Wednesday, October 10, 2001
Aunty Irmgard was 'one beautiful wahine'On Oct. 4, Hawaii lost Aunty Irmgard Aluli. She was the essence of what it meant to be Hawaiian. She wrote music, she sang music and she explained music, but more than that, she defined the word aloha.
In all the years we knew her, she never failed to give her time to everyone. One afternoon a few years ago while sitting in Irmgard's living room, there had to be 10 phone calls in the hour we were there. She spoke to each caller as if they were the only person in the world. Someone called from a grade school she had attended. Someone else called about teaching uke at Kamehameha. Another person dropped by to give her some flowers, another to bring her fresh fruit. Each person was afforded Irmgard's total absorbing love and attention.
She was loved. I never heard anyone say an unkind word about her.
We can listen to her music anytime. I cannot bear the thought that we will never see her smile or hear her laugh again. She was one beautiful wahine.
Right now she is probably driving her car down some heavenly mountain. She will pull off the road and write yet another song. We will have to wait to hear this one.
Arnold Van Fossen
Waddle got off easy for Ehime Maru sinkingIn response to Suzanne Dykeman's letter on Scott Waddle (Oct. 4): The deaths of those Japanese sailors was not an accident. An accident is caused by an unavoidable failure or breakage of equipment.
What happened to the Ehime Maru's crew was completely avoidable and was caused by gross incompetence, negligence, irresponsibility and grandstanding by the sonarman and Waddle. That was proven at the trial. They are guilty of nine counts of negligent homicide and should be punished as such.
Yet our military and government people treated it like it was a fender-bender.
The only punishment was a letter of reprimand for Waddle that no one will ever read. He retired with full pension and surely will land a six-figure job in the civilian world. His attorney even thought he should be rewarded with a book deal. They both should be doing some serious prison time.
To accept responsibility without punishment is meaningless. Where is the deterrence for other captains? Other high-ranking people should have been punished for their failure to warn surface ships out of an area where they knew a dangerous exercise was taking place. Some people wrote letters with an attitude that we should feel more sorry for him than for the victims and their families.
"The only turf we should be worried about protecting is the turf we stand on." Tom Ridge
Director of the new federal Office of Homeland Security, saying federal, state and local agencies must put aside past rivalries over funding and jurisdiction in order to protect the country against further terrorism.
"You feel flattened, like someone dropped a safe on you. It's a mental thing. Even a thought is excruciating." Bruce Stoner
East Maui resident, describing his symptoms while suffering from dengue fever.
It's in bad taste to argue over flying flagRegarding the debate over flying the U.S. flag over Iolani Palace and Waianae Comprehensive Health Center: How dare people use the American flag, Hawaii, Hawaiians, aloha and patriotism as tools to argue sides. Keep in mind thousands of lives were lost in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. That is what should be remembered. Waiving of the flag does not prove whether or not we are more American or less Hawaiian. At this time, when so many people are affected in some way by those who died, all you people can do is bicker? Auwe!
A Hawaiian and an American
BRT will be disaster for Oahu taxpayersThank you to Patrick Lee for his criticism (Letters, Oct. 7) about my vote against seed money for the city's latest boondoggle, the alleged Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). I remind him that as a legislator in the 1980s I voted against Gov. John Waihee's spendthrift budgets. I predicted that though much of the spending was good, the overall effect would be economic malaise for Hawaii.
Many agree that Hawaii has been in an economic abyss throughout the 1990s and into this century because Waihee grew government beyond the ability of workers and businesses in Hawaii to pay for it.
The vast majority of testimony on the BRT was against it. Labor unions including the Teamsters testified against BRT. Transportation business leaders testified against BRT. The only solid group supporting BRT were city politicians who are running the current bus system that loses up to $100 million a year.
I voted against BRT because it will not work. It will further destroy private-sector jobs and it will be a financial disaster for Oahu taxpayers.
Parking rate increase hurts the militaryOn Oct. 1, Fort DeRussy increased parking rates substantially for some military personnel. These increases were begun at just the time the government was supposedly trying to reduce costs for military during this time of turmoil.
It appears that the Hale Koa Hotel, which administers the parking lot, has lost sight of its mission. The purpose of Fort DeRussy is supposed to provide rest and recreation for active duty and retired personnel and their dependents. It is not to just increase Hale Koa's bottom line. Fort DeRussy provides healthy recreation, sports and repose for both local as well as the entire military population in the Pacific.
In addition, Fort DeRussy provides an outlet for thousands of single military as an alternative to more dubious ventures.
The parking lot is on government-owned land in a very favorable location. It provides a tremendous income to Hale Koa Hotel at small expense. It appears that at least half of the total parking income is derived from patrons of adjacent hotels at higher rates.
The military should have free parking for their own facilities. I am sure that the income from local hotel users more than pays the expenses of the parking lot.
This is not the time to hit our soldiers and sailors in the knee with unnecessary increases in the cost of their recreation.
U.S. Navy, Retired
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