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Speaker can't deal with two-party system

As I read House Speaker Calvin Say's May 9 column, I hoped to learn his take on the recent legislative session. Instead, I read political attacks on the governor and the House minority leader, with no facts or analysis to support his claims.

Say accused Rep. Galen Fox of lying about the House resolution on Iraq but offered no arguments to support his charge. This is pretty brazen stuff considering that this ridiculous resolution is out there for all the world to see.

Finally, both the governor and Fox have acknowledged the potential value of Act 221 and have offered sound arguments why it needs to be changed to protect the taxpayers' interests. Say defended the current form of Act 221 but failed to mention any benefits it has brought to the state. How many new companies or jobs have been created? How has the tax base been expanded? Is the taxpayer getting his or her money's worth? Say discussed none of that.

Say's column was just more whining by the majority party, which doesn't like a two-party system.

Robert R. Kessler

Hawaii ranks high in privacy protection

Some recent rankings of Hawaii by national publications are important to recognize in view of the spate of negative stories appearing lately.

First, Privacy Journal's "Ranking of States" in October 2002 shows Hawaii to rank fourth in the nation in protecting its citizens against invasion of privacy. We also are one of only three states in the nation to have state offices assigned to protect personal privacy.

In addition, states were ranked by the Better Government Association on the strength of their laws that promote integrity, how protected the government is against possible corruption, and how open and accountable it is to its citizens. Although no states scored high in this survey, Hawaii was among the five states that came out on top.

Marilyn B. Lee
State representative, District 38 (Mililani-Mililani Mauka)

Assault-weapons ban is based on poor logic

It is difficult to determine whether your position to reauthorize the so-called "assault weapons ban" stems from wishful thinking or outright deception (Star-Bulletin, May 18). The class of guns that includes assault rifles has been heavily controlled since 1934, and none manufactured after 1984 may be owned by civilians. The current law and proposed bill refer instead to similar-appearing rifles that differ only in minor respects from other guns.

Far from your assertion that these are the criminals' "guns of choice," the qualities most important to criminals are lethality, accuracy and concealability. Assault-appearing guns provide little, if any, benefit in these areas. Rather, it seems that the attack on these guns is due to cultural conditioning that says guns that "look like" military guns are more menacing. Of course, trying to pin down just what it is that makes these guns menacing is a problem, so we are left with the prohibition of features such as bayonet lugs, even though I haven't heard any reports of criminals making bayonet charges lately.

Hawaii state laws make ownership of some of these guns illegal. Your editorial asks us to believe that someone who would violate numerous sections of Hawaii law would be deterred by an additional federal law.

Scott W. Smart

Danger to Americans is clear and present

Reports from Saudi Arabia show more than 300 injured and 30 murdered, including eight Americans. Early in their education in madrassas, radical Muslims teach their boys to hate Americans, Jews and Christians. The results include the following murders: 63 people in the U.S. embassies in Beirut and Kuwait in 1983, 243 U.S. Marines in Beirut in 1984, a wheelchaired American Jew on a hijacked ship in 1985, four Americans in a hijacked TWA airliner in 1986, 259 mostly Americans in an airliner over Scotland in 1988, two CIA employees in Langley, Va., in 1993, six Americans in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1983, seven Americans in Saudi Arabia in 1995, 19 Americans again in Saudi Arabia in 1996, 224 people by bombing the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 2000, 17 U.S. Navy personnel of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, 3,025 again on Sept. 11, 2001.

This list is not inclusive, but it does show a clear and pres-ent danger to our families and our nation. President Bush is right when he says it will be a long commitment to eliminate such evil.

Frederick A. Holck

At least the military kept Barbers clean

Since the state acquired the old Naval Air Station at Barbers Point, the area has become a dumping ground for trash and Illegal drug usage. The city, by not enforcing the laws, has created a safe haven for drug users. Along with this comes the trashing of one of Hawaii's most well-preserved beaches. The campgrounds also have become an area of sanctuary for the drug users and criminals to live and congregate. The number of property crimes in the area has gotten out of hand.

With a state so rich in beauty, it is a shame that we cannot take care of it. The city is trying to expand by moving everything out west, but what would draw people out here? "Kapolei, the Second Inner City" should be the motto.

If the state cannot take care of the property, then it should give it back to the Navy.

Dennis Kaczmarek


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