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Business may need to be re-regulated

The health of the economy is the main issue in the upcoming election. In the past, business leaders told us that the causes of our economic woes were heavy taxation, the undue influence of unions and the excessive number of government regulations and workers.

Today, the rest of America, including the president, is saying that our economy is being hurt most by corporate scandals. The honesty and integrity of corporate America are being questioned. Deceptive and illegal practices such as misrepresentation, insider trading, stealthy accounting and collusion appear to be too commonplace, perhaps even pervasive.

Perhaps it is time to put the leash back on big business and curb its passion for unbridled self-interest before it destroys us all with more lies and subterfuge.

Richard Y. Will

Our foreign enemies mix religion with law

Regarding the 9th Circuit Court ruling unconstitutional the use the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance: I would have thought our experience with Iraq, Iran and the Taliban in Afghanistan would have taught us something about the hazards attendant to mixing government with religion.

Martin Blinder

Though it upset many, pledge ruling was right

Many Americans, perhaps a majority, will object to the 9th Circuit Court's decision regarding the Pledge of Allegiance (Newdow vs. the United States). Before they object too loudly, I would urge them to read that decision for themselves.

It is soundly based upon long-standing precedents set by the Supreme Court and lower federal courts as well as upon the history which lead to the 1954 rewriting of the pledge to include the words "under God." It was a Cold War proclamation of a national acceptance of God's sovereignty to be contrasted with atheistic/godless communism.

The Cold War is over, and religious belief and practice are growing in much of the former communist world. It is doing so without government mandate or encouragement.

If, as I expect they might, the full bench of the 9th Circuit, or the Supreme Court, reverses this decision by saying that those words have minimal meaning or effect, they will diminish all religious expression. If they do so by emphasizing the alleged voluntary nature of the pledge, they will be ignoring the realities of the school setting, especially with regard to young and impressionable children. Newdow may be an unappealing decision to some of those who hold to a monotheistic religious faith (as does this writer), but it is ultimately correct.

Michael O. Miller
Rockville, Md.

Editor's note: The letter writer is a retired U.S. administrative law judge and brother of Richard S. Miller, professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii law school.

Leasehold system should be abolished

Hawaii's leasehold system is a dying trace of feudalism. It goes back to the Middle Ages when peasants were allowed to live on the land of the lords. They needed to pay their lord with a large share of the food that they grew, and they could be expelled at any time.

English royalty were awarded large blocks of land to encourage the development of the American colonies. One of the larger blocks of property was given to Lord Baltimore who leased his lands in what is now Maryland. That state abolished leasehold in 1894.

Only in Hawaii has the leasehold system expanded, especially after 1945. Although the state Legislature approved the right of private homeowners to buy the land beneath their homes, it did not include condominium homeowners.

Members of the City Council should act to end this archaic and unfair feudal system of leasehold condominium land.

Jerome G. Manis

Ruling may force HECO to modernize

The citizens of Honolulu owe a great debt to the Board of Land and Natural Resources for its decision to deny the Hawaiian Electric Co.'s request for a permit to build a new power line up one of the few pristine ridges remaining in Honolulu. This $30 million line was unneeded based on HECO power consumption summary for the last five years (peak demands have decreased). Also, there are already two trans-Koolau lines feeding into the Pukele Street substation and the rejected line would be a backup-to-a-backup.

If Honolulu is going to continue to be a destination for tourists in the future and a beautiful place for our children's children, we need to preserve the island's natural beauty. It took courage for the board to say no to our power monopoly.

Many other communities around the country and the Pacific basin have recognized the need to aggressively plan for the future. They are not building new above-ground power lines as preferred by HECO. Other electrical companies are either burying the lines ( Auckland, New Zealand and Guam) or developing localized power generating systems (Sacramento and New York). If HECO cannot see the future, I hope our elected officials can.

Michael Garcia

Nuuanu park is best site for public center

The interests of Nuuanu residents must not be ignored in their quest to have a meeting place in Nuuanu for recreational and cultural activities. There are those who say Nuuanu Valley Park should not be included as one of the potential sites. Why should it be omitted? Three sites are currently under evaluation by a consultant. The consultant is close to recommending a preferred site.

Until then, Nuuanu Valley Park site must remain to allow the site selection process to continue. In the process, not only must the state Historic Preservation Office be involved, but an environmental assessment must also be prepared. Whatever concerns that are raised by the community would be included and addressed in the master planning and design phase.

It's time to work in partnership and search for a suitable location which the majority of residents who live in Nuuanu can accept and support.

Many of the 300 residents, who signed a petition to support the center, strongly expressed a preference to locate it at the Nuuanu Valley Park. If it should be the preferred site, could the parties on all sides of the issue coexist in using the park and make it mutually beneficial for all rather than engage in conflict?

Madeline Wong

We often forget that AIDS is still a danger

Words cannot adequately express the concern written in the article, "Experts urge swift AIDS action" (Star-Bulletin, July 5).

AIDS seems to be invisible to many people, who apparently believe that it will not affect their own families and friends. But evidence says otherwise. Internationally, AIDS is growing fastest among women, the young and people of color.

What should our response be? We should educate others about responsible and careful uses of one's own sexuality. We should be more straightforward in promoting prevention. We also should stand with compassion and hope for those who are struggling with AIDS. In addition, let us make sure that the availability and cost of effective inhibitors is available worldwide. Finally, we must continue to support AIDS research.

As the article stated, "Another 45 million people will become infected with the AIDS virus in the next eight years." Strong action is needed today, not tomorrow.

Rev. Vaughn F. Beckman
First Christian Church, Makiki

Don't lose faith in Catholic church

The heart of the Catholic church is being torn asunder because of the disgraceful acts of a number of priests and members of the Catholic clergy who have sexually abused children in their congregation. As a result, some individuals are having second thoughts about remaining as members; others have abandoned their faith.

That tells me their faith wasn't firmly entrenched from the start. They have lost trust in the priesthood and continue to smear the religion.

More than ever, the Catholic church needs your prayers rather than continuous attacks.

I concur with Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby), who said the problem of abuse of a trusted position exists in every religion and profession. She also said, "The church is not a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners." I can only pray for those in doubt, lacking in faith, but especially for those who are striving to find the perfect church.

McWarren J. Mehau
Hilo, Hawaii

How to write us

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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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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