Wednesday, January 24, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Right to bear arms is an individual right

Charles Luther suggests the Legislature debate a gun ban (Letters, Jan. 19). Luther also suggests that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not make it law for an individual to bear arms.

I disagree, Mr. Luther. The U.S. Supreme Court on several occasions has affirmed the right to bear arms is indeed an individual right and shall not be infringed by the federal or state governments. The U.S. Constitution also states in cases relating to the Second Amendment that the amendment is not to grant rights, only to protect rights inherent prior to its ratification.

Mr. Luther, I hope in your debate to ban guns you will extend an invitation to Australian legislators so they can testify to the huge increase in crime that took place after a gun ban took effect there.

You and all your gun-control friends should debate enforcement of existing laws and debate stiff sentences for crimes committed with a gun, not taking away rights.

Robert Thurston

Concealed carry law would protect women

A child is parentless today because of domestic violence. The mother was smart. Because of threats of violence, she got a temporary restraining order against her boyfriend. However, it was too little, too late. She was shot and killed by her boyfriend at Ala Moana just days after the TRO was granted.

The 911 tapes reveal the terror. Some who were brave enough to want to help were thwarted as the gunman turned on them. HPD could not respond in time to save her life, but arrived in time to shoot the gunman dead.

Let this serve as another wake-up call that Hawaii’s citizens should have the right to protect themselves with a firearm as licensed concealed carry permit holders. As long as women and anyone else are not afforded the chance to protect themselves in that manner, more of them will be gravely injured or die. A TRO to protect one’s life is a great step in legal protection, but will not protect someone when the bullets start flying.

Robert Bento

U.S. military should stop its freeloading

Is it "America, land of the free" or "America, land for free"?

It’s about time that the war hawk Sen. Dan Inouye and the U.S. Army stand on their own two feet and end this long policy of freeloading off the kanaka maoli. Have they no shame? Thousands and thousands of acres of kanaka maoli lands have been confiscated, settled and are being used by the occupying military force: i.e. Pohakuloa, Lualualei, Puuloa, Mokapu, etc. Yet, they still want more.

In addition, the military has a prolific history of abuse of lands in Hawaii. In fact, wherever the military has gone, it has caused irreparable harm to that environment. Over $400 million will be spent to clean up after the "training exercises" of the military on Kahoolawe alone.

Furthermore, the military’s history of abuse upon the kanaka maoli is just as embarrassing. In recent history, thousands of kanaka maoli grave sites have been disturbed by military plans and actions. Plus, the military has a long history of ignoring kanaka maoli pleas to protect their sacred and culturally significant areas.

Therefore, it’s foolish to ask the question "How will live-ammunition training impact Makua?" It’s more important to ask the question, one which the military cowardly avoids, "How has live-ammunition training impacted Makua in the past?"

I have a solution. If the U.S. Army is confident that they can train with live-ammunition without a "significant impact," I challenge Sen. Inouye and Maj. Gen. James Dubik, commander of the 25th Infantry Division, to first test out the validity of the U.S. Army plan on some American cemeteries and other important historical sites. How about Punchbowl? The Alamo? The Arizona? What about Arlington?

Kaleikoa Kaeo
Makawao, Maui

Pedestrians aren’t given equal treatment

Your Jan. 5 editorial regarding pedestrian safety seems to lay the majority of blame on pedestrians. You didn’t mention anything about motorists being ticketed for failing to give pedestrians the right of way.

Very rarely do Hawaii motorists stop to allow schoolchildren and elderly to cross at marked crosswalks. That’s plain rude, and we should be ashamed of ourselves. When I lived in Seattle, motorists slowed down and stopped for pedestrians and bicyclists.

We here in Hawaii have placed so much importance on the automobile. A larger, more powerful car makes one king or queen of the road, and all courtesies go out the window. On any given workday, the majority of drivers are tailgating and exceeding the speed limit.

We live in this beautiful state, but give precedence to asphalt parking lots and highways over bike lanes and pleasant walkways. Hawaii’s traffic woes will continue to worsen until we place as much importance on pedestrians and bicyclists as we do on the almighty automobile.

Anne Carroll

It’s time we listened to native Hawaiians

For more than 100 years, the federal, territorial and now state governments have been entrusted with the duty to make things right with the Hawaiian people. They failed totally.

In 1993, Congress and the president apologized to the native Hawaiian people for the "illegal" overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and for the "suppression of the inherent sovereignty of the native Hawaiian people" and "the deprivation of the rights of native Hawaiians to self-determination."

Today, we also understand that a mere internal resolution did not have the legal force to annex Hawaii in 1898 and is another violation. Now some would have us believe that the rights and entitlements Hawaiians have are race-based, unfair and illegal. How convenient. How American.

Excuses, lies, broken promises, wardship, ignoring the problem and even blaming the victim were tried, but will no longer work. It is time we all begin to listen to the solutions being offered by Hawaiians and support justice for the Hawaiian people.

