to the Editor

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Friday, July 6, 2001

Pay now instead of later for campaigns

Your June 24 article disclosing the large amount of political contributions by contractors to the city and the urging of a ban on such contributions is a necessary one. However, since contractors and consultants provide the largest amount of money to all candidates, it isn't likely that such a ban will be adopted by our lawmakers.

Until there is total public financing of campaigns with limits on spending, special-interest money will continue to find a way to flow into the hands of candidates for public office. Even that is only a beginning because public financing must be voluntary to be constitutionally legal.

Until the public/voter adopts a suspicious mindset toward any candidate who does NOT accept public money, we will continue to have the corrupting influence of special-interest money (or the appearance of it) in our political system.

It may seem very expensive to use our tax monies to fund political campaigns, but believe me, we pay for not doing it anyway. When contractors and other special-interest contributors add the cost of their contributions to the commodities or services we buy or the construction costs on contracts awarded, we pay even more. Better we should pay up front and contracts or services be awarded on merit.

Grace Furukawa


"Anything I could do to maximize as much sun as I could get. It becomes almost like an addiction."

Raymond Longo,
Former lifeguard and sun worshiper, who now guards his skin against the sun after having a cancerous spot removed from his shoulder.

"I'll never rest in my grave unless every word is perfect -- which isn't always good."

Muriel Flanders,
92-year-old composer, on the 15 songs that appear on her album, "The Music of Muriel Flanders." Most of the songs are tied to the history of Flanders' family. She is the daughter of Alice Kamokila Campbell and the granddaughter of James Campbell.

Damien men learn never to quit

For the past three weeks, I've listened and read about the controversy that surrounds the Damien Memorial High School forfeiture issue. And I've been very reluctant to say anything publicly because of my past ties with Damien.

I was a teacher there for 15 years. I also coached track and basketball there for more than 15 years, and I was inspired to become a teacher by the first lay faculty member of Damien High School, Jack O'Brien.

I have utmost respect for the founding brothers, whose leadership provided the foundation for the morals and principles that established what a Damien student is:"A man who will strive to overcome any type of adversity in life." The school motto, "Viriliter Age" means "act manfully" not to act as a quitter when times get tough.

There are two reasons why I decided to write this letter. First, I just got through watching the video, "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson. The movie emphasizes how early Americans, facing what seemed like insurmountable odds, would not give up. No matter how big and strong the opposition, our country was founded by men who stood together and did not quit in the face of a "sure defeat."

The second reason I am writing is because of my two sons and five nephews, who are all Damien graduates, and all the students I taught or coached.

Men, remember in life we will all face adversities that seem to be bigger and stronger than we are, but we will always have our self-respect, our dignity and our pride. Our reputation when we were at Damien was, we never ever gave up.

Glenn M. Martin

Retreat is sometimes the best policy

I support Father Gregory O'Donnell's decision to forfeit Damien's games with St. Louis High School. Sometimes quitting is the right thing to do when faced with a formidable foe. The controversy inspired me, with a Titan resolve, to quit teaching for the Department of Education. When the monster is too big, the best strategy is to run like hell.

Mary Barnes

Illness doesn't absolve mother's guilt

Regarding the June 26 Star-Bulletin story, "Father whose wife killed their five kids in Aiea in 1965 urges compassion" for Andrea Yates, the Houston who confessed to drowning her five children:

That's an interesting perception. Why don't we empathize equally with the tragic story of Susan Smith and her crime of drowning her two children in her car? Though her scheme may seem diabolical in contrast to this case; the truth still remains.

Like Susan Smith and the Aiea mother, Maggie Young, Yates murdered her children. Of course, we can assign responsibility to various factors, such as her relationships, exposures or prior life choices.

But that doesn't change the truth of the issue. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with her more than anyone else. She had a moral obligation to maintain her own mental and sociological health and behavior.

Additionally, Yates' decision to kill her children was very selfish and self-centered, not to mention abominable.

Please don't misunderstand me, I do sympathize with those suffering with mental illness. My concern is that we maintain this issue's truth.

Andrew Valentine

Sign laws shouldn't be changed for churches

A Christian church's cross is just as much a "sign" as was the painting of a wave on the side of the nightclub named "The Wave" in Waikiki. It is purely an advertisement that there is a Christian church there. It's not just a symbol.

To change the laws to accommodate them is another case of government supporting and promoting Christianity. To allow such signs only on property of a minimum size is discrimination. There are many religious groups too small to afford their own building and meet in homes.

Churches should be forced to follow the same laws that the rest of us have to.

Gordon Banner

Learning Hawaiian has its benefits

Toshio Chinen writes (Star-Bulletin Letters, June 28) that students who have aspirations for professional careers should concentrate their efforts in acquiring a language other than Hawaiian.

I suppose the same could be said about those who speak most of the 6,800 languages remaining in the world around us. And it was certainly true for those who spoke the thousands of languages that have already disappeared -- taking the important culture of entire peoples with them.

But the requirements are the same for college majors and advanced degrees whether your first language is English or Hawaiian, Japanese, Filipino or Spanish.

The youngsters who are growing up with both Hawaiian and English as their first languages are certainly better prepared and equipped to learn a third or even fourth language, than are the children who are denied the opportunity to learn Hawaiian, or other languages of limited use.

Carmen S. Haugen


Letter guidelines

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.

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