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Saturday, May 13, 2000

Coach persecuted by political correctness

I applaud University of Hawaii basketball Coach Riley Wallace for his stance against the NCAA's denouncement of the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina state capitol dome.

Coach Wallace did not express an opinion about the flag itself, only that politics should not be the purview of the NCAA -- and rightly so. The NCAA should restrict itself to governing athletics, not political correctness.

But what really concerns me is that two "citizen groups" are irate over his comments and have called for Wallace's removal. It is scary when political correctness has become so pervasive that it threatens the guarantees provided by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Coach Wallace is supposed to be assured freedom of speech. If you do not agree with the contents of that speech, debate the issues. But don't railroad a person out of his profession because of political correctness. Talk about persecution!

R.D. Greenamyer

WWII heroes deserve Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in combat, will be awarded to 19 men who served with the 100th Battalion/442d Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service during World War II.

The award has come some 55 years late, but has rejuvenated the story of these soldiers, most of Japanese ancestry. They served the United States with honor that nearly every American can never fully understand, unless you were one of them.

The World War II veterans, some already in the Army or those who volunteered, all served their country and families with courage.

I enlisted in 1964 and 1969, serving with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam as a "second generation" member of the 100/442 U.S. Army Reserve. It was with pride that I wore the patch of the 100th Battalion/442nd Infantry.

Jim Kuroiwa Jr.

Young, diverse people are plentiful in GOP

I can't imagine why Dave Donnelly felt compelled to comment on a 15-second TV shot of the delegates at the Hawaii Republican Party Convention in his May 8 column, but I'd like to reassure him that the base of the GOP is not on its last leg.

If Donnelly had been in attendance at the convention, he would have seen that the Republican Party does not consist of middle-aged to old haoles.

There were an exceptional number of young "local" delegates, including 17 running for office and some who were elected to represent Hawaii at the national convention in July. One such delegate was Kate Zhou, a Chinese immigrant who received her U.S. citizenship last year. Another is Danny Rodrigues.

The party has recognized a new auxiliary, R.E.A.C.H., which stands for Republicans Empowering All Citizens in Hawaii. It was founded by, and its officers are, all young people who even provide baby-sitting services at their meetings. Furthermore, members of TARs -- Teen-Aged Republicans -- also helped with the convention.

Shirley A. Hasenyager

Feral chickens are islandwide problem

Regarding the feral chicken roundup: Good luck, Laie! We live in Kaneohe, and are experiencing the same horrible problem. Knowing that this is true for many areas of the island, I suggest the city get involved in eradicating the feral chickens.

Scott Kanoa

Poor need more breaks than hotel owners

Stanley Hong, representing the Hawaii Business League, stated in a May 4 article that the tax credit just enacted by the Legislature for renovating hotel facilities will be a boon for the economy and hotel owners. No doubt it will.

Hong, and other business leaders who were interviewed, also lauded the defeat of the increase to the minimum wage, which could have added to the pockets of low-income workers. That increase could have paid for sheer necessities and, ultimately, could have added to their purchasing power.

Who do we care about in Hawaii? Should our hearts bleed for hotel owners or for low-income families trying to make a go of it? Should we care about residents or tourists, who come and go?

As Governor Cayetano ponders the tax credit bill, perhaps he'll realize that hotel owners need to find ways to get along on a slimmer diet, just as our low-income families must do every day.

Ruth Ellen Lindenberg

It's a crime to deny relief to the suffering

The federal government has spent millions of dollars over the last 30 years in a vain attempt to demonstrate marijuana is a health hazard. No researcher, no matter how flawed the methodology of his proposed experiment or inconclusive his findings, has had trouble getting grant money from the feds to find the dangers of marijuana.

Independent science has steadfastly refused to accept this politically motivated nonsense. Yet it is widely quoted by anti-marijuana use advocates.

