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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Letters to the Editor

WATADA CASE

EDITORIAL SHOWED BIAS ON MILITARY JUSTICE

Your call for the military to conduct a fair hearing in the Lt. Ehren Watada case (Editorial, Dec. 22) is reflective of The Advertiser's bias in reporting this case, as well as its privileging of Watada over other active-duty service personnel undergoing judicial review.

There was no such call for a fair trial for the Schofield Army serviceman on trial for the murder of his former girlfriend and the mother of his child.

Your editorial comments regarding the Watada case needing special handling in fairness insult the active, former and retired military personnel as well as the Military Code of Justice. Your comments are reflective of a belief system that the military justice system is inherently flawed in favor of the military command, not the individual on trial.

Those of us with a military connection believe in the inherent fairness of the Military Code of Justice and want to see Watada justly punished for his actions, not let off with a slap on the hands.

Milo D. Huempfner
'Aiea

INTERISLAND

GO! AIRLINES THANKED FOR REASONABLE AIRFARES

Thank you, go! airlines, for bringing back reasonable airfares. Hawaiian and Aloha airlines should stop whining about the price of a ticket being below cost.

If it were truly below cost, why don't you just let go! continue its pricing structure? Wouldn't it eventually fall victim to its own strategy?

Matt Hee
Kaka'ako

HIGHER EDUCATION

WEST O'AHU CAMPUS BENEFITS ALL OF HAWAI'I

We agree with Noel Kent in his Dec. 15 letter that our university system is underfunded and needs strong financial support, but disagree with his opposition to the new UH-West O'ahu campus.

West O'ahu was established in 1976 to relieve growing enrollment demands at Manoa, and to address rural O'ahu's increasing need for higher education. These reasons are as, or more, applicable today as 30 years ago. New residential and commercial projects in development, including new DOE schools in the area, heighten the community's need for a second higher-education facility. The new campus will accommodate more students, alleviating some of the traffic congestion on our roadways, and will commence a new four-year baccalaureate program next fall.

The new campus also benefits not only the greater UH system but the broader community with jobs and economic growth by attracting shops, restaurants and other businesses to the new university community. Hawai'i's only public institution of higher learning should be increasing its presence in O'ahu's fastest-growing population center, where unmet demand for higher education persists. Our university system must offer opportunities for higher education to as broad a segment of our community as possible.

Hawai'i deserves the benefits of having two world-class four-year university campuses that will produce graduates to champion economic and cultural sustainability here at home.

Kalowena Komeiji
Director, public relations, UH-West O'ahu

MISDIRECTION

DIRECTORIES DON'T HELP WINDWARD BUSINESSES

For longtime Windward residents, the choice of telephone directories is easy.

Only Hawaiian Telcom has a true Windward directory. Both white and yellow pages are Windward numbers only, except for a few businesses outside our area that want to advertise in this market.

The other two telephone books have a "Windward directory," but when you look in the yellow pages, it's hard to find a Windward business because they include all businesses islandwide.

The negative effect on the Windward business community, especially the service sector, is serious.

I recently had a customer from Waimanalo call me after going to Pearl City, thinking there was no one in my trade on the Windward side. He was using the book with the "pretty cover."

The Leeward business community is also probably taking a "hit."

Jim Saya
Honolulu

SAFETY

NEIGHBORHOOD BOARDS CAN CHECK SIDEWALKS

Members of the neighborhood boards can take responsibility to mark irregularities in sidewalks, marking them with a strong tape or paint.

This will decrease the number of emergency room visits and increase public awareness of the care our city takes of its citizens.

Norma B. Nichols
Nu'uanu

LITTER

TRASH MARRING BEAUTY OF LEEWARD COASTLINE

My wife and I have lived on O'ahu for two months, and recently explored the full length of the Leeward Coast (Wai'anae) for the first time.

We expected to see the homeless people living in tents on the beaches (another issue altogether and one we certainly don't mean to trivialize here). But we didn't expect to see the trash all over the roadside and beaches almost the entire length of the western shore.

While we realize that with the homeless problem there is most likely going to be a trash issue, we both feel that the state of Hawai'i could do a much better job cleaning the roadside and beaches on this otherwise very beautiful shoreline.

Why not have the H-1 road crews clean up the roadside and beach areas periodically and keep it looking nice? Maybe start an "adopt-a-highway" volunteer network for residents or not-for-profit groups on that side of the island who help keep it clean.

Suggestions: Use some of the budget for these issues; organize "adopt-a-highway" volunteer groups to help keep area clean.

Mike and Cindy Richards
Manoa

QUARTER

HULA, DIAMOND HEAD ARE BEST COMBINATION

The five final renderings of the state commemorative quarter in the Dec. 22 Advertiser might have included one more choice: hula and Diamond Head.

By placing a reversed image of the hula dancer on the Diamond Head image, we get a welcoming combination that appeals to residents and visitors alike. Hula represents the warmth and beauty of Hawai'i while celebrating the indigenous culture and its unique language, music and dance. Diamond Head is the most recognizable icon of Hawai'i.

More than a billion of these coins may be produced in 2008. Every American and people around the world will want to carry a piece of paradise in their pocket or purse as they dream about the 50th state.

And it only costs a quarter.

Greg Knudsen
Hawai'i Kai

CHRISTMAS

TRADITION OF CUTTING TREES HARMFUL TO EARTH

My family and I love and enjoy the Christmas season and spirit as much as anyone. One aspect, though, has bothered me recently Christmas trees. The two greatest problems on Earth are global warming and deforestation. These two human-created catastrophes threaten the standard of living for our children, as well as the very existence of our species. And yet every year Americans cut down millions of trees in the name of celebrating a holiday. Do you really need to kill a tree to feel the Christmas spirit?

I realize Christmas trees have come to symbolize many things, so I offer a solution: Next Christmas, buy a tree and plant it in your yard.

Every year you can decorate this tree as you wish. You will feel better about yourself for not killing and then throwing away a living thing, and you will be surrounded by the Christmas spirit all year long.

Jason Ventura
Waimea, Big Island

ENERGY

HAWAI'I COULD TAKE STEPS TO CUT GAS PRICES

It's unfortunate, but not surprising, that Hawai'i will resume its position on Jan. 1 as the state with the nation's highest combined gasoline taxes.

As your article (Dec. 20) correctly noted, the jump in taxes will occur because a state excise tax exemption on each gallon of gasoline blended with ethanol expires at midnight Dec. 31. Hawai'i consumers paid more than $161 million in state and county taxes at the pump in 2005, and that's not even including federal taxes.

While it is impossible to predict what effect the restored tax will have on retail prices of gasoline, it is clear that state and federal taxes make up a significant portion of the price consumers pay for gasoline.

It's well documented that Hawai'i gasoline prices are higher than Mainland prices. Numerous authoritative sources, including consultants, economists and analysts, have identified contributors to this phenomena: the state's distance from the sources of crude oil and other petroleum products, the small size of the market and, of course, the state's high taxes.

Those same experts also have identified a number of steps Hawai'i could take to moderate gasoline prices for consumers, such as reforming government permitting and other regulations; eliminating rent-control measures on service stations; encouraging investment in petroleum infrastructure and, therefore, competition; and lowering taxes.

Melissa Pavlicek
Western States Petroleum Associationt