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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, October 28, 2002

Letters to the Editor

Punchbowl burial was indeed appropriate

An Oct. 24 letter to the editor by Mike Andrews entitled "Punchbowl burial is not appropriate" implied that Patsy Mink's interment was out of character with her politics and an affront to soldiers buried in those hallowed grounds.

Andrews needs to be informed that Patsy Mink did not gain her eligibility for burial in a national cemetery in her own right as an elected member of Congress, but as the dependent spouse of a World War II veteran, John Mink, who served his nation honorably.

Although I never agreed, concurred in or supported any of Mrs. Mink's political ideas or positions, she was first and foremost an American citizen. I went to combat three times in my Marine Corps career to defend, to my death, Mrs. Mink's right, and the rights of all Americans, to politically dissent or disagree — as did the thousands of American veterans buried at this national shrine.

Andrews needs to be reminded that not race, religion or politics dictates eligibility or appropriateness for burial, and the veterans who are buried in "Punchbowl" all knew they were making a sacrifice so that the pluralism of ideas could live, if they died.

Gene E. Castagnetti
Colonel, USMC (retired)
Director, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

Questions No. 2, 3 should be approved

I'm voting "yes" on Constitutional Amendment Questions No. 2 and No. 3. I'm convinced that if the HSTA and Mitch Kahle are opposed to Question No. 2, and the ACLU and criminals and their lawyers are opposed to Question No. 3, then both questions must be good for the rest of us.

The splitting of hairs regarding separation of church and state by Kahle is wearing thin and getting extremely boorish. And for Karen Ginoza to attempt to deny the opportunity for better educational facilities for any student is, well, shameful.

I also think it's about time we stopped worrying about what more we can do for criminals. Adding another way for law enforcement to do its job at less cost to the community, at the same time affording some rights to the victims, makes sense to me. After all, the judge will still have the final say, so the accused will not lose his constitutional right to due process. Question No. 3 provides rights to the victims while still protecting the accused.

A "yes" vote on Constitutional Amendment Questions No. 2 and No. 3 is good for Hawai'i and bad for those who have their own agendas to preserve.

Jim Fromm

Democrats couldn't get the education job done

I am a special-education teacher supporting Linda Lingle for governor. The problems we face are so severe that the federal courts have had to intervene.

Ben Cayetano and Mazie Hirono have had eight years not only to improve services for handicapped children but to improve education for all our students. The fact is, the Cayetano/Hirono administration failed. Our education system is in dire need of change, and we need leadership with a new attitude.

It is simply common sense. If you continue to do things in the same old way, you can only expect the same old results.

Cleaning up waste, ending corruption and revitalizing the entire state government system are a large part of the answer. Accountability and local decision-making are also important. Locally elected school boards with the power to spend state funds allocated equitably are essential to help those closest to the schools decide how to improve their schools. High standards for our schools and our students, reduced class size and safety are not exclusive to any political party.

Please look at the issues and then look at the facts. The Democrats had 40 years to get the job done.

Why haven't they? Make Nov. 5 the day for a new beginning. That's why I am voting for Linda Lingle and Judge Duke Aiona. I hope you will do the same.

Carol Seielstad
Hanalei, Kaua'i

Lingle's identification with Bush appalling

My wife and I seem to be among those swing voters (Case Democrats ready for a needed change) who could make the difference in the race for governor.

A few of our friends are tilting to Linda Lingle, but we are so appalled by the environmental, civil liberty and pro-war policies of the Bush administration, we just cannot bring ourselves to vote for this Republican candidate, who publicly identifies herself with that same administration.

Bill and Melodee Metzger

Military has also lost faith in public schools

Regarding your Oct. 21 article "Educators critical of GOP ad on schools," and specifically to those upset that this problem has been brought up: The people of Hawai'i aren't the only ones who have lost faith in Hawai'i's public school system. This reality goes beyond our shores.

I was told by one military mother, "You'd think that with Hawai'i's warm weather and exotic location, Hawai'i would be a great destination to be assigned for a couple of years, but it isn't. The reputation of military children having to take catch-up classes, to bring them back up to par once their parents are reassigned to the Mainland, is known throughout the military."

Another military mother told me, "Mainland parents know how important a good education is for their children to compete in today's world." It frustrates her that course requirements for her junior in high school are courses her daughter had already taken in her freshmen and sophomore years on the Mainland.

Eighty-five of Hawai'i's public schools have failed to meet the national minimum requirements. We have the highest percentage of parents struggling to send their children to private schools, so pretending that there isn't a problem — or attacking those addressing the problem — only contributes to Hawai'i's poor public school system and the reputation it has earned.

But don't kill the messenger. Put your pride and personal biases in check and redirect your anger where it belongs. Our current system has failed. Our huge lumbering centralized school system lacks accountability. For over 30 years, we've endured campaign rhetoric that education is important. Finally there is a plan, so let's work together for the reputation of our public school system and the education of our children.

