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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Get our children back in school now

Sen. Dan Inouye said last week he expects the strike to last another 10 days. Ten more days is too long for my children to be cheated out of their education.

HTSA is waiting to get to the table and is willing to work around the clock until there is a settlement. That is the kind of commitment we need to bring this to an end.

Unfortunately, our state has no sense of commitment to the citizens or the children of Hawai'i.

There is absolutely no excuse for this strike to continue any longer. End it now, Ben. The Legislature has solved the budget issues. I want my kids back in school where they belong — immediately.

Chris C. Bayot
Pearl City

Cayetano out of touch with democratic reality

The governor said something during a recent TV interview that should concern all of Hawai'i's residents. To paraphrase, he said he didn't become governor to win any popularity contests and didn't care what people think. His job as governor is to do what he thinks is right.

This is entirely contrary to the concept of the will of the people, who elect our leaders (and I use the term loosely) precisely to follow that will.

The governor's attitude is decidedly tyrannical and a very Third World approach to governance.

Besides being egotistical and anti-democratic, it further illustrates that the governor is out of touch with his own role and with the ideals of American democracy he supposedly represents.

Let us not forget that he, like all of our elected officials, governs only with the consent of the governed. He seems to have forgotten that lesson from high school civics and needs a reminder.

Richard Brill

Easter Bunny hops while teachers walk

How sadly ironic that in the midst of strikes by teachers and UH instructors, the governor still opened Washington Place for an annual Easter egg hunt for Hawai'i's children.

I guess the message for Hawai'i's keiki is that the Easter Bunny is real, while qualified and well-paid teachers and UH instructors are only the stuff of make-believe.

Judy Chong-Nakamura

Governor should follow Senate lead

I applaud the Senate's brave stand. Setting aside $200 million-plus for teacher raises took guts. Senators realize there are many ways to slice the pie.

Public education is critical to Hawai'i's future: Quality public education is provided by well-educated, compassionate and well-paid teachers.

Please support the teachers and the Senate. Do the right thing for Hawai'i's children. Encourage the governor to settle this strike fairly and quickly.

Rexann Marie Dubiel
Teacher, Sunset Beach Elementary School

Many are caught in middle of strike

I bet a lot of you would be interested to know more about the folks caught in the middle of the strike.

Of the 1,400 UH faculty, 15 percent or so do not support the strike and they sign in each day. But there are a considerable amount of others, mainly researchers, who come in but do not sign in. More work from home. I would guess that figure is greater than those who sign in. I am on campus, so I see and hear a different story.

This group is in the middle of serious moral and ethical dilemmas. How many are there? Do they choose not to sign in because of fear, threats or conflict avoidance? Why do they come in? Because of their obligation to students, funding organizations and employees?

Strikes are so bad because they bring out the worst in people, which forces people to choose sides. I would guess the majority of folks are caught in the middle and are faced with similar issues.

David Kimball

Cayetano allowed schools to deteriorate

As the teachers' strike continues, the ultimate losers are the children of Hawai'i. However, the governor's rhetoric, blaming the educators for hurting these students, has been insulting.

Our public education system did not arise in dire crisis overnight. It has been the consequence of continual disregard. As qualified teachers leave year after year, supplies dwindle, campuses deteriorate and public opinion of the system continues to erode, our governor has allowed it to happen.

The solution is not in building new schools, but rather to manage the existing ones with qualified teachers and to rebuild pride and trust in the system.

A quality education is the right of every child in Hawai'i, not a privilege. The strike is not the fault of the teachers, but rather another ramification of the state's neglect.

Our Legislature agrees with the teachers and worked hard to appropriate the necessary funds, to which the governor responded, "They have not been helpful."

The majority of our taxpaying citizens agree with the teachers.

Both UH and DOE students are supporting the teachers.

Hawai'i's U.S. senators agree with the teachers.

Even the lieutenant governor supports the teachers and walked the picket lines with them.

Brian Tanabe

Streets unfriendly for bicyclists, walkers

Thank you, Jan TenBruggencate, for your April 9 "Help clear the air: Go car free for a day" column trumpeting the call for a global car-free day tomorrow, April 19.

Because I do not own a car, I can afford a two-bedroom duplex and no roommate. And because I live in Palolo near Wai'alae, I am within easy walking and biking distance from most everything I need — my job, groceries, hardware, videos, pizza, Hawai'i-grown produce, the library, Goodwill, basketball games, waterfalls and the beaches.

My fuel costs are my food costs. I get to work out even on days I don't have time for a workout. Biking and walking, I am part of the environment I am traveling through. I get to see, feel and taste the beauty and, yes, some beasts, within our communities.

Many times, biking, but especially walking, is a lonely and frustrating experience in Honolulu. Our streets are built to move automobiles and trucks, not people. Street lights light streets, not sidewalks, and sidewalks are so narrow most places, a couple cannot walk hand in hand.

