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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, June 8, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Fixed-income seniors oppose undergrounding

Nancie Caraway of Manoa writes on May 16 that "uninformed" senior citizens from the North Shore supported HECO's Kamoku-Pukele project at the recent Board of Land and Natural Resources public hearing.

As the president of the North Shore Seniors group, I want to respond to her comments. Many of our members have friends and relatives who live and work in the area to be served by the new power line. So does Caraway, if she stops to think about it. HECO points out that this new power line will serve the needs of over 50 percent of its customer base. How can she miss this important point?

Second, our members are retired and are on fixed incomes. We depend on infrastructure and public services for our daily needs, whether it's drinking water, police, fire protection or electricity. So does Caraway. However, because we are on fixed incomes, we are concerned about any higher rates and increases to the cost of living.

None of our members wish to be burdened by the higher cost of underground lines, when the power lines work just fine overhead. We are not willing to pay for Manoa residents having better views of their ridges.

Sally Amantiad

Golf disability case forces us to rethink

The Supreme Court recently decided in favor of golfer Casey Martin in his lawsuit against the Professional Golfers Association in a decision that will allow him to use a cart when competing in PGA tournaments. There have been many opinions on whether or not this is "right" or "fair," but now it is the law.

The Supreme Court says this will not fundamentally alter the game of golf. This is probably true. It will, however, fundamentally alter the way we, as a society, assess our policies and procedures in sports — and hopefully, in a way for the better.

The Supreme Court was clear that any assessment or modification must be made on a case-by-case basis. This is a good decision because it means that every situation must be treated individually. But this is what the ADA is all about — treating people with disabilities as individuals and analyzing each situation on its merit.

Golfers and other sports associations state their concerns that this decision might open up more issues in the future. Will it mean there will be more litigation and possible cases? Probably. Does it mean there might be some frivolous request? Probably. Does it mean those frivolous requests will be upheld? Hopefully not.

Not every request will be reasonable, nor should all requests be granted. But hopefully the process will force us all to be more flexible in our attitude — we won't say "no" without further consideration and analysis.

Instead of opening "Pandora's Box," as many people fear, let's hope this will force us all to think "outside the box."

Anthony Akamine
Disability and Communication Access Board

Give state ample time to satisfy Felix decree

It has been reported in several news media that U.S. District Judge David Ezra is running out of options with regard to the Felix Consent Decree, entered because the state was not providing adequate educational and mental health services to special-needs students.

The State of Hawai'i has filed a request for another extension in meeting the next deadline, citing the teachers strike.

The news media have reported that plaintiff attorneys Eric Seitz and Shelby Floyd were filing motions asking the federal court to appoint a receiver to oversee the state's compliance in the decree.

While I can understand the mounting frustration of the parents of the special-needs children, I don't believe a receiver is going to do a better job than is already being done by the state, unless this receiver comes dressed in blue tights and a red cape with a big S across the front of his blue shirt. The receiver should also bring his own printing press to print the millions of dollars more it is going to take to implement and maintain the system.

Joking aside, I believe Judge Ezra has options left, one of which is grant the additional time delay requested by the state. The state has made significant progress and needs more time for reasons beyond its control. The state also has responsibilities to the rest of its citizens, namely to provide services without raising taxes.

Appointing a receiver amounts to adding another layer of bureaucracy to an already-overburdened delivery system. The state's resources would be better spent concentrating on recruiting new special-education teachers and mental health support staff as well as training teachers already in the system.

Henry E.K. Lee

Hate crimes should be handled differently

Most crimes of violence are committed by persons known to the victims. Hate crimes, on the other hand, are random acts of terrorist violence. With hate crimes, the perpetrator and the victim are unacquainted. Special consideration in sentencing must be instituted in all cases of domestic terrorism. 

Persons involved in hate crimes and random acts of terrorist violence are not motivated by temporary situations but have deep-seated psychological and social problems that could lead to an on-going or organized serial criminal pattern. Often these disturbed persons feel as if they are on some kind of "mission from God."

Hate crimes are different in character motivation and perpetration; they need to be handled differently in today's degenerate times.

Dr. Myron Berney

Tarring Linda Lingle as arrogant is sexist

Isn't it curious that in our wonderful state of Hawai'i, where we pride ourselves so much on having broken down barriers to advancement for all peoples, a subtle new bar is being raised and reinforced: gender inequality.

A political leader who makes strong and wise decisions is called courageous or visionary if he is a man (read John Burns). If she is a woman, she becomes overbearing and dictatorial (read Linda Lingle).

Ben Cayetano can take tough, unpopular stands and he is approvingly called strong and fearless. Lingle has adjectives such as "iron-fisted" or "arrogant" thrown her way.

If a woman shows a compassionate side, she is deemed too weak to hold high office. If she is Cayetano-tough, she is dismissed as autocratic or worse. No can win, huh?

To all those who would beat that drum, stop for a moment and think of what you are doing. Who besides Linda Lingle are you drumming out? Your daughters and granddaughters. If it is easy now to unfairly tar this strong woman, how much easier it will become to tar the next generation of women (our daughters) who would strive to reach the top.

