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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Letters to the Editor

To our readers:

Saturday will be the last day we will run "political" letters or commentary on the general election until after Election Day.

Mother's arrest to get at daughter outrageous

I just read your article on the arrest of Lisa Otsuka's mother on an unpaid traffic ticket, to question her on an unrelated matter. I am thoroughly outraged and disgusted at this complete lack of prosecutorial discretion and judgment.

I am 70 years old and have never displayed any public statement of this nature before. I felt compelled to write in this case. While I am not opposed to bringing criminals to justice, the harassment and destruction of a single innocent person's reputation and life in this case is one too many.

The city prosecutor, Police Department and anyone else involved in the arrest should be ashamed of themselves.

Richard H. Endo

Blame the Democrats for tax on medicine

The thing commonly mouthed off by Democrats is that the Republicans favor the rich and big business.

But what all voters need to remember is this: Taxes on medicine and medical services are taxes levied on the sick and the dying who are the ones compelled to get medicine and medical services.

Hawai'i is supposedly Democrat country. So, this macabre tax on medicine and medical services that affect the sick and the dying must have come from the Democrats.

So, to Hawai'i voters, I say: If you want to continue to tax the sick and the dying, vote Democrat on Nov. 5.

Ruben R. Reyes

Vote for Mazie, Matt for what they stand for

I will be voting for Mazie Hirono and Matt Matsunaga, not for their party affiliation, but for what they stand for.

Contrary to the statements of others, these two individuals have typified what the Democratic Party stands for: equality, inclusion, opportunity, liberty and justice for all.

Far from living the privileged life of others, Ms. Hirono's hard life as an immigrant child forged her lifelong commitment to public service and the fight for equality. Her outer persona belies her inner toughness. She has the intelligence, experience and strength of a leader. No other candidate has had to work so hard to get where she is than Mazie Hirono.

Starting life off as an immigrant who spoke no English to being on the verge of making local and national history is nothing short of astonishing. Ms. Hirono carries with her not only the burden of our ancestors, whose sweat and hard work made the Republican powers of the time rich, but their hopes and dreams of making better lives for all of us.

Together with Matt Matsunaga, an honest, hard-working, experienced and highly intelligent state senator raised by a father who paved the way for other Asian Americans in the highest realms of politics and who fought extremely hard for equality and Hawai'i statehood, there can be no better team.

Keevan K. Matsumoto

Matsunaga also was part of law firm in Maui suit

I am informed that Mazie Hirono is running a television ad with my photo saying that I am a "Lingle insider" and received fees of approximately $350,000 as a result. The ad no doubt is referring to the fact that I represented several Maui County officials in a federal lawsuit involving complex issues over a considerable period of time.

I do not recall the actual total amount of legal fees for the extensive legal work, but $350,000 may be correct. The case was ultimately very successfully concluded and dismissed against our clients.

I understand that the ad states that I received these fees. In fact, the partnership in which I was a member, the Carlsmith Ball law firm, received the fees based on Carlsmith's detailed and itemized bills to Maui County for legal services of myself and others in the firm who worked with me on the case.

During the entire time these services were preformed and payments made to my partnership, Matt Matsunaga was a partner with me in Carlsmith Ball. Therefore, it would be correct to say that the payments were made to the partnership of which both Daniel Bent and Matt Matsunaga were then partners.

To my knowledge, no one at the time questioned the work performed or that the fees paid were those typically associated with the defense of complex and long lawsuits.

Daniel Bent

Time to stop backing the Democratic Party

With the exception of those having a vested interest in the status quo and the Democratic Party, it is difficult to understand how educated and learned individuals can be hoodwinked to continue to support the Democratic Party, its politicians and benefactors.

I believe there are sufficient reasons to vote and elect those who may bring about changes that will preclude fraud, mismanagement, old-boy network, nonbid contracts awarded to selected individuals and the many deficiencies reported by the state auditor too numerous to mention here.

And now, the Democratic Party has stooped to bring in a liar, a draft-dodger, an individual with low morals who has brought shame to our country, especially to the Oval Office, an impeached president, to campaign for the governor for the state of Hawai'i.

We must wake up and think: Vote intelligently. Disregard especially the push for ethnic voting, and elect members of the party that will bring changes that will benefit most of the people of Hawai'i. Vote Republican.

Howard S. Okada

Why no complaints from the Democrats?

I noted in Jim Kelly's Oct. 27 After Deadline column, concerning reader scrutiny of your political coverage, that you used four separate examples to explain your actions. However, all four were examples of readers complaining of slanted coverage against Republicans.

With all the mail you receive, surely there are some disgruntled Democrats, or is it that The Advertiser is truly a mouthpiece for the Democrats and your way of reporting always pleases them?

As you said, it will be a challenge covering former President Bill Clinton. Many of your readers will be reading closely to see if you are truly unbiased.

Ron Varley

Educational reform unlikely to happen

Election season is here, but will reform happen in the schools? I doubt it. Neither government nor the teachers' union is willing to make the necessary concessions for meaningful education reform.

