Wednesday, February 7, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, February 7, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Accusation over Ewa skate park ignores facts

Pam Smith, my defeated opponent from the November election, continues to misrepresent the facts. Her Feb. 2 letter states that Ewa Mahiko and Asing parks are "scheduled to get skate facilities."

This is not true, as the community-generated city master plans do not have skate parks in their renderings. The Ewa vision team is currently discussing the issue of where to place a facility.

Due to limited funds and area-wide community demand, I believe the best place to include a skate park facility would be Ewa Mahiko Park. If a facility is considered near West Loch, I would favor West Loch Shoreline Park and not Asing Park, so both West Loch Estates and West Loch Fairways would benefit.

Smith does not mention that senior citizens and residents at West Loch Villages across from Asing Park do not want a skate facility there. A petition is being circulated stating this fact.

Finally, the skate park issue is a city vision team matter, not a state issue. Ewa Mahiko Park is in the Ewa vision team district, and Smith’s implication that I want a park outside my district is false because I am participating in the city Ewa vision team, which includes Ewa Villages, Ewa by Gentry and West Loch.

Rep. Willie Espero
D-41st (
Ewa Beach)

Nuclear energy idea won’t work on an island

Mike Rethman’s Jan. 30 letter "Hawaii should turn to nuclear energy" displays dangerous confusion.

It’s hogwash to say that far safer conservation and alternative-power production strategies are either insufficient or won’t work while radioactive nuclear energy is some kind of "visionary" solution.

Siting a nuclear power plant on Oahu to service Honolulu would repeat the ruinous blunder by Long Island (N.Y.) Lighting Co. with its economically foolhardy Shoreham Nuclear Power Station.

Conceived during the nuclear industry’s governmentally subsidized boom in the decades after World War II, the Shoreham facility was to have produced electricity at a price "too cheap to meter." Yet by the time Shoreham had been ordered shut down by New York State in 1994 (without producing one dime’s worth of commercial power), its $6 billion price tag had ballooned to 85 times its original estimate and had nearly wrecked the regional economy by saddling Long Island with some of the highest electric rates in the nation. Ratepayers got stuck with the bills for the decommissioning and for its expensive reconfiguration to make it the oil-powered operation it is today.

What happened? In any serious nuclear accident, the plant’s mid-island location would have trapped all those Long Island residents east of it on the narrow isle. This lack of a demonstrably effective evacuation plan violated federal rules and ultimately doomed the Shoreham plant while crippling the utility’s financial viability in the process. The evacuation rules had been legislated to protect the public in response to Three Mile Island’s partial core meltdown and airborne radioactive leaks.

No matter where on Oahu one might fantasize constructing such a plant, it would have to operate 100 percent safely 100 percent of the time. Otherwise, where could we Island residents and our visitors flee to escape a deadly radioactive plume? How could 860,000 people be evacuated safely, as is required by current federal regulations?

Jack Hobbs

Compromise needed in teacher salaries

Has anyone been in a public school classroom lately to see what our teachers go through day after day? They put up with large classrooms and old books. On top of that, they use old equipment to teach our children.

It’s time to give our teachers the pay raise they deserve. Maybe not as high as what they are asking for, but small, gradual steps so that they won’t hurt the entire state.

When our children will be the ultimate victims, we need to put aside our wants and desires and compromise to ensure that they have a quality education. We cannot put salary over educating our children for that will only hurt our children. Is that the reason they became a teacher? Let’s resolve this contract dispute quickly and give our children our best.

Alan Kim

Cayetano trip now nothing but old news

Your Feb. 4 editorial on Gov. Cayetano’s trip to the Bahamas ("Cayetano trip: What’s with all the secrecy?) reminded me of a child who had his or her feelings hurt. The Advertiser has covered this story for the last two weeks and reported on every aspect of it.

It’s all right to pursue a juicy story, but when it’s covered, it’s covered. Let it go. With all that is going on, you would think your editorial columns could serve us better.

Daniel Wells

Your help is needed to stop city project

I oppose the city’s plans to build a huge, multimillion-dollar office building/visitor center and snack bar on the upper rim of Hanauma Bay. It’s as if our heritage and culture don’t exist.

The city plans to demolish six-year-old buildings, not yet paid for, only to be replaced by bigger, more costly buildings, taking precious open park space. The mayor’s State of the City address included many new proposals, but he did not mention the Hanauma Bay project. What City Council members have asked and residents should ask is: "Where is the money coming from?"

The proposal is poorly conceived, lacks Hawaiian, environmental and community support, and ignores Hawaiian cultural heritage. The city has refused to even consider viable changes or discuss reasonable alternatives to its plans.

It’s up to us citizens to save this most precious island and national monument. The city will go forward with changing the Ka Iwi coastline forever if it can obtain a permit from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to commercialize a conservation district nature preserve. There is precious little time to stop this project, but we can by voicing our opinion before it’s too late.

Immediately call or e-mail the Board of Land and Natural Resources (phone: 587-0400; e-mail: and tell them to reject the city’s permit application to further develop the upper rim of Hanauma Bay. Please do it today.