Steve Tayama

This is not right time for state to cut taxes

Does the idea of a tax cut and a bit more money in your pocket sound good to you? If so, think about it. Why in the blush of slightly improving business in Hawaii is this the time for a tax cut?

I say, absolutely not. Think what this would mean: undoubtedly, more cuts in health and human services, which are untenable considering the cutbacks in services over the lean years; undoubtedly, stinting on the education budget in our state, which is trying so hard to catch up.

And if the pressure for cuts cannot be resisted, then why not legislate for tax cuts for low-income people while retaining the tax for tourists and higher-income persons, who can well afford the tax?

Ruth Ellen Lindenberg
i Kai

Ultra marathons were around in the ’70s, ’80s

There was an error in the "Survivor Series" article (Sports, Jan. 18) that stated that Hawaii’s first 100-mile ultra marathon will take place this weekend.

The writer might be interested in knowing that in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the "ultras" were a regular event in Hawaii Kai and were known as the Pepsi Challenge ultra marathons and eventually the Budweiser Natural Light Ultra Marathons. These races, which lasted over two days, included a regular 26-mile marathon, a men’s and women’s 50-miler, a 100K race and a 100-mile race.

I know this fact because my wife, Janis Loo, won the 1980 woman’s 50-mile race and in 1982 came in second in the women’s 100K race.

Garrett J. Sullivan

Teachers due apology for Cayetano comment

I sincerely take offense to Gov. Cayetano’s comment that raises would not be issued for state workers without the matter of unproductiveness and inefficiency being addressed within the contract negotiations.

It deeply saddens me that as a professional with a master’s degree, I have to defend my teaching abilities. Contrary to what the governor believes, I am extremely productive and efficient.

With the lack of support our "educational" governor seems to give to educators, I feel invalidated, and for the first time in 18 years of teaching, I am thinking of changing careers. As a productive and efficient state worker, I ask the governor to apologize for his inappropriate comment.

Pam Lipka
Teacher, Enchanted Lake Elementary

Waikiki prostitutes provide wanted service

A Jan. 18 letter writer is embarrassed because prostitutes are visible in Waikiki at 8 a.m. and a friend is propositioned by them while walking in Waikiki late at night. Understand that prostitutes are not trying to hurt or embarrass anyone. They solicit men in Waikiki because lots of them say yes.

Over 100,000 a year may say yes to Waikiki streetwalkers. But no one complains about a Waikiki "man" problem. Since prostitution is illegal in Hawaii, no efficient way is available to limit prostitutes’ approaches to men who will not be offended.

Some Waikiki prostitutes are now working daylight hours because they have been convicted under the "prostitute-free zone" law. Under the terms of their probation, they can’t be out on the streets between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. So they work days.

The men who are upset when approached by prostitutes should grow up. Women deal with unwanted and crude sexual advances from guys as part of everyday life. Oahu has serious property crime problems, particularly car break-ins, auto theft and burglary. Yet the HPD has continually been asked to allocate more of its limited resources to help stop someone from being embarrassed by seeing a prostitute. This is a waste.

Tracy Ryan

Coral reefs are not protected

Regarding Richard Grigg’s Jan. 5 letter on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Reserve: Grigg, an oceanography professor, claims the reserve is unnecessary because the coral reefs of the NWHI are already protected.

Why is it, then, that Wespac has been spending thousands of dollars and months of time struggling to produce a Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishery Management Plan for the area?

Truth is, the NWHI have been protected by their remoteness, not the effectiveness of Wespac. Wespac attempts to control activities related to fishing, and then only for those species for which a fishery management plan has been implemented.

The reserve established by President Clinton affords much broader protections, including control over nonfishing activities beyond Wespac’s authority.

Grigg contradicts himself by claiming the coral reefs are already protected. Then he states that a lot of coral reefs of the NWHI lie within state waters. Fortunately, much of these areas lie within the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, affording them some protection. Unfortunately, others, including Pearl and Hermes Reef and Kure Atoll, are almost exclusively under state jurisdiction and are not protected under the reserve. It is with great hope the state will assume its full responsibility for protection of these vulnerable areas.

Grigg claims that none of the NWHI fisheries is over-fished, when in fact the lobster population has plummeted during Wespac’s management. Wespac and the National Marine Fishery Service refused to adequately consider the impact of the lobster fishery on the endangered monk seal until forced to by the courts.

In 1982, marine scientists provided an estimate of the number of lobsters that could be harvested annually without damaging the lobster population. The fishermen were allowed to double, triple, quadruple the harvest over the next 10 years, leading to the crash and closure of the fishery in 1993. In 1996, a new management plan allowed the lobster fishermen to keep egg-bearing females and juvenile lobsters. The fishery was finally closed due to a court action, not the reserve.

Grigg states in his article that "the NWHI are not a nursery ground for the main Hawaiian Islands." Larval distribution studies have determined that larvae move toward the main islands. We also know from tagging studies that snapper cross deep channels. There’s an abundance of juveniles in the main islands and an abundance of reproductive-sized fish in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Isaac D. Harp
Marine Consultant, Kahea
Marine Adviser, Na Kupuna O Maui, Lahaina

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