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Many isle dogs would prefer ocean voyage

I'm just going to stop watching the evening news on television. As if the terrible situation in the Middle East and disgraceful state of the Catholic church weren't bad enough, the nightly reports and all that money being spent to chase that dog around the ocean is really starting to depress me.

I used to live in a neighborhood right here in Honolulu where dogs are treated worse than they are in a few Third World countries I've visited. As far as I can see, all these animals are to their owners are cheap burglar alarms tethered on short lines out in the heat, surrounded by feces and flies, never bathed or walked, barking and whining their lonely days away in heartbreaking misery.

If I were a dog, I'd just as soon be lost at sea as live this kind of life. Why doesn't the Hawaiian Humane Society exert the same kind of effort to rescue these poor creatures from their awful fate?

Ash Ruggiero

Quarantining pets is unnecessary, harmful

I write concerning the article "Isle communities spread aloha to pets" (Star-Bulletin, April 19). We arrived on Oahu in July. Our pets received no aloha. My two dogs were healthy -- vaccinated, microchipped and tested to show they were immune to rabies, but they still went to quarantine.

The rabies vaccine was developed by Louis Pasteur in 1885. The last time someone contracted rabies from a domesticated animal in the United States was in 1979. That animal, a dog, was not vaccinated.

Children are vaccinated against diseases because vaccines work. Children in the United States no longer suffer from polio or diphtheria because vaccines work. People no longer get smallpox vaccines because it worked so well that in 1979 the World Health Organization declared the disease eradicated.

Stress affects pets just as it does humans. My healthy dogs became sick in quarantine. One dog now has liver disease.

I know the laws were improved, and I am grateful for that, but Hawaii has further to go. There is no scientific reason to quarantine vaccinated and microchipped animals.

Vaccines work. Let the policies of Hawaii reflect this fact. Then you truly can write an article about Hawaii's attitude of aloha to pets.

L. Conway

Editorial got it right about health insurers

We thank the Star-Bulletin for the wisdom and intelligence of the April 25 editorial, "Health insurers should open their books." You said it all beautifully and clearly, and what you said is true. I and my colleagues of Citizens against Health Care Monopolies thank you, as should the many businesses and insured employees who will benefit from this bill.

Richard S. Miller

How will gas prices affect supply side?

We've been told that our gasoline prices are so high because we have an oligopoly, with not enough competition to allow the laws of supply and demand to force prices lower (I think inelasticity of demand is a major factor as well, but no one else seems to mention this).

So it seems that what would reduce our prices is increasing the number of competitors in the supply end of the gasoline market.

What's puzzling to me is how caps on gasoline prices are going to encourage more suppliers to enter the gasoline market. By regulating gas prices, are we giving up on ever having market forces lower prices?

Nobu Nakamoto

Governor's HTA pick won't fly on Big Isle

When I first read about former Big Island Mayor Steven Yamashiro's name being submitted by the governor for a seat on the Hawaii Tourism Authority board, I thought, "Well, here we go again."

Didn't our governor also appoint former Big Island Mayor Dante Carpenter to a temporary seat on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs board? If I recall correctly, Carpenter wasn't exactly appreciated for his administrative or personal skills, and suffered a political fate similar to our last mayor's.

The people of the Big Island decided they didn't want Carpenter as their mayor or as an OHA representative, and voters sent a similar message to the Democratic mayoral candidates this past election.

Yamashiro's tenure was noted for cronyism and the influence of special interest groups. We already are going through hard economic times after his eight-year reign. Please, Governor Cayetano, don't make Big Islanders accept this appointment.

Tanny Cazimero
Kamuela, Hawaii

Remember van cams in voting booth

The election is around the corner for all of our legislators, and I am hoping that all of Hawaii's dissatisfied citizens will show their concern and vote out those who were responsible for placing our hard-earned tax money into the flimsy, ill-advised and short-sighted van-cam disaster.

I'm appalled that none of our esteemed legislators questioned the viability of such a poorly researched endeavor. Now it is estimated to cost as much as $8 million to settle with Affiliated Computer Services. What a waste of taxpayers' money.

Toshio Chinen

We, the voters, are really in charge

In an letter to the editor, Earl Arakaki wrote, "And on election day, the public employees, retirees and taxpayers will determine if 'we' (our lawmakers) are voted out" (Star-Bulletin, April 26).

I agree with Arakaki. Past senators have been voted out by "we," the real legislative body. "We," the citizens of Hawaii, must stand up and exercise our duty and cast our votes for the candidates who most effectively represent the real "we" of Hawaii.

Remember when former state Sen. Marshall Ige and his "we" were going to go after former Attorney General Margery Bronster?

I think the real "we" in this instance terminated his legislative career.

Frank McCafferty

State pension plan needs overhaul

As a retiree drawing a hard-earned pension after serving more than 32 years with the Honolulu Police Department, I've been following with much interest the news concerning the management of the State of Hawaii Employees Retirement System, and particularly of Rep. Brian Schatz's call for an audit.

