Tuesday, January 30, 2001
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Posted on: Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Turn Ala Wai into park one day a week

The closing of the most historic golf course in Hawaii in order to make it into a park is a drastic measure, indeed.

The fact that it is the most heavily played course in the nation, if not the world, proves that this land is already being used to a maximum potential by locals and visitors alike.

Before a final decision is made, I suggest we try the arrangement that has worked so well at the oldest golf course in the world, the historic St. Andrew’s Golf Course in Scotland. Every Sunday, the course is closed to golfers and open to the public as a park. Here, a weekday could be added, if necessary.

If the real goal in this is more commercial development, then all this talk about a park means nothing.

Bill Harkins

School Peer Education Program vital to teens

Since joining the ’Aiea High School Peer Education Program, I have made healthier decisions in my life.

The program teaches you about the problems in being a teenager and how to solve them. This program might not get everybody off drugs, but it can educate and teach them about the hazards of their actions. We might not stop everyone from commiting suicide, but we could educate their friends and they could stop them.

Well, I think I’ve made my point. So please, Governor, next time you want to shut us down, just remember all the education you’ll take away from the teens in the state.

Bradley Fermahin
Junior, ’Aiea High School Peer Education

Hawaii should turn to nuclear energy

Rep. Hermina Morita in her Jan. 24 Island Voices column suggests we wean Hawaii from oil energy. The suggestions don’t go far enough. Why not get really visionary here in Hawaii? Indeed, why not generate hydrogen for burning (and, more directly, for electricity) using fission as the energy source?

We don’t do this now because:

We have an irrational fear of nuclear energy spawned by accidents at Chernobyl and Three-Mile Island — accidents that were directly attributable to known-to-be-stupid-in-advance power plant designs.

We would apparently rather foul the atmosphere and oceans, cause hundreds of avoidable lung cancers each year and contribute to global warming.

We would rather squander easy-to-handle, liquid, energy-dense complex hydrocarbons (oil, gasoline, etc.) by burning them in fixed power plants when they should only be burned by devices in which portability is critical (e.g., vehicles, airplanes).

France and Finland have successfully and safely used nuclear power for almost all their electricity for the past 30 years. They accomplished this by safely repeating and refining the same power plant design, over and over, unlike in the United States and Russia, where each nuclear plant is a unique, and arguably experimental, "work of art."

Morita’s suggestions for renewable energy sources, e.g., wind, solar, ocean thermal, geothermal, tidal, etc, are worth examining. However, what Morita and other "green-energy" pundits usually fail to note is that most of these technologies don’t produce much power, are ugly, are outrageously expensive, are not dependable and require substantial acreage.

Mike Rethman

Illogical Bush move on abortion

Sadly, on the same day we learn that Waikiki will likely be underwater in 110 years due to global warming and its root cause, human overpopulation, we learn that the Bush administration’s first illogical step is to de-fund international family planning organizations that support abortion. That ensures the birth of more unwanted children onto a planet whose No. 1 basic problem is too many humans.

David Bailey

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 loose 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

Critics forget what happened in 1893

The Jan. 23 letter by Paul M. Sullivan, though well-intentioned, reinforces what Hawaiian scholars have been saying for decades: simply, that the perspective that Sullivan expresses is completely remiss of any understanding of what happened in 1893.

Sullivan fails to challenge what he presumes happened during that shameful time in American history and assumes a position that is risk-free as he enjoys all the perks of living in these beautiful Islands.

Sullivan states that Hawaiian complaints over the years may now face repeated skeptical and scholarly challenges that he is either too lazy or indifferent to challenge himself. He further attempts to intimidate Hawaiians into believing that they could indeed suffer further should they continue their quest for justice. Hawaiians do not consider their quest for justice as frivolous and random.

For 108 years, Hawaiians have waited to challenge the despicable hoax that was perpetrated against them in 1893. Sullivan believes that Hawaiians should be afraid of suffering more than they have suffered already. What a cop-out.

Hawaiians are infinitely proud of their heritage and, though saddened at what happened, will never abandon their journey for justice. It is discouraging, however, that the United States of America, this great bastion of freedom and democracy, continues to turn away when confronted with its great crime.

The very simple premise that Sullivan must come to understand is that a crime is not negated by the passage of time. We are all liable for our actions. The United States is no exception.

