Friday, February 9, 2001
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Posted on: Friday, February 9, 2001

Letters to the Editor

White roofs on houses would create glare

The news that a proposed change to the Hawaii building code encouraging white roofs on houses grated on me like fingernails on a blackboard. We know that white reflects heat and light. The result is called glare.

We have a friend who tried to grow lettuce next to a white wall. It fried. In an attempt to reduce glare in our own backyard, we painted a white wall dark gray. The stump of a night-blooming cereus that had been unchanged for years next to the wall suddenly took off and became so invasive it eventually took me two days of hard work to eliminate it.

Years ago, we replaced our cedar shake roof with dark-gray Monier Tile. I worried, but for nothing. The house is not one degree warmer with this roof. As I understand it, it is the insulation between the ceiling and the attic that makes the difference.

And just think of the reduction in higher-elevation property values with the owners trying to peek out between their fingers over a sea of glaring white roofs. Bring on the dark drapes.

Ann Beeson

Economic rebound wasn’t due to tax cut

Having read the recent contribution of Rep. Charles Djou on the subject of cutting the general excise tax, I was astounded by the shallowness of his arguments. There are some salient points to be made about the benefits of cutting taxes and tax reform, but Djou devotes an entire column to this subject and can do nothing but ramble on about how cutting taxes in 1998 has revived our economy.

Truth be known, our local economy has rebounded somewhat in the last two years because of the explosive growth of the economy on the Mainland. We were merely sharing in its good fortune. Unfortunately, that is about to change, and simply cutting taxes is not going to be anywhere near enough to "right the ship."

However, transposing the GET with an end-user sales tax would eliminate the pyramiding effect of the excise tax and would bring effective relief to the business sector. It also would eliminate the "hidden" attribute of the excise tax and help bring about lower prices for all goods here in Hawaii.

Not that a sales tax would make everything fair. The poor would still pay a higher percentage of their income in a sales tax than the rich. That is the nature of any form of flat tax. The balance of fairness is made up in the state income tax, where the rich pay more than others.

Duane Char

Soccer complex road needs to be repaired

OK, first I must congratulate the AYSO community of Oahu. Landing the 2002 National AYSO games is a big deal and a feather in your cap. Way to go, AYSO.

Now to the mayor and the governor: Have you been down the road that leads to the Waipio soccer complex? I’m sure you have at one time or another. Well, with the golf course and now the soccer complex on this road, it needs to be fixed. Not only for the fact that it is highly traveled now, and will be more so in the future, but for the safety of the residents who live on the road.

Just think of the impression it will make on our soccer visitors to see a nicely landscaped roadway leading to a fabulous facility. I’m sure that the residents in the area will appreciate it as well.

M.F. McDavitt

Breathtaking view would be spoiled

In his State of the State address, Gov. Cayetano said: "Our greatest asset in marketing Hawaii to the world is our breathtaking natural environment." It won’t be so breathtaking and natural once HECO places those 130-foot-tall steel poles on the lovely Waahila Ridge — even if it plans to compromise and paint them forest green.

Jeremy Lam

Pedestrian safety bill should be strengthened

While I applaud House Bill 414 (pedestrian safety) as a step in the right direction, it fails to go far enough. I suggest amending the bill as follows:

First offense: $250 fine plus a 14-day license suspension. For the driver who lets his mind wander, the fine and suspension should serve as a reminder to pay attention.

Second offense: $500 fine plus a 90-day license suspension. This driver is not paying attention as well as he should; the fine and suspension should serve as a stern reminder that pedestrians have the right to walk the streets in safety.

Third offense: $1,000 fine plus a one-year license revocation. Any driver who continues to recklessly approach pedestrians at intersections or crosswalks is a danger to others and needs to be removed from Hawaii’s streets.

I also recommend the bill provide for doubling the penalties if it is proven that the driver was using a cell phone at the time of the offense.

Those who object to this bill should ask themselves: Are the penalties too harsh if they keep a reckless driver from injuring or killing your spouse, your child, your parent, your friend?

Kerry A. Krenzke

Hawaii’s majority already has spoken

I agree with Patrick Hanifin that "all members of the public have the right to decide by majority vote how to use the public lands today" (Letters, Jan. 31).

Flash back to 1950: Hawaii’s multiethnic citizens are being asked to vote for statehood via the passage of the Hawaii State Admissions Act. Two provisions of the admissions act include: (1) that the revenue of such public lands provide for the "betterment of the conditions of the native Hawaiians" and (2) that the state shall enforce the provisions of the Hawaiian Homestead Commissions Act.

The Hawaii admissions constitution was "adopted by a vote of the people of Hawaii in the election held on Nov. 7, 1950," which resulted in its passage in 1959. This act remains valid today.

Since acceptance of all provisions contained within the Hawaii Admissions Act was a condition in affixing the 50th star on Old Glory, a breach of these two specific provisions would be grounds for Hawaiian secession from the Union.

Yes, Mr. Hanifin, public land usage and rights do require a majority vote, and that majority has already spoken.

Damon Senaha
San Diego

Manhunt’ TV show glamorizes violence

I read recently that a new "survivor"-type TV series is being filmed on Kauai. Apparently it is called "Manhunt" in which 13 people are "hunted" by several other people.

