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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, January 31, 2003

Letters to the Editor

Anti-war protesters need to know the facts

The time has come for someone to write this. I do it without apology or the least sense of trepidation. For too long now, many of us have sat back and listened to the anti-war demonstrators attack our president and this great country.

For example, a letter on Jan. 23 by Sylvia Brown, "Those against war with Iraq must speak out," reasons that "by definition, being an American means that we can and should speak out when our leaders are, in our opinion, leading us into disaster." This type of failed logic and weak stance against our enemies is precisely why our country is becoming soft around the middle.

Brown and many like her would have taken this same stance with Nazi Germany or the Empire of Japan. How much "evidence" do these people need that Saddam Hussein is a present threat to the stability of the world? How many more images of Kurdish mothers clutching their infant sons, while they both died from Saddam's poisonous gas, would these people need before they concede that something must be done? How many Kuwaitis need to be raped and pillaged and how many Scud missiles fired at Israel before these Americans get their collective heads out of the sand?

The Iraqi people have been oppressed long enough by this tyrant. A pre-emptive strike is needed — and our hearts and prayers go out to those who so bravely must deliver it.

Chris Roth

Fritz Rohlfing qualified to serve on U.S. court

The Hawai'i State Bar Association, which understands judicial issues and practices in Hawai'i much better than does the American Bar Association, found Fritz Rohlfing "highly qualified" to serve on the U.S. District Court.

The question arises, then, "What are the real reasons some in the ABA decided otherwise?"

Those on the ABA review committees — who tend to judge based on criteria other than competence to serve — should recuse themselves. Their actions don't fool the discerning observer. Rohlfing is as qualified to serve as are the present U.S. District Court judges.

I can only hope our U.S. senators will come to recognize that the ABA recommendation is tainted and give Rohlfing the support he deserves.

Phillip C. Smith

Health Dept. should help subsidize A-Plus

As a working parent with two children in the after-school A-Plus program, I am disturbed that the program may be forced to close before the end of the school year.

When I pick up my children in the evening, I have noticed that the majority of the A-Plus children are running around and being physically active. Given the current high rates of obesity in our children, it would seem that the A-Plus program is valuable in protecting the health of our children.

A suggestion, then: Why not have the A-Plus program subsidized by the Department of Health (tobacco settlement money?). A subsidy now will prevent higher healthcare bills later from unhealthy and overweight children and adults.

N. Davison

Pay police what they're worth and they'll stay

I wouldn't usually involve myself in a discussion among current or former Honolulu Police Department officers about whether those "officers who deserted HPD for money reasons are less than honorable." In this case, I think I have the duty to do so.

I recently retired as a precinct commander with the King County (Wash.) Sheriff's Office. I had several former HPD officers at my precinct. These were the men who came over on our most recent recruiting drive.

Whether the former HPD officers came over years ago or recently to the Mainland, their reasons were to make a better life for their families. If they could have made a decent living wage with the HPD, most, if not all, would still be working in an HPD rather than a KCSO uniform. On the Mainland, they don't have to work overtime unless they choose to.

I took the time to talk to all those at my precinct, and the reason cited most often as to why they left paradise for the cold rain of the Pacific Northwest was for their family. They can't believe how much home they can buy here as opposed to on O'ahu. They do miss family and friends, but they are willing to make the sacrifice for their loved ones. Their reasons were honorable.

I agree with Sgt. Stanley Garcia that perhaps those who are "less than honorable" are those who have decided to not pay those who Protect and Serve a salary competitive with that paid by other metropolitan police departments. You can't spend the sun.

Hawai'i's loss is the Pacific Northwest's gain.

Maj. Francis Kinney
King County Sheriff's Office (ret.)

Improved healthcare for veterans in works

I want to alert your readers to three recent decisions that will improve healthcare for veterans in your community and across the nation.

First, President Bush will propose to Congress the largest budgetary increase for healthcare in the history of the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is 7.7 percent larger than the expected fiscal year 2003 level. The president, in a time of tough budget decisions, has again stepped up to the line on funding to keep America's promise to veterans.

Second, in the annual healthcare enrollment decision required by law, I announced the continuation of healthcare enrollment for 6.8 million veterans in Priority Groups 1 through 7, with a suspension of enrollment for new Priority Group 8 veterans.

Third is a new plan between the VA and the Department of Health and Human Services for a program that will allow eligible veterans to use their Medicare benefits for VA care.

Together, these actions will make a significant difference to our core constituency — the nation's service-disabled veterans and the nation's poorest veterans.

