Letters to the Editor
Giving government power to decide is very risky
David Roth is correct about ACLU's opposition to the dragnet racial profiling and interrogation by the Justice Department of individuals in the effort against terrorism (Advertiser, Dec. 7).
But he misses the point completely of why the ACLU opposed the Virginia ban on cross burning. The ACLU of Virginia represented Mr. Black, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, who set fire to a cross on a private farm with the owner's consent. However, he was not, as some have misrepresented the facts, burning a cross in an African American family's yard in order to harass or terrorize them. He was engaging in private speech. He was arrested and convicted under a 70-year-old law.
On appeal, the Virginia Supreme Court correctly struck down the law because it violated Black's right of free speech. The Klan message is hateful and offensive to the ACLU and, hopefully, to all Americans, but we abandon a core freedom when we allow the state to punish individuals for their ideas or their speech.
Giving the government such power to decide whose speech is acceptable puts us all at risk. Free speech is a meaningful constitutional principle only if it applies equally to everyone, regardless of their ideas.
Vanessa Y. Chong
Executive Director, Honolulu, American Civil Liberties Union
Removing cap during anthem deeply moving
As I entered Aloha Stadium for the UH-BYU football game, you could feel the excitement building. As the crowd came to a stop for the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner, I witnessed a scene that has stuck with me.
Standing in front of me was a young boy, maybe 10 years old, and his father. As the band started to play the anthem, the boy respectfully removed his cap and placed it over his heart. His father continued to eat his popcorn, hat on. At the end the son looked up at his father and said nothing.
The lesson learned here hopefully was the father's.
Ancient Hawaiians respected, revered nudity
There was a time when Hawaiian families would gather at the beaches in the afternoons for bathing, swimming and surfing and everyone swam naked. In fact, the reason the missionaries banned surfing was because the Hawaiians surfed nude. Not only is it a bit lolo to swim with clothes on anyway, the Hawaiians in ancient times would never wear a wet malo (loin cloth) or a leaf or tapa skirt if an ali'i was in the neighborhood. It was a capital crime.
The Hawaiians revered the genital area. They had no shame regarding God-created bodies. Mary Kawena Pukui, a highly respected kupuna, claimed, "genital exposure was not an indecent, or even sexually tinged action. To expose oneself was never perversion; it was frequently a protection."
There were also other times when it was appropriate to be naked, e.g., when asking for forgiveness, when the king's calabash of water was passing by, ceremonial occasions to avert sorcery, etc. Nudity was also a sign of respect. King Kamehameha, who was of lower rank than his sacred wife Keopuolani, had to remove his malo before being in her presence.
Just to keep the history correct.
Parking sorely needed for area residents
Virtually every high-rise building in the Punahou area lacks adequate parking. All of these buildings were approved by the city and were allowed to be constructed without parking required for the population density.
Due to the lack of adequate parking in the buildings, street parking is impossible to find. Punahou School also lacks adequate parking for daily use and special events. People who are forced to park on the streets are subject to habitual automobile theft and vandalism.
Therefore, we the residents of the area are requesting that the city correct the mistakes of the past and put up either a parking structure or add 100 parking stalls in a proposed project.
Additional parking will improve the quality of life for the residents, will reduce vandalism of cars parked on the streets and provide the things most needed to the Punahou area: parking.
Fairness issue needs to be resolved
I'm against the idea of cameras catching speeders and red-light runners. Tickets should be given by a competent police officer who assesses the situation at the time of the infraction.
The idea of not paying the "ticket" and joining in on a class-action lawsuit sounds interesting, but lawyers are often the ones who prosper from that kind of actions. Let's keep that in mind just in case.
Also, will the government be fair in handing out the tickets? I don't think the government will ticket TheBus drivers for "running" the yellow or the red light. They don't now, so why start? And how about the state vehicles that commit infractions. Will they be cited?
We need more police officers and fewer politicians who pass the buck along and accomplish nothing. Whoever thought up this "camera" idea needs to go back to square one and do some serious rethinking.
Extortion in Hawai'i: Politics as usual
So, local business execs say they have to give large amounts of money to Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign for governor or they won't get contracts. They all but accuse the mayor's campaign fund-raisers of extortion.
Is it possible ? Yes.
But it is much more likely that this is just politics in Hawai'i as usual come home to roost. They and their predecessors have created this monster themselves. They give money to a campaign for just such a purpose: to get an advantage in contract allocation and similar access. Then they worry that someone else will outbid them in the campaign contribution (bribery in any other sphere) game.
Once you join the political influence scramble, it is a bit disingenuous to claim you are being extorted when you get caught at it.
Did you really want your contribution to go unnoticed even (especially) by the candidate?
