Friday, December 22, 2000
Big Island police chief being picked in secrecyThank you for your excellent coverage of the meeting of the Hawaii County Police Commission to commence the selection of a new police chief (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 18-19). It would appear the members of the commission are once again not listening to the public, and also to our new mayor, Harry Kim.
Having given evidence before this group, it appeared to me that their minds are made up so that anyone testifying was wasting time. The last public meeting on the subject of the new chief was scheduled in Kona for 10 a.m. on a Friday. Naturally, the commission would take the few people in attendance as a message that the Kona public has little interest in the matter.
Quite the reverse. The Kona community is very interested in who will become the next police chief. Therefore, such a meeting should be scheduled for the evening, when more people can attend.
Alan J. Pratt
"If we can run it like a corporation...the process will be a lot more efficient."Oswald Stender
NEWLY INSTALLED OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS TRUSTEE
Saying OHA would be better off if it were run as a private business and not like a political entity
"You cannot challenge the ocean. If you're not experienced, don't even try it."Kalani Baino
33-YEAR-OLD EWA BEACH RESIDENT
Respectful of the treacherous high surf on the North Shore
Rulings breed racial animosityIn his Dec. 20 letter, Patrick Hanifin claims that it's a good thing the Akaka bill was not passed. Being one-half Hawaiian, I think it was very sad. Although I'm against total sovereignty, I fully support the programs that benefit "native" Hawaiians. The Akaka bill would've provided the much-needed "federal recognition" so rightly deserved.
Freddy Rice's victory regarding the Office of Hawaiian Affairs caused more animosity between Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians than unity.
Talk to people in Waimea on the Big Island and see if that issue didn't cause a division. I'm sure it won't stop there. Mililani Trask would've been re-elected if only Hawaiians could've voted in OHA. Non-Hawaiians call her extreme, radical, but she speaks the truth and that's hard for many to take.
How much longer before Kamehameha Schools is forced to admit non-Hawaiian children? How about Hawaiian Home Lands, started by Prince Kuhio?
For the most part, Hawaii is a melting pot. We may have our differences between ethnicities but we're able to co-exist. However, if non-Hawaiians continue to challenge Hawaiian causes, there will be increased hostility and animosity. Aloha from kanaka maoli will be in short supply.
More discussion needed on death and dyingGovernor Cayetano's Blue Ribbon Panel on Living and Dying has stirred up much controversy due to its recommendation of legalizing physician-assisted suicide (euthanasia). However, one must realize the legalization of euthanasia is a small part of the bigger package for end-of-life care.
A major key is educating the public and the medical field. The public needs to become familiar with the role of living wills and hospices; the medical field needs to be more educated on end-of-life care and pain control.
With a living will, one can state a preference in care (such as refusing treatment) in the instance that one becomes incapacitated.
Hospices are for those who have six months or less to live and have refused further treatment. Being in a hospice program enables one to die comfortably either at home or at the hospital.
To ensure one's death is comfortable for both patient and family, pain medications are administered to the patient and counseling is offered to the family.
Hence, before considering euthanasia, Cayetano's panel wants the public to be educated on all options. With the proposals of the panel implemented, Hawaii residents will receive better end-of-life care and won't have to worry about abuse of euthanasia, which will be a last resort measure, voluntary and, most important, an option.
Hope of commutation motivates prisonersThank you for your Nov. 21 and 22 articles on commutation. As prisoners sentenced to life without parole, we believe it is important to make known certain legal and personal matters regarding our punishment.
Each of us is doing our best to be model prisoners. We have remained gainfully employed throughout more than 20 years of incarceration. Our misconduct history while in prison is either minimal or nonexistent.
We have participated in a wide variety of prison programming over the course of years, including drug treatment, anger and stress management, Bible studies and "Scared Straight." We have been referred to by more than one administrator as the best behaved prisoners in the bunch.
We mention these things to point out that doing well in prison is the only real way to demonstrate our hope that we may, one day, be allowed to become members of society. It is this hope that keeps each of us going after all of this time.
In other words, the possibility of commutation has helped us maintain a sense of self-worth, which in turn has enabled us to give our best efforts in whatever task is given us.
Mika "Chief" Fiatau
Florence Correctional Center
Mahalo for accurate figures on budgetThank you for providing believable figures regarding the governor's proposed budget, in contrast to a story in the morning paper, which began its front-page story by claiming the $900 million would be spent on the Felix Consent Decree. This is an exaggeration.
