Thursday, May 10, 2001
Bravo to legislators who stood up to unionsBravo! Finally our state Legislature showed true guts and overcame the intimidation of the public workers' unions to approve labor reform. The state and county employees and their public employee unions should not be the prima donnas that they have become among the citizens of Hawaii.
Public employees of Hawaii are far from being paupers, and often are better off than many of the citizens they serve.
Gary Rodrigues of the United Public Workers displayed his usual threatening style when things didn't go his way. But come next election, he will discover the respect and admiration the legislators who voted for labor reform will have from the public. That was very evident in our last election when legislators who were opposed by the public employees' unions were elected by wide margins.
What's the big hurry for Waikiki Trolley?Recently, an elderly lady was killed by a Waikiki Trolley bus in a crosswalk in Waikiki. This was a tragic accident waiting to happen.
I have lived in Waikiki for the past 40 years and practically every day I walk a few blocks to the ocean for a swim.
A year or so ago the Waikiki Trolley appeared on the scene and believe me, it is quite a feat to walk to the beach and return home in one piece! Some of the drivers of the trolley seem to drive as if they are trying to catch the last plane to hell. They don't give pedestrians the common courtesies of the road.
What's the big hurry?
Robert M. Lowe
[Quotables]"She works so hard and she doesn't even get paid...Of course, the best thing about her not getting paid is, she can't get fired."
Owner of Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar, on his mother Sandy who, at age 70, works nightly in her son's restaurant greeting customers, serving food and counseling the staff members who all call her "Mom."
"It's like you've lost 100 pounds and now you're going to go out for the next dance."
Retail and real estate adviser, describing how Rick Ralston, founder of Crazy Shirts, must feel now that the Bank of Hawaii has taken back the Aiea Sugar Mill property where he had hoped to develop a factory and retail outlet. The deal allows Ralston to walk away from a $38 million loan.
Waddle's PR campaign damages the NavyI am a proud former submariner and while serving in the U.S. Navy came to know and admire Cmdr. Scott Waddle.
That is the reason it is troubling to see Waddle so ill-served by his counselors and mentors. I believe Waddle's actions during the past few weeks will cause real and lasting harm to the submarine force, the naval service and the military in general.
During training at the U.S. Naval Academy we learned three critically important, but distinct aspects of military leadership and accountability:
1) Accept responsibility for your own actions;By rejecting these principles Waddle along with his counselors and mentors may have made themselves look better, but injured our most fundamental planks of leadership and accountability.
2) The commanding officer is always accountable for the actions of his ship or unit; and
3) When you are in trouble face your punishment without a surplus of discussion.
By failing to point out that he rushed through his periscope search in recent national television interviews, Waddle has failed to accurately portray his own reckless actions that lead directly to the loss of life for nine innocent men and boys. Equally troubling is the fact that Waddle's presentation to the national press has been so smoothly packaged for media consumption.
We are not accustomed to seeing naval officers make the rounds of talk shows or use paid, professional photographers to document their agony. All of this seems to be a campaign to distance Waddle from the tragic events and to provide a rationale for his extraordinarily light punishment and for those who devised that light punishment.
In the end, we should not encourage military officers to launch slick, packaged media campaigns to gloss over their own culpability and provide excuses for those who are responsible for handing out their punishment. This course of action may benefit those involved in the case of Waddle, but the price will be the degradation of the fundamentals of military leadership and accountability.
Matthew C. Sandoval
New York, N.Y.
Abandoning ABM treaty is foolhardyYour May 6 editorial acknowledges the risks of proceeding with missile defenses but concludes that the United States should build a shield and reduce its nuclear arsenal. There are serious problems with this suggestion.
One is technical limitation. The hit-to-kill interceptors have done poorly in tests and could be defeated by available countermeasures. Other technologies (e.g. laser weapons) are even less developed. It seems foolish to abandon the ABM Treaty for a defense of such dubious effectiveness.
Another problem is that it is likely to make it even harder to reduce the nuclear arsenals of the United States and other powers. If America abandons the ABM Treaty, the START Treaty reductions of Russian and U.S. nuclear forces may stop and China may develop an even larger arsenal.
In 1997, a report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences proposes progressive constraints as nuclear arsenals are reduced and argues that the ABM Treaty is crucial to this goal. The transition to comprehensive nuclear disarmament could build upon these constraints. The report concludes that the potential benefits are so great that increased attention is warranted.