I felt so strongly about the management of the ERS that I wrote a letter to Schatz, requesting that if he is successful in getting an audit, the length of time it takes the ERS to get retirees their benefits should be investigated.

When I decided to retire and filed my papers with the ERS in 1999, I was told that it would take from six to 12 months for me to receive my "final compensation," so I planned for that time frame.

It did not take six to 12 months. It took 26 months, and that was only after many telephone calls, a number of personal visits, two letters to ERS supervisors, and finally a letter to ERS Administrator David Shimabukuro.

Throughout this time, no one at the ERS could explain to me why it was taking them so long to calculate my benefits. Fortunately, I had adequate resources to meet my financial obligations. Other retirees are not so fortunate.

Should the audit of the ERS be approved, their processing time and perhaps their accounting procedures should be scrutinized and overhauled to ensure that retirees receive their hard-earned benefits in a "reasonable" amount of time.

Maj. Robert L. Silva (Retired)

Catholics must finally confront problems

As a Catholic, I was shocked, saddened and angered by the disclosure of the abuse of children by priests. What was even more shocking was how widespread these crimes are in America and in the rest of the world. The cover-up by the hierarchy of the church was even more shocking. We as laity have been told to see and accept the human side of priests, as many were our intermediaries to God. They were our spiritual and religious leaders in our parishes. Whatever the outcome of these disclosures, we will see our priests with less-reverent eyes. It is sad to do so in the cynical and secular times we live in.

I hope the American bishops and the Vatican honestly confront this dirty secret of the church, confront these abusive priests and, if appropriate, defrock them. I hope our leaders sincerely ask laity for their suggestions for possible solutions to this sickness. Everything should be on the table -- priestly celibacy, female priests, the role of the laity, the leadership of the bishops and having another Vatican Council.

Some Catholics will turn away from the church because of the present scandal. Some, like me, will remain in the church and fight the good fight. If we honestly confront this issue and listen to one another, we can rebuild the church and be an example to non-Catholics here and overseas. We can offer an alternative to the religious terrorists of Sept. 11.

Theodore Taba

Big Island senator did what voters wanted

Sen. David Matsuura deserves praise for his courageous stand against doctor- assisted suicide. Contrary to your editorial on April 3, "Assisted-suicide foes derailing democracy," Matsuura did exactly what he was elected to do in a democratic society. He listened to his conscience and to the people of Hawaii. More than 2,000 residents wrote letters to Matsuura voicing their strong opposition to legalizing this unethical practice.

After careful examination of physician-assisted suicide, Matsuura concurs with the Hawaii Medical Association, Hospice Hawaii and the Senate Health Committee that there are better ways to alleviate pain and depression in elderly patients than to allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to patients.

Matsuura realizes what a slippery slope physician-assisted suicide is. In the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been tolerated for 20 years, many older people are afraid to go to the hospital when they become ill. They worry that their doctors will end their lives instead of helping to heal them. One in three patients who were euthanized by their doctors did not request to die.

Matsuura promoted the interests of the people of Hawaii through his efforts to prevent physician-assisted suicide in our state. I applaud Matsuura's integrity and courage.

Alicia Acconcio
Kaunakakai, Hawaii

Passing a right-to-die law takes courage

In 1974 Bill Baird came to Honolulu and organized a large group of men, women and children who rallied the state Legislature, which was waffling as to whether doctors should be able to prescribe birth-control pills to women. The doctors were against it, the Roman Catholic Church was against it and the fundamentalists were against it. Our legislators at that time listened to the majority of their constituents and voted in favor of birth-control pills. We were the first state to do so.

Today women of child-bearing age who use these pills do so because of our brave, far-sighted legislators at that time. Today when a woman needs her pills she goes to her doctor and asks for a prescription, which she then has the choice of filling or not filling, of taking or not taking. It's a choice.

Today it appears that we need Baird to come over and make history for us again. Today we have a "death with dignity" bill just waiting for the Senate pass and we would again be the first state to legalize, through the Legislature, this humane procedure. Again, the person goes to his or her doctor, asks for a prescription and then has a choice to fill or not to fill it, to take it or not take it. It's a choice.

I want you lawmakers to reach into your innermost emotions and care for the people in this state. There are only a few who need it, but they are begging those of us who care for them to give their doctors the right to write out that prescription. My physician wants that right and so do I.

Eleanor Van der Voort
Registered nurse

ID possible terrorists via biological means

Yes, there is a way to halt -- or at least slow -- the mayhem in the West Bank. The warring parties need to be separated, much as parents have discovered in family disputes using the command, "Time out! Go to your room!"

In a family this is easy, but how is it possible to distinguish the Arab terrorists from the Jews? An immediate, though probably temporary, solution is simple, but perhaps shocking. All male Jews are circumsized, but Arabs are not because it is against Islamic law.

A private checkpoint will keep all male Arabs out of the Jewish sector. Females could be implanted with ID chips with information that could be read with special scanners.

Too expensive? Can we put a price on lives and property saved? On peace? And once in place, this procedure could be used to prevent terrorism elsewhere in the world.