Consider a system designed to produce the best pool of instructors. This requires two steps: substantially increasing teacher salaries and eliminating tenure. Higher pay increases competition for teaching positions, which then increases the quality of instruction. This only works without tenure because tenure destroys competition for jobs, artificially blocking access to teaching slots.

In the long run, each group benefits. Government will be able to brag at election time about the vast improvements in education and also that it values education enough to pay teachers high salaries. Teachers will actually be paid what they're worth — much more than present salaries. Students will enjoy great educations.

Unfortunately, government does not believe in education enough to pump up salaries, and the teachers' union would die on the block before giving up tenure and job security.

In the end, we are left with the usual hollow rhetoric of election time.

Darin Leong

Letter writer wrong about van cam vote

A badly misinformed letter was published recently regarding my vote and the van speed cam issue. Let me make it absolutely clear: I voted to end the van speed camera program.

This vote is easily confirmed by consulting with the 2002 House Journal record of votes or going online to the state legislative Web page. I find the letter suggesting otherwise to be calculated to mislead voters and support my opposition.

As soon as the van speed cam problem arose, I co-sponsored legislation on this very topic. Additionally, there was no situation where someone "approached me" during sign-waving to talk about my vote on this. We have had a threatening motorist, which was reported immediately to the police, but there was no such conversation with a motorist on this topic. Certainly not one where I ran away. To where?

My volunteers have been eyewitnesses to all the sign-waving interactions we have had — the vast majority of which has been very positive, supportive and enjoyable. I am happy to talk with anyone about my vote and to provide documentation of my vote to end the van speed cam program.

It is too bad that someone finds it necessary to fabricate votes rather than to criticize the way I actually voted on bills.

Rep. David Pendleton

Rep. Pendleton was against traffic cams

I appreciate the kudos I received in a recent letter to the editor for helping to repeal the ill-fated traffic cams. But the writer misstated the position of Rep. David Pendleton.

I'm proud to say that David Pendleton is my representative and I'm happy to report that he voted against the traffic camera program throughout this past legislative session. To be entirely fair, all the Windward legislators, both Republican and Democrat, were on the same side of this issue.

Finally, the letter writer had it absolutely right when he noted that Rep. Pendleton is "a good man." He's a good man who campaigns fairly and positively, and I look forward to working with Rep. Pendleton on behalf of our constituents throughout the upcoming legislative session.

Bob Hogue
State senator, Kailua-Kane'ohe

Japan needs someone to give, not receive, help

Walter Dods' Oct. 13 Focus report on the Japan-Hawai'i Economic Council meeting in Yokohama, Japan, depicts the cluelessness of Hawai'i's leaders in grasping the dynamic nature of Japanese tourism in Hawai'i.

The disappointment is that Dods' report articulates the attitude of how the leadership continually views Japanese visitors to Hawai'i. In other words, how can we get more yen from them?

Is this all the Hawai'i leadership cares about after over a hundred years of Japan-Hawai'i relations? The fact is that Japan is facing one of its most challenging times ever. It is no exaggeration to say that Japan's economy and society may be on the brink of a catastrophic collapse. Increasingly violent crime and suicides and even the breaking up of the family unit itself confounds Japanese society today.

Why isn't Hawai'i offering and giving assistance to the Japanese people in their time of need? Hawai'i could easily offer suicide prevention professionals, law enforcement experts or even experienced parents to speak on the joys of parenting.

Japan is in need of help from the outside to solve its problems inside. Japan needs someone to give instead of so many others who want to take. Hawai'i has so much to offer. Isn't helping others in need the essence of aloha?

Bob Iinuma

Quit knocking Hawai'i's public school system

I am so tired of hearing people knock the public school system.

My granddaughter attends Ma'ili Elementary out on the Wai'anae Coast and she's doing very well, thank you. I have found the teachers to be very caring. I think as long as you have a teacher willing to teach and a student willing to learn, that's all you need. I know a lot of public school graduates who have turned into successful, productive citizens.

So enough, already.

Theresa E. Ramos

Dobelle anti-Semitic position is worrisome

As a female Muslim student at UH-Manoa, I was shocked to know that President Evan Dobelle signed a letter "decrying anti-Semitic intimidation on U.S. campuses in the wake of a series of incidents," according to Professor Miriam Sharma (Letters, Oct. 20).

For a moment I felt unprotected and confused — what does that mean? Does it mean that Jewish students on our campus will be more protected than Muslim students? What if I am attacked by someone? Will President Dobelle help me? Or, will the letter he just signed influence his ways of dealing with Muslims like me on the UH-Manoa campus?

As an university student, I always thought that presidents of universities needed to be neutral when it comes to religions. The UH-Manoa campus is giving me tools to better understand the world we live in, and consequently, I am learning a lot about giving a chance to peace and justice. I have Jewish friends and we get along great. We sometimes wonder what is wrong with the rest of the Muslim and Jewish worlds.

Mr. Dobelle should be against any kind of intimidation toward any student on campus, including Jewish and Muslim students. Part of being an excellent leader is the ability to look above and beyond differences.

I feel that President Dobelle, in signing the letter, chose one side, and that is a shame. Right now, if I meet him, I would probably feel alienated rather than welcomed.

Mona Darwich