to the Editor

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Thursday, November 22, 2001

Misinterpretation led to flag controversy

My letter to the board, staff and volunteers of Iolani Palace was misinterpreted in the media to be an apology for flying the American flag over the palace in the wake of Sept. 11. I supported the board's decision to fly the American flag with the Hawaiian flag for 30 days. This was done in good faith to promote unity, to support our government and as a demon- stration of compassion and support for the victims and families of those lost at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

My apology was for my personal failure to provide the board with background information and staff input prior to its regular meeting of Sept. 27. I would not have expected the board to have acted differently and, in fact, it has since reaffirmed its decision.

Iolani Palace is an historic restoration and the Hawaiian flag that flies over the palace is a replica of the flag of the Kingdom of Hawaii that has been flying since the completion of the restoration in 1977. It is accepted practice that period-appropriate flags are flown at national historic landmarks such as Plymouth Village, Colonial Williamsburg and Iolani Palace.

It is terribly unfortunate that the worthy intent to convey sympathy to the victims and families of the Sept. 11 disaster has been misinterpreted, resulting in unintended and unnecessary controversy.

Alice Guild
Executive director
Friends of Iolani Palace

Obatake shows what special ed kids can do

Every time I read about Mark Obatake, executive director of the Hawaii Center of Independent Living (HCIL), or I read one of his letters to the editor (Star-Bulletin, Nov. 18), I'm amazed at all he has accomplished and what he is today despite his physical limitations.

His letter cracked me up, but I hope others pay attention to what he said.

I first met Mark in 1978-79 when he was a student at the University of Hawaii and we were riding the Handivan together, he from Kaneohe to the UH and I from Waimanalo to the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific for therapy. I recall asking a professional friend of mine about Mark, and he told me what Mark's limitations meant, including the fact he might not live very long after graduating from UH. Then again, my friend emphasized, he may outlive all of us, so he deserves a chance to make something of himself through education.

When I encountered Mark at an HCIL fun run a few years ago and was introduced to his wife, I was so happy for him. I told my wife, Carolyn, that I really thought it was great to see Mark as HCIL director, married and a father today. He has come a long way with perseverance and tenacity.

Mark Obatake has proved special education kids can succeed. He has many admirers in this town, and I'm one of his biggest fans. Give 'um, Mark!

Art Frank


"Hawaii feeds people really well on Thanksgiving. We get a lot of volunteers -- they are tripping over each other."

Lynn Maunakea

Director of the Institute for Human Services, on feeding people in need during the holidays.

"The prospects are pretty grim."

Lawrence Boyd

Labor economist with the Center for Labor Education and Research at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu, on the outlook for isle residents scheduled to lose welfare benefits next week.

Football has more dangers than boxing

With no fewer than nine football-related deaths reported in the United States this year and only one boxing death, here is something to consider next time you think boxing is so violent.

The football victims included everyone from an established NFL star to an emerging college talent to a 14-year-old high-school player. The causes of death ranged from heatstroke to the use of a dietary supplement to an exceptionally hard tackle on a kickoff return.

If boxers were dropping at such an alarming rate, the radio talk shows and some of our elected officials in Hawaii would be beating the topic into a fine powder. Some of them, if they aren't already, would be calling for a ban on boxing. Heck, there would be federal hearings to investigate the situation. Who knows? Maybe the liberals would feel our tax money should be used to investigate and hold these hearings.

But football is our true national pastime. So let's not make a big deal out of dangerous working conditions, drug abuse, widespread steroid use and quarterbacks suffering 10 or 12 concussions in a career. Hey, it's all just part of the game.

Remember that the next time you see a defensive back go for a receiver's knees or watch a linebacker take aim at a quarterback's jaw with his helmet.

Many people on Maui do support boxing and the youth who participate. Come to any fight card here and watch the sportsmanship and respect between all who attend boxing matches.

Johnny Jackson
Bang-Bang's Kihei Boxing Club
Kihei, Hawaii

Smoking sections make no sense

Isn't making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing section in a swimming pool? Ergo, it only makes good sense that we do not permit smoking in restaurants.

Jon von Kessel

List non-smoking, smoking restaurants

Sometime during each week the Star-Bulletin runs a box showing gasoline prices or mortgage rates or whatever.

It might be nice to see a list of all the restaurants on Oahu in two columns: those that allow smoking and those that don't. Do that for 10 weeks and find out who changes their colors.

This might be better than a petition or waiting to get new blood to replace City Council members Rene Mansho, Andy Mirikitani and crew.

Don Neill

Three little words would do a lot

2001 will always be remembered as the year of tragedy, death and destruction. Thousands of precious people lost their lives. This could have happened to any of us.

Suppose one morning you don't wake up. Do all your friends know you love them?

I was thinking that I could die today, tomorrow or next week and I wondered if I had any wounds needed to be healed, friendships rekindled or three words to be said.

Sometimes "I love you" can heal and bless. Let every one of your friends know you love them.

Even if you think they don't love you back, you would be amazed at what those three little words and a smile can do.

If everyone in this world said "I love you," the world would be full of peace and harmony.

So just in case I die tomorrow, let me say ... I love you!

Arsenio Ramirez Pelayo

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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