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Mink, staff helped with school's clean-up

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Congresswoman Patsy Mink and her local staff for their assistance at the Kapunahala Elementary School Hawaii 3Rs project on Aug. 3. Mink took time out of her busy schedule, coming to Kapunahala directly from the airport to help our school.

Her staff spent the whole day with us, helping with classroom painting, drainage improvements and general clean-up. Their contribution was significant to the success of our project, which used $75,000 of state funds to the Hawaii 3Rs program to accomplish more than $320,000 worth of backlogged repair and maintenance work. This saved the state $245,000.

Mahalo, Congresswoman Mink! Best wishes on your full recovery.

Keith Matsumoto
Project co-manager, Hawaii 3Rs
Kapunahala Elementary School

People have right to know Mink's condition

Seventy-four-year-old Rep. Patsy Mink holds a public office. The public has the right to know her true medical condition. Empty public announcements about her health from her political handlers and supporters raise more suspicions than anything else.

Mink's political handlers are demonstrating a lack of respect and aloha for the people of Hawaii when they continue to play their political games.

We wish her well. But the public has the right to know. The people of Hawaii needed an honest answer yesterday!

Choon James

Rude noises destroy symphony experience

I attended the Sunday kick-off of the Honolulu Symphony season. While the music was sublime, I must berate the balcony audience. Throughout the performance, we were subjected to coughs, wheezes, throat-clearings, cell-phone ringing, velcro wallets opening (rip-rip) and worst of all, a shrieking hearing aid.

Please, people, there are only a few rules at a concert: Sit in your seat quietly, applaud appropriately, enjoy the music, leave when it's over. That's not too difficult.

F. David Wagner Jr.

Adults should be able to use pakalolo

The federal government's stance on marijuana prohibition has nothing to do with science, experience or rationality. Several government-funded studies have found it to be relatively benign, and recommend decriminalization. Also ignored are the millions of Americans who have been smoking pot for decades without serious physical or mental damage. Those who deal with intoxicated folks -- cops, bartenders and others -- will tell you that compared to the drunk, the crackhead or the meth user, a pot smoker is rarely troublesome.

Worst of all is using "child safety" as a scare tactic for maintaining prohibition. This tactic works well with parents, much as it did during alcohol Prohibition and the Red Scare, despite its being untrue. Legalization has nothing to do with children. It is about respecting civil liberties and allowing responsible adults to engage in consensual activities. We let adults drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, drive cars, have elective surgery and own firearms, and we work to prevent youth from doing the same. Why not treat marijuana the same way?

Spike Bradford

Playing the odds for the afterlife

To those who don't believe in God: If there is no God, then it doesn't matter, you're dead; who cares? If there is a God and you believe, then you will be rewarded. I'll play the odds and believe. I'll either be correct or it won't matter. For nonbelievers, either it won't matter or they'll be in a very distressing place. Which outcome is more desirable? Do you believe in chance or fate? Either way, you place your future in the hands of the unknown. I place them in the hands of God, and that's a sure bet. Roll 'em!

When we're both dead nonbelievers can tell me all about their outcomes at www.heaven.god/members/craigwatanabe/, but use AOL because God's ISP may filter out undesirable e-mail from Hell.

Craig Watanabe

Stadium's policies there for good reason

A letter writer asked about policies at Aloha Stadium during University of Hawaii football games (Star-Bulletin, Sept. 12). I would like to explain the policies and why they were put in place.

This year, additional parking stalls were set aside in Section 4 for Ahahui Koa Anuenue members, who annually contribute to the university's athletic scholarship fund. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we believe this was an appropriate decision, given all that Ahahui Koa Anuenue has done for UH athletics. Without their support, it would be difficult to imagine our teams having the success they are having now.

Double-parking the buses minimizes their impact on parking-lot traffic. Placing them where they are enables them to exit the stadium quickly and helps us in areas where traffic is the heaviest. This decision was made in conjunction with the Honolulu Police Department and Oahu Transit Services. No safety codes are being violated.

Regarding security, it has been our policy since last year to prohibit bags, purses, handbags and backpacks. We do allow fanny packs, which are subject to search. We cannot make exceptions to these rules. I'm sorry if it is an inconvenience, but we must keep security our No. 1 priority.

Eddie Hayashi
Aloha Stadium

Bill 53 would cost taxpayers money

The Honolulu City Council should vote down Bill 53, the lease-to-fee conversion proposal. The lessees had full knowledge when they signed those lease agreements that upon expiration the land usage would revert back to the property owners. These landowners should not be forced to sell to lessees merely because they want to buy the property they have been occupying. This is not right.

The Liliuokalani Trust and others that take care of Hawaiians would be devastated. Thousands of our children would become dependent on the state and its social service agencies. The end result would be the taxpayers footing the bills for these services, instead of the benevolent private trusts.

Steven T.K. Burke
Pearl City


Readers weigh in
on possibility of war

Bush is too eager to rush into war

The Soviet Union had weapons of mass destruction pointed at our country for 40 years. Nevertheless, we did not send troops to invade Moscow to effect a "regime change." Instead, we pursued a policy of containment that eventually led to the collapse of that regime and, so we're told, victory for democracy.