The public should be aware that of these millions supposedly going to children with mental-health needs, most of it is used to fund other programs. The state legislative auditor previously dissected the Felix expenditure claims of the Department of Education, illustrating these inaccuracies.
The real story lies in the fact that the governor is proposing putting the state into yet another billion dollars in debt, on top of the billion dollars in bonds approved two years ago. The debt service on these amounts prevent liquidity and pay raises, not the so-called social welfare programs he proposes.
Gambling profits will shrink education budgetAs the battle lines are being drawn again to bring gambling to our shores we must reflect to our past and ask the question: Is our government trustworthy enough to manage that industry?
In the mid-'80s California started a lottery with education being the beneficiary. Hundreds of millions dollars were generated in the first year.
By the second year California reduced its education budget by hundreds of millions of dollars. Our elected and appointed officials would do the same in a heartbeat. The Department of Education would go back to begging. Gambling is not the answer; better management of our resources is.
Lanai City, Lanai
Massive recount looms in future without changesIf we learned nothing else from the history of the 20th century, it is that every legal precedent opens many more doors than the parties intended.
I hope Congress will have the wisdom to make changes in our voting laws for national elections before 2004. If changes are not enacted, we face the possibility of recounting 100 million ballots by hand, when 50 state elections are challenged.
Before being faced with the specter of such a monumental task, Congress should pass laws to standardize balloting procedures for presidential elections. Such procedures should take advantage of the technology most universally accepted for its reliability and ease of use.
If at all possible, it should also be a dual-technology system -- one that can be recounted mechanically and by photoscopic and/or electronic means, to verify tabulation.
If such a standardized system had been used this year, Al Gore would have been declared president-elect, and there would have been no need for the endless legal wrangling that ensued.
Presidential election process should be standardizedThis election saw the highest voter turnout ever. I heard political discussion and debate everywhere I went. It was democracy in action.
Democracy is still in action. The U.S. Supreme Court has given this new Congress and administration an opportunity to improve our democratic process.
The Electoral College could be reassessed. Can this structure better reflect the popular vote, if it is needed at all?
This country must have national standards to ensure that each citizen's vote is counted. Uniform national ballots, voting machines and procedures may be necessary to ensure credibility.
As a voter, I am waiting to see Congress take action. I did not vote as a token. Just as my taxes are collected, I want my voice heard.
Mary A. Guinger
Bush will never be legitimate presidentWe, the people of the United States, do not pledge allegiance to any president or other executive. Our pledge is to "the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
The Nazis pledged to Hitler; the Fascists to Franco and Mussolini; the Communists to Stalin. We never pledged allegiance to Reagan, Bush or Clinton, and we must not be maneuvered into pledging allegiance to George W. Bush or the few misguided justices on the U.S. Supreme Court who made him president.
This is not the Republic of the Global Corporations and their agents. This is still our republic, for as long as we can keep it.
Helen B. Ryan
Election wasn't such a good civics lessonThere has been much news time devoted to how great the current presidential election was in providing a civics lesson to students.
One has to wonder if it's really great or is it being portrayed according to the partisanship of the teacher. The process can't be considered too great if the situation was relayed to the students as the proper way to resolve the issue.
I ask if anyone understands what the "rule of law" or "judicial temperament" means. You cannot use common sense or the dictionary to assist you in this matter. It appears to me that only an attorney or judge knows what the foregoing terms mean, and the meaning changes to satisfy the situation.
We are doing an injustice to the students unless they understand that the person elected, regardless of outcome, was not chosen by the voters or the courts. The person got into office based on political partisanship -- the ruling party's candidate holds the power and exerts that power on politically appointed courts.
Of course, the whole thing can be ignored and left as status quo, and we can continue to let our young people accept hypocrisy and propaganda as a solution to real life problems.
It's no use trying to unite the countryEfforts to unite the country are unnecessary; let it be divided. Then perhaps the country will remember the stolen election, and a falsely elected president. The past election goes to show that this country isn't about democracy at all.
Missing votes, voter intimidation, judicial bias -- all amount to the fact that this country has lost the ideals it once stood for. In the Declaration of Independence it was stated that when a government abuses the power granted to it by the people, that it is one's duty to throw off such a government.
This election has shown what this country really stands for. Perhaps the time to throw off the yoke of oppressive government is now.
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