Tuesday, January 2, 2001
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Posted on: Tuesday, January 2, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Airline made right decision on flight

As parents of a flight attendant for Hawaiian Airlines, we were sad to read about the stranded mother and family who missed Christmas in Hawaii.

Their safety was more of a concern for us than their enjoyment of Christmas in the Islands. Other Christmas days will be enjoyed because Hawaiian set their priorities on safety and preserving their lives.

A big mahalo to the pilots, crew and Keoni Wagner for not compromising this family’s lives. I’m certain when the stranded mother has had the time to think about it, she will be thankful for the necessary delays. The photograph in the Dec. 27 paper shows the mother’s two beautiful children safe on their mother’s lap and a third safe at her side.

Judi Kelly

Women prisoners need rehabilitation, too

Women are drug addicts, too, and the sooner the State of Hawaii recognizes this, the better. The prison system in Hawaii is set up primarily for male offenders. It supports rehabilitation of the male offenders.

I’m currently incarcerated at the Women’s Community Correctional Center, and we have only 15 beds in the Hoomana treatment program, as opposed to the numerous beds at Laumaka, Kash Box and Cross Roads — all male programs. Where’s the justice here?

Drugs show no respect for gender. Why should the State of Hawaii only worry about the rehabilitation of the male offenders? We have plenty of female offenders, too.

Toni Riley

Hawaiians should not be Native Americans’

Clayton Hee’s Dec. 27 Island Voices commentary ("Demise of Akaka Bill will set back federal recognition for Hawaiians") is very revealing as to his true agenda.

Having tried to piggy-back onto almost every other successful legislation, Hee now hopes to convince the public that native Hawaiians are not the political group he once heralded, but are now Native Americans, equal in stature to their American Indian brothers and equal in line for the benefits the Indians fought hard for over the last 150 years.

Now, having found the holy grail of beneficiaries, Hee wants to cash in on the American Indian success. Unfortunately for him, Hawaiians will never meet the requirements to become Indians, nor should they.

My ancestors earned their rights and benefits from the blood they shed on the battlefield fighting against the "long knives." They were massacred until the rivers ran red with their blood. They were forced to live on Indian reservations with no schools, no rights, no ability to participate in the benefits of being an American citizen.

But now that the Indians have finally found their ability to turn the (gambling) tables on the white man, here comes Clayton Hee, wanting their status so he can open up casinos and tax-free service stations for a race of people who never suffered as the Indians did and were never denied any rights as American citizens.

Advocating the establishment of a welfare state of people who can join with a single drop of blood of the beneficiary race is an obvious attempt to get something for nothing.

Garry P. Smith
Ewa Beach

Drivers: Be aware of road workers

Please think carefully before you get angry about the road construction that always seems to be going on when you would like to go somewhere.

The gas pedal is not the way to control your rage. Next time count to 10 and think about why they have to be doing the work they are doing. It is either to improve the road that you drive on or to fix a dangerous gas leak, for example. They are not out there to irritate you. They are doing their job.

What would happen if you would accidentally hit one of these road workers? Besides turning the lives of their family members upside down, you could face anything from lawsuits to retaliation.

If that thought does not scare you, how about this? Traffic will definitely come to a stop if you hit one of the workers. Then you will not be going anywhere for a long time, together with hundreds of other drivers who have to wait because of you. You will suddenly be the center point of attention.

Another solution would be not to have any road construction at all. That would certainly fix the problem because in a few decades, there will be no road to drive on. Right on! So please, drivers, slow down, because we want our road workers to be safe and come home in one piece.

Simone Rhodes

Lottery in Hawaii could be profitable

If you’d like to get an overall view about lotteries, there are several major Web sites on the Internet, mostly negative, that discuss their pitfalls. But if we could overcome mismanagement, bribery and other problems associated with lotteries, I think a lottery in Hawaii could be profitable.

Everyone who lives in Hawaii knows sports betting pools and all other types of gambling flourish here. We all know that millions of Hawaii dollars go to Las Vegas every month — just check the travel agency listings in the Sunday paper. Face it. People in Hawaii love to gamble, and Vegas casinos capitalize on that fact.

We should first study lotteries and alleviate the problems other states have encountered. If the profits are going to our government and the people who play it know they can get something back, even if they don’t win, in the form of government benefits, what’s wrong with that? People know the odds are high, but it’s cheap and it’s fun for many people.

