Letters to the Editor
Comment on industry not meant to criticize
Many thanks for your coverage of the Hawaii Tourism Conference, but I would appreciate a clarification of my reported remarks. My comments on the current state of Japanese tourism to Hawai'i were not intended as criticism of the travel industry in Hawai'i or the excellent work in Japan over the years of the Hawai'i Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Rather, I simply wanted to tell people in Hawai'i to be aware that the travel industry needs to keep abreast of changing trends and tastes in the Japanese overseas travel market, which we ignore at our own risk. My suggestions about moving on from Waikiki to other islands are a case in point. This is why Japan Airlines started flights to Kona in 1995.
We naturally want traffic to recover as quickly as possible, and there are positive signs that demand in early 2002 is on the mend. But this is a good time to reflect on the job that has been done up to now and to see where we need to go from here to achieve future growth.
Senior Managing Director, Japan Airlines
Government must do its bit to chip in, too
This is just to let you know that I am OK with having $10 a year going toward long-term benefits. Just go ahead and deduct this from the amount of taxes we pay.
If it is so easy for taxpayers and businesses to chip in a bit more, it should be just as easy for our state government to tighten its belt a bit more and provide for this new service. I agree it's a great idea you have plenty of existing tax money to work with, so go for it!
Area ready for use should be opened
Today, I talked with someone who is intimately familiar with the project to plant new grass in Kapi'olani Park, from Kapahulu to the aquarium and Kalakaua to the new promenade.
I asked him when the temporary fence would be taken down and the new-grass area opened to the public. He said that much of the area could have been opened a long time ago, but the city doesn't have the people to maintain the area and is paying the contractor (presumably using an appropriation separate from salaries of city employees) to maintain the grass.
The contractor will not let anyone on the grass because of liability problems. The city has said it will take over responsibility when the entire project is complete.
We have the governor taking trips (to New York, Japan and China) trying to entice tourists to come to Hawai'i and the state spending millions of dollars in advertising to the same end. Yet when tourists do arrive, they are unable to enjoy the park.
The city should take all necessary steps to ensure that those sections of the park ready for use are opened immediately.
George A. Evans
Tragedies need not dampen Christmas spirit
Christmas is usually a joyful celebration, filled with kindness, love and generosity. This year, however, is different. The terrorist attacks and the ensuing war have dampened many lighthearted events since Sept. 11. To the youth in our community, I offer these gentle suggestions:
Understand what is happening. It is important to try to understand the Taliban's motives in carrying out such horrendous attacks. These attacks were not random acts of terror. If we realize that most Muslims are not fundamentalists like the Taliban, we can achieve tolerance and respect for the innocent people of Middle Eastern descent.
Do not focus on the attacks during the holidays; try to move on. Although this sounds difficult to accomplish, refusing to linger over the Sept. 11 attacks may make for a better holiday. This does not mean that one should forget them; there should still be an element of caution. But remember, too, that it is a time for the celebration of Jesus' birth. Quiet celebrations with family and friends will give comfort and peace, especially for the younger children.
Find ways to help schools, nations and the world recover. This is an excellent time to begin food or clothing drives to help families whose members lost jobs. Families everywhere are suffering financially and emotionally, and we can reach out and help them. A can of Spam, a bag of rice, a toy for a homeless child or a letter to soldier are ways we can help.
Stick with friends, and comfort one another. Positive relationships are vital now more than ever before. Different nations, ethnicities and people of all economic ad social status are joining hands and proving to the terrorists that America's spirit cannot be broken. Cheering up friends whose parents have been laid off may not boost their income, but it will boost their morale. We must support each other and help those whose lives have been devastated by either the loss of income or of family and friends.
These are only a few suggestions from a teenager who feels there are many ways one can make this particular Christmas a joyful celebration. Let us all try to bring comfort and joy amid the somberness of the recent tragedies but still celebrate Christmas.
Celia Downes '03
Sacred Hearts Academy
Hannemann promises to bring back bowl game
No place for our wonderful Warriors to go bowling? Where were our city leaders when the Aloha Bowl was begging to be saved?
I have heard that it would have taken around $100,000 to keep the Aloha Bowl here. Even without the University of Hawai'i in the game for attendance, the amount of tourists and TV coverage we could have gotten certainly would have been worth it. Instead, the city and state wasted several million dollars on the Asian Development Bank conference.
In a recent mayoral forum, Mufi Hannemann promised to bring a college bowl game back to Honolulu. Since he saved the Pro Bowl from leaving Hawai'i, I have no doubt that, as mayor, Hannemann will bring a bowl back. Too bad Mufi isn't the current mayor. The bowl would never have left.
State's role in system still not clear
State transportation Director Brian K. Minaai seems to think the state can have it both ways.
In the Dec. 9 Advertiser, he said; "The vendor is required to operate the digital camera and laser guns, and process and mail the tickets." Then he said, "DOT will ensure the system is not abused by providing direct oversight by trained state personnel."