The real casualties of this thinking will be all our female children, whether Democrat, Republican, Green Party, Libertarian or Independent.

Mollie Foti

Surfing taught me to seek excellence

I was shocked to find out that surfing was not an official school activity.

Growing up in California, I was in a gym class that was always surfing. This activity encouraged excellence: I always wanted to be the best surfer.

Later I entered the medical field, graduating from a Big Ten medical school and went on to a Pac Ten internship and am finishing my residency at the University of Hawai'i. Today I still try to be the best person, doctor, husband, father, community leader and surfer, thanks to my California surf class.

Alfonso Jimenez

Small foreign cars should be legal here

I was very happy to read about Europe's small cars in the May 28 letter by Douglas Hilt. It's about time someone praised them.

I've been travelling to Japan for years and have fallen in love with their "city cars" — tiny little cars and vans with 650-cc. engines that get about 60 to 70 miles to the gallon, selling for less than $10,000.

I even called Washington, D.C., to find out how I could import a cute little Honda Beat convertible roadster to Hawai'i. The desk jockey sniggered over the phone and said, "Sure you can import one ... just buy six of them, crash five to prove they're crash-worthy, and then spend about $5,000 in modifications on the last one."

I ride a motorcycle, an inherently unsafe, though perfectly legal, vehicle. Why can't I choose to drive something that, granted, might be a SUV's lunch some day? I'm willing to put an orange safety flag on the antenna so the SUV oafs can see me. I'd even paint it neon pink, if necessary.

These city cars are thrifty, snappy, eco-friendly, impossibly easy to park and a blast to drive. Who the heck is keeping them out of the United States? Big Oil? Politicians with their greedy hands in the pockets of SUV manufacturers?

City car lovers of America, unite! Write to your congressional representatives and senators. Let's join the rest of the world and get them legal in the United States. Let's have a Honda Beat, Rover Mini, Suzuki Cappuccino, etc., for every 'ohana.

Richard A. Lavin

We should spend less time with our addictions

The Advertiser has published a most incisive commentary on the techno-dependent American psyche from letter writer Leighton Loo on May 30. I suspect, however, that Loo misses the absurdist value of his letter, which I had to read more than once to rule out satire as a possible motivation.

Apparently, Loo's real purpose is to suggest energy conservation is just too difficult a proposition for Americans because of the "sacrifices" necessary to allow conservation to become the path to reducing our dependency on foreign-produced oil. But "dependency" is exactly the operative term here — and Loo's list of sacrifices needed to reduce energy over-consumption reads like a list of dependencies itself: "several cars per family, a color TV in every room, home entertainment system in the family room, cell phones, personal computers, laptops and a million other powered gadgets."

Had he listed the addictions of booze, pot, ice, crack and speed, they would hardly have struck me as fitting any more easily under the label of "sacrifices." These things may seem like necessities for those who "need" them, but for those of us who are able to do without, it hardly seems a sacrifice.

So much of the "stuff" we surround ourselves with serves only the purpose of making us feel less alone, or of isolating us from the social and environmental effects of our own unsustainable livelihoods.

Perhaps, if Americans spent less time in front of their PCs — or other boob tubes — and more time working with their neighbors to improve communities and enjoying the natural world around us, we might find our addictions to "stuff" lifted from our shoulders, and in the process, we'd be conserving our irreplaceable natural resources.

Keola Kamaunu

Kamehameha should refuse federal money

On May 26, your paper ran an article stating that the Hawaiians-only admission policy at Kamehameha Schools is being challenged because the school receives up to $2.5 million annually from federal sources.

How could the estate's trustees and legal counsel overlook the possible harm this would cause? How could they let a mere $2.5 million jeopardize the primary purpose of the $6 billion estate?

Get rid of all unnecessary monies from any government source before the Hawaiians lose this too.

Al Higgins

'How natural' indeed for Hanauma Bay

Regarding your June 3 article on Hanauma Bay, "How natural?": I would like to add that there were two other changes made to the bay that were not mentioned.

In the 1960s, when I was with the city Parks Department, we created a shallow swimming hole for the park's Summer-Fun campers by dredging a rectangle (on the right side) out of the reef. It worked by keeping the kids out of the "Key Hole" and allowed for better and closer supervision. Later, when Summer-Fun camping moved to Kualoa, the swimming area got minimal use.

At the same time as the dredging, because the telephone cable installation damaged the reef and left a void that allowed a strong current to erode the beach (some sand and palms were lost), we placed lava rock in the passage to slow the current. It worked.

"Naturalness" seems to be for the moment or, at least, in the dimming memory of some of us.

Ted Green

Harris trying to buy votes with our money

Jeremy Harris' fiasco at Hanauma Bay is nothing more than just another attempt by the mayor to buy votes with our own taxpayer money.

Harris has dramatically expanded the city's capital improvement budget and, in the tradition of Hawai'i Democrats like John Waihee, he plans to pass the bill on to the next mayor.

Harris' city improvements and "vision plans" look good for TV and certainly help boost his candidacy for governor. But, in reality, Harris is building a house of cards on a foundation of debt that is ready to collapse once he leaves office for the governor's mansion.

Cindy Oshiro