Monday, January 8, 2001
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Posted on: Monday, January 8, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Sacred Falls Trail should be reopened

It is time to reopen Sacred Falls Trail. We have certainly had enough time to decently mourn those lost in the tragedy. Those persons killed and injured were enjoying themselves, and I don’t believe for a minute they would want the trail closed.

It is one of the most beautiful hikes on this island, with a great reward when you reach the falls. It’s no more dangerous than some others I can name that are still open. It is sad to stop there and see all the "Kapu, Keep Out" and "Closed" signs. There is no need for it at all.

Do we close the ocean when someone drowns or is injured? Does Vail Ski Resort close when an unexpected avalanche kills some skiers? Does Colorado close its rivers when some river rafters run into disaster?

No to all of these. To the best of my knowledge, no state has ever lost a lawsuit where the risk areas are clearly marked. People want to have some adventure in their lives.

Let’s open up the trail again. Put up a sign that warns people there is an element of risk just as there is at dangerous surf spots. Make them legally liable for the cost of a rescue ... other states do.

Bob Gaddis

Interim trustees earned our praise

"Unsung" so aptly describes the accomplishments of the interim trustees of the trust estate formerly known as Bishop Estate, now known as Kamehameha Schools. They are: Adm. Robert Kihune, The Rev. David Coon, Chief Francis Keala, Constance Lau and attorney Ronald Libkuman.

During the recently concluded mediation and settlement process, these five were called upon numerous times to make difficult decisions that greatly affected, and will continue to affect, the future of the trust and the welfare of its beneficiaries.

Distinguished among them is Libkuman, who served as the spokesman for the group and participated in the process daily, routinely continuing late into the night. He did so in a very decisive, forthright and dignified manner and represented the trustees and the estate with integrity beyond reproach. The success of the mediation process is in large measure related to his efforts.

The predetermined term of the interim trustees expired with the turn of the year. Kihune and Lau will continue to serve as permanent trustees. Keala, Coon and Libkuman will move on to other pursuits.

To all five who served so ably and unselfishly: Owau me ka haa haa e mahalo nui loa.

To the departing three: Aloha pumehana.

And, to the remaining two, soon to be joined by three new faces: Imua Kamehameha.

Clyde Matsui
David Fairbanks
Jim Duffy

Hawaiians have also suffered at U.S. hands

Regarding Garry P. Smith’s "Hawaiians should not be Native Americans’ " (Letters, Jan. 2): I agree that kanaka maoli shouldn’t be placed in a status similar to Native Americans (and have said so more than once). And perhaps as you say, Clayton Hee is trying to cash in on the Native American gambling "success story."

But it is demeaning to kanaka maoli and Native American alike to belittle the suffering the kanaka maoli have experienced by saying things such as "a race of people who never suffered as the Indians did."

Hawaiians, too, have suffered from European diseases, have been murdered, have had their lands stolen, have been robbed of their government, have had atrocities committed by the same U.S. government, with the same "manifest destiny" mindset. To attempt to compare atrocity with atrocity is horrifying. There’s no such thing as a pecking order for oppressed people.

Uncountable numbers of Smith’s ancestors gave their lives for what they knew was right. I would hope you would consider respecting others’ sacrifices as part of your own, and not to demean them because drop for drop, a lot more of his ancestors’ blood was spilled. To the children and grandchildren of those who died (kanaka maoli and Native American), that blood is just as precious, regardless of quantity.

John McClain

Sunny Garcia’s title should be trumpeted

In your Jan. 1 article "Year in Review, Hawaii Sports," you listed Sunny Garcia’s accomplishment in winning his fifth Triple Crown of Surfing title. That is a great feat and is now a record.

But Sunny also won the world title for the Association of Surfing Professionals. In Sunny’s 15-year career on the pro surf tour, this is his first world championship. In the 24-year history of professional surfing, Garcia is Hawaii’s second professional world champion surfer; the first was Derek Ho in 1993.

Why don’t you give credit to Sunny for winning his world title? Oh, I forgot, it’s Hawaii. If it’s not football, basketball, baseball, UH or high school sports, it’s on the bottom of your list to report. Your neglect of crediting Sunny’s world championship shows the lack of respect you give to ocean sports in the print media.

The Honolulu Advertiser should apologize to Sunny Garcia for misrepresenting him in this article. Give credit to a world champion. He is proud to represent Hawaii; shouldn’t Hawaii be proud of him? I know the surfing and ocean sports community is.

Beau Hodge

State needs to stress science education

I want to thank the organizers for a wonderful Pacifichem 2000 conference in mid-December. I learned much about Hawaii’s science education needs.

For example, the majority of Pacifichem attendees appeared to be foreigners, all of whom speak scientific English. Can we? Then on Dec. 28, about two dozen high-tech firms held a job recruiting fair here for Hawaii private schools. Public schools were not invited (Advertiser, Dec. 29). Hawaii public schools clearly need to educate for excellence.

A recent U.S. Education Department study (http://nces.ed.-gov.timss) reveals that American 8th-graders rank 15th in math and science in the world. One reason is that few American public school teachers have math or science degrees (Chemical & Engineering News, Dec. 11).

