Letters to the Editor

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Article brought back Pearl memories

Thank you for the Dec. 6 article by Leila Fujimori reporting the visit of Zenji Abe to the tomb of Richard Fiske. I received it from a friend and fellow Pearl Harbor survivor who lives in Marin County, Calif.

On Dec. 7, 1941, my friend John McGorin was a signalman on the battleship USS California. I was a radioman stationed at the Naval Air Station, Ford Island. My battle station was in the southeast wing of the administration building. Because I was at the south end of Battleship Row, California was the nearest battleship and was clearly visible through the glass window panels that lined three sides of the communications office. Soon after the attack started, my view quickly deteriorated. Although the administration building was not hit directly, the nearby blasts and flying shrapnel destroyed the glass and permitted smoke from burning oil along Battleship Row to enter the office, reducing visibility to a few feet.

Youngsters, like me, and older veterans alike retain memories of that day that we will remember as long as we live.

Again, thanks for an excellent article.

Euclid R. Flowers
Longview, Texas

Graner's Abu Ghraib superiors also guilty

Army Spc. Charles Graner Jr. was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in committing humiliating cruelty to Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Action-wise, he was undoubtedly guilty. Conversely, however, shouldn't some higher- ups who might have created an "ambience" to foster such actions be held accountable to some degree and not make the subordinates the culpable scapegoats?

Tetsuji Ono

Retailers do contribute to recycling effort

I wish to respond to your Jan. 6 editorial suggesting that retailers and beverage producers haven't contributed much to the state's recycling effort.

Retailers and beverage distributors are the largest contributors of money and labor to the Deposit Beverage Container Law. We have been paying the state a "handling fee" and deposit since Oct. 1, 2002. The total amount of money collected by the state is between $8 million and $12 million. Most of this money was absorbed by industry to help fund the program. We also had to account for employee overtime to label beverage containers during a very short, 60-day transition period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2004, our traditional busy sales period of the year.

The primary reason why retailers haven't established redemption centers is that we have had little time to research the costs and benefits to create these centers. It is not possible to transform our stores into redemption centers overnight.

Also, if we voluntarily take back containers and are not certified by the state as a redemption center, we do not qualify for the two-cent or three-cent handling fee that the state pays recyclers. How do we recoup this cost?

Ed Thompson
Hawaii Food Industry Association

We should keep alive tradition of fireworks

In response to "Fireworks money could be better spent" (Letters, Jan. 6): What is wrong with Hawaii's people celebrating a tradition that has been around for generations?

Why can't we put aside the world's problems for one day while we hope for a better year for our family and friends? We will have lots of time to mourn the world's problems tomorrow. Believe me, they will still be there.

So to you the letter writer from Waipahu from another person in Waipahu, have a Happy New Year and let me light these 10,000 firecrackers for you. Happy New Year to all and to all good luck.

Mike Silva

Smoking danger is worse than fireworks

Every year, it's "Ban the fireworks." The people complaining are absolutely right. It causes too much pollution. It's the cause for many fires. Many get injured by it.

When they do ban fireworks, they should ban smoking, too. Smoking kills more than 440,000 every year. Why aren't people getting upset over the smokers' pollution? It's way more deadly than fireworks.

Alvin Wong
Pearl City

We subsidize tourism, why not higher ed?

There was a time in Hawaii when higher education was encouraged by keeping tuition low at the University of Hawaii. The thinking was that low tuition would benefit individuals and society itself by producing more college graduates.

However, those who argued that there was no free lunch and everyone must pay his or her own way succeeded in raising tuition in order that students pay a greater share of the cost of their education.

On the other hand, many of the same people who would have students pay more of their educational cost are those who keep increasing the taxpayers' subsidies of the tourist industry. Government pays for much of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau costs, the entire $350-plus million cost of the convention center and the annual redoing of Waikiki. Taxpayers are now giving convention center users free rent. Benefits will trickle down to taxpayers or ripple toward them.

Well, now, isn't what's good for the goose good for the gander? In addition to or instead of subsidizing tourism, which is doing very well, let's restore our low-tuition subsidy of higher education. The ripple effect or trickle down to individuals and society are much more real and profound.

Richard Y. Will

Homeowners need tax relief right now

It didn't take the City Council long to decide not to do anything for the residents of this county with respect to property tax relief ("Property tax relief put off," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 21). And from the news story it would appear that one person, Ann Kobayashi, is making that decision. All the statements made contained those catch phrases such as "we have to be cautious and do this right" and "we have to analyze to see what we have." Statements from the administration haven't been encouraging.

In the past people have referred to Kobayashi as the puppeteer who pulls the strings on the Council. It appears they are right. It's time that the other members take the bull by the horns and do what's right for the residents of this county. If Kobayashi doesn't want to go along, then they should reorganize and isolate her.

Last year we were hit with both an increase in property values and a raise in rates, a double whammy. The Council members sat on their hands then and did nothing. It appears that is their intention again this year.

All residents, be they property owners or renters, should let their City Council representative know that some form of relief needs to be forthcoming now, not some promise for future relief.

Bill Nelson

Let's end tyranny at home first

Inauguration news headlines read "Bush starts new term, seeks end to tyranny." One can only hope that President Bush seeks to end his own tyranny first, then move on to rid us of the other sick and twisted tyrants of the world.

Michael Lauck

Freedom took holiday on Inauguration Day

"Freedom" means 100 square blocks of a nation's capital locked down and under armed guard. President Bush, "Whatsoever ye sow, that ye shall also reap."

Tom Huff

Use proven methods to upgrade transit

If the Legislature would plan for tomorrow instead of today, Oahu's traffic situation wouldn't be what it is today.

However, rather than re- invent the wheel, AGAIN, lawmakers should look at solutions that already work in other cities around the nation.

If the taxpayers are going to have to take on the added cost, then they should only purchase a solution that works, not one that will have to be fixed, AGAIN, five, 10, 20 or 50 years from now.

The current H-1 and H-2 are totally inadequate, and H-3 is quickly being overloaded.

Look ahead!

Bill Martin
Kurtistown, Hawaii
Former Kailua, Oahu resident and commuter

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