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Saturday, January 13, 2001

Judge Foley's record makes him a target

Why are people on Dan Foley's case? He and two other judges on the appeals court ruled that the Hawaii Paroling Authority could not set a minimum term equal to a maximum sentence (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 9).

Excuse me, but the whole concept of parole is carrot and stick. The carrot, release sooner than the maximum sentence, is to motivate the prisoner to effectively use the resources of the prison system to prepare for a law-abiding life upon release -- drug rehabilitation, pursuing further education, skills acquisition, etc.

The stick? Return to prison to serve out the rest of the term if the prisoner does not successfully regain law-abiding status.

For the parole board to set the maximum sentence as the minimum sentence -- that is, no parole -- is, in effect, to say, "We don't want to be a parole board." In this case, those people shouldn't be on the parole board in the first place. They should run for the Legislature and change the law.

But, of course, that isn't why those folks are on Foley's case, and they all know it. The criticism has nothing to do with parole and everything to do with several committed couples who wanted to be married but made love with the wrong body parts.

The word for Foley's critics is disingenuous. Look it up

The Rev. Mike Young
First Unitarian Church

Imagine a world without any biases

Wouldn't it be nice to live in a gender-blind, color-blind, sexual orientation-blind society?

It would be one in which people don't assume that when you're talking about a doctor, you're talking about a man; one where people don't assume that when you're talking about a man, you're talking about a Caucasian; one where people don't assume when you're talking about a lover, you're talking about someone of the opposite sex.

Damn, that'd be nice.

Jonathan R. Peterson

Special education requires trust

In his Jan. 6 View Point, John Mussack wrote about how the public education system makes life hard for special-education teachers. Although the overall quality of public education depends on effective school administrators, the crucial factor in the successful education of any child is the relationship between the student, and a caring and competent teacher.

Mussack may feel that special-ed students are getting a watered-down curriculum in his resource room, but this is not the case at my school. Our special-education teachers work very hard to provide high quality services to the students who require special education.

Their job is difficult enough without Mussack's suggestion that parents not have a trusting relationship with the school. I've participated in numerous successful IEP conferences (Individualized Education Programs) where there was no need for advocates or attorneys to threaten litigation.

I believe that students will get the best education possible when parents and teachers support one another.

Robert Mumper
4th Grade Teacher
Kahala Elementary School

Raising literacy rate will fix other problems

Your Jan. 6 Scripps Howard News Service story in the Insight section, "How illiteracy affects voting," quotes a distinguished educator. He cites statistics that 90 million adult Americans, almost half of eligible voters, are illiterate or functionally illiterate. He then makes a case for improved methods of voting to allow those voters to participate properly in the electoral process.

The latest U.S. Census figures indicate that 83 percent of adults over 18 have at least a high school degree and 94 percent (over 188 million) finished intermediate school. While we certainly need an enhanced, standardized voting system for national office, why did the professor not mention the need to dramatically increase literacy in the country?

How did so many people finish at least eight grades of school and remain functionally illiterate? The author inadvertently makes a stronger case for education reform than for voting reform.

With apologies to those dedicated teachers still out there who care more for their students than their benefits, perhaps the old saw, "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach," should be changed to, "Those who teach, can't."

Frank Genadio

President Clinton will not be missed

Never again will I have to watch Bill Clinton:

Bullet Walk down the steps of Air Force One while a proud Marine in full dress uniform crisply salutes him. The Marine fully comprehends duty, honor and country in a way that the man he is saluting never will.

Bullet On Veterans Day, place a wreath on the hallowed Tomb of the Unknown Soldier while he dramatically bites his lower lip in an effort to appear that he cares or even appreciates what this place is all about.

Bullet Wag his finger at each and every American on national television and lie to us.

Never again will I have to say Bill Clinton represents me, a proud citizen of the United States of America.

Never again will he and the Democratic Party be able to sell the historic Lincoln bedroom to the highest bidder, Communist China, felons and other disreputable characters.

Never again will I have to see a joint session of Congress rise to their feet in the Capitol when this deceitful, shameless person enters the chamber.

And finally, never again will I have to refer to Bill Clinton as president of the United States. May God bless America.

Johnny Jackson
Chairman, Reform Party of Hawaii
Kihei, Maui

Bush is beginning to destroy environment

President-elect Bush has made it quite clear that, under his leadership, a wildlife refuge won't be a refuge, and a national forest won't be a forest.

Rather than national leadership, what we are seeing is that old-fashioned pioneer spirit of, "Let's get the gold before anyone else does!"

Bush is taking over the richest nation in the world. The rich get richer by never using their resources when they can use someone else's resources.

Other forces are kept in check as long as the U.S. has oil and ore reserves, but after it exhausts those resources, it must pay the piper like everyone else.

Bush's pioneer philosophy clearly squanders our natural resources and brings that day of subjugation much nearer.

Rico Leffanta



"Change is good for everybody.
It wouldn't be good for one person to stay
in this job forever because the
industry needs fresh blood."

