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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 3, 2003

Letters to the Editor

Soldier's letter from the front eloquent

As a visitor to Hawai'i for over 20 years, I have often thought of responding to letters or columns in The Advertiser. Today I feel compelled to comment on the beautifully written letter by Pfc. Nathan Kalani Bouchard (April 2).

Being a retired English teacher, I am greatly impressed with the eloquence of Nathan's message from the frontlines and his ability to support his views.

I commend his teachers, who taught him well, and his family for instilling such courage and dedication.

We should all be very proud of such fine defenders of our freedom.

Annette Vogelsang

We support our troops but not this aggression

I am a World War II veteran who was in the Normandy invasion. I am a patriot. I support our troops. I do not support this reckless war.

Ever since World War II, the developed nations have worked to create a world of international treaties, laws and democracies so that we can live in a world of peace. We have seen great progress, but the actions of our president have undermined that and taken us back to the 19th century, to a world of endless war, of nation attacking nation.

Taking out the other guy before he takes you out is something out of the Wild West, or out of a Hollywood movie. It is a philosophy of lawlessness and violence, of power wins.

Those of you who wave flags and signs reading "Support our Troops" are really demonstrating in favor of this war. We all support our troops, but those of us who wish for, and work for, a world of peace do not support acts of aggression of this nature.

I suggest you use less emotion and more reason and that you have respect for those who differ from you. That is the road to peace.

L. de Chambs

It's time to take U.S. side in war with Iraq

Protesters: Wake up! Shut up!

By comforting the enemy, you are delaying closure to this Iraqi fracas.

We've passed the point of no return. Right or wrong, good or bad, win or lose, we are in this together. It's time to take sides.

Pity Barbara Bush. Her husband was hounded for cutting short Desert Storm. Now the protesters are faulting her son for not halting midway. Stay tuned.

Fred Mazik

Newspaper is slanting coverage of Iraq war

I am appalled at the slant your newspaper has chosen to take in reporting the war. A quick scan of the sources for Sunday and Monday's articles shows an overwhelming reliance on traditionally anti-military publications like The Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune and, most biased of all, The Washington Post.

If you intend to serve as a biased news filter, rather than as an objective news service, you should indicate as much.

Even the front-page pictures reflect The Advertiser's blatant anti-military slant. From the dozens of AP photos available, you chose on Sunday to depict smoking Royal Scots Dragoon Guards taking a break while Basra burns as if they were celebrating the destruction. Monday's photo of crying children fleeing Basra ran under the headline "Allied forces inching closer to Iraqi capital," in a clear attempt to imply that the coalition is wantonly terrifying children.

Simultaneously, you have the audacity to ask military families to send in photos of their loved ones serving in the Persian Gulf. Frankly, after the unmitigated bias in your publication, I would not trust you with photos of the honorable men and women who are serving in the Gulf whom I hold dear.

Kate Lokahi Berry

Security checkpoint being overly zealous

I recently traveled to Kaua'i as usual with my key chain and keys in my carry-on. No problem. On the way back, I was stopped at the security checkpoint. Why? My 2-inch Swiss Army classic — scissors, file, small "blade," toothpick, tweezers, key ring.

I was allowed to go to Kaua'i but not to return because this is a weapon — thrown into the security abyss, never to be seen again, except for being melted down into something new or perhaps auctioned off.

I called six times to 1411 for a human, only to get a busy signal or the "wrong" department. Scary concept, especially if you knew someone was disgruntled and heading to one of our airports with a real weapon.

You could injure someone more severely with a 25-foot tape ruler from Sears or a pen on an airplane. Security people should review their procedures.

Keith Cronin

Patriot Act II would take away freedoms

Your March 17 editorial "Is our greatest threat from within or without?" is exactly on target.

John Ashcroft's Department of Justice has written a piece of legislation called "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003" — also known as "Patriot Act II" (it expands on Patriot Act I passed in October 2001). It could be presented to Congress at any time.

Patriot II gives the government the right in cases such as the one you described to put someone in jail without access to legal counsel, without charges — in other words, without regard for our constitutional rights.

And there's more: U.S. citizenship can be taken away if a person belongs to an organization the government later defines as "terrorist." The public can be forbidden access to information about environmental pollution — even when it affects their health. The Justice Department, CIA and FBI will have broader powers to learn more about individuals (DNA, credit reports, for example) than ever before.

Here we are fighting a war against tyranny and terrorists, and our government comes up with the hypocritically named Patriot Act II, which takes away some of the very freedoms for which those tyrants and terrorists of the world hate the United States and which they would be happy to see us lose.

