Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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December 03, 2008 - MidWeek
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Accept, respect

Two letters written in response to an excellent article by Don Chapman about his meeting two people who are faithful Muslims need a thoughtful response. The letters, submitted by Janet Jackson and Dennis Darnell, represent attitudes and information that encourage intolerance, mistrust and hatred.

As an active Christian and a minister of the United Church of Christ, I find the letters by Ms. Jackson and Mr. Darnell to be a complete departure from the teachings of Jesus. The Gospels are filled with instructions to accept, respect and love all people regardless of race, religion or sexuality.

As a member of The Interfaith Alliance Hawaii and on behalf of our board of directors, I commend Mr. Chapman for his sensitive, inspiring article. He serves as an excellent model for the kind of approach we hope all people will use when they encounter someone of a different faith: openness, acceptance and civility.

The Interfaith Alliance Hawaii, hoping to play a positive, healing role in our community and nation, encourages all citizens to adopt attitudes and behavior that reflect the Hawaiian principles of aloha, pono and ohana; that we can be one family living together with love and dignity.

Rev. Dr. John R. Heidel,
President, The Interfaith

Alliance Hawai’i


Disappointing letter

One of the great things about MidWeek is the variety of well-written opinions expressed within it and the thoughtful discussions that are allowed to result on its letters page. There will always be disagreements, but people can disagree and maintain respect for each other and their right to their beliefs. That is why invective letters such as Bert West’s recent one regarding religion, which educated and edified no one, are so disappointing to see in this otherwise fine, thought-provoking publication.

Steve Klein

Value of libraries

Bob Jones questions the value of public libraries in the modern world. His view of libraries as simply repositories of information and places to borrow videos and the latest novels betrays an unfortunate lack of understanding of library roles and services today. It also shows a lack of concern for those who cannot afford to buy all the books they wish to read or to have Internet access at home.

In addition, there are people who are not as adept at finding the information they might need as Mr. Jones presumably is. For them, having access to skilled professionals who can guide them in their search not only helps them for the immediate matter at hand, but also serves to help them become more independent in the future.

A lending library is a very efficient and ecologically friendly means of access to printed or recorded material, where a single book, CD or DVD can serve the needs of many people over its lifetime. Mr. Jones apparently believes that we should all go sit at the coffee shops at Borders or Barnes & Noble to do our reading, but many of us like to get into our books more deeply than is possible in that way.

In a culture that tends more and more toward social isolation, libraries serve as a focal point and gathering place for our neighborhoods. How many times do we reconnect with people that we may not have seen in weeks or months at our local library? Some libraries sponsor reading groups. Most have story programs for preschoolers. Our libraries, despite their limited budgets, have so far been able to provide programs for adults and children during the year and a reading promotion program for children and adults during the summer.

Mr. Jones complains about the limited hours at his local library. We certainly agree that it is a problem when libraries are closed on days and times when many people are free. But the solution is not to “close branches and reduce staff,” as he suggests. We need to push for more hours and resources, not fewer. Libraries benefit everyone: young and old, rich and poor, and every interest group.

If libraries are to go the way of the dodo, as Mr. Jones suggests, why would some of the most forward-looking cities in the nation be investing large amounts to upgrade their libraries?

Seattle recently spent $165 million on a new state-of-the-art central library. When we were there recently, this huge facility was packed with patrons, mostly adult.

We are convinced that this kind of vision, rather than the one Mr. Jones puts forward, is one that Hawaii should seek to emulate.

Karen and Alan Stockton

Give it up already

I’m getting very tired of the yellow journalism that comes from Rick Hamada.

Talk about one-sided viewpoints, his anti-rail bias clouds his objectivity to the point he’s become the “pitch man” for Stop Rail Now. On his talk show as well as his column, he regularly bashes rail. He proclaimed that the people must decide on the multibil-lion-dollar rail project and backed the stop rail petition drive.

He claims this fool’s game disguised as a transportation project will bankrupt the city and will not work. He fills his radio show with anti-rail rhetoric and regularly allows self-proclaimed “experts” like Cliff Slater go unchallenged.

Now that voters have decided at the polls, he has turned conspiracy theorist. He wants you to believe that somehow the public was not smart enough to make up their own minds and sift through the facts from the fiction despite the constant rail debate and advertising spin from both sides of the issue. He warns the draft environmental document will be flawed and the review process will be suspect. He implies the political process was one big fix, and everyone and anyone associated with rail is a crook.

Hamada even suggests that the rail question should be placed on the ballot again in 2010. Maybe two out of three, like sporting events? Perhaps we should revisit McCain/Obama again because some don’t like the outcome of Nov. 4.

Time to move on, Rick, because the people have decided and it is in everyone’s best interest to work together to ensure that rail is done right.

Joe Lee
Hawaii Kai

Meaning of Obama

Arianna Huffington is right, we do “all have reason to celebrate,” but not for the reasons she stated in her column.

We should celebrate because this country has a peaceful revolution every four years.

We should celebrate because this is the greatest country in the world.

Huffington is wrong when she stated that voters turned out in unprecedented numbers. If you go to your favorite liberal news leader, CNN.com, and look at the election results and compare those results between the 2004 and 2008 elections, the numbers are almost identical.

Barack Obama was elected because he appealed to the poor and minority voters who are looking for an even bigger handout when he spreads the wealth around. When you look at the minority numbers you will see an increase of votes going to Obama over the previous election.

If you tell someone that you will give them something for nothing, they will vote for you. That was the difference maker in this election. Obama promised hope for America - well, I wasn’t hopeless before!

Brian Chadwick

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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