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Give Lingle a chance to turn Hawaii around

It is amazing to see those who voted for the Democrats year in and year out jump to criticize Governor Lingle's way of running the state. They seem to be blind about who got the state in the precarious economic position it's in now.

Lingle has only been in office for two years, and has done a pretty darn good job compared to the previous 40 years under the Democrats.

Matt Martin
Las Vegas, Nev.
Former Hawaii resident

At least reservists weren't drafted

So some reservists are upset that their employer, the U.S. Army, is not giving them much time to get their affairs in order. (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 28) Not only that, but they will have to get by on a lot less money.

Why is it that when weekend warriors get called up, they are upset? I wonder if they complain as loudly when they have to do their annual training. Or do they gladly accept the pay for playing war games?

The hardship associated with my military service is somewhat similar. When my orders came, I was a night-school college student and employed full-time. The time between notification and when I had to report was less than three weeks. However, my call-up was for two years of active duty.

During my military service, my earnings hit a high of around $3,000 a year! But that's where the similarity ends. I was called to be a competitor in the "Southeast Asia War Games" from 1966 to '68. I was a draftee. Never enlisted.

As a matter-of-fact, immediately after induction, when I was asked what I wanted to be, I responded, "A civilian!"

I was an unwilling participant, unlike the two individuals mentioned, who knowingly and willingly signed on. They should be less concerned about the loss of earnings, and the associated hardship, and more about something really important -- self-preservation!

Michael L. Last
Naalehu, Hawaii

We've seen this brawl before, haven't we?

It's the same ol' story with the University of Hawaii football team. Taunting, arrogant behavior, big fight, lame blame game, big talk of disciplinary action, then no disciplinary action.

If you think there will be any changes, dream on. There are no consequences for fighting. No loss of jobs, no suspensions, not even acknowledgement of fault. My only question -- when's the next fight?

Clark Himeda

Brawling players should be punished

University of Hawaii football coach June Jones' response to the Hawaii/Houston Bowl Brawl after the game on Christmas Day certainly indicates that some action should be taken against UH.

Jones was annoyed by allegations against himself and his team. It appears that winning the game is placed above all else by UH.

As the host team, the UH players should have displayed a little more aloha to the visiting team.

This is not the first time UH players have acted in this manner towards visiting teams. I see a trend here.

What are the penalties for this violence? Suspensions? Forfeit the game? Fire the coach? I think UH needs to take action to correct this problem once and for all.

Robert Dunn

Koreans in Japan don't need visas

The Travel Industry Association of America has warned that visas for South Korean applicants could fall by 300,000 on a yearly basis because the great majority of South Koreans, who previously could get visas by mail, now must stand in line and pass an interview.

Tourists contribute $88 billion on a yearly basis to the U.S. economy, or at least they did. Now all visitors are being fingerprinted and photographed before deplaning. By October of this year, Swiss, French, Italian and Spanish visitors will be required to have machine-readable passports, something they do not have at the present time.

Tourists from Japan already have such passports and are not required to have visas to enter the United States. Larry Hayashida (Letters, Dec. 31) claims that South Koreans are saddled with North Koreans. He says that this is "the defining factor" in preventing the South Koreans from participating in the visa-waiver program with the "settled, affluent" Japanese.

Tens of thousands of Koreans died in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. After the signing of the Peace Treaty between Japan and the United States, a million Koreans residing in Japan became stateless.

Some returned to Japan's former colony both to the north or to the south of the 38th parallel, while others remained in Japan. Presumably every jumbo jet from Narita contains such assimilated Japanese nationals who aren't required to have visas.

Every U.S. passport asks that the person named therein be allowed to pass without delay or hindrance. It seems reasonable that South Koreans be accorded that basic courtesy.

Richard Thompson
San Diego, Calif.
Part-time Hawaii resident

Pride, fear follow nephew back to Iraq

Cuahutemoc "Tiger" Simpson, 27, of Brownsville, Texas, is a medic with the Second Armored Calvary Regiment of the United States Army, and my favorite nephew. He will soon return to Iraq after spending the last few months recovering from severe wounds he received while on patrol outside Baghdad on Sept. 17.

The Army has told Tiger that because he was wounded in action he doesn't have to go back into combat. His mother and father don't want him to go. I have begged him not to return. But Tiger says it is something he must do. "It's my job. It's my duty. It's what I signed up for. I can't stay here when the rest of my unit is over there," he said.

So, any day now, he will be heading back to the war zone, and may even be there already. I'm worried, frightened about what could happen. I wish he would stay where it is safe. I wish there was no war.

Still, I am so very proud that my nephew has chosen to put duty, honor and service to his country above his own personal safety, comfort and welfare. He certainly doesn't want to die, but he believes with all his heart that America is worth the ultimate sacrifice. It is because of him, and all the others like him, that this country is a great nation, and that freedom and justice will triumph.

Please remember Tiger Simpson in your prayers, and all our young men and women in uniform who daily put their lives on the line so the rest of us don't have to.

Evelyn Cook
Kapaa, Hawaii


Okamura retires from volcano observatory

IN TERMS of glamour, Arnold Okamura's job wasn't dazzling.

Descriptions of the "firsts" in his career at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory would likely produce puzzled expressions, if not glazed eyes. Examples: Okamura installed the first borehole electronic tiltmeters on Kilauea and Mauna Loa and the first spirit-level tilt network on Mauna Loa.

No matter if laypeople can't understand the significance of those achievements. It is enough that they grasp that Okamura's 39 years at the observatory helped in the understanding of volcanoes and how we can live safely among them.

Okamura retired Saturday as deputy scientist-in-charge after more than 42 years with the U.S. Geological Survey. His work took him to dangerous locations, such as Mount St. Helens the night before its deadly and destructive eruption.

But the windows at his office, perched on the edge of Kilauea caldera, offered the most splendid views of any work place in the world. That's dazzling enough.




What should the city do with
the elegant old sewage pump station?

It's empty and fading, and now it's taking a beating from all the construction going on around it. The O.G. Traphagen-designed sewage pump station on Ala Moana Boulevard, more than a century old, is a monument to the glory days of municipal architecture, when city fathers took such pride in their community that even a humble sewage station became a landmark structure. Millions of tourists drive by it every year, and it's an embarrassing reminder of how poorly Honolulu treats its historic landmarks. Over the years, dozens of uses and excuses and blue-sky speculations have been suggested for the striking structure. Now we're asking you, Mr. and Mrs. Kimo Q. Publique, what should the city do with the elegant old pump building?

Send your ideas and solutions by Jan. 15 to:

Or mail them to:
c/o Nancy Christenson
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

c/o Nancy Christenson


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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