Yet today, George W. Bush is on the verge of invading Iraq and ousting its government when there is no evidence that it even has weapons of mass destruction or the ability or willingness to use them.

And despite Bush's claim that he's "a patient man," he seems to be in a big hurry. He wants Congress to rubber-stamp his plans before the November election and shows no interest in waiting to see what evidence renewed United Nations weapons inspections may bring. He's hardly willing to wait 40 days before turning the United States into an aggressor nation and burying the image of democracy in the rubble along with Baghdad.

Steve Carll

We should love Iraqis as we love ourselves

I'm against going to war against Iraq or any other country. As the world's superpower, we should be working for peace in all avenues. Instead of following the belief of "an eye for an eye," we should demonstrate the ideal of "love thy neighbor as thyself." Instead of allowing big corporations to govern our country for their private agendas, we the people should take back our government and pursue peace and justice for all. Freedom and liberty should not be just for the oil conglomerates, financial institutions and big business.

David M. K. Inciong II
Pearl City

Why don't we show 'backbone' with Israel?

President Bush wants other countries to "show some backbone" by forcing Saddam Hussein "to obey the U.N. resolutions which he has been flouting for 10 years." And guess what? Israel is one of the few countries that support the president on this.

Well, since we're on the subject of flouting United Nations resolutions, why don't we look at Israel's record? For more than 30 years that country, our close ally, has ignored both U.N. resolutions and repeated requests from every U.S. president since 1967 by building Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Maybe Bush could show a little backbone with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has built his career on the single-minded pursuit of Israel's settlement policy. It wouldn't take that much courage, would it? How much could it hurt to hold back our annual handout of $3 billion to Israel until it stopped thumbing its nose at the U.N., and at us?

Jerry Dupont

Sometimes violence is the best reaction

Stephen Spears asks, "Since when does America have the right to attack and kill citizens of another country?" (Letters, Star-Bulletin, Sept. 10). Nations have had this right since the beginning of civilization. If Iraq threatens our national security, we have the right to defend ourselves.

We are legally within our rights to attack Iraq without further provocation, United Nations sanctions or congressional approval because Iraq has violated the peace agreement from the first Gulf War by not allowing weapons inspectors. Saddam Hussein agreed to weapons inspections in exchange for peace. Once he broke the agreement we were within our rights to rescind the peace.

Another common notion is Spears' statement, "War and violence are never good or final solutions." So we should never have fought in World War II? All police officers should give up their weapons? Using violence, we saved the world from Nazism and Japanese imperialism, and now Germany and Japan are democratic, and our allies. How is that for a "good" solution?

While I believe that war against Hussein is justified, I do not necessarily believe that we should go to war. If we can achieve national and global security and an Iraqi regime change through negotiation, that would be great, but it's highly unlikely.

Leighton Loo

U.S. may qualify for pre-emptive strike, too

It may be politically correct to amend the Fifth Commandment from "Thou shall not kill" to "Thou shall not kill, except if you see your target as evil, with the potential to develop weapons of mass destruction." No one is 100 percent good; it is human nature to have a dark side that could be characterized as evil and even underdeveloped nations now have weapons of mass destruction. So that could make almost any country a candidate for an attack by the current U.S. administration.

I wonder if the U.S. government back in 1893 saw Queen Liliuokalani as a threat, since her guards may have possessed spears with extra-wide blades?

Was that enough ammo for the hawks of 1893 to execute a pre-emptive strike and overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy? I'm thinking the U.S. businessmen behind that overthrow were evil and the current group of U.S. businessmen promoting the Iraq invasion appear to have the same odor.

Smoky Guerrero

U.S. government isn't keeping us informed

The recommended shift in U.S. foreign policy by this administration that would allow "pre-emptive" action against proposed terrorist groups and hostile states scares the heck out of me. President Bush's statement that the United States "will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary" is dangerous and irresponsible. What makes this man wiser than the rest of the world?

The American people need unequivocal proof that a nation is a threat to our national security before we take hostile action against it. The executive branch first needs to present the evidence to Congress, and then the legislative branch needs to debate the merits of the case before voting on a resolution of war. This process should not be abbreviated.

In any war that we get involved in, there would be tens of thousands of casualties. War does not discriminate against people who carry or don't carry weapons. War eliminates lives -- good and bad lives. If there is a one in a million chance to prevent war through dialogue, we should take it. To all who want to invade first and then ask questions: How many of you would volunteer your children to serve in hell? Because that's what war is -- hell.

Chuck Cohen
Vietnam combat veteran

U.S. should encourage peace, not war

The United States should encourage the reunification of North and South Korea. Their citizens and governments favor it. So does Japan. Peace would expand trade and eliminate the need for tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Asia.

Iraq has agreed to inspections. The Bush administration should accept this offer, instead of condemning it even before it has started. Who knows what the inspections would reveal? A preventive war should not be undertaken. It would set a precedent for other nations.

War is a terrible waste of national resources and thousands of lives. It should be used only as a last resort.

How Tim Chang

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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