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Wednesday, December 20, 2000


Akaka bill wasn't worthy of being passed

It is fortunate for Hawaii that the Akaka bill failed. It would have given federal support to racial discrimination.

It had the same fatal constitutional flaw that the U.S. Supreme Court detected in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs discriminatory voting laws: a racial definition of "Hawaiians" used to create an exclusive voting roll and disenfranchise most of Hawaii's citizens.

Congress could not have avoided the unfairness of that scheme by manufacturing a Hawaiian imitation of an Indian tribe. But Hawaiians never were organized as tribes, so there is no tribe that can be recognized or revived.

Rather, ever since Kamehameha I, Hawaii has had a long tradition of including as citizens people who came here from all over the world and who have been born on the aina.

Patrick W. Hanifin


"Look at Tia Carrere, Jason Scott Lee, Kelly Preston and Kelly Hu. They've all been so good for Hawaii and I'm not going to be the one to bring it down."
Kona Carmack
Naming other celebrities with Hawaii roots and saying that she hopes to become a respected entertainer like them

"It's unbelievable, the arrogance of these people. What kind of slam is that?"
Jack Brunton
Decrying the Hawaii County Police Commission for ignoring Mayor Harry Kim's plea for openness in the process of picking a new police chief when it held a closed meeting to consider his remarks

Gambling can supply much-needed revenue

The citizens of this state must seriously look at gaming as a means of taking care some of its fiscal problems.

Soft-core gambling such as the lottery, shipboard gambling, horseracing, bingo and video game halls should be legalized to pay for teacher raises, education per se and other social programs that have been cut off due to lack of funding by the state. Monies from gaming can be earmarked for specific areas of need.

There is talk of raising taxes to fund pay raises for teachers and other public-sector employees. The upcoming Legislature should have the gumption to pass some gaming laws or, at the very least, allow a referendum vote and let the people decide: gaming vs. raising taxes.

We ALL know how the people will vote.

Steven T.K. Burke
Pearl City

Other cities have fallen prey to gambling

In his Dec. 16 Other Views column, House Speaker Calvin Say claims that, while he does not favor gambling, there is no other way to finance long-term care.

Gambling will not solve anything! I returned to Honolulu from Reno to escape the dysfunctional lifestyle of a gambling center. Addicts of all sorts migrate to such places.

Drug money was laundered in casinos. Illegal gambling took place around the legal casinos. Illegal prostitutes operated in Reno and Las Vegas after they got kicked out of the legal brothels. Nevada ranks near the top in U.S. suicides rates.

I grew up in Cicero, Ill., Al Capone's stomping grounds. I escaped that environment and moved to Hawaii for the first time right after college. I admired Democratic leaders who fought legalized gambling in Hawaii in the early 1970s.

When I visited Wisconsin Dells, I asked where the Indian ceremonial dancers were now located. They no longer present cultural dances in public, I was told. They now work at their casinos.

When I visited Poulsbo, Wash., the Indian casino was a really tacky affair. White women were learning to line dance to the tune of "Running Bear Loved Little White Dove."

When I visited Florida, the operator of a gas station mini-mart was busy selling lottery tickets. He hated selling the tickets when he knew the buyers, because he thought they should be buying food for themselves and their kids with their limited funds.

When I visited Chicago, people told me about gambling on "boats" that were dry-docked next to shallow spots on rivers.

After such trips, I return home to Honolulu and pray that we do not legalize any form of gambling.

John P. Karbens

Hawaii must not become another Florida

As I have told many friends who are about to become involved in a legal case, law is what a particular judge in a particular court on a particular day decides it is. It may or may not have anything to do with justice.

Al Gore won the popular vote in the country overall. Time will prove that he also won the popular vote in Florida.

For me, Gore won Florida when Pat Buchanan agreed that his 3,500 votes in Palm Beach County had been votes for Gore, not for him. Misprinting of some of the butterfly ballots caused that to happen, not Jewish senility or African-American stupidity, as the Bush people told us.

I am disgusted that the president was picked by a one-vote margin on a partisan U.S. Supreme Court. I visualize that one vote as Clarence Thomas, that great legal mind.

Let's get automatic recount for 1 percent differences in Hawaii. Let's all volunteer as poll watchers and counting observers. Let's get everyone registered and make sure we get 80 percent turnouts from now on.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Florida shows what happens when we stop being vigilant.

Sally Raisbeck
Wailuku, Maui

Uninformed voters are dangerous to society

In his Dec. 15 letter, Al Miyahara writes that electoral reform is needed although he obviously did not vote in the last election.

The sad truth is that while qualified and informed citizens shirk their constitutional duties, semi-literate people who form their opinions from TV "talking heads" and late-night comedians are herded to the polls by those who place political power before principles.

Electoral reform must start with an informed electorate.

Frank Genadio

Federal workers can be disgruntled, too

Recently upon visiting the Prince Kuhio Federal Building in downtown Honolulu, I could not believe my eyes.

Visitors must go through metal detection, similar to the airport securities. I graciously walked through the metal detection, but to my dismay I saw three men enter the building without going through security.

I asked the security guard what that was all about? He replied, "they're employees". I said, 'You mean to tell me all employees of the federal building are good citizens and don't carry weapons, therefore are exempt from security?"

The security only laughed at me. I asked him if he'd ever heard of violence in the work place? He told me I had a good point.

With recent workplace violence at the Sheraton Waikiki and Xerox building on Nimitz Highway, I feel it's time our federal government realized that it's usually not members of the public who are disgruntled but the workers themselves.

Remember the postal workers? Remember Xerox? Remember the Sheraton? Please remember to write your congressmen.

Jim Rosen

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