Here are some benefits other states with lotteries have been provided: less gasoline tax, free medical insurance for those who can’t afford it, more money for education, better roads, less state tax, more money for law enforcement and low-income housing, tourist money from all over the world adding to our economy, drug treatment programs, etc.

Why don’t our legislators work out the bugs and try it for two or three years, see if it works, at least see what kind of revenue it can generate? If it fails, discontinue it.

Bill Romerhaus

Military chaplain’ doesn’t make sense

Of all the popular oxymorons at play in American English today, none causes more mirth than "military chaplain." So I was fascinated by the Dec. 22 article from The Washington Post regarding the chief of chaplains of the U.S. military.

Is this guy confused, or what?

Name me a religion currently represented in the military by chaplains or lay leaders that does not preach "Thou shalt not kill."

Try to imagine Martin Luther King Jr. in a military uniform.

Hard to do, right?

As we approach that day in mid-January when we thank God that that man was born and lived (and the establishment thanks God he’s dead), the newspapers and other opinion-makers will trot African American, or other minority, military chaplains before us, claiming that, as a nation, we’ve made progress — although "we haven’t conquered racism and sexism yet."

Jesus weeps.

Frances Viglielmo

Long-term-care plan won’t solve problem

My criticism of Calvin Say’s Dec. 17 Island Voices commentary does not argue the merits or demerits of gambling as a desirable means for meeting the mounting costs of long-term care for the elderly. I join with many residents who fear gambling in whatever form will produce unintended negative consequences for Hawaii.

My main concern is with Say’s plan to establish a public trust fund in the amount of $400 million received from gambling revenues to pay for long-term-care insurance.

Say proposes creating a state income tax refund for long-term-care insurance to meet the cost of expensive skilled nursing home care that might be as high as $65,000 per year for Hawaii residents. This "silver bullet solution" is as much of a mirage as gambling is in solving Hawaii’s mounting long-term-care problem. The state Legislature, along with the executive branch, continues to look for simplistic solutions to complicated problems such as long-term care for the elderly.

Hawaii continues to lag behind many states in restructuring and reforming its policies and programs in long-term care. It must move quickly in developing a range of low-cost family- and community-based alternatives to institutional care of the frail elderly, starting with assistance ot families in caring for their elderly and then to senior housing complexes.

Assisted-living or independent-living approaches that enable the elderly to "age in place" with their families must become the main thrust of public policy for Hawaii. Without assisted living becoming an integral part of long-term care, the many thousands of elderly now residing in their own homes and senior housing programs inevitably become candidates for expensive nursing home care.

The proposed $400 million trust fund would be swiftly consumed by escalating skilled nursing home costs. This is fulfillment of the principle that the "buck follows the patient."

Oscar Kurren

High cigarette taxes are just plain theft

Why did the writer of the article on unpaid cigarette taxes in the Dec. 26 edition omit data on the effectiveness of a $1 tax per pack on the smoking habits of our population?

The simple fact of the matter is that no one really cares if our smokers are putting themselves in the grave. What the tone of the article did indicate is that everyone is very concerned about how much revenue is being looted for the state. It’s really all about money, not the smokers’ welfare.

Which reminds me of something F.A. Harper said: It seems that wherever the welfare state is involved, the moral precept "Thou shalt not steal" becomes altered to say: "Thou shalt not steal, except for what thou deemest to be a worthy cause, where thou thinkest that thou canst use the loot for a better purpose than wouldst the victim of the theft."

If you don’t think that cigarette taxes are theft, consider that the cost to manufacture and distribute the product is around a dollar per pack. The remainder is federal and state taxes.

Guy C. Monahan

Praise the Democrats for state’s economy

Scott Rose’s Dec. 28 letter repeats the false Republican mantra berating Democrats for Hawaii’s economic malaise during the 1990s. This mantra has gone unchallenged long enough.

During the 1990s, the four pillars of Hawaii’s economy all but collapsed. The downturn in the Asian economy pulled the rug out from under tourism. The end of the Cold War caused defense spending to plummet. Sugar and pineapple all but disappeared.

These conditions would have caused an economic cataclysm anywhere else. Yet, our average unemployment never got worse than the nation’s when President Clinton took over.

Under these circumstances, Hawaii’s economic performance during the 1990s should be considered a modern miracle. And, to the extent that economic performance can be attributed to government, the Democrats are entitled to a well-deserved bow.

Enough of these Republican lies, already!

Rick Lloyd

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