Saturday, January 6, 2001
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Posted on: Saturday, January 6, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Forget revisionists; let’s move forward

Your Dec. 31 editorial "Hawaii’s resolution: Let’s move forward" was a fantastic piece and a great way to end a year and start another.

It is so important to focus on the future and to prepare for the many challenges facing Hawaii. History is subject to revision by all interested parties, and reliving the past only benefits the social entrepreneurs.

We need to concentrate on using the best of Hawaii’s culture with a future-oriented response to the inevitable continuation of globalization. We need everyone involved in the innovations to government structure, education and business so we can expand the pie and just re-carve it.

Richard Silc

Gambling legislation should get hearing

According to the 2000 Hawaii elections, one would believe that the voters of Hawaii want change. However, I question the sincerity of some who voted for change but who yet seem to support the status quo.

One particular issue that comes to mind is legalizing gaming in Hawaii, which is supported by House Speaker Calvin Say. Opponents of gaming in Hawaii go to the Legislature year after year, bringing with them their fuzzy data as to why gaming will not work.

Say’s legislation calls for the implemention of casino gaming, with the profits going to long-term care for Hawaii’s elderly. I have always believed that the gaming issue should be put to Hawaii’s voters via a nonbinding referendum, so as to allow the people, and not the Legislature, to decide whether or not gaming of any kind is good for Hawaii.

Furthermore, all revenue from any form of legalized gaming should be put into the state general fund and not earmarked for any particular program, as the Legislature has a tendency to overspend in areas where they foresee a potential surplus.

At the very least, Say’s legislation should get a hearing in the state House. The House Republicans should especially support this bill because, as far as I can remember, it has always been the Republican philosophy to allow taxpayers to vote on issues that directly affect them.

Whitney T. Anderson

UH being mistreated in educational mission

Three cheers for Professor George Simson (Focus, Dec. 31) for speaking the painful truth about the University of Hawaii. So long as UH is treated by state politicians as a cash cow for lucrative contracts and not as an educational institution, our university is condemned to mediocrity.

The fundamental problem with UH is rooted in its politicized governance. Unlike distinguished public universities elsewhere, the UH Board of Regents is appointed by the governor and not by an independent board to represent the trilateral interests of government, business and civil society. The result is often a board and UH president more focused on special interests than the higher educational needs of the people of Hawaii.

Simson also has identified a great opportunity at UH that is being missed. The 21st century might be labeled a Eurasian Century. The Old World is rising up to the challenges of the New World in the formation of a European Union, with the rise of China, India and East Asia, and a resurgent Russia. The major world challenges and opportunities are taking shape on the Eurasian landmass. With the great pool of faculty talent at UH and the East-West Center focused on the Asia-Pacific, conflict and peace studies should be considered an area of potential excellence here.

Yet, the Matsunaga Institute for Peace is starved for resources and UH still lacks a multi-disciplinary center for international conflict and peace studies worthy of its faculty and their contributions.

Majid Tehranian
Professor, School of Communications, University of Hawai
i at Manoa

Letters demonstrate need for the military

Congratulations to Derek Phillips. His Dec. 23 letter invoked shame against those who would foolishly endanger the safety of our nation by opposing military training.

Like moths to a flame, two of your readers, thus shamed, were drawn to reply in ways that exactly demonstrate the point Phillips makes.

Adrian Kamalii (Letters, Dec. 27) says he is confused: "Why must a valley be a butt for warlike practices." He suggests: "Move the training elsewhere, or just cease the practicing altogether." One wonders, given the enormousness of his confusion, why he doesn’t favor eliminating U.S. armed forces altogether. Without combat training readiness, these forces would be of little use in defending the country, a matter Kamalii obviously considers well beneath his concern from his comfortable, protected vantage point.

Richard Poo (Letters, Dec. 30) demonstrates even greater confusion, admitting, "All this time I thought [freedom] was a constitutional right of ours that didn’t need to be given’ to us by the military." Someone ought to point out to Poo that his so-called "constitutional right" to freedom wouldn’t be worth a tinker’s damn without the millions of young men and women who voluntarily risk everything they have, day in, day out, so Poo and his fellow citizens can enjoy precious freedom. Freedom is not free.

Thomas E. Stuart
Kailua-Kona, Big Island

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