical treatment. In part two of your series on depression, a health-care professional advised the friends and family members of persons suspected of being suicidal to actually call police and forcibly check them into a hospital.

The decision as to whether to seek help should be solely in the hands of that person. As long as the person is not a danger to anyone except himself or herself, we have no right to intervene.

Friends and family should certainly encourage a depressed person to seek help. However, if he or she does not choose to do so, that decision should be respected, just as we would respect a decision to refuse treatment for any outwardly physical illness or injury.

Advocating forcible treatment for mental illness, while decrying the "stigma" that society puts upon those who are depressed, is hypocrisy of the worst sort.

Jennifer Holmes
Vancouver, British Columbia

President Estrada didn't deserve ridicule

Your March 24 editorial, "Philippine president's temper is fraying," was unfair. You portrayed President Joseph E. Estrada as humorless, a sore loser and an unbridled drinker.

While the presidential chief of staff's remark about being the only one remaining sober after a social engagement may have been made with levity, it definitely falls short of the decorous attitude expected of an official of his status. It undeservedly placed his superior in an undue and embarrassing light.

President Estrada, who has been working hard to promote the development agenda of the Philippines and uplift the conditions of the Filipino masses, deserves more credit and better treatment than being projected merely as an inveterate imbiber who lacks will power and self control.

Minerva Jean A. Falcon
Consul General of the Philippines



"I'm not one of those athletes
who eat, drink, sleep swimming.
If I make (the Olympic team),
great; if not, it's not the end
of the world."

Keiko Price

Hawaii's best hope in 24 years to make the
U.S. Olympic swim team but not obsessed
about making it to Sydney


"To me, it's the highest
level of community service.
They are putting their lives
on the line."

Jay Trinidad

Lauding HPD reserve officers, who work at least
one night a week for no pay but who have the same
police powers and go through the same training,
background checks and physical
testing as full-time officers

HGEA interviewed before endorsements

I am a 30-year city employee, a Hawaii Government Employees Association member and chairman of HGEA's Oahu Political Action Committee.

Although Libby Tomar's April 5 letter lacked credibility, it contained this good point: "HGEA officials should remember that endorsements by a group are better when they are done from the ground up. Collaborative leadership is important."

That's how HGEA does it. At a meeting open to members, the Oahu PAC interviewed the three leading mayoral candidates and gave each the same amount of time to answer questions. The PAC openly discussed them before overwhelmingly voting to recommend Mufi Hannemann.

The recommendation went to the State PAC and then the state board of directors. Each meeting was open to members.

Hannemann and incumbent Mayor Harris are as different as day and night. The city employees on the Oahu PAC caught Harris claiming to have done things that he did not do. The committee also knows that he almost sabotaged the union's retroactive pay raise.

Hannemann supported workers during the mayor's reorganization and layoffs, and clearly has a greater vision for the city. Unlike Harris, Hannemann has promised to serve a full four-year term.

Darwin Hamamoto
Pearl City

Public event energized Haleiwa economy

Mahalo to Mayor Harris for caring about the people of Haleiwa, and for his leadership and quick action in organizing Hoolaulea Kokua Haleiwa after merchants expressed concern that the town's economy was not healthy due to the landslide at Waimea Bay.

The mayor was able to gather his staff and, within three days, put together a successful event to kokua Haleiwa Town. The tax assistance booth provided by the state, the big marketing effort and the crowds of people that day brought hope back to our town.

Antya Miller
Kalani Fronda
Cathy Aoki
Bob Leinau
Suzie Lua
George Atkins

Hoolaulea Kokua Haleiwa Committee
Haleiwa Main Street Association

Gambling is only thing that can save economy

As a former Hawaii resident, I have monitored the problems of the islands over the years. The state should have legalized gambling back in the 1970s or '80s as a program to increase tourism.

If they had let billion-dollar corporations run the show, their revenues could have been taxed and operations controlled. The state would be in much better shape.

With crime, poverty and other problems, Hawaii's only positives are its weather, water, wind, fishing, surfing and sun. I see no real economy for Hawaii unless gambling is introduced into the tourism industry.

John Jason Chun
Newport Beach, Calif.

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