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Sunday, September 2, 2001

Police 'Foodgate' rages

Chief Donohue should resign

I believe police union official Alex Garcia should be applauded for calling for the resignation of the chief of police and members of his administrative staff involved in "foodgate." As a retired Honolulu police officer and former chairman of the Oahu Chapter of SHOPO, I support Garcia for these reasons:

HPD is a paramilitary organization. As such, general orders and the sanctity of command is the essence of order and discipline. HPD has general orders regarding the consumption of food and the appearance of improprieties. When one is the chief (or his hand-picked assistant and deputy chiefs), you must be the champion of these general orders and the enforcer of the code of conduct.

There is nothing so sad as to hear a former police chief say that it would be "rude" to ask a "host" where the food comes from. Let us examine that statement. The food was not the sharing of a bag of chips, it was a "buffet breakfast" set out at the Honolulu Police Department. Since when is it permitted to have a subordinate throw a food bash for the higher ups? It would be expected of a chief to ask where the food is coming from. If the people entrusted with the enforcement of our laws cannot police themselves, then who will? And what kind of job are they doing for the rest of us?

Garcia knows that for HPD to maintain its reputation, it must start with the top. The departments motto of "fairness respect and integrity" should apply to all, from the officer on the beat to the chief of police.

John F. Souza III
Former Chairman Oahu Board of Directors

High-ranking officers deserve scrutiny

In the past 15 months, top administrators in three out of the four municipal police departments in Hawaii have come under serious fire for incompetence, corruption, or both.

Is it any wonder so many citizens in this state lack confidence in their first line of defense against crime, their local police? This lack of professionalism coupled with the flagrant abuse of political power it reflects is screaming for intervention.

But who will step forward? The counties are unable to deal with this epidemic. No one at the state level has the courage to step in, and the feds are afraid to step on state toes. So we, the public, not only foot the bill but also suffer the other consequences of this flagrant abuse by public servants.

Could it be time for law enforcement in Hawaii to embrace professionalism and to be divorced from corruption and politics? Could it be time to eliminate or substantially modify amateur and frequently uninformed police commissions, sometimes staffed by nothing more than political hacks? Could it be time for a complete overhaul of county governments in Hawaii?

Or would we all prefer to stifle our social and economic growth by continuing to embrace provincial politics and policies, and third-rate public administrators? If local law enforcement in Hawaii is not the laughing stock of the nation yet, it will be.

But nothing will ever happen here unless we, the citizens -- as well as our honest, hard-working, rank-and-file police officers -- demand it. I suggest we do just that.

Jack Brunton
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Police are worthy of special treatment

At last there is someone working for the county spending money wisely. The police deserve to eat better than the prisoners. They deserve it for all the stress they endure. Sure there's that question of integrity, but these men did not steal the money. They just appropriated it to people that truly deserve it.

Police union leader Alex Garcia needs to get a grip on reality. A reprimand to these men would suffice. Some may disagree, but if your people were on the line facing the crazies out there, you would want to do everything you could to reward them for their courage and valor. What better way to do it than with the prisoners' monies? I doubt any prisoner went hungry because of this, so Mr. Garcia, please stop your witch hunt.

If I were mayor, I'd take this as a cue to always have something special at the police receiving desk for them to munch on to show how much he as mayor and we as the taxpayers appreciate these men in blue. I am not a fan of the police. I'm just a local boy who knows the real difference between right and wrong.

Peter Gomez

Bulletin being put to good use in Waianae

My cousin, who teaches English at Waianae High School, read two of my "Goddess Speaks" columns from the Star-Bulletin to her classes as examples of a "memoir." ("Many Travels, Many Memories," and "Walter legend fares better than reality").

Although she read them "as is" without editing, she introduced new vocabulary first. She said, "They ate it up and the stories were a hit." I was surprised her students could identify with the adult themes in my columns. Well, now, they know what a memoir is.