Also, Hawaii public schools teach searching for details, not building a broad data base of knowledge. In fact, we need both skills.

One Pacifichem speaker discovered the long, noodle-like protein that makes human tooth enamel. Every piece of "noodle" must be there or the enamel will collapse, like Hawaii science education. Yes, some children do well, but they’re too few in the Information Age. Let’s educate all of our children.

Gordon Kitsuwa

Gambling, weddings, guns should be on the agenda

Here are some suggestions for the upcoming legislative session:

Gun control. There is much misinformation on this issue. It is not a Second Amendment issue; the courts have held that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states, and communities can restrict gun ownership, and in fact, towns and cities have done so. A gun ban for the State of Hawaii should be debated.

The canoe district. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that legislative districts of both houses of state legislatures must be apportioned by population, the "one man, one vote" ruling. Our state Legislature should pass a resolution and send it to our congressional delegation in Washington to exempt Hawaii from this ruling. Hawaii is the only state that this ruling has left residents without fair representation.

All of the Islands are unique in many of their needs and customs; a representative cannot truly represent where he or she does not live, although they try. Also, it puts an unfair burden on those who have to campaign on two islands. The Hawaii Senate should have an equal number of representatives from each island.

Gambling and lottery. These issues should be fully debated. Thousands of Hawaii’s people go out of state to gamble, while many others gamble illegally. Would some kind of legal gambling help our tax revenues? Would a lottery that both visitors and locals could participate in really be so destructive if visitors bought most of the tickets? Could gambling bring more visitors to the Islands?

Weddings and marriages. Weddings are one of Hawaii’s largest industries. Should we make it easier for couples to get married in Hawaii? More marriage licensing agents would help. Should the Legislature earmark some of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau funds to promote weddings?

Charles Luther
Pearl City

Credit James Franklin for Social Security fight

It’s sad that he never lived to see this day, but all Hawaii should tip its hat to the late James Franklin (a.k.a. Frank James) of Maui, who never gave up in his fight over the use of the Social Security number on the Hawaii state driver’s license.

The state finally gave up, after spending a small fortune fighting him in courts for years, and he went to his grave with an old Hawaii driver’s license that did not include his Social Security number.

Good for you, friend.

Keith Haugen

Candidate showed us why he lost election

It is no small wonder that one of the reasons Eugene Douglass did not win election to the U.S. Senate is his willful ignorance of where the government gets money to spend.

In his Jan. 1 commentary about the Akaka Native Hawaiian Bill, he advocated "return of title to their former lands taken by the federal and state governments, with appropriate rent paid in the future for their continued use by federal or state government entities. The rent paid would then be used to pay for education and other programs that they would run for their own benefit. U.S. taxpayers would not be burdened."

Just a short note on where the federal and state governments get money to pay rents: It is from us. The government takes money from our paychecks and from local business profits, which we also pay through the price of products. Does Douglass really believe the taxpayer would not be burdened?

I have voted in every election for the past 15 years and promise to never vote for anyone who demonstrates such ignorance on where our government gets money to spend.

Jim Drake

Humane Society is not doing its job

In recent weeks several letters have appeared in The Advertiser critical of the Hawaiian Humane Society. While I cannot speak for all letters, I must agree with the overall assessment that the organization is not doing a very good job.

This year will mark the 10th year that our neighborhood has endured the barking dogs of one particular neighbor: dogs that are poorly confined in filthy conditions and often bark up to 10 hours a day. In spite of dozens of complaints to the Humane Society, it took over four years before they finally took action and issued a citation in 1995. After witnesses spent two days of their own time in court, the neighbors were convicted and were assessed a small fine.

Rather than provide veterinary care for their aging and sick dogs, they surrendered them to the Humane Society for destruction. One of these poor animals had spent the last years of its life constantly itching and whining with what one officer described as the "worst case of insect infestation and skin disease" he had ever observed.

In a matter of just a few weeks, the same neighbors had acquired more dogs, ones that have now been barking for over five more years. And where did they get these additional dogs? You guessed it — from the Humane Society. These large dogs are kept in a small yard, rarely (if at all) taken for walks, and are surrounded by days-old feces. Response time from the Humane Society is often many weeks, and has been as long as two months. Since time of day is a factor, if the officer does not happen to arrive when the dogs are barking, no action is taken. If the dogs are barking, the officer issues a meaningless "warning" that has no effect.

By the Humane Society’s own statistics, it responded to nearly 2,500 barking-dog complaints last year, but only issued 52 citations, resulting in only 29 fines: barely one citation a week for the tens of thousands of pets on Oahu.

Regardless of what laws we have on the books, a 2 percent ratio can hardly be termed "enforcement." If we let 98 percent of drunk drivers off with just a warning, our roads would be mayhem.

Along with other neighbors, we’re animal lovers and have our own quiet dog. We would never visit such an annoyance upon our neighbors, and it is sad that Hawaii residents do not enjoy the same protection that Mainland city dwellers have.

Instead of writing vehement letters defending the Humane Society, Pamela Burns should devote her energy to correcting its faults. Otherwise, it’s simply time for a change, and the top is always the best place to start.

Greg Marshall

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