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Lingle's appointments were legitimate

The headline on the March 28 article about Governor Lingle's government board and commission appointments relative to donations to her election campaign was misleading.

The headline "Lingle donors get 20 percent of jobs" implied that this amount of appointments is improper. It could just as accurately have said, "80 percent of jobs go to Lingle nondonors," right?

It must be expected that some donors will be appointed to jobs in the administration. There's nothing wrong with that if they are qualified for these appointments. Only if the donors lack credentials should there be raised eyebrows. The Star-Bulletin should not try to create a story of scandal where there is none.

Stuart N. Taba

Let Maui be test site for traffic cameras

If Maui Rep. Joe Souki is so sure that traffic cameras will be the real cure for reckless driving -- even in the face of wide-spread public opposition -- let him try them for a one-year test period in Maui County. He might do his constituents and the rest of us a big favor.

John Pearson

Traffic fines idea is creative thinking

The bill submitted by City Councilman Charles Djou to make traffic fines administrative citations is a brilliant idea. There is absolutely no reason why the city should issue tickets with the money collected from the fines going to the state, which is responsible only for the court proceedings. Not only should the city keep the fines, but the money should be earmarked for the police department to cover costs directly associated with enforcing the law, such as new equipment and safety gear for the officers.

Some would cynically say that this creates a bounty system. Aren't we all interested in enforcing the law to cut down on speeders, red-light runners and expired tags? This bill is long overdue and deserves passage by the City Council and hands off by the Legislature.

Garry Smith
Ewa Beach

Columnists pinpoint our education needs

Because I believe democracy can survive only with an educated citizenry, I heartily subscribe to ideas presented by two brave people -- Mark Rosenbaum and Kelly Takaya King. Their articles appeared in your editorial pages March 28.

As pointed out by Rosenbaum, we need a public school system that is well funded, respected and devoted to helping children learn. The outspoken Rosenbaum described why our children must learn to speak and write good English and learn the difference between privileges and rights. They must be willing to shoulder responsibility and take consequences. Then our democracy might realize the dreams of our forefathers.

King asks that we start by permitting more citizen involvement through local school boards. Politics and control, though wonderful in the hands of right-minded people, can erode to selfish use of power.

The question remains, who is influential and right-minded enough to lead us?

Adrienne Yee

County tax on gas puts Hawaii at No. 1

Rep. Kenneth Hiraki stated recently that Hawaii has the seventh-lowest state taxes on gasoline in the United States. While this is technically correct, it is only part of the picture.

On top of federal and state taxes on each gallon of gas, every county adds its own tax. The truth is that when federal, state and county taxes are considered, Hawaii has the highest taxes per gallon of gas in the country at almost 55 cents per gallon -- about 12.5 cents more than the national average.

Our elected representatives should not be playing word games with this issue. It is insulting to the consumers of Hawaii to misrepresent the facts about how much of the price we pay for gas goes to government in Hawaii. The Legislature must stop misrepresenting the situation to push through a bad law.

Ryu Ishida
Kahului, Maui

Soldiers' departure stirs up memories

The Star-Bulletin had such a powerful front page on March 19, with photos of Schofield's 25th Infantry deployment ceremony depicting the emotions only military families understand; and, to the lower left, the article "Schofield suffers first Iraq fatality."

It took me back to my youth and the many goodbyes I experienced at such ceremonies. My last occurred in 1972 on the piers of Pearl Harbor, where I bid aloha to my father with a firm handshake. My heart-wrenching emotions were saved for the rock jetty, where I watched the powerful fleet of "Destroyer Squadron Twenty-Five" navigate toward Vietnam. I found comfort in numbers as a deep fear overwhelmed me.

These past six months, I have had the pleasure to shake hands and "talk story" with our Schofield soldiers who frequent Mililani Town Center. All took the time to answer my questions regarding their feelings of "heading into harm's way." Their responses ranged from tremendous pride to uncertainty to the fierce excitement that only youth provides.

Such raw emotion and looming fear can only be truly realized by those families directly involved.

It has been an honor to have met these fine men and women.

Stephen J. Renn

Bicyclists aren't safe on Kuhio anymore

Installing planters in the middle of Kuhio Avenue is a waste of tax money. It is economically unfeasible, unsafe and downright stupid! Our taxes should be used for fixing potholes.

I ride a bike down Kuhio Avenue every morning. I felt quite safe when the avenue was wide, but now that the city has narrowed the lanes, I don't feel safe with a bus or truck breathing down my neck.

In the more modern cities in Japan, the sidewalks are wide and bikes are allowed on the sidewalks for safety reasons. That's good city planning. Where are our bike lanes, Mr. Mayor?

The new lanes will be too narrow for fire trucks, buses and large delivery trucks that keep our restaurants, hotels and shops in business.

Is the city concerned about safety? Is the city concerned about the kamaainas who live here and use Waikiki?

The new Waikiki does not feel safe and user-friendly like the old Waikiki.

Gil Leong

Don't blame McD's for your poor choices

Many people are aware of the bill before Congress that would shield fast-food companies from lawsuits such as those related to obesity. I agree with this bill because the ramifications of a lawsuit related to obesity as a result of fast-food consumption are ludicrous.

