Monday, January 15, 2001
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Posted on: Monday, January 15, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Dr. King offers Hawaii lesson on sovereignty

Why do we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday? He led African Americans struggling against oppression 40 years ago. More important, he led all Americans toward equality under law.

Year 2000 saw great progress toward equal rights in Hawaii. While loving Hawaiian culture, we are getting liberated from racial supremacy or apartheid. The Rice and Arakaki decisions confirmed we can all vote and hold public office regardless of race. The Akaka Bill’s failure temporarily rescued us from officially dividing up Hawaii along racial lines. The Barrett and Carroll cases offer hope that we might desegregate racially separatist public institutions.

Hawaii is fortunate that numerous ethnic and religious groups pursue their proud traditions freely under a guarantee of equal rights. Dr. King had a dream. Hawaii has a multiracial, multicultural reality tending toward its fulfillment.

Powerful politicians and institutions want to make racial segregation and privilege the law. Civil rights advocates of all ethnicities should follow King’s lead: Speak truth to power, use the courts and protest any attempt to divide Hawaii racially.

Let’s celebrate our diverse cultures united in aloha and equality under law. Sovereignty belongs to everyone, so long as we protect and exercise it.

Ken Conklin

Blame the state DOE for our Felix problems

Regarding the Jan. 5 story by Alice Keesing, "Legislator balking at Felix cost": Certainly, as taxpayers, we all have cause to be concerned with the excessive administrative costs of the Felix Consent Decree, which have resulted from the state’s attempt to develop Dr. Ivor Groves’ much ballyhooed but very questionable "seamless system of education."

However, I could not disagree more with the statement she attributes to Deputy Attorney General Russell Suzuki that " ... teachers and principals often are intimidated by medical experts and lawyers into granting service that may not be needed."

Over the years of the Felix Consent Decree, we have assisted hundreds of children with disabilities to obtain the mental health and related services to which they are entitled under federal law and the Felix decree. The common thread in nearly all these cases is denial of services by the Department of Education, its administrators and principals.

Even when a hearing officer has ordered the services, the DOE is more than likely to appeal the decision to Federal District Court or to engage in a pattern of procrastination and failure to provide the services until children finally age out of the system.

Suzuki can help reduce the cost of Felix by ordering his client, the DOE, to obey the law instead of wasting taxpayer money defending its failure to do so.

Gary L. Smith
President, Hawai
i Disability Rights Center

City needs to acquire more beachside land

It is time the city acquire more beachside land between "Log Cabin Beach" and Ehukai Beach Park on the North Shore.

Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing, and the ocean areas fronting this span of beach are home to world-famous surfing sites, such as "Pipeline," that draw residents and thousands of visitors every winter.

The top surfing publications feature hundreds of photographs of this area every season. Several of the most prestigious and longest-running contests in surfing are held on this stretch of beach, and the performance surfing is featured in many movies, shows, commercial films and home videos, resulting in extraordinary exposure for all of Hawaii.

Hawaii is one of the top ocean sport recreational areas in the world and home to many developments in surfing, sail boarding, sailing, diving and lifeguarding. Many from around the world are drawn to observe the best surfers in the world display their skills in some of the most beautiful and spectacular surf on the planet or to test their own proficiency in the challenging waves.

Justifiable complaints of property owners due to the number of people who walk through private property to get to the beach or view the surfing from private property necessitate that the city acquire more properties to accommodate the public, whose focus is the winter surfing or the pristine, clear, calm ocean in the summer months.

The additional access provided by acquisition of beachfront land to create parks, access and parking will benefit residents and those who visit the North Shore. This will enhance all of Hawaii as a center of surfing, which in turn will continue to best serve our visitor-based economy and North Shore businesses.

George Downing

Too many cars have no safety stickers

There are many cars with expired safety stickers on the streets and freeways. Many cars are more than four months overdue on their safety inspections.

I don’t believe the police have the manpower to stop and cite these cars. I believe the high cost of car insurance is keeping many individuals from getting a valid safety sticker. This could be why brakes are not inspected properly.

Alvin Wong

Army, Marine Corps should move to Big Isle

Makua Valley is not the only training area on Oahu that the military should give up. The Army and the Marines should stop all live-fire training on Oahu and take it to the Big Island. The Pohakuloa training area on the Big Island is ideal for live-fire training. Oahu is not.

Makua Valley is bordered by housing. Pohakuloa is not. Makua Valley has only a very limited use as a training area for artillery. Pohakuloa is almost the size of Oahu.

The Army should start a process to give up Schofield Barracks and move to the Big Island. Portions of Schofield Barracks could be sold to the state, the city or community developers and the money used to build facilities in Pohakuloa. By selling and moving piecemeal over a period of years, the cost could be minimized, and both the Big Island and Oahu could benefit economically.

