Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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March 22, 2006 - MidWeek
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The first punch

I agree with Rick Hamada that racial slurs do not justify physical violence and should not determine the degree of punishment.

But here’s what does matter: Throwing the first punch.

By escalating a verbal confrontation into physical violence, the first-puncher loses the moral and legal high ground because anyone has the right to defend himself against a physical attack.

It’s tragic that a man died, and perhaps the punishment was a little too light for that reason alone, but the man had no excuse for throwing the first punch. By starting a fist fight, he left himself open to justifiable retaliation that turned out to be fatal.

Mr. Hamada is right: If he had called the police instead, the man would still be alive.

William Starr Moake

Nuuanu Valley

Misplaced blame

In reading Dan Boylan’s column “Running For The Working People,” I could not help noting that almost all of Randy Iwase’s complaints regarding the Republican Party were actually the very points that were caused by 40 years of Democrat neglect - which allowed the Republicans to once again gain the governor’s office - an office that a Republican has held for only the past three years.

Iwase tries to make the case that this Republican administration cuts taxes and continues to spend. That it does not care about education.

Or the economy.

Huh?

What plant has Iwase been sleeping under for the past 10 or 12 years?

It’s his Democratic Party that still controls spending and has not cut a single tax.

It is his party that the people left, simply because 40 years was too long, and there was no fairness. No opportunity. No equality. It was time for a change, and the people realized it and seized the opportunity to make the change.

Linda Lingle’s successes, meanwhile, have been in spite of the Democratic Party and its attempts to hinder her administration’s programs and goals.

My prediction: A Republican will remain in the governor’s office after the November election.

Dave Reed

Honolulu

Working for us

The state of politics in Hawaii is so terrible, I’m surprised that Bob Jones played down that angle in his article, “Clean Elections; Moore Questions.”

Of course, there are access issues when talking about money: who has it and who doesn’t.

I can guarantee you that the average citizen does not get the same attention or respect by a legislator as an industry lobby-ist who has given him/her $2,000. I cannot give that much, nor can anyone I know. I like the idea of a public funding option, because if the public funds a candidate’s campaign then that candidate is accountable only to the public.

With all that is going on now nationally and locally, isn’t it about time we make some real changes?

Andrew Thomas

Kaimuki

Fewer fundraisers

I agree thoroughly with Bob Jones’ desire not to help any candidate that I’d find detestable.

Unfortunately, we are both stuck, as are many fine and honest state legislators, with legislators typically having to spend way too much time working on fundraising instead of on issues of interest to them and us.

I expect that the great majority of Hawaii’s voters would strongly favor making the timely, high-yield investment in voter-owned elections for common sense, practical reasons:

* When lawmakers, controlling the power of the state to tax and spend, are not funded by the general public, there is greater opportunity for parochial interests (e.g. tobacco cartel) to get disproportionately more attention during the lawmaking process.

*At the national level, the multibillion-dollar savings and loan scandal, with resulting bailout, costs of several hundred dollars in taxes for every American family, was quite evidently, in part, a result of deregulation fostered by commercial interest campaign contributions.

The Enron debacle is another example of non-public influence run amok.

Indeed, the cost to taxpayers now of not having publicly funded elections is much (100 times?) more expensive in the long run since all taxpayers end up funding unwise private interest projects, bailouts, tax breaks, etc. As a practical matter, not having voter-owned elections ends up being “penny wise and pound foolish.” I’d think every voter watching out for their wallet or purse would be calling their legislators to support voter-owned elections for that reason alone.

*Since the voter-owned elections system would be voluntary for candidates, they could, if they preferred, use private money instead.

Yes, there is no guarantee that those whose elections are voter-funded will be immune to bad influences.

However, voter-owned elections legislation certainly does a lot to increase the odds our legislators will, at the very least, be able to devote more time to issues of concern to Hawaii’s voters.

K. E. Hayashi, MD, MPH & TM Honolulu

Election options

I answer Bob Jones’ “bottom-line question” about Clean Elections with four points:

1) Clean Elections won’t necessarily be paid for by increasing your taxes. Most of Arizona’s funding comes from a 10 percent surtax on civil and criminal penalties. Another approach would be to tax campaign ad buys themselves.

2) If you don’t like public money paying for campaigns, consider who pays for them now: tobacco companies, drug companies, Mainland real estate companies. Do you think they get nothing in return?

3) In the big picture, Clean Elections makes it possible to lower taxes for individuals, by decreasing the enormous tax breaks given to the commercial interests that fund campaigns now.

4) If your taxes do fund campaigns, it’s no different from public money funding other public needs, like elections, or a road you happen to never drive on. And what governmental expense is more important than supporting a healthy democracy?

Brodie Lockard

Kailua

Whose airwaves?

A piece on KHON’s new ownership quotes Montecito Broadcast Group’s COO Sandy Benton as saying, “I don’t mind that (Joe Moore) is out-spoken, but I don’t know if our airwaves is the place to be out-spoken.”

I do not know whether the new regime will result in a better or worse news product - it’s a Fox station, for Pete’s sake - but shouldn’t she have referred instead to the airwaves that are rented from the American public by her company under an FCC licensing agreement that is up for review next year?

We own the airwaves.

Tom Horton

Palolo

A bark of thanks

I just wanted to say that Susan Sunderland did a great job with the story “Top Dogs Tell All.”

It was very informative and, best of all, accurate. There are very few articles on dogs shows that I, a show dog owner/exhibitor, truly enjoy reading. Ms. Sunderland did a great job with Mo and Maka “telling you” what dog shows are all about. It was humorous while still being very informative. Thank you for not making fun of dog shows and the people who enjoy doing them, and keep up the great writing.

Claire Rivers

Honolulu

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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