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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Another defection is needed in Senate

Bud Ebel, in his June 1 letter, suggests that Sens. Inouye and Akaka defect to the party of Linda Lingle and George W. In the wake of Sen. James Jeffords' defection from the Grand Old Party, change is already in the works.

Sen. Max Baucus, slated for Finance chairman, will insist on labor and environmental concerns in the implementation of future trade pacts. Carl Levin, slated for Armed Services chairman, and Joseph Biden, slated for Foreign Relations chairman, both oppose "Star Wars." Yet Inouye still favors the anti-missile shield.

Some other member of the Senate of either party must abandon the swaggering president in order to stop the $100 billion boondoggle.

Richard Thompson

Honolulu Zoo has tragedy in its past

In her June 1 letter, Lynn Briggs stated that "zoos are an integral part of saving animal species," and then cites three dubious examples from zoos around the world. She was evidently unable to cite even one example from the Honolulu Zoo's 80-plus years of operation.

She might have mentioned the tragic death in 1933 of animal handler George Conradt. After 17 years in captivity in the Honolulu Zoo, an elephant named Daisy attacked and trampled Conradt. Daisy was shot to death by police.

The limited efforts to save species are done not in the interest of the animals but for the selfish interests of their guards, so that "grandchildren may ... see the condor soaring free." But what about the millions of animals in thousands of zoos that are not free? Do they justify the invasive and manipulative experiments of a few? I don't think so.

Close the Honolulu Zoo.

Jim Brown

Hawai'i can't have gambling referendum

John Shupe's May 31 letter continues Gov. Cayetano's error of calling for a "referendum" on gambling. Shupe and Cayetano both suggest a vote on a constitutional amendment is the same as a referendum. Not so.

To put a constitutional amendment before voters, the Legislature must actually amend the Constitution. Voters are only asked to ratify the amendment. Can you imagine two-thirds of both houses of the Legislature amending our state Constitution to allow for gambling? Certainly the 19 Republicans who make up over one-third of the state House cannot. We know we can block such an amendment.

Hawai'i doesn't have initiative, referendum and recall because of Democrats like Cayetano. They consistently oppose allowing the people to decide major issues for themselves.

In their fear of the people, Hawai'i's Democrats are far different from Democrats elsewhere in the Western United States who have used initiative and referendum to raise the minimum wage, put legislators under term limits, provide for publicly financed campaigns, restrict coastal development, finance anti-smoking advertising and other progressive changes.

If Hawai'i had initiative and referendum, the people could vote on gambling. Instead, Hawai'i's people will continue to be barred from deciding any issue that doesn't first get legislative approval.

Rep. Galen Fox
R-21st (Waikiki, Ala Wai)

Questions abound on Hawai'i gambling

How many Hawai'i residents go to Las Vegas to spend (lose) their money? How much do they spend (lose)?

If casino gambling were available in Hawai'i, how many people would stay here to spend (lose) their money? And if the money were taxed by Hawai'i, what effect would it have on our state budget? How has this access to gambling corrupted our community morals?

What is the difference between catching a gambling junket to "Lost Wages" or booking a gambling cruise around the islands? (Hint: in one of these options, the money stays in Hawai'i.)

Why haven't gambling advocates or opponents conducted these studies and published their findings? Why haven't gambling opponents been advocating banning flights to Las Vegas?

Vernon Wong

Special-ed funding is money well spent

With all due respect to the legislative auditor in her evaluation of the special-education program, it seems that the total cost-benefit equation should encompass more than just the documented benefits to be derived from "funds being thrown" at the program.

Such benefits represent only one side of the equation. The other side, which is just as important and often neglected, involves the continued maintenance of the current level of functioning of the special-needs child.

Maintenance involves prevention of regression to a higher (or more restrictive ) level of care. It starts from partial to full special-education placement, to out-of-school placement in special motivation class, group home placement, day or home hospital (with wrap-around services), special residential treatment, incarceration in youth facilities (and eventually prison), psychiatric hospitalization (locally or on the Mainland), to intermediate/skilled nursing care.

Educators typically do not address this issue in the individual education plan as the emphasis is on the student's academic achievements and not on prevention of regression. When the total equation is viewed in this manner, it might fully justify the needed funds, as huge as they may seem.

The cost of eventually relegating the special-needs child to a higher and higher level of care would skyrocket. This would be the long-range consequence of not providing adequate funds now. More institution space would be needed versus the relatively cheap cost of care provided at home now (at the expense of long-suffering parents).

Garret H. Yanagi, Ph.D.
Clinical psychologist

Hirono isn't using forum for politicking

As chairman of the Statewide Hazard Mitigation Forum, I am very grateful for the free publicity for our public information and education provided by Lee Cataluna's March 25 column, "Politicians campaign anywhere, anytime."

It would have been nice for her to get a little background on the history of Lt. Gov. Maize Hirono's involvement in our public information campaign. Lee implies that Hirono initiated her involvement as spokesperson of our campaign to advance her campaign for governor, which is hardly the case.