University of Hawaii
Hilton goes too far with latest towerWe have owned apartment No. 1240 on the lagoon side of the Ilikai Hotel since 1976. Since then the Hilton Hawaiian Village has built its Tapa Tower, the new tower that just went up and now it wants to cut off the last bit of our mountain air by building a new monster tower on Ala Moana Boulevard.
In addition, it apparently plans to move the bus stop from the other side of the Hilton Village to a point right below my lanai so I can breath bus carbon monoxide fumes all day!
The Hilton Hawaiian Village has always been a nice place, but this time I think it is going to hurt a lot of people. Maybe this letter can help Hilton executives think of something better!
Mr. and Mrs. Ron Faught
What's next? A pool with no water?Congratulations are in order to our Democrat-run Legislature. Who, but the progressive-thinking individuals who we voted for, would have the insight to build a library with no books? The people of Hawaii should be proud to know we have the very first library for illiterates -- the Kapolei Library.
Next legislative session I heard they will be building swimming pools with no water for those who can't swim.
Who finances protests of world trade groups?I have been reading about the organized reaction to the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and other financial and economic institutions. It is obvious that there is someone or some organization that is financing this resistance; it costs a lot of money to send and put up the protesters.
But none of the magazines or newspapers that I have read in the past year have identified who it is. It would be a real scoop if one of our local journalists would supply this information. I would also like to hear what other readers have to say about this subject.
Peter L. Nelson
Hawaii can benefit from ADB meetingAs a Honolulu resident of many years and businessman with many years experience in Asia, I can no longer sit back and see an emphasis on press coverage regarding the potential for disruptions during the Asian Development Bank meetings. Yes, possible demonstrations should receive the appropriate attention from the ADB and law enforcement officials, but there has been minimal focus on the very positive aspect of these meetings being held in Honolulu.
This is quite an accomplishment and unprecedented. Aside from the short-term economic benefit of a very upscale group of visitors in Honolulu, these meetings highlight the potential role for Hawaii in the Asian community. The economic well-being of Hawaii will always benefit from our neighbors throughout this vast area of the world. It is time for the press to highlight this positive aspect of this week's meetings, rather than the seemingly endless emphasis on the negative.
ADB projects displace poor and enrich the wealthyTo those who wonder why the Asian Development Bank's plans elicit such vigorous opposition, I direct several questions:
If the bankers' programs are so benign, why do they adamantly refuse to discuss them publicly? Why don't they join in open debate? Why do they meet in secret and decline to respond to many serious and well-informed criticisms? Why do hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens from Thailand to Quebec risk their livelihoods and even their health and lives in protest? Why is U.S. labor virtually 100 percent opposed?
It doesn't take an Einstein to understand that if you build a multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam to make a huge profit for a handful of wealthy, mostly foreign investors, force thousands of farmers, small landholders and fishermen to the cities where they starve or work for a pittance selling trinkets to tourists, you should anticipate some resistance.
Not to worry, the bank owns the military, the police and the politicians. It is assured a giant profit when its benevolent loans are repaid out of taxes, and that is what it is all about. The bank is a bank. It is not a philanthropic agency; it exists solely for the bottom line.
Dr. Willis Butler
ADB perpetuates corporate imperialism"Globalization" or corporate imperialism peaks this week in Hawaii with the arrival of the Asian Development Bank. The controversy surrounding the bank's policies is why thousands of residents are taking to the streets.
This is obviously no ordinary event. Taxpayers are not usually asked to contribute millions of dollars to help create a police state. The sheer number of protesters from diverse backgrounds and the many anti-ADB events happening are signs something is very wrong. Hawaii residents should scrutinize the purported benefits such conglomerates offer to avoid future protests.
The ADB acknowledges that more than 40 percent of its projects fail to meet their objectives. Its closed-door decision-making process does not include the people who are most affected by these projects. Thus, its mission of "poverty reduction" primarily benefits the very rich and local elites. This is the same way the World Bank, World Trade Organization and NAFTA operate. Developing nations end up in debt and further impoverished, indigenous communities and cultures are displaced or destroyed, and deforestation and global warming through the will to keep developing and developing affects everyone.
There are alternatives to this nonsense, but we must first stop and think about what we are supporting here.
Matsunaga Institute for Peace
Asian Development Bank
The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.
Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813