Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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June 18, 2008 - MidWeek
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Yes to ConCon

Bob Jones and Larry Price were both convincing for the need to review the Hawaii State Constitution. Not that they meant to be, but the one issue they ran past was initiative, recall and referendum. Hawaii has a consistent voter turn out rate of 15 to 25 percent of its eligible voters.

This self-disenfranchisement is not because of satisfaction with the present government, but with disillusionment about an individual’s ability to matter in an election. Greater participation means greater empowerment and involvement which though threatening to some represent the kind of institutional reform no branch of government has shown itself willing to enact.

Democracy is not best left to the professionals but needs and thrives with the informed participation of all its citizens. If a Constitutional Convention only managed to enact initiative, recall and referendum, it would still be well worth it.

Paul Mossman

Obama: too pretty

Kudos to Susan Page for her column “It’s Not A Presidential Pageant.” While the other columnists were gushing over Barack Obama - Jade Moon even thinks he can bring back Camelot! - Ms. Page eloquently explained the heart of the matter: This is not a beauty contest. We need to elect our next president based on his character, experience and resolve to make tough decisions. Not only is our country at war, we face tough economic times. This is not the time to elect a pretty face who is good on TV. Consider Barack Obama’s background and experience before voting for him. Look at his record and his stance on issues like taxes.

Gilia Rethman

Distorting Obama

Susan Page sagely reminds us to look beyond superficialities as we choose a new president this year. I’m puzzled then why she offers a reading of Obama’s book Dreams From My Father that’s so shallow as to entirely distort the book’s meaning. In reality, what Obama “rejects” in the book is exactly the kind of oversimplification of identity, both family and racial, that Ms. Page engages in here. It’s almost as if Page used an anti-Obama smear e-mail as her source rather than actually reading the book.

I’m also puzzled as to her point: Does Ms. Page know anyone who advocates voting against McCain based on his physical unattractiveness? Considering the man can’t keep key international facts straight (the difference between Sunni and Shia, what country Vladimir Putin led, whether Czechoslovakia still exists), has such a foul temper that even his Republican colleagues recoil at the thought of him with his finger near “the button” and offers little more than a continuation of George W. Bush’s disastrous domestic and foreign policies, McCain’s appearance is the least of his problems.

Steve Carll

Smarter than rail

In Bob Jones’ column about “Anti-Rail Folly,” he doesn’t seem to understand that condemning Leeward residents to have to travel to Honolulu every day for the rest of our lives is not what we want. We do not need rail, a Pearl Harbor tunnel or TheBoat. What we need is to transplant the destination of Leeward residents to Kapolei.

If the same $5 billion for rail were to be used instead, for example, on a world-class UH-West Oahu campus in Kapolei, that would take off the road 10,000 students, faculty and workers from a Manoa trip each morning and afternoon, much more than any other transportation alternative will do. We would have an educated work force and relieve transportation at the same time. Unfortunately the Manoa-centric faculty and union will not allow a UH-West Oahu campus to be built to the size it needs to be both a solution to traffic and a facility to change our underserved Leeward higher education system. STOPRAILNOW.COM is merely trying to prevent what will be the greatest mistake the city has ever made, a never ending example of cost, corrupt politicians and greedy construction unions.

Garry P. Smith
Ewa Beach

The power of arts

Mahalo to Matt Tuohy for his story “Arts For Academics’Sake.” Student Heartstone Sound’s scholastic improvement through his exposure to art is proof of the need to “feed the soul” of the student as well as the mind.

I would also like to thank the Rotary Club of Pearl Harbor for providing the funding for the Aiea Art Project. The fifth -grade students at Aiea Elementary completed more than 300 pieces of art during this school year.

John McLaughlin
Artist/Art Teacher,
Vice President Rotary Club of Pearl Harbor

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