In a recent case, a man was suing McDonald's because he "didn't know" that it would make him fat. As a result of such actions, McDonald's is taking "Super Size" off the menu. Such action never should have been taken because McDonald's, as well as other fast-food restaurants, makes accessible the nutritional information of their menu items. Furthermore, it takes little more than common sense to figure out that the greasy food served by fast-food restaurants is unhealthy. I support this bill, which would put an end to such idiotic lawsuits.

Isaac Opedal

Separate boards will serve schools better

A letter to the Star-Bulletin (March 28) written by Hilo school teacher Kim Springer incorrectly credited me with voting against locally elected school boards for each neighbor island unit. This is credit I respectfully decline. I am strongly for school boards on the neighbor islands and on the Big Island in particular.

Since statehood, we have had one centralized school board. Some have argued, despite the results, that having a single, central Board of Education for the state is a plus. If that is so, why doesn't any other state have a statewide board?

Local control of education promotes public participation and parental involvement. We have seen elsewhere in the nation that local control encourages educational experimentation, flexibility and adaptation to community needs.

We must break up Hawaii's large school district into eight local districts, each with its own locally elected board made up of citizens of the island or community. We must change education to bring it closer to parents and the communities where families live.

What the governor proposes is to let the people choose what system they want. That is why we want to have the issue placed on the ballot. I am confident that the voters will select a change from the tried and found faulty current system.

Rep. Mark G. Jernigan
(R, Kailua-Keauhou)

Bush campaign ads tell lies about Kerry

In his attack ad "100 Days," President Bush says Sen. John Kerry would raise taxes by $900 billion in his first 100 days in office. This is a lie. Kerry will repeal the Bush tax cut only for families earning $200,000 or more, simply returning those families' taxes to pre-Bush rates. He will close corporate tax loopholes. And he will provide tax cuts to working families to help with health-care costs, which have increased dramatically under Bush.

The president says Kerry wants to weaken the Patriot Act. This also is untrue. Kerry wants to strengthen the parts of the Patriot Act that actually fight terrorism, such as intelligence information sharing. However, he believes there may be parts of the act that take away our freedom without providing any protection.

In another ad, Bush says, "We can continue to go forward to work to create new jobs ... and decrease the cost of health care." Here is the truth: America has lost 2.4 million jobs since March 2001. Bush has tried the same remedy for three years -- massive tax cuts for the rich -- and for three years that remedy has failed.

Americans can expect this campaign to be brutal in its truth-telling, but should not tolerate underhanded lies.

Polly Hampton

Turn to FOX to hear the truth about Clarke

Twenty years ago, Paul Krugman could have referred to the "facts" in his March 24 column unchallenged. Today, events surrounding Richard Clarke's 9/11 testimony show reporting has become more balanced.

Before Clarke testified, and appeared on CBS' "60 Minutes," five reporters attended a background briefing by the White House. A tape of Clarke's opinions of the Bush administration's anti-terror effort was played. Reporters were authorized to compare this with statements made during the public part of the 9/11 hearing.

Only one organization, FOX, played the tape that shows Clarke's statements in public and in his book are at odds with those made more than a year earlier. After Clarke appeared, the chairman of the committee stated a lot of the testimony was at odds with what was said behind closed doors.

Before FOX, columnists like Krugman, or shows like "60 Minutes," could be taken as reasonable presenters of facts. Today, the Clarke episode indicates otherwise.

Pat Kean
Kihei, Maui

Clarke's criticism comes far too late

This namby-pamby rhetorical diatribe started by Richard "20/20 Hindsight" Clarke boggles the mind.

Let's analyze the London blitz, or find out what could have been done to avoid President Kennedy's shortened tenure, plus his sexual persuasions. We failed at Pearl Harbor, too. And where were Captain James Cook's bodyguards in 1778?

From now until doomsday, unlike any other nation on Earth, we are eternally obsessed with who did what, why, when and with whom.

On Sept. 11, 2001, we were hit. It happened. We were helpless. We are attempting to deal with it, with brave men and women of our armed forces dying every day.

People like Clarke should be issued uniforms and shipped off to Iraq on the front line, doing or helping what he thought should have been done -- and shut up.

John L. Werrill

During time of war we can't have it all

The pot of resources available to provide police and fire protection, sewer service, garbage service, build and repair roads, educate our children is finite. This means that regardless of wishful thinking on the part of much of our community, there is no such thing as "free money."

We are at war. It is not a painless war, and it is one that we could easily lose.

We need to prioritize our requirements and recognize that if we fail to preserve our nation, issues such as the future of Medicare and Social Security are meaningless, and if we want to expend all our resources on litigation of frivolous matters, or investments with little likelihood of success, we may fail to sustain the nation, educate our children or repair a decaying infrastructure.

Setting these priorities is difficult, and in the process someone will be disappointed. We elect officials to do this, and they prove their mettle by making the difficult decisions properly.

Colin M. Jones




Hawaii is popularly known as "The Aloha State." What might be a better slogan?

To get started, think about what you might see around the islands -- rainbows, waves, sand, traffic jams, homeless orangutans ...

Send your ideas by April 21 to:

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

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

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