When the move is complete, vast areas of Oahu would be opened to development, conservation, eco-tourism, archeological exploration, parks and recreation. The mountain jungle areas that are currently kept for military use on Oahu are some of the most beautiful and ecologically sensitive in the world. The people of Hawaii deserve to use them.

Troop training on Oahu will become more and more limited as the population grows. The Big Island, when compared to Oahu, has almost unlimited land for training, troops and dependent housing.

Is it logical to keep a large number of troops on Oahu when larger and better training areas are available on the Big Island? Will the residents of the Big Island welcome the Army? Why don’t we ask them?

Charles Luther
Pearl City

What was the point in wedding article?

Did I miss something in the Jan. 7 article regarding Kawaiahao Church’s wedding ministry? What was the point?

That a venerable institution has in-house problems it is dealing with? That Buddy Naluai, the director of performing arts and organist for the church, has been particularly blessed by these weddings? That as chairman of the board of trustees, David Free was successful in consolidating the Japanese wedding ministry under one ministry office? That a few people in the church disagree with this? That the church leaders felt certain personnel changes were necessary?

Whatever point that article intended to make, it is irrelevant to the question, "Why does The Honolulu Advertiser think I would be interested in this?"

Mark Yasuhara

New logo represents division, aloofness

Hawaiian Airlines has unveiled its new logo. The old image, which served it well for several decades, was soft and mysterious, with an inviting innocence, like the Hawaii of 39 years ago when I first visited as a tourist.

The new one appears harsh and unfriendly, with sharp divisions and an indifferent aloofness.

Paul Casey, Hawaiian Airlines president, says it represents "maturity." To me it is a sign of the times.

Jack M. Schmidt Jr.

More on Oahu fireworks debate

Offer a reward to combat aerials

The damage aerial fireworks inflict on the community is a symptom of a problem, but not the problem. The problem is the ease of shipping them to Hawaii and access of buying illegal fireworks on the black market.

Since we can’t inspect every cargo container that arrives, attack the problem by increasing the penalties for smugglers and sellers and create rewards so citizens will provide tips to law enforcement. In order to sell illegal fireworks, you have to promote them through friends, and friends of friends. It wouldn’t take too long before it reaches someone who would find the reward too tempting to pass up.

Proposing to make all types of fireworks illegal is yet another knee-jerk reaction by our governor. This year he dictated how much we can celebrate; next year he is proposing to abolish an important cultural practice and belief. He should be finding new ways to combat the problem instead of sanitizing Hawaii’s culture.

What’s next? Limit the sale of rice because too many people are getting injured by pounding mochi?

Jason Chang

Chinese tradition’ is no longer viable

Yes, I know fireworks are a "tradition" for the Chinese et al. to celebrate a new year, but, like foot-binding of females in China, the tradition has seen its day and is no longer viable. Now it only benefits those who distribute and sell, and is heavily lobbied in the Legislature.

Our population density has increased dramatically since the "tradition" started in Chinatown 100 years ago. Now the damage to life, health and environment demands that it be banned.

Suzanne Teller

Complainers should turn in their neighbors

First off, aerials are already banned. You can’t make it more illegal than that. The restriction on firecrackers means one more thing the black market will add to its list.

Firecrackers are not illegal but only limited by a stupid permit. So why punish the retailers for something people will seek out to buy, over the allotted amount?

For all those who complain and feel that strongly against the use of all fireworks, you should call the police and have the guts to file a complaint against your neighbors. Take them to court. At least they will know for sure who you are, and not blame those of us who may not play with fireworks but are tolerant of the fact that it is only once a year and that it is a local thing. Since we have to tolerate those of you who complain for 364 days of the year, try to tolerate us for one day.

And if you want to ban all the causes of danger to others, you will need to ban cell phones when driving, tobacco, alcohol, the ever-dangerous automobile and almost anything a person can get his hands on.

David Moon

Don’t let fireworks kill anyone else

Fireworks and aerials are not good because of injuries and someone has died from this destructive force. Also, 25,000 people in the Islands have asthma.

Fireworks can sever a hand or finger or injure eyes, and that is why fireworks and aerials are worthless.

We should set aside these evil things. Do you want to die? No. Therefore, don’t explode them. If they were done away with in this land, it would be a good thing because we don’t want anyone to die.

Kimo Kalilikani
4th-grader, Waiau Elementary School, Pearl City

If I were governor, I would enjoy the fun

I think fireworks are fine because they are a tradition. I think someplace should be designated where people can go to pop firecrackers. Perhaps the sale of fireworks should be limited in stores. However, we should all settle down.

We should preserve the tradition because it is a way to chase away evil spirits. It is a New Year’s celebration, also. It is also very fun and pretty to look at.

If I were governor, I would keep fireworks. We should, perhaps, ask professionals to pop the aerials. And if I were the governor, I would enjoy the fireworks.

Teare Zick-Mariteragi
4th-grader, Waiau Elementary School, Pearl City

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