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'Fong' family story was well told

I enjoyed reading the "Fall of the House of Fong" (Star-Bulletin, July 5), and it gave me more insights into what has been going on in the late Sen. Hiram Fong's family than any other source I have read or heard about. I also thought it was balanced. I like to think that I would be unable to write a letter to a relative with the intensity of Marvin Fong's Dec. 6, 1985, letter, but your article gave some insights for his feelings -- not the No. 1 son, desire to control his own resources, concern that money was being wasted on the brother's speculative investments, etc.

I especially appreciated the insights into the cultural differences -- Hiram Fong's old school Chinese expectations, Marvin Fong's desire to run businesses in a more efficient (wife's MBA training, undoubtedly) and modern manner.

Richard Brislin
Professor, Department of Management and Industrial Relations
College of Business Administration
University of Hawaii-Manoa

Both sides of Fong story deserved telling

Reporter Sally Apgar and the Star-Bulletin deserve congratulations on the excellent July 5 story, "Fall of the House of Fong."

The Star-Bulletin over the years printed scores and scores of stories -- some verging on hagiography -- on Sen. Hiram Fong and his rise from poverty to wealth, and on his political prominence as the first Asian to serve in the U.S. Senate. When tragedy strikes -- and this family feud is a tragedy -- it is journalistic responsibility to report the sad news, too.

Hiram Fong Jr. summed it up poignantly when he said of his brother, "This whole thing with (brother) Marvin is like 'King Lear' or something out of the Bible."

Again, we have reason to be thankful that we have two competing daily newspapers in Honolulu.

Charles E. Frankel

Removing rail roadblock isn't that difficult

It seems the opponents of rail have nothing to fear these days. No commuter trains will threaten their cozy highways, and no tax increase will lighten their wallets. In fact, they don't need to worry about lobbying or sign-waving or even voicing their opinions! Nope, the good ol' bureaucracy infighting that is our island government's specialty will take care of everything for them.

The state and the city need to seriously start cooperating or this project will join its ancestors, wasting all the time and money that has been put into it so far. Seems the biggest roadblock is everyone saying "that's not my job" regarding tax collection. We need a compromise that will make everyone happy. The state, which has the appropriate infrastructure in place, should begin administering the tax as approved by the city. The city should set up the system to run the collection under a reasonable timeline, then take over the job when everything is ready.

In the meantime, perhaps everyone will realize that running two nearly identical bureaucracies is a waste of money and resources and agree that the city should contract the state to do the job for a reasonable fee.

Oh, wait. That makes sense, and that's not their job, either.

Jeffrey Tillson

Governor should rethink Akaka bill

It is one thing for Governor Lingle to personally support the Akaka bill. But to lobby Washington at our expense, for a race-based bill opposed by two-thirds of Hawaii's people, seems the height of chutzpah.

I don't know whether the bill's outcome will be as disastrous as anticipated, but when its supporters ignore us and stifle debate in Hawaii, I am suspicious.

Where is the will of the people? We need an informational program and a local plebiscite. If Hawaii's people support the bill, so be it. If not, Congress will know what we, not Lingle, want. And if Congress fails to respect our wishes, auwe!

John M. Corboy

Extremists are wrong about Akaka bill

Too many people seem confused, afraid or incorrect about what the Akaka bill means. What it will do is preserve the programs already in place, as well as future ones, that benefit Hawaiians; it prevents lawsuits such as Rice vs. Cayetano; and it provides a framework within which to build the Nation of Hawaii.

Despite what the extremists would ideally wish for (and many would agree with them), the reality is that the United States is not going to leave Hawaii, we are not going to revert back to the monarchy, and if the Akaka bill does not pass this year then it will most likely be a dead issue for the foreseeable future.

Is it not better to have an official legal recognition of Hawaiians as a native people and a framework within which they can begin to seriously build the Nation of Hawaii than have the programs for Hawaiians threatened constantly and no organized effort to truly build the Nation of Hawaii?

Anne Sabalaske

Most residents oppose passage of Akaka bill

Many of us find it quite odd that Hawaii's politicians are so devoted to the Akaka bill ("Lingle pushing Akaka bill," Star-Bulletin, July 6).

A recent online (unscientific) poll conducted by the Star- Bulletin showed that Hawaii's people are opposed to this race-based legislation.

A very fresh poll by Election Research has found that more than two-thirds of Hawaii residents opposed the bill as of last week.

Isn't there a story here that the news media won't cover? All of Hawaii's politicians are behind a bill that almost all of Hawaii's people oppose.

Can this only happen in Hawaii, or can it happen in other states where the news media refuse to serve the public interest?

Bill Jardine
Kamuela, Hawaii

Quick-change Kim should pick a party

As a former Big Island resident, I am disturbed by the fact that Harry Kim will once again switch political parties if he decides to run for governor. Obviously, Kim believes that party membership and affiliation is subservient to his political ambitions. This is not a desirable attitude in any candidate for public office.

William Moake

Never mind the pain, fireworks are fun

One of the nice things about living in Hawaii is our political leaders have the perseverance and guts to do the right thing even when there are compelling reasons to do otherwise. For example: fireworks.

In most other jurisdictions, when you add up the financial and social cost of having to deal with the effects of wayward fireworks, they would have concluded that the most logical course of action would be to outlaw them.

Our wonderful leaders, however, see beyond the many brush fires and strained resources of our firefighters. They see beyond the charred buildings and displaced families. They see beyond the burns, the breathing problems, the missing fingers and lost eyes.

Thank goodness our politicians realize that, despite all of that, fireworks are fun. The cost in dollars, property, limb and resources is but a small price to pay for the joy of burning money ... I mean, fireworks. I can't wait until New Year's Day, when we again get to experience the wisdom of our legislators.

Mark Middleton

Fires also are caused by tossed cigarettes

Fireworks, cooking fires and arsonists seem to be the big talking points when it comes to searching for the root of all of the brush fires we have seen so far this year. Yet I believe at least the media have been overlooking one serious cause -- people who flick their burning cigarettes out of motor-vehicle windows. This has been a problem for many years, and now that many new vehicles are being built without ashtrays, the problem seems to be getting worse.

We have been fortunate so far that death has not been a result of the recent flurry of brush fires and only one first-line fire apparatus has been lost. How long will luck hold out? We have an excellent fire-fighting force, but it can only do so much.

Bernard Judson

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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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