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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Letters to the Editor

COMMUTING

GAS TAX HIKE GIVES ONE MORE REASON TO BIKE

Regarding the gas tax increase (Advertiser, Dec. 20), this is just one more reason to commute as "green" as possible, as often as possible in other words, bicycles.

Long-distance travel aside, surely much of local commuting can be accomplished by cycling rather than using that convenient car, which dumps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for every gallon of fuel used. And, hey, we'll even get a bit of exercise in the process.

Government: Repair the roads and install (or just paint) bike lanes to get this no-brainer going!

Reader: Take action by purchasing a bicycle and contact the Department of Transportation.

Jeffrey Friedman
Makiki

IRAQ

THE TIME HAS COME TO GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

Suppose the United States was bombed, with 100,000 civilians killed, mostly women and children. The bomber country invades and tries to bring "stability" to the U.S. Would we not see this country's troops as occupiers? Would we not label people working for this occupying force as "traitors?" Would we not defend and rid these foreign invaders from our shores? You bet ya!

Since the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, more than 600,000 Iraqi civilians have died, mostly women and children.

According to political historian Howard Zimms, the Vietnam War death toll was 15 percent soldiers to 85 percent civilians, mostly women and children. War kills the innocent. It does not promote peace. War inflames revenge and violence.

Our soldiers must leave with the Iraqis as our friends. The United Nations could be invited by Iraq to help stabilize the country and borders. The U.S. should offer help with money and advisers to promote peace for health, safe drinking water, utilities and education.

Remember the American people stopped the war in Vietnam. Now Vietnam is the top economic power in Southeast Asia and a U.S. ally.

Give peace a chance in Iraq.

Mary A. Guinger
Kailua

FOSTER VILLAGE

ROUNDABOUT INFO OFFERED ONLINE, IN FLIERS

This is in response to Greg Mishima's letter (Dec. 8) concerning the roundabout at the Ala Oli Street/Haloa Drive intersection.

Mr. Mishima should know that in April our department provided the Salt Lake Neighborhood Board with copies of "Your Neighborhood's New Roundabout," a flier explaining to motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists how to navigate a roundabout. This flier is available at the Salt Lake/Moanalua Public Library, 3225 Salt Lake Boulevard.

Additionally, Mr. Mishima can refer to the Hawai'i Driver's Manual, Chapter X, Safe Driving Techniques, "Roundabout," for instructions on how to properly use a roundabout, which can be found on the state Web site: http://www.hawaii.gov/dot/highways/hwy-v/HIDrvMan.pdf

Melvin N. Kaku
Director, Department of Transportation Services

PROPERTY ASSESSMENT

COSTS, TAXES GOING UP ALL AROUND THE STATE

I received my 2007 real property assessment in the mail the other day.

After last year's 20 percent increase in value, I thought this year would be better. Silly me. This year's increase is a whopping 33.5 percent!! It is an increase of a little less than $300,000. I am not rich. I do not live in a luxury home. I do not live in Portlock, Kahala or any other rich community.

I bought my house for less than half of what the appraised value is today. With the general excise tax increasing, the gasoline tax increasing, HECO's rates increasing and my monthly parking rate at work increasing on top of this so-called real property assessment, no wonder there is a huge homeless problem in this state.

P. Kam
Honolulu

DIAMOND HEAD

QUARTER DESIGN SHOULD REFLECT ALL OF HAWAI'I

Looking at the proposed quarter designs, two appear to have Diamond Head in the background. That landscape is admittedly very recognizable, but if the design is for our state, it should reflect all Hawai'i, rather than just one island.

Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran
Wailuku, Maui

IRAQ

LT. WATADA'S REASONS DON'T JUSTIFY HIS ACTIONS

Sorry, Lt Ehren Watada, there is nothing complex about honoring a signed contract, especially when you were not under duress when you committed to become an officer.

My son signed as a young 2nd lieutenant in early 1990, and honored his commitment then.

Watada appears to be an intelligent man, but his reasons for not serving are certainly not compelling enough to warrant justification of his actions, First Amendment rights, notwithstanding. He deserves to be court-martialed and spend time in prison. Appropriate social justice, in my opinion, should prevail.