Minaai failed to say exactly what the state would do. How about the state publishing a simple diagram, going from picture-taking to mailing out the citation, with the state's responsibility clearly shown. The information posted at www.state.hi.us/dot/publicaffairs/photoenforcement/index.htm is far too general in nature, failing to address the specifics of our camera system.
Minaai would better serve the public by explaining how the Transportation Department will ensure the equipment is properly calibrated and used by only trained operators.
The department must ensure the vendor does everything correctly to avoid a San Diego-like incident.
Editorial didn't analyze polling results fairly
Your Dec. 11 editorial on Taiwan's recent parliamentary elections was misinformed and misleading because you failed to make an unbiased analysis of the polling results.
Out of 225 seats in the parliament, 100 seats went to two pro-independence parties: President Chen Shui-bian's Democratic Progressive Party and former President Lee Teng-hui's Taiwan Alliance, up from the current 66 seats. However, these two parties got just 41 percent of the total votes cast, comparable to the 39 percent Chen himself received in the presidential elections in March 2000. The gain was less than a marginal 2 percent.
The three parties that do not in principle reject unification with China the Kuomintang, the People's First Party and the New Party altogether polled 50 percent of the votes and 115 seats.
How did you surmise from these statistics that the Bush administration should recognize that "the 23 million Taiwanese want no part of political unification with China?" That would be a distortion of factual statistics and overlooked the 49.74 percent who did not vote for the two pro-independence parties.
The reality is far more complex than you understood.
Godwin C. Chu
Use technology to help, not penalize, citizens
Regarding the traffic cameras: I understand that the state Department of Transportation will soon be ticketing people who speed and who run red lights. It is my opinion that this action is unconstitutional because the responsibility to enforce traffic laws lies with the Honolulu Police Department.
This responsibility cannot be delegated to transportation officials because they are not trained professionals. The money that was spent in acquiring the cameras should be used to enforce speed limits. For example, why not have a system that will send a signal to a vehicle forcing it to not go any faster than the posted speed limit? Also, why not have a system that will force a car to stop at a red traffic light?
These are examples of technology being used for the benefit of all people, instead of ways to unfairly penalize citizens.
Well-run campaigns wouldn't need targeting
I think it is deplorable that the mayor has accused Campaign Spending Commission's Bob Wa-tada of unfairly targeting his campaign. The fact is that a well-run election bid would have precluded any investigation of inappropriate or excessive contributions.
If Jeremy Harris did not follow campaign finance rules, was unable to identify those contributions that were in excess of campaign laws, and failed to return contributions that were over legal limits, what makes us believe that he can manage public finances?
There is already sufficient doubt in my mind that he is a diligent advocate of our public finances. In addition, I can't help to wonder, did the Harris campaign negligently overlook campaign limits set by law? Or did his people hope to escape with these excess contributions unnoticed? Either way, it smacks of carelessness and greed. I already know I will not be supporting Harris for governor.
Carlos Leonardo Bernier
Afraid of the cameras? Ride a bike
There is a very simple solution to concerns about the newly installed red light and speeding traffic cameras: Ride a bicycle.
Hamamoto must be held accountable
Too bad our new schools Superintendent Pat Hamamoto does not remember where she came from. You would think that, if she did, she would have turned down the $60,000 raise in a sign of solidarity until all of our public school teachers are getting their full contracts.
So is she the best person for the job? Only time will tell, but things are not looking up for her.
Hamamoto may have overseen the Felix consent decree, but she was also charged with the task of making sure that the changes to Chapter 19 were implemented. Instead of moving forward in an efficient manner, she has dragged her feet. She took her time compiling an implementation Task Force and then added people to the Task Force who gave testimony against the changes to Chapter 19.
Because of these actions it has been well over a year since the Board of Education voted to include the anti-harassment policy to Chapter 19, and we are no closer today to having all of our students protected by this change in the law.
To be fair, not all the blame falls on Hamamoto. But she has to take her fair share.
Michael J. Golojuch Jr.
Windward residents not consulted on design
The new signs and support structure that the state Transportation Department installed is just another insult to Kane'ohe residents.
As a windward resident for more than 40 years, I am getting very tired of this game. This department has a habit of holding meetings to gather information and opinions, then putting them up. When residents complain, we are told that meetings were held, and the designs were a result of community opinions.
It's been many years since the "walls" on Kahekili Highway were put up, and I have yet to meet a Windward resident who would take credit for suggesting this design. I'll bet the same will hold true for this latest outrage to our community. Wouldn't it be nice if the DOT folks would come to us residents before they put up those signs (or built that wall) to see whether the designs reflected residents' opinions?
Sue ESPN, NCAA for breach of contract
One last word about the UH-BYU game. I think the University of Hawai'i should sue the NCAA and ESPN for breaching the contract to broadcast the "entire" game.
This was just another slam on UH. After all of the changes made to accommodate NCAA and ESPN desires, UH should get more of the take in view of the lost positive exposure of the game. Of course, this would be moot if UH had signed off on the implicit need for ESPN to show the entire game.
Russel A. Noguchi
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the letter by Michael J. Golojuch Jr. did not contain a change that was made.