Rod Ferreira
Waimea, Big Island

Education debate, teacher salaries

Give school control back to the parents

Everyone talks about classrooms. What about Hawaii’s beautiful children, the students? Let’s discuss educating our children. We must give control of the schools in each community back to the parents. The Board of Education must implement the parent-controlled High School Complex SCBM.

The Department of Health does an excellent job of tracking Hawaii’s children from birth to age 3. Then the children fall through the cracks. The Legislature must give tax incentives to private and church preschools to seal the cracks.

A lottery? Please. Hawaii must cleanse itself of its "large bureaucracy" before implementing such a gamble. The lottery is playing with a loaded gun.

Jim Kuroiwa Jr.

Teachers deserve to earn a decent living

Regarding Raymond August’s Jan. 25 letter, "Teachers aren’t only ones who do a lot": I believe August has missed the big picture.

His opinion that "if teachers are so unhappy they should find another type of profession or go to the Mainland and see what teaching is all about" reminds me of the statements given to me by my 9th-grade class of fourteen-year-olds. When we discussed the current teacher contract negotiations and our low salary, they told me that I should find another career. My response to them was, "Who will then teach you?" Their faces were blank and I received no response.

I have been teaching for three years since graduating from college. Throughout the three years, I have continued to work part-time to supplement my income. I never thought that teaching was a career that would make me wealthy, but one that would make me happy.

I believe I have worked hard earning my professional degree and deserve an adequate salary. I don’t believe that I should have to work part-time just to make ends meet. Currently, Hawaii’s teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation.

Most teachers are quite aware of the opportunities to earn substantially higher wages and better benefits on the Mainland. We choose to remain in Hawaii, for this is our home and we want to help our children. Teachers should not have to leave Hawaii to earn a decent living.

Jyoti Daniels

Education governor needs to be educated

Education governor? In the twilight of his last term in office, Ben Cayetano again is trying to have the people of Hawaii believe he is the education governor who could correct the education problems of Hawaii.

It is unreasonable to think that throwing money at facilities (which should have been going there through the years) will correct the educational problems in this state. Without the dedication of the professional teachers and administrators, the school buildings are just that: buildings. Wake up, Governor. It is time to pay the piper for the sins of your Democratic Party.

Now an independent person has recommended that teachers receive a 19 percent raise. Without common sense and reasonable attitudes by the governor, it is no wonder the best and brightest are leaving this state.

William M. Morrow

Union pacts shouldn’t be precedent for others

Regarding the Jan. 25 letter "Teachers aren’t the only ones who do a lot": I do agree that every profession has people who do a lot.

When I taught on the Mainland, where schools are governed by districts, each district was responsible for hiring, pay salaries, budget, etc. In Hawaii, all public schools fall under the Department of Education. Because of this, when one public union receives a pay raise, other public unions feel they should jump in. You don’t see this kind of behavior on the Mainland.

Many teachers are relocating to the Mainland because they can get almost double the pay for doing the same job here in Hawaii. In addition, the cost of living is more favorable. But moving to the Mainland means forfeiture of tenure, years of service and retirement plans.

Many teachers have changed professions. This is why Hawaii is experiencing a teacher shortage. This means that your children (in public schools) may get young, new, inexperienced, uncertified and long-term substitute teachers, and they will suffer.

Max Miura

Invest in teachers over school facilities

Regarding the Jan. 23 excerpts of Gov. Cayetano’s State of the State address ("Education, social programs top agenda"): I would like to know the difference between "$100 million for repair and maintenance and an additional $100 million to renovate our older schools and bring them up to par with the new schools."

Repairs and renovation, at this time, only cover up our underlying flaws and avoid the real issues within our schools and ourselves. Good-looking schools do not mean a good education (or even a safe one).

Many teachers use their environment very effectively to educate students. They never asked for a new computer, roof, desk or book. Besides, without the teacher’s guidance, knowledge and desire to educate, the above-mentioned only collect dust. And so will the $290 million.

Teachers are our No. 1 resource and the very foundation on which our public and private education is founded. It seems only logical that if we invest more in them, our children and communities will be the better for it. I would take a teacher who is motivated and passionate about her profession — education — over a new computer any day.

J. McMillen

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