Mel Padello
Waipahu

WATADA HAS OPPOSED WAR THAT IS A TRAVESTY

Recently, Lt. Ehren Watada spoke eloquently of his decision not to deploy to Iraq.

A commissioned officer, he is the first to be prosecuted by the military since 1965 for voicing his opinion and taking a stand against a war he believes immoral and unconstitutional. Lt. Watada's decision clearly was difficult and based on conscience.

My parents and I listened closely with the audience. My father is a retired Navy officer who served in World War II, and my mother served as a cadet nurse. Along with the audience, we were overwhelmingly impressed by the serious young lieutenant.

It is courageous to refuse to lead your troops into a war you truly believe is immoral and unconstitutional. It is courageous to face a military Goliath and possible six-year prison term.

I shook Lt. Watada's hand, and knew I had met a truthful and brave man, a hero, who knows as an officer that his duty is to protect the U.S. Constitution and his country.

Lt. Watada has taken a stand against a war many of us believe is a horrifying travesty.

Bambi Lin Litchman
Mo'ili'ili

MAHALO

MANY CALLED SEEKING THEIR LOST FAMILY DOGS

The photo of the dog who had been found wandering touched me deeply.

My dog was stolen a year ago in Hau'ula, and the dog in the picture in the Dec. 19 Advertiser was a dead ringer for my missing 12-year-old companion.

When I called the Royos family in Waiahole and described my dog they said, yes, it is a female with a white chest, but, no, it isn't an older dog but a feisty younger one and she had been reunited with her Ka'a'awa owners.

Mrs. Royos said several people called looking for their lost dogs. Mahalo to the Royos family.

Mori Beddoes
Hau'ula

DEPARTURE

DOT CHIEF HARAGA BROUGHT GOOD CHANGES

It was a shock and surprise to learn of the departure of Rodney Haraga as director of the state Department of Transportation.

During his tenure, the citizens of this state witnessed a remarkable and welcomed change in the attitude and responsiveness of that agency. For those who had to work with previous transportation directors, the difference was noticeable and welcomed.

Mr. Haraga truly seemed to enjoy meeting with the public and responding to their concerns, and actually followed up on the suggestions made by citizens concerning highway and traffic conditions.

Under his administration, his department responded more quickly to everything from filling potholes and installing needed signage to repairing major landslides blocking highways.

Whatever the reasons may be for the governor's decision not to reappoint him, Rodney Haraga will be greatly missed.

Roy Yanagihara
Kane'ohe

DEPLETED URANIUM

ARMY COMMITTED TO CLEANUP AT SCHOFIELD

This letter is in response to statements made concerning depleted uranium (DU) in a letter from Doug Fox (Dec. 21).

Army policy prohibits the use of DU ammunition in training. Therefore the 105mm DU round will not be used in any training areas in Hawai'i or elsewhere.

The DU discovered last year are remnants of spotting round tailfin assemblies of an obsolete weapon system that was removed from the Army inventory in the early 1960s.

The DU was used in spotting rounds for that system because of its high density and weight not as an armor penetrator. The portion of the impact area in which these tailfins were found has extremely restrictive access, and exposure to any potential hazard is controllable and negligible.

There are no plans for any vehicles to freely maneuver in the impact area, disturbing soils.

The Army takes very seriously all issues and public concerns arising from the 2005 discovery of DU found during the cleanup of unexploded ordnance from the range complex at Schofield Barracks.

The Army is taking appropriate measures to survey and assess the situation and to develop and implement a comprehensive remediation strategy in consultation with the appropriate state and federal regulators.

Army officials are working with the U.S. Army's Joint Munitions Command and other Army and Federal organizations to conduct a formal survey and analysis of the site to determine future actions and necessary cleanup.

The Army is committed to the environment and to the sustainability of the land entrusted to it. We will wholeheartedly continue our efforts to identify and remediate issues like that posed by the discovery of DU at Schofield Barracks.

Lt. Gen. John M. Brown, III
Commander, U.S. Army, Pacific