Monday, January 29, 2001
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Posted on: Monday, January 29, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Big Island police chief selection was done well

I would like to publicly thank the Hawaii County Police Commission, as well as all of the residents of the Big Island, for the opportunity to be considered for the job of chief of police for the Hawaii County Police Department.

Coming from Oahu, I knew from the outset that the process would be a challenge. I was treated fairly and professionally throughout the entire process, and my family members and I were shown great hospitality by everyone involved. A special mahalo is due to John and Karen Vares from Kona, whose friendship, love and support made it all possible.

I would like to again congratulate Chief Jimmy Correa on being selected for the job. I am confident that, over time, he will restore complete community confidence in the Hawaii County Police Department. From the time we spent together, I can tell that Jimmy is a quality person, a good family man and has the integrity to complete the task at hand. I mua!

Maj. Robert Prasser
Honolulu Police Department

Some legislators have conflict over schools

Voters who want quality education for their public-school children, beware: Legislators who have children in private schools have a basic conflict of interest. They can be lax in voting funds for public education with no personal cost to their own children while they enjoy lower taxes for themselves and their constituents.

Quality education costs money. That is why most private schools refuse to take hard-to-teach children and send their teaching failures back to public schools. Money goes further if you teach only the easy to teach. Most private schools sift out problem kids by selecting children with high test scores, and exclude children with drug and behavior problems.

Legislators with children in private school often like the idea of vouchers, for then they have public funds to pay for the private education of a carefully selected student body, while abandoning the rest of Hawaii’s children to under-funded public schools.

In this subtle legislative conflict of interest, I see high-powered self-interest and not much aloha for all of Hawaii’s children.

Donald K. Johnson

Homeowners should get hurricane fund money

I greatly oppose Gov. Cayetano’s proposal to use the interest income from $175 million in the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund to provide full tuition scholarship for all students with a B average who attend the University of Hawaii.

This is not fair to the homeowners involved. The money should be returned to the homeowners, like me, who worked hard to shoulder this extra payment in their mortgages.

My children are 9 and 13 years old and will go to college in the future. I will need a part of that money for tuition. So I suggest to the governor that the interest income of the Hurricane Relief Fund be distributed to the homeowners.

Mhel Rezada

Hemmeter Building funding already set

How glorious and gratifying to witness and support a long-time dream coming to reality. Teamwork and dedication along with public support will finally bring our extraordinary public arts collection to the center of our capital, allowing it to be accessed by all and to serve as a key resource for our educational systems.

Our shared vision moves forward with the designation of the Hemmeter Building as a center for public arts in Hawaii. Hand in hand, let us join in building a community where every man, woman and child experiences the arts as the joyful work of life.

How surprising that there would be any person who might resist such an opportunity. The creative planning behind this dream does not affect any of the much-needed funds for repair of our schools, nor does it draw on monies that can assist other educational, social or health needs.

There are funds available for renovation of the Hemmeter Building, thereby making our arts accessible and expanding the scope of our arts education. These monies already reside in the Works of Art Special Fund and can be used to update the site.

At one time, Hawaii was considered one of the best national models for public support of the arts and arts education. Let’s be that again.

Marilyn Cristofori
Executive Director, Hawai
i Alliance for Arts Education

Concealed weapon wouldn’t have worked

Robert Bento suggests that if we could carry a concealed weapon, the woman in the Ala Moana shooting might be alive today (Letters, Jan. 24).

I don’t believe that if the bystander who tried to help the woman had a concealed gun that she would be alive today. Instead, we would have read about a shooting at Ala Moana Center that resulted in three deaths.

Maybe if those who knew about the shotgun that the late gunman possessed had persuaded him to go to the police or took the shotgun away, then maybe, just maybe, a little girl would have her parents today.

Brent Catekista

Upset at prostitution? Use your voting power

Regarding Melissa Walter’s concerns over open prostitution in Waikiki (Letters, Jan. 18): As a 10-year resident observer and sometime participant in Waikiki politics, I can only suggest to Walter that she register her complaints in the voting booth.

Voter turnout in District 21, especially in the September primaries, where changes could have been orchestrated, were abysmal. If voters continue to support candidates who draw financial support primarily from special interests, i.e., big hotels, expect representatives who put resident concerns on the back burner, both on the state and town-meeting levels.

Raymond E. DeFlavis

Small group of haoles ensured their wealth

It is a fact that no part of the so-called 1893 revolution against the Hawaiian monarchy had the least bit to do with democracy. On the contrary, a very small minority of haoles simply took steps to ensure that their wealth and privilege in the Hawaiian Islands would neither be threatened by a politically adept legislature, nor by an electorate loyal to, though not uncritical of, the monarchy.

