Editorial | Letters Letters to the Editor By Star-Advertiser staff May 17, 2012 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. East-West Center can update mission First, kudos to the Star-Advertiser for carrying Joel Fischer’s provocative views on why the East-West Center should be closed, and its better functions assigned to the University of Hawaii ("East-West Center’s mission changes from peace to nationalistic militarism," Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, May 13). His article can be useful if it engenders a serious re-examination of the center and its mission. However, hisconclusion seems a bit severe. There are many examples of institutions founded during the Cold Warthat managed to re-invent themselves for a new age andcontinue to do good and useful work in the present. The center could be one of them if it welcomes constructivecriticism and new approaches. Sen. J. William Fulbright and the other statesmen who believed in inter-cultural communication and understanding are nearly all gone from the U.S. Congress. Some few remain, but their numbers are dwindling. If the foundingconcepts ofthe East-West Center no longer find any traction in Washington, the task of redefining and updating its mission becomes all the more urgent. That might be a more reasonable approach than closure. Richard Dow Diamond Head Center offers vital international forum With reference to Sunday’s opinion piece on the East-West Center: Since my appointment to its Board of Governors last year, I have become convinced the center remains a vital means for dialogue and mutual understanding among people of our Asia-Pacific region. I have observed students, journalists and scholars from many countries discussing and studying issues in the shared belief that frank discussion of differences holds the key to peaceful and cooperative action. Established by Congress, the center is a national institution located in Hawaii, not a local institution receiving funding from Washington. It is valuable to international relations precisely because it offers a neutral meeting ground for official and non-governmental dialogue, as well as research and education on issues of common concern. This mission has not changed, but the center today has a much stronger practical and policy orientation. It is able to be effective because it reflects the special values of our Hawaii culture — multi-ethnic, tolerant and caring. Rick Tsujimura Chairman, East-West Center Board of Governors No more beachside businesses in Kailua As a resident of Lanikai, I have sadly witnessed the traffic increase and beach businesses proliferate in the past 30 years. Calling these kayak companies a business is, indeed, a stretch. We can all agree that tourism is the lifeblood of Hawaii, but without a strong residential component, the island loses its functionality. In addition, the town of Kailua does not have the infrastructure to support tourism. Increased tourism effectively ruins the town for the residents, who are taxpayers, property owners and the people who makesociety function. Making rules that are not specific and not properlyenforced just encourages pushing the limits and ensureslitigation of poorly constructed regulations. No additional beachsidebusinesses is the correct action. We have the world-class resorts at Aulani, Waikiki and the North Shore that can support the tourism trade. Carl Oettinger Kailua Rail proponents embrace the past Robert Soberano is the one who needs to clean his "foresight" specs ("Voters at fault if rail allowed to fail again," Star-Advertiser, Letters, May 15). A tsunami of technology now being developed will give us cars, 15 to 20 years from now, that can drive themselves on roads that are smaller and carry more vehicles without any accidents. Let’s scrap the $5.3 billion, bloated, old-technology, heavy elevated-rail project that will not reduce today’s traffic congestion. Instead, let’s take some of the money and make a real investment in the future by making Hawaii a center of transportation system innovation and development, with long-term, high-paying jobs. Let’s not be prisoners of the past, standing still on rail cars. How many will ride the 45-minute rail when you can get downtown in 30 minutes by car? Mark Torreano Waikiki Rail not much use in emergencies Frankie Kam’s letter was very misleading ("Rail transit can help in emergencies," Star-Advertiser, Letters, May 14). A fixed-rail line would offer very little help in a crisis. What if the rail line, or access to it, were severely damaged in a disaster? Can you imagine the disruption to life and the cost of rebuilding it? Will the rail transit lines be insured by an entity other than the taxpayers? On the other hand, our huge bus fleet could be deployed almost anywhere on the island to move injured people and bring needed supplies. MaryAnne Long Hauula Keep government out of marriages Regarding same-sex marriage: Why should the government be a part of this? Many marriages are done in a church, and our Constitution separates the church and the state. Maybe marriage should be a private matter between the persons involved. Frank Doney Aiea How to write us The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~150 words). The Star-Advertiser reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number. Letter form: Online form, click here E-mail: email@example.com Fax: (808) 529-4750 Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813 Previous Story Justify UH chancellor salary Next Story Richard Kahle Jr.