Necessary reform of the Honolulu Police Department goes further than disciplinary transparency (“Police reform bill passes,” Star-Advertiser, July 7), and I share the disappointment expressed about Police Chief Susan Ballard, who recently denied the need for reform.
While we will always need a police force for protection and safety, we also need a service branch to meet the other problems in our community: substance abuse, mental illness and houselessness. This has already been established and simply needs expansion.
In addition, police training should include anger management (personal emotions as well as how to handle angry individuals). There must be a method for discovering those recruits who are emotionally unfit to become police officers, and military-grade weapons must be banned.
The Honolulu Police Commission should have a larger voice in these concerns and there should be a procedure for community involvement.
Other than these suggestions, our HPD is very commendable — one of the best and deserving of our thanks.
You can’t enjoy liberty if you’re on a ventilator
I respectfully disagree with Brian Benton’s letter, in which he suggests government officials and medical professionals are treating us like children with regard to COVID-19 restrictions (“People are intelligent enough to guard health,” Star-Advertiser, July 27).
I doubt that government officials or medical professionals have the time or desire to babysit the public. They are, however, sincerely trying to help us preserve our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It is impossible to enjoy liberty or pursue happiness if you’re fighting for your life on a ventilator; or worse, if you’re dead. Researchers are working tirelessly to develop vaccines and bring this deadly virus under tight control. That will happen.
Until then, everyone, please, let’s all “mask up” when we’re supposed to and follow sound public health practices. Let’s all help each other stay alive so we may enjoy liberty and pursue happiness.
Violent protesters hijack peaceful movement
Recently there have been several commentaries about the Portland protests (“Trump crackdowns a dictatorial response,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 28; “15 signs of authoritarianism? We’ve seen them,” Star-Advertiser, Ann McFeatters, July 26).
If I can speak from personal experience and not watching CNN, I was in downtown Portland, Ore., recently.
Portland was a beautiful city and still could be again, but a five-block area around the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Building looks like a bombed-out city. Former prosperous shops and residential areas are now boarded up and blighted by graffiti.
Peaceful marches begin in the evening and are taken over by violent protesters who hijack the movement to violently attack federal officers protecting the federal building.
They use kerosene-filled balloons, slingshots loaded with ball bearings, frozen water bottles.
How would we like it if violent mobs tried to set fire to the federal courthouse on Ala Moana Boulevard?
Democrats display hostility at Barr hearing
The congressional hearing with Attorney General William Barr was a sad display of how far our elected leaders have fallen.
It’s obvious that the Democrats have their strategic plan, and part of that plan is to make the Republican Party look as bad as possible. But in doing so, they appeared to be consumed by hatred. Their words were full of disdain, rage and resentment. They went beyond compromise, unable to have a constructive, intelligent conversation that could benefit our citizens.
Their lack of control and respect has deteriorated the professionalism and integrity that we had believed they possessed when we first elected them in office.
Hearings are designed to bring understanding of the actions and decisions of departments and individuals, but instead, questions and inquiries have been replaced with accusations and abusive words. These were people whom I had respected.
Trump appointee undermines USPS
I try to keep up with all the administrative depredations by the Trump White House, but somehow I missed the appointment of Louis De Joy as postmaster general.
I had attributed recent slowdowns to the coronavirus. The reality is that the coronavirus is partially to blame. But mostly, it is the deliberate slowing by De Joy, who donated millions of dollars to the Trump campaign and the Republican Party.
Given President Donald Trump’s claims that voting by mail is corrupt, and De Joy deliberately slowing the mail, the public has to keep close watch on the coming election so that votes don’t get thrown away.
There are so many distractions, like sending unidentified federal troops to cities where local authorities have said they are not wanted.
These deliberate distractions are meant to confuse and keep us from seeing who is running the mail service and why.
Get rid of derogatory, racist team mascots
Tribal governments have made their position clear: Certain team names and their mascots are derogatory and racist.
Tribal governments represent actual tribal communities and tribal members.
Some local folks get upset about mainlanders doing the haka or someone making poke called aloha, but they have no problem doing the tomahawk chop, painting their faces or wearing chicken feathers.
The ax is a sacred symbol, just like the adze. Song is a sacred action, just like the mele. Chicken feathers are not eagle feathers.
The tomahawk is an invention of colonists and the tomahawk chop is an invention of non-Indian sports fans from Atlanta inspired by Hollywood films.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights giant who passed away on July 17, along with the late Eni Faleomavaega, a Polynesian and representative of American Samoa, were some of the earliest supporters of tribal governments on this issue.
Let’s follow their lead.
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