Judith and Robert Goldman

New garbage pickup plan has problems

I have been reading about the new plans for garbage pickup and am concerned about the following:

• If we only have one bin and it is to be used for garbage/green waste/recyclables, there is a problem. What do we do with the garbage while we are filling the bin with green waste or recyclables? I find that when I trim trees, I really need more than one bin.

I suggest that we stay with the two garbage pickups a week plus have an extra bin for green waste/recyclables. Many of us already take our newspapers, plastic bottles, etc. to the school recycling bins.

• Charging for pickup would be a problem. Some people appear to be respectable but many simply do not pay their bills. Collecting payments could be an expensive project.

I would suggest that Brunch on the Beach and other "frill" programs be discontinued and that the money be put into a premier waste pickup system. Right now the system is good. With the addition of an extra bin for green waste, the problem would be solved.

Nancy R. Jones

State should 'trump' city on condemnation

We disagree with your editorial position (March 26) that the state should not "trump" the city's position on condominium leasehold condemnation.

The overwhelming public outcry against condemnation resolutions 300/301/302 in December 2002 failed to persuade the City Council to examine the premises of Chapter 38 as to the presence or absence of public purpose imbedded in this law.

The present City Council, although willing to examine the premises of the law, would still prefer compromise rather than repeal.

This strikes us with much the same irony as if a thief — the city in this instance — strived to broker an agreement between the recipient of stolen goods and the victim, such that the stolen goods would be shared equally.

Your editorial correctly contends that Chapter 38 is in fact modeled on state law; however, the city chose to corrupt the intent of the state law by specifically targeting leasehold condominium properties rather than the leasehold residential properties, which the state law — very properly and successfully — intended to target. Senate Bill 1468 is intended to — very properly — revise the state law to both target and eliminate this corruption by restricting condemnation action to residential properties only, as was the original intent.

We find it very significant that the City Council has been very silent on this "trumping" by the Legislature. It's reasonable to conclude that its collective silence is synonymous with silent applause for the Legislature for relieving this council of a very large political headache. We applaud the Legislature, also.

Robert and Paulette Moore
Pearl City

Will long-term-care tax be deductible?

If the long-term-care insurance bill passes this year and the tax is implemented, will residents be able to use it as a medical expense when they itemize their tax return deductions as is allowed with the federal return?

If this is written into the bill, will the $10 monthly tax (the initial year and the subsequent years' increases) be deducted as a "separate line item" when our employers deduct the Hawai'i state tax from our pay? By this, I mean, will we be able to distinguish the long-term-care insurance tax from the state income tax deduction, and will it be a separate item displayed on our W-2 forms?

I don't think it is fair for the state to "have its cake and eat it too" and the taxpayers not get anything for what they pay into the system, especially if they leave Hawai'i (there is no language in the bill regarding receiving coverage for the amount of tax paid in) or if they pass away before they are eligible to use the insurance.

Michael F. Tanigawa
'Ewa Beach

Give thought before breaking up the BOE

Rep. Roy Takumi showed good sense in trying to corral the bill to split the Board of Education into seven districts.

Fundamentally altering the BOE is a massive undertaking, one that our lawmakers should think long and hard about. This action would affect the lives of virtually every family with school-age children in Hawai'i.

Before we start walking that path, we must establish signposts that will help guide us and avoid dead-ends that will not help our schools. HSTA's board of directors has developed a set of guidelines for everyone who cares about public education to use in considering which road to follow:

  • The board must be elected. This is the only sure way to guarantee accountability to the constituents the board represents. The board must represent its constituents and fit the "one person, one vote" philosophy. This is the only way to ensure that democracy is perpetuated.
  • The board must preserve collective bargaining. Collective bargaining protects employee rights and ensures smooth transitions from district to district.
  • The board must not add to the bureaucracy. It would be counterproductive and against plan objectives to create a new layer of bureaucracy in the education system.
  • Any change should not create additional competition for funding within the school system. Schools are already underfunded; any changes should move more money to the school level, not less.
  • The board should have an identifiable function. Form should follow function, not the other way around. Change for the sake of change is not prudent.
  • There should be clear lines of authority. Without them, accountability is impossible.

These guidelines are not the final destination of this journey. Instead, they are there to help us find the best path.

Remember, public schools are Hawai'i's future. The leaders of the 21st century — the ones who will, in a few short years, navigate this state through the lightning-fast global economy — are in public schools today. Our future prosperity depends on the choices made now.

Karen Ginoza
President, Hawai'i State Teachers Association