Glenda Chung Hinchey

Redistricting plan violates Constitution

The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission, which consists of nine people on Oahu, has grossly violated the state Constitution. Article IV spells out the rules for redistricting, and they have gone out of their way to do what it tells them not to do. It specifies that there will be no districts split between islands except island groups and it enumerates the island groups.

They have violated this rule by combining an area on the Big Island with an area on Maui and an area on Kauai with one on Oahu.

The Constitution says that only permanent residents will be counted as the voter base, and they have counted military families stationed on Oahu and elsewhere. Most of them are on Oahu and military families vote in their home states by absentee ballot.

There is an internet site at: It spells out the rules for the process of redistricting. Viewing the site require that you use a program called "Acrobat Reader" which is a free program and can be downloaded from Please come to the public meeting in September on your island and bring everyone with you.

Don Tinker
Keaau, Hawaii

GOP missing chance to make political hay

Ben Cayetano's attitude about the teacher bonus issue ("Cayetano returns fire over teachers bonus," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 25) shows what kind of leader Hawaii's Democrats have.

I find it interesting, however, that Hawaii's Republican officials are not jumping on opportunity to push their agenda. With both Cayetano and HSTA still at odds, why isn't anyone from the Republican Party stepping in to show the public that there could, should and must be better leaders in our state?

Elections are coming up in the next year. If the GOP has any hopes of retaining its 19 seats and gaining more, it need to step up to the plate now, not next month, or next year.

Maikolo Meli


"I've seen people who are experienced panic."
Harry Kim,
Big Island mayor and former civil defense chief, on the dangers of walking on unstable lava rock. A fresh lava flow forced Kim close a new gravel road that had made it easier for sight-seers to get a safe look at lava flowing into the sea.

"It's unique to Americans that they continue to increase their working hours while hours are declining in other industrialized nations."

Lawrence Jeff Johnson,
Economist for the International Labor Organization, who oversaw a report that shows Americans added nearly a full week to their "normal" work schedules during the 1990s, giving them a substantial lead over Japan and all other developed nations in hours worked per year.

High-performance panic over racing

Street racing laws will come too late

Why does someone have to die before the city and the police department do something. This street racing is not something new.

Most of the cars involved in this type of activity have been highly modified, but most do not carry the required sticker that labels them as reconstructed.

This call for more laws is just another too-much-too-late reaction from the police.

Daniel Strasser

Racers' parents also to blame

Confiscating cars exceeding 99 mph is not the solution to racing on our highways. Teenagers are not the only ones responsible. The parents of these teens are just as guilty.

Who are these parents who supply these fancy, souped-up cars? They should also be responsible for their children's carelessness.

Mason T. Takeshita

Traffic police should match racing times

Almost every night, I drive to work on the H-1 from Pearlridge to Waikiki during the graveyard hours. That's when the road racers hit the roadways, highways and freeways.

There have been many times when I've seen in my rear view mirror the headlights of two Hondas racing each other and speeding toward my vehicle.

The police department's traffic enforcement units should be in force during these hours because that's when these racers hit the road.

Arsenio Pelayo

Immature drivers deserve punishment

After the shameful number of traffic fatalities due to street racing, it is ridiculous for Governor Cayetano to deem the recent proposals to confiscate cars and implement curfews as too severe.

Driving an automobile is a very serious responsibility. If these little boys and little girls choose to treat driving like a game, society should treat them likewise: take away their toys and send them to bed early.

Emi Chang

A weekend of highway patrol is not enough

It is just not enough to have one weekend of patrolling the highways in pursuit of speeders and racers. The police department should have a highway patrol force like those in other states.

Each day I travel to and from Kailua to downtown and see drivers exceeding the 45 mph speed limit, sometimes up to 65 mph. This is especially dangerous when that speeding car passes other cars on the right lane.

We need to have a more permanent solution to speeding and racing problems by having a permanent police force patrolling the highways.