The federal government has also obstructed research into marijuana's medical properties. The reason the Federal Drug Administration hasn't completed research on this drug is political. In the meantime, patients who could be helped have gone without. This, to me, seems to be the crime.

Tracy Ryan
Libertarian Party of Hawaii

Queen's shouldn't close cardiac-rehab program

Queen's Medical Center (QMC) just finished a beautiful state-of-the-art emergency room facility, costing big, big bucks.

Heart disease is one of the major illnesses of the human race. Yet QMC is closing its cardiac-rehab program and is not able to help patients with cardio-vascular problems.

I have been a participant of QMC cardiac-rehab going on 11 years. I can honestly say that the program, including nutritional guidance, the nurses and the closeness and support of other participants have been very effective in recovery.

Closing the biggest cardiac rehab program in the state shows poor judgment. Isn't keeping people healthy important to QMC? Or do its administrators want us to have surgery or be hospitalized again?

I feel for Hawaii's many future patients with cardio-vascular problems. Where do we go from here?

Vivian H. Young



"She parks her wheelchair and,
once she gets to the one-armed bandits,
she'll use her cane or walker and go
from machine to machine. We'll get
on the plane to come home and
she'll say, 'When we
coming back?' "

Mildred Luke Chun

On how her 97-year-old mother-in-law
loves to go to Las Vegas


"We're going to focus
on the wreckage itself and
see what it tells us."

Howard Plagens

Attempting to reconstruct the crash of a private jet
that killed six people on a slope
on west Molokai

Miami raid still
resonates with readers

Federal agents will be remembered as heroes

As executive vice president of the National Immigration and Naturalization Service Council, the union which represents all Immigration Service employees nationwide (except those in the Border Patrol), I read the May 1 letter by Richard Garver and May 2 letter by Bob Butler concerning the actions of the agents who retrieved Elian Gonzalez.

What is happening now reminds me of another situation which has found its way into American history. At the time, it was surrounded by as much emotion as that in Miami. The case involved Ruby Bridges, a small black child who the courts ordered admitted to a public school in the South, in a community which did not want her in that school. At the time, discrimination against people of color was an accepted way of life.

In fact, there is a famous painting of that incident by Norman Rockwell, which features the officers wearing armbands identifying them as deputy U.S. marshals. They were the same badges worn by officers who conducted the operation in Miami -- signifying they were U.S. Immigration special agents and border patrol agents.

At the time there was controversy over the decision of the federal government. The agents were attacked and condemned. Today the officers involved are mostly forgotten, but no one doubts their actions, or the orders they followed, were correct.

It takes time for history to do its work. In the years to come, when the record of this case involving Elian has been fully written, no one will doubt that what those agents did was wise or just. The emotional reactions we see today will be tempered by time and wisdom.

One day, people will remember only that a group of brave men and women brought a child home to his father as quickly as they could, and as safely as they were able.

Dennis J. Smith

Federal raid on home was really a kidnapping

The abduction of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez was a kidnapping in every sense of that word.

He was seized by armed force in a furtive, surprise attack that came as a shock to the negotiators on the verge of reaching a compromise solution. He is being denied visitation rights except those approved by his captors -- the U.S. government.

His captors are threatening to do him harm by exiling him to an island where he will be programmed to be a good little Marxist, faithful to the revolution of an aging dictator who has instigated communist insurrection throughout Latin America and even Africa.

And the ransom demanded by his captors is beyond measure: They are telling the American people, and particularly his Miami relatives, to leave him alone.

Worst of all, even if we pay the ransom, as most Americans seem anxious to do, Elian's captors appear ready and willing to send him back to the island he escaped with his mother.

They cannot guarantee us that he has a promising future there, nor even that he will remain with his father. In fact, once the final ransom payment is made, we may be surprised to learn that Elian has already been secretly returned to the dictator's loving grasp.

Then his captors will have succeeded in the ultimate kidnapping: full receipt of ransom with no return of the captive and no criminal charges brought against them.

