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Saturday, June 17, 2000

Critics of election are welcome to help

While we hardly agree with R.F. Westlake's statement that Hawaii should put "more trust in a drunken chimpanzee with a glass eye to count our votes" (Letters, June 13), we would nevertheless welcome his participation as a volunteer election worker this year.

The administration of elections requires a healthy volunteer spirit from more than 5,000 Hawaii residents who come with different beliefs, political persuasions and backgrounds.

Many who have never witnessed the administration of elections first hand are amazed by the complexity and technical nature of the operation. Even state legislative auditor Marion Higa in her March 15, 1999, news conference statement on the election audit noted, "Elections are far more complex than publicly known and the procedures have far more safeguards built in than most people were aware of."

While the 1998 elections were certainly not without their share of controversy, Mr. Westlake's criticism of the State Office of Elections' employees, volunteers and contractors is simply hurtful, unwarranted and serves no constructive purpose.

Glen Takahashi
Elections Administrator
City and County of Honolulu


"The only thing I learned in my first two years at UH was how to play the ukulele and drink a lot of beer."
Chris McKinney
On his lax attitude toward school before he got serious about writing

"We're going to see a lot of sick people in a month. The availability of black-tar heroin will be scarce for a while."
Bill Fernandes
On what drug users and law enforcement authorities can expect in the aftermath of a major U.S. drug-ring bust that included 28 arrests on Oahu and Maui

Sacred Hearts had classy graduation

I had the pleasure of attending the Sacred Hearts Academy graduation ceremony on May 27. I would like to compliment the Sacred Hearts administration, faculty, students and their families for a beautiful and moving ceremony.

There was absolutely no clapping, hooting, howling or other noises until all the graduates received their diplomas. The Class of 2000 was presented as a group and the audience was able to display its joy and celebration at that time.

This was the most memorable and meaningful graduation that I have been privileged to attend.

Congratulations to the Sacred Hearts Class of 2000 for a job well done!

Susan Block

Nothing merciful about hammer killing

In a letter dated June 9, Ted Chernin of Pearl City claims the hammer killing of Paul Ulrich was "merciful." He educates us that the victim felt only a "slight, velvety soft sensation" before he was knocked unconscious. (That's an assumption. The guy died, so who knows what he experienced during the ordeal.)

Oh, that makes it alright, Ted. Tell you what...I vote that he lives next to you when he makes parole.

L.M. Hinerman

Air Force inflates success of missions

Congratulations on your article on the Kosovo bombing in the June 10 edition. Inflation of bomb damage assessment has been a way of life with the Air Force since World War II. It became commonplace in Korea and even more so in Vietnam.

The bridges over the Yalu River were "destroyed" many times, but the trains still crossed every night. The Air Force "killed" more trucks on the Ho Chi Minh trail that there were in the entire inventory of North Vietnam.

It seems the real cause of the exaggeration in the bomb damage reports lies with the top brass who require justification for their existence.

Aviation will always be a supporting arm, nothing more, and that goes for all services.

Kenneth S. Foley
Colonel, USMC Retired

Commission continues to target politician

Ethics Commission executive director Daniel Mollway (Letters, June 8) is at it again. He's spreading untruths in a continuing effort (he wrote to the Star-Bulletin last year and to the Wall Street Journal and Advertiser in the last few days) to assist the governor to try and discredit me. The statements made by Mollway are shamelessly false and he knows it. You can tell it is an election year.

Mollway alludes to what occurred in October 1998, prior to the election. It concerned the governor's purchase of a luxury lot on Waialae Iki for nearly $1 million. The governor previously disparaged district residents as old, wealthy and white. In fact, the age, racial and income demographics belie that. I issued a welcome in the form of a single press release to the governor who would be my constituent, thanking him for a change in heart about our beautiful and diverse area.

Mollway would have you believe I used my "official legislative stationery" and state resources for "political purposes" and lies when he says, "This is not disputed." Mollway knows I've disputed it continuously.

The governor publicly expressed anger about the release of information and I have been targeted ever since.

Days after the 1998 election, it is true, Common Cause's lobbyist with Mollway. But it is also true -- Mollway doesn't disclose -- the governor joined and added to the complaint, even blaming me for receipt of alleged hate mail about his purchase. Copies of all these materials were given by me more than a year ago to reporters from the Star-Bulletin, Advertiser and Associated Press, when Mollway refused to release the documents.

I was accused of using my office and materials to campaign and derive personal benefit. The press release was the only evidence. There never was any benefit or use of any public materials. I never used "official legislative stationery," my Capitol office, or any employee; I created a clearly marked press release in my Hawaii Kai business office, on my paper, with my computer and faxed it out myself. It was never published. Mollway doesn't tell you that either.

I wrote a detailed response, and voluntarily appeared before the commission in February 1999. I demanded a public ethics hearing, with the governor present under oath. Mollway refused. There never was a formal hearing. Months later, the commission issued an "advisory opinion" stating I might be in violation.

There were numerous specific allegations of unethical campaign violations during '98. The vast majority involved violations by the governor and his supporters -- openly campaigning at the Capitol and state buildings, before unionized employees during work hours, the use of state offices for fundraising, mobilization of campaign manpower, etc.

Surprisingly, Mollway never issued a single opinion relating to the governor's well documented violations. He said the law was "vague."

Samuel M. Slom
State Senate, 8th District
Minority Floor Leader

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