This is why some of us are beginning to think that anyone with the backing and the personality to achieve high public office may be too dangerous to be permitted to hold it. Given some of the clowns who say they would be governor, maybe a lottery isn't such a bad idea after all.
The Rev. Mike Young
Minister, First Unitarian Church
From saimin to musubi, Islands full of ono grinds
After living in Hawai'i for only five months, I have taken a fond liking to the local food.
Living near Wahiawa and attending Leilehua High School, I have adjusted from eating spaghetti and hamburgers on the Mainland to eating Spam musubi and saimin. Initially, I was forced to eat such "exotic" foods by my father. As a U.S. Army officer, he has always encouraged me to try new things; and after trying many different dishes, I have been on a steady diet of the local meals.
Although most of my friends, who are also military dependents, do not enjoy these same foods, I always insist on choosing where we eat. My favorite restaurant is Zippy's because it has the best teriyaki beef and macaroni salad on the Island.
I hope that when I move back to the Mainland in a year and a half, I can find some of the same foods that I have grown to love here. I feel like I could live off these foods for the rest of my life.
Leilehua High School
Celebrating not the same as taunting
I've been reading the letters sent to you regarding the UH vs. BYU game. We live in California, and my husband and I stayed home that day to watch it live on ESPN2.
I agree with your readers that it was upsetting to have ESPN cut it short. I also agree that sometimes too much celebration is unacceptable, but I personally feel that players shouldn't be ejected from a game for excessive celebrating. I play sports, particularly soccer, and scoring is a hard thing to do and you can't help but celebrate. It's not taunting the other team, it's just all your hard work coming through, making it hard to contain the joy you feel after you score.
I read about the "taunting" that the UH players were doing, but no one had brought up the fact about a BYU cheerleader who pushed and said something to a UH player after a UH defensive man and a BYU player ran and fell onto some BYU cheerleaders. Have they forgotten that?
Anyway, congratulations to the Warriors for beating BYU. We hope to see more games televised and look forward to a winning season next year.
Street bikers thank all who helped
The 27th annual Toys for Tots hosted by Street Bikers United thanks their members, independent and Neighbor Island bikers, the classic and antique car owners who came out to support the toy drive, making it the largest one-day toy collection in Hawai'i. Without your support, this could not have been possible.
Thanks to HMAA, Ruby Hargrave from HCAP, KCCN FM-100, Toby from Cycle City, Kaina from South Seas, Barry from Kona Harley Davidson, Kevin and Pat from Violets Grill, Rod Carr's Progressive Insurance, Vicious Cycle and Dennis from Cosmic Air Brush for funding the event.
To Mayor Jeremy Harris, the Police Department, other city officials and the Convention Center folks who guided us through a sea of red tape: Without your assistance, this would not have happened in a timely manner. Thank you.
Last but not least, to Andy and Ray Bumatai for spearheading the planning and for contacting friends in the business to secure the greatest entertainment for all to enjoy at the Convention Center and at the Waikiki Shell. To motorists who may have gotten caught in the traffic in Waikiki, a big mahalo for your patience and understanding.
See you next year.
State Director, Street Bikers United
Mystery of 'lost' third portrait solved
Regarding the Dec. 9 Advertiser article on the whereabouts of the third King Kamehameha portrait: There is no mystery as to the current location of the third portrait of Kamehameha the First done by artist Louis Choris on Nov. 24, 1816. It's in Bishop Museum, where it has been for the last 40 years.
Jean Charlot's 1958 book on the subject, "Choris and Kamehameha" (published, incidentally, by Bishop Museum) clearly describes what happened: "In the morning, he sketched the king twice [the works at the Honolulu Academy of Arts] ... At the second sitting, held in the afternoon ... Choris washed a watercolor of ... the king in the red vest" [the piece at Bishop Museum.]
This watercolor, whose history is well-known beginning with its discovery in Kailua-Kona in 1853, has been in the Bishop Museum collection since 1960. Although it's not displayed too often for reasons of preservation, it was shown in our "Na Mea Makamae: Treasures of Hawai'i" exhibit that ran from January to May 1997.
Charlot's book describes and illustrates this third portrait (which had not yet come to the museum at that time), and furthermore does not say the "missing" portrait was done that day. In fact, the only explanation at all for the existence of the missing piece is Charlot's feeling that an 1821 version of the same picture, published in a Russian book, "could have been traced carefully from a now lost original" (p. 41) which he conjectures was "Choris' own autographic version" (p. 57).
The history of Choris' various versions of his famous and significant artwork is complex, and we may never know for certain how many copies were done or where they might have ended up. And although the piece the Charlot family owns is not the one The Advertiser article described, it may very well be a heretofore unknown original.
Collection Manager, Bishop Museum Archives