Wednesday, January 31, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Majority rules today; crown lands are public

Professor Jon Osorio notes in his Jan. 29 letter that the revolution against the monarchy was not supported by the majority in 1893. He appeals to the democratic principle of majority rule. But if the principle of majority rule should have been followed in 1893, it should be followed now. Majority rule cannot justify minority rule by a group defined by ancestry.

Osorio also notes that the crown lands originally were Kamehameha III’s private lands and passed down to his successors who wore the crown. No commoners, ethnic Hawaiian or not, owned the crown lands. Because nobody wears the crown today, nobody has any private claim to the crown lands.

Similarly, the government lands belonged to the government, and thus indirectly to the entire public, regardless of race. No group smaller than the entire public has ever owned the government lands.

Crown lands and government lands are public lands today. All members of the public have the right to decide by majority vote how to use the public lands today. None of us deserves more than equality.

Patrick W. Hanifin

Teachers deserving, but strike would hurt

I am a senior at Moanalua High School. Recently a fellow student brought up the idea of a possible teachers’ strike. Students who don’t understand the seriousness of the matter smiled and said, "Yeah! No school!"

On the other hand, those of us who do understand had a fairly interesting discussion with our sociology teacher. As a senior, I look forward to school functions such as the senior prom, graduation ceremony and Project Graduation. Unfortunately our senior class wouldn’t be able to experience any of those special events if a strike occurs. The teachers have every right to strike, and we students believe that our teachers deserve more than what they’re making now.

Who told Lauryn Hill that songs have to rhyme? What inspired Judge Judy to help others in court? Where did Johnny Cochran discover his interest in law? Why should those who are the answers to those questions be the least paid?

Our teachers are responsible for the success of our society. Not only do they teach reading, writing and arithmetic, but they also teach respect, discipline and character. Students need teachers, and teachers need a raise.

Kimberly P. Cavaretta

Scalia discussion with Strossen terrific

The entire community owes a tremendous debt to the local ACLU for its recent sponsorship of the Davis/Levin First Amendment Conference, featuring a discussion between Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the president of the national ACLU, Nadine Strossen. Others worthy of commendation include:

The citizens who took time to participate in this thought-provoking forum.

The protesters who took advantage of their First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly.

The teachers and students who took with them a firsthand experience of thoughtful constitutional debate.

The participants themselves, who were models of rational, insightful, humorous, civil and civic dialogue.

Claire McCaffery Griffin

Why can’t Hawaii export its tax burden?

About a week ago, I went to Florida on a business trip and a visit to Disney World. On my flight back from Florida, from Florida to Las Vegas, a gentleman from Florida was sitting on my right and a gentleman from Nevada was on my left. We started to talk about state taxes.

The man from Florida said he does not pay any state tax, the tourists pay it for him. The man from Nevada said he didn’t pay any state tax, the gamblers pay it for him.

I sat back and thought about this and came to the following conclusion: I was already mad because I already pay one of the highest state taxes in America. Now I was extremely furious because I now found out I am also paying Florida and Nevada taxes.

I guess Hawaii legislators do not have the brain miso like those in Florida and Nevada. No wonder we cannot pay our teachers what they deserve.

Jimbo Miura

There’s another view besides the liberal one

The Jan. 27 Ellen Goodman commentary was obviously the liberal point of view on our new president’s actions on abortion the first week of office.

The other side is also valid and in my opinion true. Just because Hawaii is a Democratic state doesn’t mean everyone here is pro-choice. There is a very strong right-to-life movement here, and we are very proud of our new president so far.

The liberals are so angry at him for appointing John Ashcroft. I am glad he picked at least one pro-life person for his Cabinet. Bill Clinton did not choose one pro-life person for his Cabinet.

Seems to me that President Bush is a lot more diverse in other areas, also. He has a multiracial Cabinet, and I applaud him for that. Thank God we finally have a president who is not pandering to the left. Give him a chance.

Robin Savage

Now it’s our turn to support military

Our military personnel stand tall among us. For example:

On Friday, Jan. 26, there was a company of soldiers from Schofield Barracks at the Sunset Beach Elementary School working with the students. I was told that this support happens with some regularity.

On Saturday, Jan. 27, I was fortunate to spend the morning hours with some of the approximately 90 soldiers and their family members who provided the bulk of the labor in cleaning up the Sunset Beach Bike Path. They’ve supported these clean-ups for years.

Then, too, there are the holiday dinners for the less fortunate provided by personnel from the U.S. Navy’s group at Whitmore Village as well as the valuable service rendered to medical emergencies by the Army medivac helicopters.

As wonderful as these community projects are, it’s only the icing on the cake.

Most of you, like me, hardly ever give thought to the fact that our service personnel have taken an oath to defend our country, and that means they put themselves in harm’s way for us. Readiness is their bottom line. War is not a game. If they lose, they don’t get another chance because they are dead. And for every service person killed, our precious freedoms become more fragile.

