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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, June 3, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Reverend should stick with religion

The Rev. Bob G. Jones (Letters, May 27) seems pretty cavalier, writing about "Israeli propaganda managers." He also asserts that Israel is not a democracy.

Well, Arab Israelis vote, serve in the legislature and at all other levels of office in Israel with one exception: They are not required to serve in the Israeli defense forces.

From Day 1, Israel's neighbors have pledged to drive every last "Zionist" into the sea. In fact, not only do no Jews serve in government in any Arab country, but they are not welcome to live there (as people of all faiths are welcome in Israel).

Daily, anti-Israeli and anti-American hate propaganda that would shock most Americans is taught to youths in these countries. And let's not forget the hundreds of Israeli commuters, schoolchildren and shoppers who have been killed by suicide bombers in recent years.

I must wonder if it is prudent for a "man of God" such as Mr. Jones to call the head of state of an ally (or any nation) a "sociopath." Does that further understanding? Does his elaborate use of ecclesiastical title indicate that he speaks for the local Episcopal Church?

Just for the record, my aunt has lived in Jerusalem for many, many years. She, like her neighbors of all faiths, just wants a life of peace and tolerance. She loves visiting us in Hawai'i because of our aloha spirit. I'm glad she didn't see Mr. Jones' letter in our local paper.

Demonizing Israel helps how?

April Weiss

Iraq has turned out to be a mistake

Finally, the media are reporting the reasons the Bush administration should not have gone to war in Iraq. The public deserved to hear these warnings sooner.

The AP quotes retired Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, who was commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000 and who was a special Middle East envoy from 2001 to 2003, as speaking out against invading Iraq before the war began. He regarded it as "disastrous for Middle East peace, and a distraction from the war against terrorism."

Last Monday, he said, "Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was not worth the price." Zinni added, "He's a bad guy. He's a terrible guy, and he should go. But I don't think it's worth 800 troops dead, 4,500 of them wounded — some of them terribly — $200 billion of our treasury and counting, and our reputation and our image in the world, particularly in that region, shattered."

We now see that invading Iraq increased terrorism. We are now an occupying army in a country that does not want to be occupied. If a foreign nation invaded and occupied my country, I, too, would become a rebel and an "insurgent." Like the French Resistance in World War II, I would risk my life to kill the invading troops. I cannot see how any reasonable person can still support the war in Iraq.

George Bush's monumental mistake in "going it alone" in Iraq, and pursuing Iraq's oil under the pretense of bringing the people "democracy," will continue to cost this country lives, money and respect for years to come.

Sally Raisbeck
Wailuku, Maui

Wonderful dispatches

Jan TenBruggencate's dispatches from Hokule'a are well worth the price (even the Neighbor Island price!) of The Advertiser. I look forward to each one. He should put them in book form when the voyage is over. Aloha to him and the voyage crew!

H. Wyeth
Anahola, Kaua'i

Lingle should apologize for Vietnam comment

Gov. Lingle needs to apologize to the nearly 60,000 families of those killed in Vietnam and to the veterans who served there and survived.

In her statement at the Memorial Day service, she said she'd heard people compare the war in Iraq to Vietnam and she thought that was wrong.

The mission in Iraq is a valuable one, she said. She talked of Hawai'i's sons and daughters she had met on a visit to Iraq, and of the importance of the work they were doing. They were heroes, she said.

So ... what the veterans and victims of Vietnam did was not valuable and was not important? Thanks, Linda!

Richard A. Braley
Marine Corps combat artillery officer in Vietnam, 1967 to 1969

Minors should not be allowed in truck beds

I am glad to hear that "Click It or Ticket" includes checking the rear seat for children to be buckled up. I have seen too many instances of people, including children, not wearing seatbelts just because they were not sitting in the front seats. But the law requires that passengers under 17 must be restrained in vehicles no matter where they sit in the car.

I also wish there were a law to prohibit minor-age passengers from sitting in the back of a pickup truck. I certainly am in favor of enforcing any law that protects those who have the least political and social power, i.e. minor-age persons.

Mariea A. Vaughan
'Ewa Beach

Hanauma Bay money must be kept separate

The May 30 editorial "Hanauma Bay can't be the city's cash cow" is absolutely correct.

City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said there are no unmet needs at the bay ("City wants to raid Hanauma proceeds," May 29). But the same article states there are three positions unfilled at the preserve — a groundskeeper, a park attendant and a cashier — which would obviously make it more difficult to maintain public access and still protect and preserve the bay. That sounds unmet to me.

How can the city in good conscience use funds from Hanauma and jeopardize the treasure we are entrusted to maintain for the benefit of the people? Hands off the funds; protect Hanauma Bay.

Sherre Ftaclas
Hawai'i Kai

'Baban' article reminds us of real family values

I was very touched by the article "An era fades with Baban's passing" by Advertiser staff writer Wes Nakama. Like him, I too have a grandma from the same McGerrow Camp in Pu'unene, Maui, who is now 91 years old.

