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Keeping Sandy Beach barren is a waste

The state of Hawaii pays $25 million to the Kamehameha Schools for a barren piece of land -- a portion of Sandy Beach -- to keep barren. On this same piece of land, the school was going to build new housing, which would relieve Hawaii's housing shortage. The money could have been used to build parks, fix schools, shelter the homeless, and other very useful things.

If these same decision makers ran a company they would be laughed out of the boardroom and the business would go bankrupt for making totally impractical, irrational and very wasteful decisions.

Colin Kau

City decisions show socialist leanings

Supposedly, Honolulu's elected leadership is nonpartisan. Wrong. In one fell swoop we just discovered that our city leaders are socialists who can only think in broad strokes, can only govern at the level of the lowest common denominator, and cannot conceive that individuals are capable of rational decision-making.

The new ban on smoking is proof. While I sympathize with the respiratory plight of restaurant workers, and I don't smoke myself, to universally ban smoking in restaurants and bars denies and abrogates the rights of both smokers and restaurant owners.

Smokers have been marginalized to the point where they have become second-class citizens, now unable to light up even in businesses that welcome them. Restaurant owners are no longer free to run their businesses as they see fit. Why don't we just skip to the next chapter, in which government nationalizes all businesses.

The second proof is the move to condemn Waikiki property on behalf of Outrigger. It suggests to all property owners that they do not in fact own their land (despite the fact that they pay property taxes), that they are merely transitional stewards of their properties, that with government backing one side they will not be able to get the other side to negotiate in good faith. Fair market value becomes an oxymoron.

It also smacks of favoritism, pitting a large owner against smaller owners. The goal of revitalizing Waikiki is a good one, but it is Outrigger's idea, and it is the one who should be doing the heavy lifting.

Forbes magazine in 1997 characterized this state as the People's Republic of Hawaii? How right it was.

James Ko


"Even after 300 meteorites, it was an absolute thrill. Sometimes we would go half a day with-out seeing one. We had to cover lots of ground."

Linda Martel

University of Hawaii geologists, on participating in a seven-week expedition hunting for meteorites on the snow fields of Antarctica.

"It's just regulation run amuck. What they are legalizing is a replacement for on-the-job training."

Patrick McCain

President of the Hawaii Restaurant Association, on a bill in the Legislature that would require cooks, food preparers, managers, dishwashers, cashiers and others who handle food in retail establishments to take food-safety classes.

Muslims in Philippines are linked to al-Qaida

Nicholas D. Kristof's Jan. 24 "Facing East" column described a rather farcical (it is to him) meeting between President Bush and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. According to Kristof's interpretation, the Filipina president had pulled a fast one over the American president. "We have been had," claimed Kristof.

If his comic speculation counts, one can play the same game and say, "The Filipina president, who must know her country's history, was just paying Americans back for betraying the Filipinos' revolution under Spain. Because, while pretending to help Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, America was already negotiating with Spain to buy the Philippines for $25 million in the Treaty of Paris."

Thousands of Filipinos died fighting for their freedom, unable to win over American forces with their superior arms.

One has to discount Kristof's version that the Abu Sayyaf is composed of just thugs who have no links with al-Qaida. Kristof ignores the fact that the United States has superior military intelligence in that part of the world. It is also important to remind Kristof that Muslims studying how to destroy the U.S. Embassy in Manila were arrested and deported. Evidence in hotel rooms they occupied supported suspicions they were equipped to achieve their objective.

Fortunately, the Philippines has Teofisto Guingona, the vice president and secretary of the Foreign Affairs Department. He will surely check moves that may violate the 1987 constitution's restrictions on the presence of foreign forces on Philippine soil.

Jovita Rodas Zimmerman

Waikiki lanais are venue for thieves

Aloha from good old Waikiki, home of drug dealers, prostitutes and thieves.

Last week my car was broken into for the sixth time in six months, and then on Feb. 20, a date that will never repeat itself, about 2 a.m., some sucker stole from our lanai two flowering bushes that were just given as a gift a week earlier. A third plant was probably about to be stolen, as the small plant that sits in the same pot was removed and put aside.

This is about the sixth time that plants have been stolen from the lanai and probably the smallest haul, as they took so many of them before we have not replaced them.

We stopped hanging clothing on the outside line a year ago because shirts were stolen.

Arnold Van Fossen

Sign company owner helped artist Charlot

The obituary of Robert Harold Rotz last Wednesday has called attention to the little-known relationship of the Honolulu Sign Co. and Jean Charlot. Already recognized internationally as a fine art printmaker when he arrived in Honolulu, the artist began a search for a shop to which he could entrust his designs. He approached Rotz' Honolulu Sign Co. with samples of his work.

Although the company had no fine-art printing experience, his printers, "Chick" Takara and Hiroshi Morikawa, welcomed the opportunity to work with Charlot. For years the Rotz shop printed Charlot's prints and serigraphs. The proprietor was especially proud of the valentines the artist created for Zomah Day and the Christmas cards he designed for family friends.

The Rotz family deserves an accolade for two generations of fine printing and a special bow from all Honolulu printmakers.

Steve Murin

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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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