Beverly J. Palenapa

Story of Maafala family is inspiring

We were heartened to read about the Maafala family on the front page of the Feb. 4 paper. I can’t even imagine how difficult it must have been to raise 11 children in such adverse conditions.

It is a credit to Lusia’s love, faith and discipline that all of her children turned out to be such productive members of society. Her parenting skills are too rare in today’s society ... she should be teaching classes to other moms on the island. I hope people can learn from your article.

Marlene Campbell
Natalie Lau

Doctor crisis brewing over workers’ comp

Would you sell milk for $3 per gallon when your costs were $3.70 per gallon? Well, this is similar to what the Legislature demands of doctors who care for workers injured on the job.

Since 1995, the fee schedule paid to doctors has been capped at roughly 82 percent of the actual cost of providing care. Not surprisingly, one out of six orthopedic surgeons in Hawaii has left for the Mainland or retired early rather than continue to lose money, and most of those remaining have quit treating workers’ comp patients.

A legislative report in 1998 found that there was a crisis situation over access of injured workers to specialists being compromised, but the Legislature has not fixed the problem.

If I have learned anything from the power crisis in California, it’s that ignoring the fundamental laws of supply and demand will eventually result in economic meltdown. California’s crisis was caused by not building new power plants; Hawaii’s crisis is being caused by driving doctors out of the state. Do you want to wait until disaster strikes?

Linda J. Rasmussen, M.D.
President, Hawai
i Orthopedic Association

Busing students out of area is ridiculous

A recent decision was made by Leeward District Superintendent Hazel Sumile to bus upper-Makakilo children to Barbers Point Elementary School. This is absurd.

The overcrowding in upper Makakilo is due to poor planning of city, state and development officials. I moved to upper Makakilo eight years ago for the sole reason of the school, Maukalani. To bus my children out of here is ridiculous.

Let’s stand together and fight this decision. Call on Sen. Brian Kanno, Rep. Mark Moses and the governor. Refuse to allow this to happen. This is discrimination and segregation.

Shane Kincaid

Don’t bet on gambling to pay for education

I think somebody’s playing fast and loose with Gov. Cayetano for him to be throwing mega-million-dollar numbers at us ("$50 million to $100 million a year" to the state from gambling) for the "education of thousands of our children." Surely the Legislature can come up with safe, legal ways to fund education without jeopardizing the taxpaying populace.

An $800 million hotel/casino in West Oahu would be only the beginning of more hotels, buses, glitz, crime and mafia (not to mention more local corruption), and would make us "Las Vegas West" and no longer Hawaii.

Come on, Guv, you’re seeing pie in the sky and trying to persuade us to have some. Thanks, but no thanks ... we have enough crime than we can deal with now.

Suzanne Teller

Age-of-consent law has huge loophole

It was gratifying to see two recent articles regarding Hawaii’s deplorable law pertaining to statutory rape and the age of consent. I refer to Kelly Rosati’s Jan. 22 Island Voices commentary and a Jan. 26 editorial. However, both failed to mention the most sinister proviso of our law regarding this matter.

Our law, on the books since 1986, not only makes children 14 years of age and older vulnerable to exploitation by adults of any age, it also puts children under 14 in jeopardy. You see, children under 14 are also fair game if and when the perpetrator is unaware that the child is under 14. Our law is broken only when "the person knowingly subjects" the underage child to sex. The law provides more protection to the perpetrator than it does to the victim.

It takes a bit of effort to not suspect the motives of those who authored our present law. And now we are confronted with three members of the state House and two of the state Senate who do not want to change the present law.

Finally, our governor’s most recent statement on this subject does not reveal any eagerness to see the law improved. It’s hard to believe that a year ago he said, "Nothing is more important than the care of our children."

Stanley Philbrick

Teachers help ensure the future of Hawaii

I admit it. I’m selfish. I admit it to students in every class I teach at UH. I tell them, "I’m not in this teaching business for my health. I’m in it to protect my future. You guys represent the best chance I have for retirement. I have to do a good job here."

I teach them some basics about international trade, believing that they must all be involved in international trade for Hawaii to grow as it should. I teach them how to take the information I give them about business and turn it to good use for personal budgeting and investing, and for making good decisions about government fiscal practices.

Unequivocally, the students are my future and the future of this state. I now find that my financial planner is a former student. Some former students own their own businesses, or have management positions in large businesses.

I want these young men and women to have good jobs with good companies when they graduate (another self-protection measure). In order to help them in that regard, I work on a number of boards and committees that help me help students. While I contribute time and energy to those organizations, the people with whom I interact on those boards and committees also help keep me updated on the latest business practices.

I am in my office at least eight hours over the weekends, and I see colleagues here as well. On weekdays, I often arrive on campus before 7 a.m. and don’t leave until 8 or 9 p.m. I invite any government official to "shadow" me through any day, if they get a good night’s sleep the night before. I don’t suffer slackers.

I’m working hard to see that we graduate strong, critically thinking community members. It takes a lot of time. I’m selfish though. If I do a good job now, my "golden years" will be golden, in the secure hands of my students. I can do it. They can do it. Where are we going to get strong business and community leaders if we don’t have public school teachers and professors (preferably ones whose morale is high and whose attitudes are hopeful and positive)?

Carol A. Dickson

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