Lloyd P. Ignacio

Get tough on racers to protect family

In response to the idea of confiscating cars from racers: I know for a fact that Oregon and many other states confiscate cars from men (or women) who solicit sex from prostitutes on the street. Many other states confiscate cars from drug deals.

And these are non-threatening-to-life situations. What we have here is for sure a life-threatening situation. If we can do it for sex and drugs, why can't we do it for homicide? And why let them go? Why be nice? Attempted murder is just that -- not a teenage fancy, not an adolescent blow-off, but murder. Prosecute 'em, sentence 'em, take their cars and throw 'em in jail if that is the only way to stop the murder of innocent people.

When I was a kid in Honolulu we raced on empty streets in industrial areas or at Campbell Raceway. The current crop of motor-heads just doesn't get it: Stay off our public right-of-ways. There are mothers, children and families out there. It could be your aunties, cousins or friends whom you kill; and if not yours, then mine.

The police are our unsung heroes. Give them a hand and report racers on public highways. Use your cell phone. And for you kids out there: Life is long, and the consequences of your actions will persist long after you think you are free of adult supervision.

Mike Maddux

Street racers don't care about others

As I listen to news broadcasts and read articles about the tragic accident on the H-1, I can only think about the numerous times I have seen cars and trucks racing past me and my children as I drive along. I always look in my rear view mirror as I drive to see if there are any "speed racers" coming. I always pray that I and the numerous other innocent drivers will not get in their way.

Just two weeks ago, I encountered several cars involved in a street race on the freeway. I pulled the phone from my bag and was ready to call the police when I realized that they were going so fast that I couldn't even read their license plates.

There are many drivers racing on the public roads. They don't care about safely. Their main concern is that the other car will not show them up.

I hope that even after the weekend tragedy stops making headlines, people will not forget that street racers will still be endangering the lives of countless other people who don't deserve to get hurt, maimed or die for the thrill of those who don't care about anything except feeding their egos.

Petra Ozoa

Continuing trouble in Middle East

Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unjust

The Rev. Vaughn Beckman should be applauded for his courageous letter (Star Bulletin, Aug. 30) asking our government to help contain bloodshed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Aside from the issue of equity and justice, most Americans seem to ignore the fact that the conflict is being played out on a very uneven playing field. On one side, we have Israel with a powerful, high-tech military, built primarily with the help of the United States, and on the other, the Palestinians with nothing but small arms and homemade bombs.

We also forget that this situation also existed in the 1940s when Israel was the David fighting the Goliath that was Great Britain, which was opposed to an independent Israeli state. Future leaders of Israel like Menachem Begin were branded terrorists because they, lacking an army and modern arms, were setting off bombs.

It is an irony of history that revolutionaries, before they succeed, are called terrorists, but become statesmen if they succeed.

Raymond L. Chuan
Hanalei, Hawaii

Palestinians unfairly blamed for hostilities

Jeff Jacoby's rather one-sided column in the Aug. 26 Insight section deserves rebuttal. To lay the blame for the Palestinian troubles solely at the door of Arab polemicists is either naive or self-serving.

I wonder if Jacoby has ever considered just what he would do if he were a Palestinian trapped in Gaza or the West Bank? Cheerfully play Helot to the Israeli Sartans while they slowly steal your country via "settlements?" Emigrate to where? Fight? How? With what?

Granted that Arafat is a toad. But he was put in place by Israel and the Clinton administration on the promise that he would imprison, arbitrarily, any Palestinian deemed to be a danger to either Israel or the Palestinian Authority.

Well, the jailees are out and there is hell to pay. Whatever else may be said of suicide bombers, they are certainly not cowards. Their actions give a new twist to the motto, "Give me liberty or give me death."

The United States should resist the pressure to get involved again until the Sharon administration goes away. The real problem is and remains the settlements, the obvious objective of which is to make all Palestine Jewish.

W.B. Thompson

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