Georgette Yaindl

Racial preferences conclusion ill-founded

Richard Thompson attempts to convince us that the University of Hawai'i's admissions policy is racially skewed (Letters, April 9). Unfortunately, he chooses to base this argument on the racial breakdown of awarded law degrees and in doing so falls into a common pitfall of such arguments.

Thompson tells us that of 69 degrees awarded, none was awarded to Hispanic Americans or African Americans. This information doesn't really tell us anything conclusory about the admissions policies, however.

In order to reach the conclusion he is steering us toward, we would need to know how many African or Hispanic Americans were admitted to the law school and, more importantly, how many qualified African or Hispanic Americans applicants there were. If no African Americans applied for that class, then it would hardly be surprising (or discriminatory) that none graduated with it.

Ben M. Schorr
'Ewa Beach

Global warming treaty is just a U.N. scam

Jan TenBruggencate is usually right on the mark; however, his April 9 column is off-base.

His discussion of Earth Car-Free Day encourages citizens to make a statement about global warming. To quote: "Since governments have been unable to meet the goals of the Kyoto Protocol, the international global warming treaty whose provisions the Bush administration has refused to adopt ... "

The Kyoto Protocol not only requires that America reduce its emissions to pre-1990 levels, but pay to continue Third World industrialized pollution. Are we willing to pay for China and Russia to continue putting chemical and carbon-based pollutants into the earth's water and air? I think not.

Kyoto is a United Nations scam to reduce America to Third World status while forcing us to throw cash at those countries.

Jay Bauckham

Palolo Valley against underground power line

I am a resident of Palolo Valley and my house is six houses from the Pukele transmission station. I helped on a petition drive in Palolo recently, and 98 percent of the people asked were against having the 138kV line put underground through Palolo instead of on Wa'ahila Ridge, where lines already exist.

My children are active in sports in Manoa, and as we sit at Noelani School or at Manoa School during the games, we look for the existing pole line on Wa'ahila Ridge. Do you know that these poles are not as visible as some people make out?

Hawaiian Electric had proposed to put up a sample pole, but due to public opposition, this project was canceled. I know the proposed poles will be taller and more visible, so I was surprised that people would not want to see what the visual impact would really be since the existing poles will remain on Wa'ahila Ridge regardless if the new line goes underground.

Allyson Ahakuelo

Four state senators buck chairman's prerogative

April 6 is a day that all people who hold democracy dear should cherish. Four senators — Avery Chumbley, Kalani English, Bob Hogue and Matt Matsunaga — boldly stood up for the people of Hawai'i.

A committee chairman who postponed decision-making until the very last day on a bill heard earlier relating to renewable portfolio standards finally introduced his proposed draft.

A committee member suggested that another energy measure, net metering — which this committee chairman deferred — be included in the proposed draft. The chairman adamantly refused.

After several failed attempts to get the chairman to reassess his position, Hogue and Matsunaga made a motion to call for the vote on the inclusion of net metering in this measure. After some tense moments, the chairman (realizing he could not push his own agenda) deferred decision-making until a few hours later so he could consider this proposal.

In our Legislature, it is rare that a committee chair is challenged. This motion was a wonderful example of bi-partisan democracy, and we should all be proud that four senators took a stand for the people.

Kat Brady

Rep. Hamakawa killed sex exploitation bill

I was extremely disturbed by the inaccurate information given by Rep. Eric Hamakawa regarding SB 864 in an April 7 article. His statement that "most of the businesses (the bill on commercial sexual exploitation) would affect are already regulated by the Liquor Commission" is not accurate.

For clarification, SB 864 makes the commercial sexual exploitation of a minor a class B felony and subjects convicted defendants to forfeiture of property and revoking of all business licenses. It's a tough law. It holds the perpetrators accountable.

A person commits the offense of sexual exploitation of a minor if the person engages or retains the services of a minor for paid services to provide exotic or nude dancing, erotic or nude massage services, or services to customers or patrons through an escort service or agency. This is commercial sexual exploitation.

If Hamakawa, who is responsible for killing this bill, had paid attention at all to this measure, he would realize that simply using a minor to provide these paid sexual services is not covered under current state statutes. Escort agencies, massage parlors and pimps are also not regulated by the Liquor Commission.

The penalty also includes more than just revoking licenses. It includes asset forfeiture and up to 10 years in jail. We're talking about buying and selling children for sexual services and profit. We're talking about tough penalties. This is not covered under current state law.

Children experiencing commercial sexual exploitation continue to have no legal protection and perpetrators can continue to buy and sell local children, making huge profits without fear of any significant consequence. The community should be aware of what is at stake here.

Kelly A. Hill
Executive Director, Sisters Offering Support

First-time offenders were given raw deal

The get-tough decision by the judge for first-time offenders in the Chinatown sex-solicitation arrests is misapplied.

Deferred-acceptance pleas have been accepted for far more serious offenses than a petty misdemeanor such as this. Certainly, being paraded in front of the media is a form of punishment used all too commonly these days.

The best outcome in this case would be to ensure these first-timers receive counseling to rescue their situations.

D. Elmore