Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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January 25, 2006 - MidWeek
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Wrong on drug war

I agree with Rick Hamada that the war on drugs is being lost, but not for the reasons he cited. No real penalty for drug possession? Has he forgotten about Mackey Feary of the music group Kalapana, who hanged himself after receiving a 10-year prison sentence for meth possession? That penalty was so harsh, it cost Feary his life.

As much as Mr. Hamada and fellow conservatives would like to demonize drug abusers, the fact remains that drug addiction is a medical problem and not a crime. Being high on drugs is no defense for theft, robbery, rape or any other real crime, and I agree that perpetrators should be held legally accountable for that kind of behavior, whether they were high or not. But drug addiction alone should not be treated as a criminal offense.


The key to successful medical treatment is understanding why people abuse drugs - an issue Mr. Hamada avoided. The compulsive need to escape reality points to many problems in our society: Parental abuse as a child, poverty, lack of a proper education and decent job opportunities, the hopelessness of seeing no viable future, etc. These problems cannot be solved by building more prisons.

In the past 30 years, Hawaii has wasted an enormous amount of money on marijuana eradication while far more dangerous drugs have replaced pakalolo in the islands: cocaine, heroin and crystal meth. The war on drugs has become a bureaucratic black hole swallowing billions of dollars that could be used to solve the real problems causing drug addiction among so many people.

William Starr Moake

Nuuanu Valley

Funding elections

Dan Rather’s article “reforming pay-to-play politics” is an accurate reflection of the public’s frustration and distrust of not only elected officials, but the corporate lobbyists who have access to them.

But I’m disappointed that Rather did not mention who actually pays for the “pay to play” system, the consumer. The tobacco industry spends millions of dollars on lobbying efforts every year. How do they pay for it? By raising the price of their products. It’s the same for oil and pharmaceuticals. So not only do these enormously wealthy interests enjoy unrestricted access to lawmakers, but we are paying for it.

Industry has its place and is very important to the health of the state and country, but the current system forces us to ask: Does industry exist to serve the public or does the public exist to serve industry?


A public funding option for candidates running for office is the answer. Before public funding was enacted in Arizona, 79 percent of all races were won by the highest spender. Since public funding, 2 percent of all races were won by the highest spender. How did public funding do that? Public funding creates real choices for voters and candidates alike, and choice is empowering.

John Higgins Voter Owned Elections

Hawaii

Lingle’s ‘Rove’

How nice that Gov.Lingle has her own “Karl Rove” to manipulate the media and the voters. He says that our criticism says “how hugely successful he has been.” So that’s how they view the public? Ms. Lingle said in 2001 that “Bush is the greatest president in our history.” Is that the kind of propaganda that Klompus and Lingle call “successful”? Are they proud to be against us?

Nancy Bey Little

Makiki

Lingle and Bush

Linda Lingle has become a “photo-op” governor, just like her idol, our “photo-op” president.

In published reports of her most recent travels abroad, she said that she discussed with Philippine leaders “the importance of good governance and how decisions made by government should be fair and transparent.” Did she really say that? Is she trying to shed her Republican cloak? It reminded me of her secret Bush trip to Baghdad and her clandestine meeting with convicted felon Ahmad Chalabi, her religious trip to Israel, and her trips to the Mainland to raise money and to support Bush, who has admitted secret wiretapping of Americans. She supports the most unpopular president any of us can remember.

Although she can’t point to any major accomplishments in her first term, Lingle can boast a war chest rumored at $6 million, raised from Mainland sources who thrill at the very thought of re-electing a Bush Republican governor in a blue state.

Keith Haugen

Honolulu

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