Gerald K. Nakata

Broadsides against Clinton undeserved

Two letters have thus far been published bashing our soon-to-visit former president, Bill Clinton, "who did so much to diminish the office of the presidency."

No mention is made of his ability to diminish a great deal of the national debt or the number of unemployed or the size of the federal government (Reagan and the elder and junior Bush can talk the talk, but fail to deliver).

Folks who think like those letter writers authorized the $80 million Whitewater investigation of Clinton's losses in a real estate deal. Failing to make headway, the meritless Paula Jones case was brought in with the help of more conservative money and a biased Supreme Court.

Finally, the "investigation" morphed into Clinton's private consensual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, and the question was asked: "Did you have intercourse (defined as a sexual relationship) with that women?" To which he answered "never" (the truth). Yet he has since been branded the biggest liar since Satan (one wonders what they would say if he had actually lied).

I wonder how G.W. Bush would fare if a partisan Democratic special prosecutor looked into his ill-gotten $40 million fortune (that then morphed into his substance abuse).

David Bailey

Self-determination is key to cultural survival

H. William Burgess' Oct. 23 letter seems to be an excerpt from a textbook on revisionist history.

To begin with, claims of slave labor and dispossession support the bold notion of harsh oppression at the hands of the kapu system. This is laughable as Hawaiians lacked a monetary or land ownership system.

Eventually, the kapu's abolishment led to an increasing influence of foreigners on the government. Ultimately, foreigners manipulated the naive government to gain ownership of huge tracts of land during the Great Mahele.

Once the Hawaiians were dispossessed, they were pushed down the socio-economic ladder. Today, Hawaiians occupy the lowest rung — where factors ranging from the involvement of outsiders in OHA to leasehold conversion threaten to remove them from even that subservient spot.

In contrast, the apex of the Hawaiian nation occurred during the rule of Kamehameha. At that time, the kapu system was still operating and the government was not strangled by foreigners. Kamehameha allowed Hawaiians to have equal footing in dealings with the Westerners. By Hawaiian standards, it was an unparalleled time of peace based on the Law of the Splintered Paddle. The law ensured fairness and basic rights for all people.

It can easily be seen that Hawaiians were relatively more prosperous under Kamehameha than they are today. Self-determination is the key to cultural survival.

C. Harrison Wassman

Bali in Hawai'i? It could happen

The tragic bombing in Bali that killed nearly 200 people is not something we can simply leave to the "swift and decisive response" that Washington is hoping for. The attack underlines our own vulnerability and should serve as a warning to us, especially since any response is likely to be met with further terrorist action against the United States.

Hawai'i is a vacation destination not unlike Bali. Should terrorists target a hotel or nightclub in Hawai'i, in addition to loss of life, the economy of the Islands would be instantly devastated. We are too dependent on tourism to survive massive cancellation of travel plans from Asia and the Mainland, as Bali and Indonesia are now experiencing.

What we need is an instant dialogue and first-rate planning to reassure the public that bomb-making materials can't simply be floated ashore at night and used for an act of terrorism right here. We can't rely on intelligence from Washington to protect us — the essence of terrorism is surprise, and we don't want to be surprised that way.

This newspaper and our state government need to begin that dialogue so we can be assured that all preventive measures are in place.

It's no joke, it's nothing to put off, it's not a paranoia — we must not be the next Bali.

Larry Geller

What if Libertarians had million-dollar budgets?

Our governor's race has deteriorated into something nasty and irrelevant.

The two so-called "major" campaigns are avoiding intelligent discussions of real issues. Professional campaign organizers who are willing to sacrifice the quality of public discussion on the altar of winning are running both these campaigns. They have an obligation to the people who donated all the money to act this way. You, the voter, are merely a pawn to be manipulated.

Wouldn't it be nice if Libertarians had media access to challenge these two on real issues?

Imagine a candidate running ads that educated voters about our economy.

Imagine ads that challenged the conventional wisdom on drug policy or asked the fundamental questions plaguing our schools rather than superficial ones.

Suppose some candidates ran ads saying yes, we will work with all the Hawaiian sovereignty efforts and not try to mainstream the issue through OHA. Don't you think we would end up with a better governor in an election that included these discussions? Instead, we get ads featuring the Democrats and Republicans posing with kids or old folks and smiling at us, or we get snotty attack ads.

The Libertarian Party has one of its best spokespeople running for governor this year in Tracy Ryan. Her out-of-the-box ideas have been well received at forums and on public access TV. Her idea to decriminalize addiction and by doing so cut property crime by 50 percent to 90 percent was enthusiastically applauded at a gubernatorial forum in Kona.

Yet how much will you hear about this from the mainstream media, which receive the millions of dollars in advertising purchases from the mainstream candidates?

No, we Libertarians don't have million-dollar budgets and won't owe our success to anyone but you, the voter.

Roger Taylor
Chair, Libertarian Party of Hawai'i