The promoters call it a realism sports event, but they use trip wires, explosions and punishments for the "prey" who do not follow the limits of survival rules imposed by the producers. The hunters use marker weapons, so they assume no one will get hurt.

Have they lost their minds? How far will television be allowed to go in turning human violence into entertainment?

The idea of human beings "hunting" other human beings is not new. It is a theme well explored in literature and film, usually reflecting the horror of the whole idea. It is also, unfortunately, a story played out in the streets as well, without rules of any kind.

The entertainment industry loves to proclaim that it is not responsible for the increased acts of violence in our society. Even those that are obvious imitations of television and film programs that glorify and glamorize violence.

I wonder how long it will take, after this program is shown on TV before a report comes in of some young people who decided to "hunt" some friends, "just for a joke," using readily available hand guns, and someone dies?

But then, this is America, and if it makes money, it’s got to be all right.

Martha Randolph

Four years without pay hike a possibility

Most of the University of Hawaii system faculty will work without a raise for four years if the governor’s proposed contract with UHPA is accepted.

Four years without a raise. Can any of you who work even think of such a prospect? What if your employer did not give you a raise for four years? You would probably quit and find a new job, or become very depressed and demoralized, feeling you had little worth. Both of these have and will happen to the faculty of the UH system.

Four years without a raise. We have been without a contract for the past two years, and for the next two years, we are being offered a raise only if we are "above average." It will mean that only a select group will be given raises. If I am deemed "just average" (which by definition is the majority of the faculty), then I’ll be one of those who won’t receive any raise for a total of four years: the past two that we have been without a contract, and the next two years, which will bring us to the end of the currently-being-negotiated one. Depression.

I have taught for about 30 years. I was considering retirement in two years. The state calculates our retirement pay on the basis of the last high-three years, which is why legislators and administrators in our state aspire to high-paying appointments for the last few years of their careers. I can only hope that something will happen to increase my meager salary to one that will calculate into a modest retirement package.

Thomas A. Ohta
Professor of Geography
Honolulu Community College

UH tuition increase should be shelved

Since 1995, the increments in tuition at the University of Hawaii have been related to the funding for the university.

With large increases in tuition motivated by the financial need of the university, the enrollment of the Manoa campus has shrunk from some 24,000 students to the current 16,173 students. Throughout this time, the rationale has been that our university is a bargain in comparison to similar schools on the Mainland.

Now again, this same argument has been brought forward for yet another tuition increase. Our spring 2001 enrollment showing a 2.8 percent decrease for our Manoa campus has only been addressed by Gov. Cayetano’s proposal regarding tuition waivers for students with high school A and B averages.

Let us take heed of the students and parents of Hawaii and defer any further tuition hikes at this time and listen also to the earnest advice of the governor.

Paul W. Dixon, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology and Linguistics
University of Hawai
i at Hilo

Teachers can earn more busing tables

After weeks of presenting a firm stance against the proposed increase in teacher salaries, Gov. Cayetano proposed a pay raise for his top executives. He is worried that the raises are necessary to keep state officials from pursuing higher-paying private-sector jobs.

I graduated from college in 1999 with a degree in English and secondary education. My mother, a Hawaii public-school teacher of 18 years, suggested applying for a teaching position or, possibly, substituting for a while. Being a young adult in that ever-so-precarious position of "starting out," I was forced to make my employment decision based not on idealistic, but economic, preferences.

I am currently busing tables at a restaurant for about six hours a night. My projected income for the year is somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000, including benefits. The starting average salary for a full-time teacher in Hawaii is $28,000. (Substitutes make an average of $100 a day with no benefits.)

So, I work about 30 hours a week, my work stays at work, and I have ample time to pursue other interests or jobs, if I so desire, during the other 18 hours of the day.

How can Cayetano justify a pay raise for his executives with a fear of losing them to higher-paid jobs when young, potential educators are busing tables for more attractive packages?

Kainoa Lincoln
Kailua-Kona, Big Island

The job’s getting done, but where’s the raise?

I am one of these community college professors with whom Gov. Cayetano has no problems, with respect to workload, and yet he chooses to deny me a raise because he can’t personally witness nor attest to my productivity teaching at this level.

I teach a two-credit (four contact hours per week), Micro 140 lab course in which I have to spend an average of four hours a week in preparation, plus two hours in clean-up (sterilization of used materials) afterward, totaling 10 hours per week. I run a one-person operation here at Honolulu Community College; there is no prep kitchen (as there is at UH-Manoa), nor a lab assistant (as there is at Leeward CC and Kapiolani CC) — just yours truly.

I resent the governor’s refusal to grant an across-the-board raise to UHPA faculty members, given that a significant number are community college faculty whose sole purpose is to teach our respective disciplines well.

John C.N. Shen
Associate Professor
Honolulu Community College

Abercrombie ideal

Having known, admired and respected Congressman Neil Abercrombie since his earliest days in the Legislature and despite an enormous divergence of political opinion (we are about as far apart as two relatively well-informed persons can be), I heartily recommend his appointment as president of the University of Hawaii. I think he would be superb in that position.

Stanley B. Snodgrass

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