Nakama's article has made me reflect on how lucky we have been as a result of my grandma's hard work and sacrifices. I hope others, including some of my own family members, have read this article.

Too many times, we get caught up in our own selfish lives. We value our independence so much that we do things or don't do things for the wrong reason. Specifically, my grandma has five children. Now that she is older, she needs her children to help take care of her. Some children forget what their parents really did for them.

I am thankful that my parents have not fallen victim to this and have willingly and unselfishly taken Grandma into their home. I know sadly that this situation occurs often in Hawai'i, and I hope that this article by Wes Nakama has made some of us rethink what our priorities are and learn about sacrificing and repaying our elders for what they have given to us.

Michele Kaneshiro

Is Carlyle's purchase in best interests of Hawai'i?

Verizon has announced that the Carlyle Group is concluding negotiations for the purchase of Verizon Hawaii.

The Carlyle Group is a leveraged buy-out organization that has never owned a phone company the size of Verizon Hawaii. The Carlyle Group has been known to invest for high rates of return by selling off parts of the businesses that it buys because the pieces are worth more and turn a quick profit. Its approach has not always been a long-term commitment to a business it acquires.

On May 12, Sen. John McCain of Arizona had a hearing to discuss telecommunications policies in the competitive marketplace. In attendance were the CEOs of Verizon, Alltel, ComCast, etc. Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon, testified before the committee: "Since the act (1996 Telecommunications Act), the only way any (telephone) company has made money in the wire line business is by selling itself. That is a

100 percent true statement so no one is making money organically, they're making it because they run the business to a certain point they have to merge with somebody or sell the assets."

If Mr. Seidenberg's statement is true, and the largest telephone company (Verizon) cannot turn a profit, how will Carlyle do it without selling some parts of Verizon Hawaii for a quick return on its investment?

Verizon Hawaii has had a poor record regarding its ability to invest in new telephone cable infrastructure. Very often, when there was a rainstorm on O'ahu or the Neighbor Islands, outages went into the several hundreds above the normal everyday count. The majority of these outages were caused by outdated leaded copper cable that was prone to water damage.

The Carlyle Group will need to be committed for the long term and be a part of the community. Just like someone who buys rental property in his own neighborhood, it is likely to take better care of its rental when it is a neighbor as well as a landlord. If it buys Verizon Hawaii, it will have to invest money in repairing the outdated leaded cables. This expense would be in the millions of dollars and require years of commitment.

I come to the conclusion that the Carlyle Group is likely to sell off a lot of the non-profitable parts of Verizon Hawaii once it is purchased and keep only the most profitable pieces rather than be in for the long run. If this is true, is the Carlyle Group's deal in the best interest of the state of Hawai'i?

George Waialeale

Reinvest in small-boat harbors

Regarding Stuart Hayashi's May 20 commentary "Privatize our state harbors": I would argue that Mr. Hayashi's analysis is so overly simplified that it does not apply.

The state's small-boat harbors, to differentiate from the state's commercial harbors, were created to provide access to state waters for the purpose of recreation, landing of fish and commercial vessel activities (ocean tourism).

The state's commercial harbors were created to move goods and, to a smaller extent, for commercial vessel activities. The reason the commercial harbors are in great shape fiscally is that they have Matson to go to any time they need to raise rates. Matson says OK, then it goes to the Public Utilities Commission and says that it needs to raise rates because its rent is going up. The PUC says OK, and Matson passes it on to all of the consumers in Hawai'i. A great example of how competition works.

The small-boat harbors, on the other hand, generate about $10 million per year and get another $2 million from the federal government and gasoline taxes. This $12 million is just enough to cover administrative costs, previous debt service, payments to Office of Hawaiian Affairs, payments to the Department of Accounting and General Services, and to cover close to a million dollars for the salaries of DLNR enforcement officers.

Is it any wonder that there is little money left over for repairs or replacements?

The state general fund, meanwhile, collects about $70 million annually in general excise taxes that are generated by all of the fishermen, tourists and other harbor users. In the last two state auditor reports, it was reported that many users of the harbors were members of the general public — i.e., non-fishermen and non-tourists. These folks use the toilets, grounds and water that the boaters pay for. In those last two audits, it was strongly recommended by the state auditor that general funds be used for harbor repairs and replacements.

The state auditor didn't recommend subsidization of the state's small-boat harbors; rather, she stated, in a professional way, what I have been saying all along to both the Cayetano and Lingle administrations, and the past two Legislatures: stop skimming the "profits" and reinvest some of the GE taxes to repair and replace aging small-boat harbors. It's our money.

Reinvest in those assets. That's how business does it.

I am a DLNR employee but I'm also a fisherman; these thoughts are my own. I use the harbors to launch my boat to go fishing. I urge Mr. Hayashi to do a much better analysis the next time and I hope that the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii goes out and talks to grassroots boaters and fishermen before it offers a poorly-thought-out opinion again.

William J. Aila Jr.