Paul Garnett

Refuse workers could pick up recyclables

Let me tell you a true story. In the California town I once lived in, which does charge a bottle deposit, they had what I thought was a clever idea. They negotiated with our local refuse company (a private firm) to pick up not only our metal containers, but also newspapers and plastics.

The refuse company provided color-coded boxes to put the stuff in, and every week they came around and picked the stuff up. The deal was, they would pick it up for free, and in turn make a profit by recycling the materials.

I am against recycling fees like the proposed bottle bill, but I cannot stop it. So here is a suggestion: Pay the refuse companies to pick up the recyclable material. That's got to be a lot cheaper and easier to implement.

Jerry Okamura
Kula, Maui

Visioning conference showed Harris's ability

I had the good fortune to attend a visioning conference in Honolulu, where Mayor Harris presented plans and ideas that had been generated by community groups he had put together. I was truly impressed by the process that encouraged these groups to think big, and the way Harris has been able to bring their ideas together into one cohesive vision for the entire island.

This ability to create and implement a vision has been lacking in our state leadership for a long time. I believe Jeremy Harris has that ability, and can apply it statewide to create a foundation that will nurture our special way of life while also building a stronger economy.

Steven Araujo
Kurtistown, Hawaii

Women's basketball gets no respect

Here are some possible explanations for the low attendance at University of Hawaii women's basketball games:

>> Not enough promotion by the UH athletic department compared to men's basketball.

>> Women players attend many men's games. Do the men attend women's basketball?

>> How many major sport writers attend women's basketball games compared to men's games?

>> Look at the major local newspapers. What picture dominates even when both teams win or lose? Men's baseball loses and gets a front-page story. Women's softball wins, write-up ends up on page 4.

>> Even high-school championship games often end up on the back page. Are the front pages reserved for golfers and gamblers?

>> Women love UH volleyball players. Don't men love women basketball players?

Donald Longa

Aloha to a wonderful man with a big heart

I first met Moe Keale on a cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii in 2000 ("Hawaii entertainer Moe Keale dies at 62," Star-Bulletin, April 16). He performed every evening with his nephews Analu and Kalani, and every evening my husband and I enjoyed listening to his music.

Moe impressed me very much. I never met a man like him; he had a real big heart.

In August 2001 we spent another vacation in Hawaii. Once again, it was a pleasure to enjoy his music at the Sheraton-Waikiki hotel. The moments listening to his unique voice and seeing his son Nalani dancing the hula were unforgettable.

I can't believe that I'll never see him again. I'm so sorry that it will not be possible for me to say goodbye to him when his ashes are scattered at sea. But in my heart I will be with him, his family and all his friends.

Moe, I give you my promise that I'll keep aloha in my heart forever and always.

Ursel Burger
Bonn, Germany

Two-tiered system will keep UH down

In the Star-Bulletin ("'Sunshine' will lead UH and Hawaii to better governing," Insight, March 31), Evan Dobelle sounds off on sunshine policies and his democratic aspirations for the University of Hawaii. The height from which he views his new job may make him overlook the fact that there is a dark side to the UH.

When questioned about how dependent the university will be on lecturers rather than full professors, he acknowledged that while he is aware that the reputation of a university depends largely on how well staffed it is by full-time, tenured people, the UH will continue to have a large number of lower-paid lecturers.

A dual faculty system where one class is tenured and privileged and a second is subordinate breeds abuse and oppression. Lecturers are told immediately that they have no rights, a condition that tenured faculty tend to take advantage of. This is the dark side.

My alma mater, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, gives me a basis for comparison. I had a small grant that allowed me to observe closely the faculty's work and behavior. I never saw, felt or sensed any acrimony, vindictiveness, self-serving manipulations, shouting, or fighting in Michigan that I witnessed in the UH system, particularly in the community colleges.

Dobelle must be keenly aware that state needs a university that is the epitome of academic freedom and has a reputation as a prestigious educational institution.

Toward that end, he should allow the sunshine to penetrate this dark side of the university. He should give lecturers a chancellor who has a good heart, not one who limits lecturers to six credit hours that deprive them of Social Security and retirement benefits.

No, I don't need a job, but my heart weeps for lecturers and the injustices they suffer.

Jovita Rodas Zimmerman

Beware of Castle Hills' newest neighbors

Thanks to Judges Virginia Crandall and Joseph Cardoza, the State Hospital will be welcoming two new residents shortly. Maybe the judges were unaware of the ongoing escapee problem at the hospital in Kaneohe.

If you see strangers roaming our neighborhood, they could be Michael Lawrence, who killed and hacked up a vacuum cleaner salesman, or True Kaelo Seal of Maui, who kidnapped and/or sexual assaulted an 8-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl.

In case you haven't heard in the past two years, there have been more than 50 escapees from the State Hospital. It is the policy of the State Hospital not to issue any warnings to nearby residents, so please assume that strangers in our neighborhood may pose a serious threat to you and your family and act accordingly. I'd also advise you to keep your doors and windows locked.

Curtis Y. Harada

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The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). 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 and include a daytime telephone number.

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