Lee S. Motteler
Pahoa, Hawaii


Mansho seems eager to get public handouts

Either Honolulu City Councilwoman Rene Mansho is very naive, which I doubt very much, or she is just grabbing all the freebies that are available to public officials and doesn't care about the consequences of her actions, ("Ethics panel put skids on Mansho's electric car," Star-Bulletin, May 3).

What is she going to accept next?

Russell Oshiro

Public must demand 'greener' automobiles

Rising gas prices have fueled many debates over possible solutions. Cutting gas taxes, drilling in Alaska and using American oil reserves have all been discussed but fail to address the real issue: long-term gas consumption.

In the dawn of the 21st century, the cars we drive are still using 19th-century technology that guzzles gas, pushing costs higher as we demand more. Even more disturbing are the other costs, like polluted air and diminished health.

Right now, 27.1 million children every year are breathing unhealthy amounts of toxins from auto emissions.

So what's holding up the auto manufacturers? Not the technology. Both Toyota and Honda are bringing vehicles to the American market that go a long way toward fuel efficiency and emissions reductions. Detroit just hasn't been listening.

That's why I joined the folks at, who are asking American automakers to build cleaner cars. I urge everyone to do the same. If we fuel the demand for cleaner cars, Detroit will build the supply.

Barbara Peck
Hanalei, Kauai

Experiments on humans are vital part of research

Medical therapies and medical journalism have two things in common. New drugs, when well tested and wisely used, improve and save lives. Journalism that enlightens can be an important contributor to better medicine.

However, poor journalism can be as harmful as bad medicine. Your April 18 article on clinical research, "Hawaii medical research firms swap cash for human guinea pigs," is a sad example of this.

Although most readers recognize sensationalism, some are vulnerable to misinformation. The factual distortions are too numerous to list, but there is one outright falsehood that requires response: Medical information from clinical research is never "sold" to third parties.

In the future, any reporter desiring to report accurate and unbiased information on clinical research should speak to the thousands of altruistic citizens in Hawaii who actively participate in clinical research.

They are providing data that ultimately benefits everyone, and understand an elementary fact that your newspaper missed: New medical therapies do not grow on trees.

Finally, it is the ultimate insult to refer to these fine people as "guinea pigs." They, and the dedicated medical professionals involved, deserve better. Shame on you.

Richard D. Wasnich, M.D.
Radiant Research

Quit whining about sovereignty; help Hawaiians

In response to Kekuni Blaisdell's April 29 letter, may I remind him of the historical fact that the majority of kanaka maoli in 1959 voted for joining the union of the United States of America?

In other words, Blaisdell should stop kicking the dead dog of a renewed Hawaiian kingdom and concentrate his efforts on the plight of his proud people. Then education, nutrition, drug abuse, job training and housing will finally be addressed expeditiously.

Michael E. Powers

Hemmeter Building is a good deal for taxpayers

Recently, a few simplistic comments have been made in letters to the editor regarding the state's acquisition of No.1 Capitol District, formerly known as the Hemmeter Building. Detractors have juxtaposed this purchase against the need to improve the public schools, such as Maili Elementary.

The fact is that the administration requested $5.4 million for Maili and, ultimately, the Legislature appropriated $3.2 million for the school. Furthermore, over the next three years we'll be devoting more than $135 million to the repair and maintenance of public schools.

The logic behind the Hemmeter Building acquisition is rock solid: Why should taxpayers continue to rent space, when for the same cost we can own it and pass it on to our children? The current owners paid $80 million; we can pick it up for $22 million.

If the state were to pass on this opportunity, we would be in the vulnerable position of having to deal with escalating rents or the costly proposition of vacating the building. And its close proximity to the state Capitol cannot be duplicated.

We need to bring Maili and other deficient schools up to par. We also need to make prudent fiscal decisions in many other areas of government. To pit the two against each other is a disservice.

Jackie Kido
Director of Communications
Office of the Governor


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