It is a fact that the so-called Republic of Hawaii took possession of more than half of the kingdom’s lands, including 1 million acres of the private lands of Kamehameha III, who had set them aside to be the personal lands of each succeeding monarch. It is also a fact that several of the republican leaders understood that taking those lands was not legal in any sense, and considered "pensioning off" the queen until they realized she would not be bought off.

These are the facts. Do they matter to anyone besides Hawaiians? Here is my opinion: We Hawaiians cannot respect a government and society that condones this sort of theft. And we have much less respect for the hypocrites who claim that stealing the last of the native entitlements will make this a fairer society.

Jonathan K. Osorio
Assistant Professor, Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai

State must crack down on pests invading Isles

Gov. Cayetano’s State of the State address affirmed that our greatest asset in marketing Hawaii to the world is our breathtaking natural environment.

Limited resources, he said, cannot support unlimited growth. And economic growth should never come at the expense of our natural environment. I want to encourage the governor to create a legacy by protecting Hawaii’s priceless natural environment effectively.

By state estimates, upward of 20 new pest species arrive here each year. Aggressive nonnative pests are decimating our native environment, yet we still lack an effective system to keep new pests out. Methods of interdiction are available, they just need to become priorities and be funded. We need:

An airport inspection system on a par with New Zealand’s.

Airport and harbor freight inspection systems using enclosed rooms. Containers can now be delivered straight to Kula farmland to be opened for the first time since leaving the Mainland.

Better regulation of pet stores and plant nurseries with inspection and an exclusive list of allowable imports.

Regulation of allowable seeds sold to Hawaii in catalogs.

There’s a newly arrived frog in parts of Maui that shrieks at 90 decibels from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Are we soon destined to lose our quiet Island nights? What new pest will be part of next year’s 20-plus: the killer bee, stinging ants, no-see-um insects that go right through your screens? Who will vacation in Hawaii then?

We need solutions now.

Tom Cannon
iku, Maui

Tragedy at No Gun Ri shows need for training

This letter is to support approval of live-ammunition training at Makua. To illustrate the need for such training, I cite the Army’s investigative report on the deaths of Korean civilians at No Gun Ri, July 1950:

There were difficulties stemming from the orders and the interpretation of the orders in the heat of the battle. A seven-page Statement of Mutual Understanding between the United States and South Korea described the American soldiers as "untrained, under-equipped and new to combat," and their leaders as untested in battle.

The decisions soldiers make in combat are no more important than the decisions civilians make in providing the training procedures of those soldiers. Let’s remember this when we decide the fate of live-ammunition training at Makua.

Training in combat conditions is a necessity. We should be proud to have our soldiers in our communities.

Daniel M. Finley

Now there’s the rub

Isn’t it a shame the governor can’t find any money to pay educators to teach children how to appreciate his splendid art collection?

Rico Leffanta

If economy’s back,’ show us money

So now that the state’s economy is back, what’s the reason for not negotiating salary adjustments for teachers and university faculty?

It is difficult to understand how Gov. Cayetano can claim to have education as a high priority while demonstrating it to be a low priority. Does he really believe the legacy-building rhetoric he hands us?

Now he wants to give full scholarships to all students with a "B" average. This is a noble goal. Does he have any idea how many students this might be and what it would do to the University of Hawaii in its present condition? Just who does he suppose will be there to teach them when they get to the university?

There is a shortage of teachers in the K-12 grades. The University of Hawaii is losing good faculty and is unable to attract top talent. The governor maintains there is not enough money. It’s true, there can’t be enough money for everything.

Let’s see what the priorities are:

There is enough money to build a new medical school in Kakaako Makai. Good. Maybe we need to expand the medical school, but is it the highest priority or the best use of funds in the rapidly deteriorating university? Who will teach the undergraduates who eventually will attend the medical school?

There is enough money to transform the Ala Wai Golf Course into a mecca for vacationers. This must be more important to the governor than having good teacher or textbooks.

There is enough money to turn the Hemmeter Building into a world-class art gallery. Although this will be generated from other sources, why not raise money for the university? And what about the struggling live-performance theaters around town, whose endowments from the State Foundation for Culture and Arts were cut to a fraction under Ben’s tutelage?

There is enough money to make the governor’s mansion into a museum.

There is enough money to double the budget proposal for computers for the schools. But who will help the children learn how to use them?

So which is it, Ben? There is money or there isn’t. It can’t be both. Are you for education or for the facade of education?

Richard Brill

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