The VA faces the largest patient load in its history, and it is mushrooming. More than half of new enrollees are higher-income veterans without compensable service-related medical problems. Without an enrollment suspension, demand will outstrip our capacity in staff and resources, further reducing our ability to serve our core constituency.

These actions together will help us maintain healthcare quality and continue to reduce waiting lists for services at VA hospitals and clinics.

Anthony J. Principi
Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Lingle is out of touch on Bottle Bill repeal

I am alarmed by Gov. Lingle's bill to repeal the Bottle Bill of the 2002 Legislature. The message I get is that she is out of touch with the facts of our solid waste emergency.

Is Lingle getting her information on this matter from the same sources and voices who provided her with garbled facts about our judiciary and misinformation about Supreme Court rulings? Not only that, but on matters of quality of life and the environment, is she willing to turn her back to the moderate voices within her own party on this issue? The Bottle Bill was approved by such Republican voices of reason as Rep. Cynthia Thielen, Sen. Fred Hemmings and former Rep. Mindy Jaffe.

Fred Cash

Hawai'i should build a casino in Las Vegas

Why can't the state of Hawai'i conduct a feasibility study regarding building and running a casino in Las Vegas? How much would it cost? Does Nevada permit other states to run a business in its state?

This way we thousands of Hawai'i residents can spend our money in "our" casino. Maybe more would go if they knew the money was coming back to Hawai'i. More travel would help the two local airlines.

If we build a casino, it should be of Hawaiian design to attract more people to visit our state.

Finally, if this is feasible, all profits should be earmarked for our Department of Education. Let's find out.

Roy L. Benham

Parents responsible if A-Plus is ended

Susan Flater's Jan. 23 letter on BOE budget cuts must be considered a classic.

Her question — "I would like to know where my children are going to go and who's going to pay for it" — epitomizes all that is wrong with today's society.

There was a common saying when I was a child about someone with a "handful of gimmee," and boy, does this fit that description.

It may not be politically correct, but the answer is that, since they are your kids, you pay for them and you decide where they are to go.

It is a sad day when the mere fact that no "official" playground is available relieves parents of the responsibility for taking care of their own children.

Don Chambers

Fish feeding ban may have created danger

I have a theory regarding the dreadful increase in drownings at Hanauma Bay.

We have visited the Islands regularly over the past 15 years. When we first went to Hanauma Bay, visitors were allowed to feed the fish, so a great many varieties were in shallow water. This allowed less powerful swimmers, such as myself, to snorkel and see them without going out of our depth.

While I approve of environmental protection, having visited this year, I think swimmers are tempted to go beyond their capability in order to see the fish in deep water that could be observed by just wading a few years ago.

A.T. Harper
Huddersfield, England

We must develop plan to stem the tide of ice

Kudos to Peter Carlisle for educating the Legislature about the latest battlefront for social services. "Teens on ice" is scary, and "pregnant teens on ice" is even scarier.

Teens are now being admitted to acute psychiatric services so psychotic that sometimes they don't mentally come back, ever. What a waste of human potential and a cause of family heartbreak.

We as a state must develop a plan to stem this ice tide.

Sally Rasor Good

Union workers trained well in specialty work

While we respect the thorough investigative reporting done by Jim Dooley to get all sides of the story in his "UH bid process unfair" article on Jan. 21, we would like to point out a grave misconception held by some individuals like Gary Wiseman, executive director of the Associated Builders and Contractors, in the story.

His assertion that project labor agreements (PLAs) on construction projects — where work on that particular job is done completely with unionized craft people — drive up the price tag is completely untrue.

The assumption that PLAs are bad and that unionized construction labor is more expensive to taxpayers has got to stop. Cheapest (lowest bid) doesn't necessarily mean better.

More than 23 states in the U.S. have PLAs as standard operating procedure when it comes to large, publicly funded construction projects.

Of these PLAs, which include some of the largest dams and bridges in the country, these union agreements have resulted in 100 percent of the projects being on or before deadline, and on and under budget.

The reason? Union members in construction and telecommunications — with the strength of management and labor working together — are the most highly skilled workforce in Hawai'i and the U.S. for what they specialize in. They perform their work efficiently and safely, saving their clients — and us taxpayers — as they work.

We hope the new state administration considers this fact amid the continued hype of talking about awarding contracts based on the lowest possible bidders. If Gov. Lingle seriously wants to talk about value and fiscal responsibility, she must remind her staff to take other qualities into consideration when looking at bids, including who is properly licensed to perform the work involved, liability, track record and qualified workforce.

Gerald Yuh
Business manager/financial secretary, IBEW, Local 1186

Harry Kameenui
Business manager/financial secretary , IBEW, Local 1260

Harold Dias
Business manager/financial secretary, IBEW, Local 1357