Georgette Deemer
Stepping down from her position after 15 years
and establishing a long record
of accomplishment


"It's mental flatness.
This team is so flat it's

Riley Wallace
After Thursday's 79-71 loss to Texas El-Paso in
the Rainbows' Western Athletic Conference home
opener at the Stan Sheriff Center. Tonight UH
meets defending conference champion Tulsa.

Keep up online with significant court-martial

Many people think the issue of Army Spc. Michael New has long since died, but it promises to be a defining issue with this incoming administration.

He was the first and only American soldier ever court-martialed for wanting to serve his own country, exclusively, and thereby refusing to serve as an involuntary mercenary under the United Nations military. His court-martial is still on appeal.

Keep up with this issue by going to the Web site at, where updates are regularly posted. If American soldiers can be forced to serve in any army other than the U.S., we have lost our national sovereignty.

Michael E. Lewis

Military should stop destroying Makua Valley

Your Jan. 8 editorial supporting continued live-fire military exercises in Makua Valley is nonsensical and injurious to the aina and contrary to the Leeward Coast's wishes.

Makua Valley is awesomely beautiful and rich in historical and anthropological sites and significance. Anyone who bothers to visit the valley is impressed by its majesty and serenity.

To have that beauty and peace crudely disturbed and destroyed by live-fire military exercises with heavy tanks transversing and tearing up the valley is an abomination.

It astounds me that your publication would cling to environmentally and culturally destructive values for the alleged sake of national security. Never mind that the community does not wish to have such exercises in the vicinity.

You accept wholesale the Army's argument is that these live-fire training exercises are key to maintaining the military's presence and mission in Hawaii and the Pacific. This is unfounded.

The military has a huge training site at Pohakuloa on the Big Island. It controls over 7 percent of all Hawaii lands, including a good chunk (over 20 percent) of Oahu -- namely, Lualualei (another valley messed up by militarization), Hickam, Wheeler, the immense Schofield Barracks, Kaneohe Marine Base, Pearl Harbor and Bellows Air Force Station, to name a few.

What "enemy" do we have that requires the military's use of so much land?

John Witeck

Grand juries function as kangaroo courts

Your Jan. 5 editorial on grand jury practices in Hawaii leads me to believe the writer has never actually witnessed or been the subject of a grand jury.

In an ideal world, the process described is fine: Evidence from both sides is presented to a panel of peers that determines if a crime has been committed and if the evidence presented by the prosecution warrants a charge.

Maybe in the big city -- where there are legal watchdogs, a vigilant press, etc. -- this would work. But in the country, especially on the neighbor islands, the process is too often perverted by the prosecutor into a virtual kangaroo court. The defendant is intimidated into pleading to lesser charges.

By empaneling a secret grand jury, presenting only the prosecution's case and not allowing questioning of witnesses, the prosecutor is assured of getting into the record only those allegations that he or she sees fit.

An indictment is returned based on those allegations, which are often beyond the actual offenses. This is referred to by lawyers as overcharging.

Then the defendant is threatened: Fight these charges in court even though you don't think they are accurate, and face getting sentenced for crimes you didn't commit, or plead to the crimes that the prosecutor actually thinks that you did commit.

This denies the accused a day in court to question testimony and evidence.

Underlying it all is an assumption by judges and prosecutors that if a charge is proferred, the accused is guilty and the most expedient and cheap way of sentencing is needed. There is no presumption of innocent until proven guilty, or the right to a fair trial in this system.

In fact, the accused is usually punished by more severe sentencing by the judge if he or she insists on his day in court.

Brad Cole

Raise bus fares for students gradually

I don't think that school bus fares should be doubled because then students will use the bus less (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 6). There will be more traffic, and this will also be burdensome to the parents who have to take their kids to school.

But I do agree with Board of Education member Winston Sakurai's suggestion to raise the fare 10 cents, because it's a reasonable amount.

The fares could be raised slowly -- like 10 cents this year, 10 cents next year, etc. -- as needed.

Josiah Burbage
Age 13

Start construction of Hawaiian burial mound

Start the year by honoring the Hawaiian community and proceeding with the construction of a burial mound/memorial for the remains of kupuna inadvertently disturbed while underground repairs were done in Waikiki.

The lineal descendants are an excellent inspiration for Hawaiians working together with governmental entities to make this project a reality. The major obstacle is time, because every day without action means our ancestors are unhappy and we are accountable.

We've all had time to address concerns and this is the solution agreed upon. Also we're fortunate to have had an opportunity to address concerns because the next time we might not be included.

We move with modern times, so not supporting this project suggests that the Mauna Ala (Royal Mausoleum) and the alii buried there are wrong. Our alii sought to help us and established entities serving the Hawaiian community today.

Therefore, organizations using our alii names against this proposal (especially if there are no members of Hawaiian ancestry) isn't pono.

This project is one that we and future generations can be proud of because it establishes cultural identity and precedence in Waikiki of the host people. We must take care of our ancestors. Adhere to this noble task.

Thomas T. Shirai Jr.

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