I am writing this because it seems so unfair to have the military’s requirement for training in Makua Valley rebuffed at every turn. How can you expect our men and women in uniform to be able to defend us if they can’t train?

The Army has honestly tried to accommodate the concerns of those who oppose the use of Makua. It’s high time for some appreciation to be shown for the Army’s needs.

Roger Williams

Of Scottish kilts, plaid and mutual respect

That one man’s humor is another man’s racism was a point that Lee Cataluna has made about Frank DeLima. At least Frank is funny and "equal opportunity," skewering everyone. Cataluna’s article, "Has Legislature gone to dogs?" (Jan. 28), on adopting an official tartan for Hawaii, was not. She really should have known better.

A Scottish kilt’s tartan or plaid pattern has for a millennium or more identified its wearer as part of a close-knit group, whether small families eking out a living in the Highlands or the regiments of "The Laddies from Hell" that won such respect on the battlefield. Kilted Scots fought and died for religious and political freedom for their country. In response, the English banned the kilt, the tartans and the religion and drove many Scots off the land, making them a nation of emigrants. Many moved to America, where their belief in a classless society, their loyalty and their stubbornness helped shape a new nation and make it free.

Today, in their diaspora, Americans of Scots ancestry might not wear the kilt even once a year, but it remains, like bagpipes, an expression of enduring values. Back in Scotland, the wearing of the tartan is an outward sign of the resurgence and continuity of Scots culture. Native Hawaiians should understand.

That the Scots of Hawaii seek the Islands to have their own tartan is a sign of deepest respect. It means Hawaii is a proper place to be from and to owe allegiance to. Given the current divisions within the Islands, we should be welcoming such gestures, not denigrating them.

David Cameron Duffy

Gambling is back on front burner

Don’t soil Hawaii with gambling’s ills

I’m concerned that at least one of Gov. Cayetano’s former top advisers, Charles Toguchi, has been bought off by the pro-gambling interests and has taken the governor to see a casino operation in the Bahamas.

We know the casino operators are again wining and dining our legislators. And we see the full-page ads paid for by those who would love to destroy our way of life and the uniqueness of our Island home with gambling. It’s downright frightening.

Years ago, I suggested that if we see gambling as a way to bail us out of poor fiscal management of our state, then we should buy a casino in Las Vegas and bring back home all the money lost to gambling by our traveling residents. Let them have all the crime and other social ills that always accompany gambling. The hotel/casino could have a Hawaii theme, employ our own people, including many out-of-work Hawaiian entertainers, and become a highlight in anyone’s visit to Las Vegas.

It might not be what Toguchi’s new employers want, but it might be best for Hawaii. Ask Gamblers’ Anonymous what has happened in every other state that has made gambling legal. Ask the child and family welfare offices in those states what has happened to families. Just look at those states; then look at Hawaii nei.

Does the governor really want his legacy to be "the governor who sold Hawaii out to the underworld?"

At what price, Ben? At what price, Charley?

Keith Haugen

Gaming industry would take over Isles

Your Jan. 27 editorial cartoon brought home memories of what the gambling industry has done to my home state of Missouri. The full-page ad of swaying palm trees and statements about how the industry will protect the pristine environment was deja vu.

Years ago, the gambling industry presented Missouri voters with views of riverboats cruising the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, ala Mark Twain. The voters voted in riverboat gambling with restrictions (card games only, casinos must be on the water, $500 loss limit et al.). As soon as the industry had a foothold, it proceeded to buy off the legislature, the gaming commission and anybody else it needed.

We now have at least 11 gambling casinos in Missouri, none ever float or even have the capacity to. People are losing their houses, savings and livelihood. Suicides are up. Pawnshops are doing a land-office business.

The casinos’ managements have been cited for everything from noncompliance with municipal agreements to skimming. Give them an inch and they take a mile.

Robert S. Moynihan

Get real — gambling will come to Hawaii

Every Sunday morning I read the Travel section in your newspaper. There’s always a column about the latest casino developments in Las Vegas and countless ads that feature great package deals for Vegas trips. And don’t forget all those articles about how much fun we have "goin’ Vegas!"

Oh, wait a second, isn’t this the same newspaper that just lectured its readers again last week about the "horrors" of legalized gambling? Isn’t this the same Advertiser that contends Hawaii residents would not be able to control themselves if a lottery, limited ship-board gambling or horse racing were allowed?

I am not saying Hawaii should seek to emulate Las Vegas. Nor do I want to see casinos taking over Waikiki. However, to think we can forever stand alone with Utah and Tennessee as the only three states that do not allow some form of gambling is naive and virtually unenforceable.

The truth, illustrated by The Advertiser’s own recent series on gambling in Hawaii, is that anyone here can already place a bet whenever he wants. Simply call your friendly local bookie or log on to the Internet.

So if The Advertiser wants to give sermons on gambling, I suggest you practice what you preach: Don’t run articles that legitimize the gaming industry, and stop accepting ads that promote and sell "Sin City" packages.

Rich Figel

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