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Artist's eye for detail helps portray the past

Fine and beautiful art is in the eye of the beholder. To me, Herb Kawainui Kane is the top artist portraying the Captain Cook era and the battles of King Kamehameha. His oil paintings portray scenes in minute detail, intensely and in brilliant colors.

"Voyagers," a collection of Kane's paintings published in 1991, is a superb book. Mark Coleman's interview with Kane ("Artist of ancient Hawaii," Star-Bulletin, July 7) is a super article on the life of Kane, his background and experience.

How Tim Chang

Hawaii's welfare state settles for mediocrity

I'm one of those expatriates who grew up in Hawaii (St. Louis School '85, University of Hawaii '89), but decided to move permanently to the mainland because of my frustration with the lack of opportunity and the settling for mediocrity by Hawaii's residents with their civic leaders.

Hawaii has turned into one big welfare state. It has the largest per capita employee base working for a local government and the public schools have not produced decent graduates on the mean in more than 20 years.

Hawaii has the highest rate of students attending private schools in the nation, almost 20 percent. You'd think that the people would have had enough, but it seems that the people of my beloved state prefer the status quo. Most don't seem to mind that their children are poorly educated and that a local government job is the highest prize a publically educated child can obtain. Hey, as long as the Rainbows -- oh, I mean the Warriors -- keep winning and the waves keep rolling, all is well in the Aloha State.

Maybe the people of Hawaii should consider an actual change.

Mark Cruthers
Fontana, Calif.

Democrats nurture Hawaii's prosperity

In response to James Hardway's letter ("Democrats keep falling by wayside," Star-Bulletin, June 30), it is true that Hawaii has seen several political figures tarnished by scandal in recent months. As chairwoman of Hawaii's Democrats, I am troubled when a member of the Democratic Party betrays the public trust. Those who do so must and do face serious consequences. But Hardway confuses the failings of a handful of individuals with the enduring legacy of the Democratic Party and our accomplishments over the decades.

The Democratic Party is an ohana of people and values. We value economic, cultural and environmental diversity, putting people first, building our economy and supporting a rebirth of public education in Hawaii.

All families have arguments, and none is perfect. But we believe that in November, Hawaii people once again will find the best choices in the Democratic Party ohana. It is the Hawaii Democrats who have worked to nurture and sustain our unparalleled quality of life, and we are building a new generation of leadership to continue Hawaii's prosperity in the future.

We invite Hardway and all others interested in building a better, stronger Hawaii to join us.

Lorraine H. Akiba
Democratic Party of Hawaii

Residents help rid isles of alien species

I commend the Honolulu Star-Bulletin for its "Alien Invaders" piece on July 7. The article concisely detailed the threats caused by invasive species to Hawaii's unique biota and our quality of life. By having such a large and colorful two-page spread, the Star-Bulletin hammered home to its readers the importance of eliminating future introductions of invasive species and controlling or eradicating past ones.

On July 3, the Star-Bulletin reported that an African clawed frog was found in a jar in Hawaii Kai with a note attached stating that the frog was not native and the owner did not want to release it into the wild. Although the frog never should have been brought here, I am impressed with its owner for acknowledging the threat it could pose if released into the wild. More and more, Hawaii's citizens are realizing our islands' biotic uniqueness and precariousness. Good job, Star-Bulletin and Hawaii!

Aaron Hebshi
Department of Zoology
University of Hawaii-Manoa

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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Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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