Maj. Gen. Edward Richardson, former director of Civil Defense, first approached Hirono about being spokesperson for the "Forces of Mother Nature Campaign" in March 1999. It took us until January 2001 to develop the Web site (www.mothernature-hawaii.com/) and the public service announcement, brochures and advertisements that have been aired, printed and distributed by various Hawai'i media, companies and institutions.

Hirono appealed to the private sector to support our collective effort to reduce the risk of future disaster losses, and it delivered. We are grateful to the lieutenant governor for her support and the support she has secured for us.

Michael P. Hamnett

How would you feel about war games?

I have an excellent suggestion to those who think continuing military training in our valleys is the best thing for everyone. We should move the soldiers (and their loud, low-flying, house-shaking helicopters) to Kahala, Hawai'i Kai, Pearl City, Kailua, Kane'ohe or perhaps the North Shore.

Maybe if they were in your district, bombing and shooting live ammo near your homes and your children, it would be a different story.

You and I know that no one lives in the valley itself, but my family and I live two minutes away from Makua and strongly oppose the military in our valley, period.

The military has no right to "play war games" in a heavily populated area. Think about it. It refused to do an environmental impact statement. It most likely desecrated many heiau and important structures.

If you don't think this is important, think about the graffiti at Punchbowl Cemetery a few years back. It's the same thing. Put yourself in our place, and then ask yourselves this: How would you feel?

Monica Lee

Law enforcement must come before gambling

I was involved in the legislative battle to permit gaming on Arizona Indian reservations, so I am well aware of the benefits Hawai'i's Education and Transportation departments could reap from legal gaming in Hawai'i.

But there is one big difference between Hawai'i and Arizona: law enforcement.

In Arizona, when a vehicle enters a crosswalk occupied by a pedestrian, the driver of that vehicle is cited; here, drivers whiz around the pedestrian.

Look at any park or beach where animals are prohibited, and you will see dogs running amok.

Look at any sign that prohibits feeding birds and you will see people feeding birds, and find all the stores selling birdseed.

You probably won't see the "No Parking" sign behind that parked vehicle, but you will see some athletic youth leap from his or her vehicle parked in a stall designated for disabled parking.

Arizona has law enforcement; Hawai'i does not. Gaming can bring many things to Hawai'i, but law enforcement isn't one of them.

Rico Leffanta

Many free lotteries are legal on Internet

I just finished reading your story about online gambling, which is illegal in Hawai'i, as all gambling is. I think it incumbent upon you to inform your readers that there are many free lotteries online that are not illegal in this state.

These are sweepstakes run like lotteries, and some of them give millions away. They are, of course, legal to play, just as is the "lottery" sponsored by local radio station Krater 96.

Karen Teeter

Moi fish industry off to a good start

You may have seen the recent media coverage regarding a lawsuit involving Oceanic Institute filed by Pacific Harvest, a local moi fish farm and a leading beneficiary of our moi research project.

Contrary to the claims made by Pacific Harvest, the Oceanic Institute is working hard to build a strong and vibrant moi industry in Hawai'i. Our goal is to help our state's aquaculture farmers — including Pacific Harvest — benefit from what is both an exciting new development for Hawai'i's aquaculture industry, as well as a tremendous step forward for restoring Hawai'i's natural environment.

Moi — the fish of choice of the Hawaiian ali'i — were driven to the brink of extinction in Hawai'i by the commercial fishing industry in the 1960s. With the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the Oceanic Institute responded to this crisis with a comprehensive effort to save and restore this important fish to Hawai'i's waters.

Our three-pronged strategy includes developing and sharing the technology necessary to raise the fish, providing farmers with juvenile moi — so they can raise and market the mature fish commercially — and raising and releasing large numbers of moi back into the wild to restore the depleted fishery.

I'm pleased that our efforts are paying off. Local fish farmers are benefitting from the tremendous growth in moi sales. A new industry has begun, jobs are being created and today moi is available in many restaurants and stores throughout Hawai'i. Moi sales have virtually doubled each year since 1996, and already represent more than a million dollars in new revenues to the state and are continuing to increase.

We have worked closely with the Hawai'i Aquaculture Association every step of the way to ensure that the needs of local farmers in this new industry are being met, and that local farmers get the technological help and support they need to establish their own thriving moi fish farms.

Pacific Harvest is one of several local farms we support by providing thousands of baby moi at low cost, free moi eggs and considerable free technical assistance.

The company's lawsuit alleges the Oceanic Institute is forcing local farmers out of business by selling moi below market rates. This could not be further from the truth.

We are working to create — not destroy — a local moi fish industry for Hawai'i. As a not-for-profit research institution, we are in excellent position to help local farmers benefit from our research — and convert it into commercial opportunities and new jobs for Hawai'i.

Thomas E. Farewell
President & CEO, Oceanic Institute