Letters to the Editor

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Life at Manoa isn't like a box of chocolates

Life is like a circle. Everything comes around to the beginning again. When I was a student at Manoa in 1968-'71, housing was also at a premium and in short supply (Star-Bulletin, July 15). I remember when the university had to open the pineapple research building and put up cots to accommodate the students. I even think tents were erected, too. But by the time school started most students had rooms.

Allan Stern
Professor/program coordinator
Safety Technology Program
Marshall University
Huntington, W.V.

Tinman staff, helpers came out ahead

A hearty congratulations and mahalo to Tinman Unlimited for an outstanding 24th Annual Tinman Triathlon held July 18 in Honolulu.

As a first-time Tinman participant, I was impressed by the impeccable organization and support of the Tinman staff, the Honolulu Police Department and 400 volunteers (including keiki!) who made this major event a memorable one.

We spent several hundred dollars on airfare, accommodations, food, bike shipment and more, and it was well worth every cent. We were warmly welcomed by the aloha spirit everywhere we went.

Without a doubt, the city of Honolulu was rewarded economically, not only pre-race but after the race, as well.

Will we return for another race? Absolutely!

Dolores West
Kilauea, Kauai

Toughen the penalty for gifts to politicians

The only reform that is required to ensure compliance with the political donations law is to change the penalty; make it a felony to break the campaign spending law. I am sure that consultants, contractors and others will think twice before "bundling" their contributions and exceeding the legal limit in campaign contributions. A felony conviction has too many consequences and would therefore be a effective deterrent.

Herbert H. Minakami

City awards contracts in an impartial process

A recent editorial makes the point that favoritism in awarding contracts should not be allowed in exchange for campaign contributions.

We agree. That's how the Harris administration has been operating since Mayor Harris was elected in 1994, but you would never know it by the news coverage and editorial comment ("Campaign spending reform needs big changes," Editorial, July 15).

We have stated again and again that there is absolutely no connection between campaign contributions and the awarding of consultant contracts. We also find it ironic that most news stories on this issue are focused on Mayor Harris when he was the one who cleaned up government by taking the necessary steps to stop past practices.

Your editorial shows you don't understand the consultant selection process. Civil service employees evaluate and recommend to the director of their respective departments and the chief procurement officer, the best candidate based solely on qualifications and the experience of the firm.

Neither the mayor nor the managing director are involved in the selection process. This firewall has been intentionally set up to make sure that there is no political influence on the selection of consultants.

Yet you continue to imply that there is a link between campaign contributions and the awarding of contracts. There is no quid pro quo.

Chris Diebling
Deputy director, Department of Budget and Fiscal Services
City and County of Honolulu

Legislators obliged to attend golf outing

I applaud Rep. Romey Mindo and Sen. Willie Espero for following through in their legislative duties by participating in a golf outing held in their district sponsored by the Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Association. Had the cost been valued higher than $200, a report would have been submitted and filed. Since the event was conducted on the legislators' own time and valued less than $200, there was no need to infer in your June 12 story and subsequently a letter to the editor, that something was askew in it all.

I refer to the July 19 letter by Shayne Keith of Ewa Beach titled, "Some legislators need update on ethics." He purported that constituents can garner attention by giving something of value to legislators in exchange for the legislator's time. Such an innuendo is false. Anyone who requests a meeting with Espero can do so. No constituent need ever dangle a carrot stick to be heard.

The golf and hotel industries are vital components of our economy. It is important that lawmakers are educated on the challenges these industries face. Espero has five golf courses in his district that employ hundreds as well as being responsible for representing constituents who work in the hotel and tourism industry. To not attend the golf outing would have been an affront to his constituency.

Keith's letter failed to illustrate a most important fact: The state Ethics Commission is not investigating the matter. Why? Because no wrongdoing transpired. No message from the commission was overlooked by Ewa Beach lawmakers as Keith has implied.

Tom Berg
Office manager for Sen. Willie Espero

Nader spoils chance to elect Democrat

Ralph Nader is a "spoiler" candidate; everyone knows he cannot win the presidential election, yet he is entering the race. His ego is huge, clouding his judgment. He loves the publicity. Because his philosophy of government is closer to the Democrats, he will siphon votes from Sen. John Kerry. It will be a surprise if Kerry wins the election despite Nader.

How Tim Chang

Texans can honor Japanese the right way

Regarding the July 20 front-page story "Detour!": Can we suggest to the officials in Jefferson County, Texas, to change the name of the road to "Japanese Road"? Just adding my two cents.

Robin Sakamoto


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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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