Letters to the Editor
Intent of Pauahi's will was to 'her people'
Regarding the June 1 letter by Paul de Silva, "Here's Pauahi's will; you judge her wish": To understand the intent of Princess Pauahi's will, you must understand the Hawaiian ali'i's inherent role and obligation in caring for their people.
The ancient Hawaiian concept of land ownership preceding the Great Mahele granted exclusive ownership of the lands to the gods. The gods in turn bestowed stewardship to the ali'i, who enforced that responsibility through the district chiefs and konohiki to manage the lands for the people, as the lands and the people are one. The Great Mahele land tenure system, enacted by Kamehameha III, granted indigenous people a vested interest in the land in perpetuity.
When Pauahi's will was executed, Hawai'i was the sovereign Kingdom of Hawai'i. The laws interpreting the intent of her will were Hawaiian laws, not U.S. laws. Pauahi carried out her responsibility in good faith in designating the use of those lands in her possession to create the Kamehameha Schools as her vision to serve her people.
On Kamehameha V's deathbed, Pauahi was asked to accept the role of queen, but she refused, saying she could do more for "her people" other than being queen. That should say something about the intent of her will and commitment to care for "her people."
No disrespect to anyone else, but this is our culture, our land and our legacy. The intent of Pauahi's will is clear in honoring her responsibility to "her people."
Criticism of Lingle based on the record
Reader Mollie Foti's criticism of people who criticize Linda Lingle is misdirected (Letters, June 8). It seems to her that anyone who criticizes Lingle is a sexist. Well, if you're going to run for the highest state office, you have to expect some criticism and not hide behind your skirt or pants if you do.
Foti should focus on the substance of the criticism and, if she is capable, don't think of the sex of Lingle when the attacks are launched.
Anyone who knows Linda Lingle will tell you she is tough enough to withstand any criticism, whether deserved or not. She never complained when the federal government challenged her misrepresentations on the Maui water debacle before she abandoned the mayor's office. She just hired her ex-husband to represent the county. And more recently, Lingle didn't bat an eye when Sen. Dan Inouye criticized her and Rep. Barbara Marumoto for stupidly ignoring well-established and prudent protocol of discussing a Republican judicial nominee with the senior senator of the state, especially when the senator effectively could veto the nomination.
Lingle doesn't let these foibles upset her and she certainly doesn't call her detractors' sexists. So, Ms. Foti, don't defend your leader by trying to detract the criticism with claims of sexism. Lingle wouldn't. She just goes on making one blunder after another as she stumbles toward Washington Place.
Francis M. Nakamoto
State needs to honor contract with teachers
I am bothered and concerned to hear that the state is attempting to back out of the contract that it negotiated with the public school teachers.
Throughout the negotiations, the state repeated that any pay increase must be tied to merit. The state chose to define merit as "holding a professional diploma or a master's degree." The state wanted to pay for quality and is now getting more quality then it expected. Aren't more quality teachers a good thing?
The state needs to put its money where its mouth is and pay for the quality teachers that our children deserve.
Bureaucracy, unions hinder state economy
Regarding the May 27 article headlined "Economic erosion": To argue that "Hawai'i's business, political and social elite" send their children to Mainland universities because Hawai'i residents are not taxed enough is almost too comical to print. People send their children to Mainland schools because they are perceived to be better.
Is it coincidental that you hear of very few professor strikes at Stanford, MIT or Boston College? Perhaps the three UH professors who wrote the article should spend a little more time improving their university's image instead of complaining they do not get paid enough.
I am a product of a state university in a state similar to Hawai'i (economically, not politically), where tourism is the largest industry. There is no sales tax and no income tax. The state consistently ranks at the bottom on education spending and in the top five in measures of high school graduates, including the SAT. Do not tell me that efficiency is not the answer in education.
Efficiency and productivity are what have fueled this magnificent economic engine of the past 20 years. Contrary to the article, it began with the 1981 tax cut.
Is it also coincidental that the power of inefficient unions has eroded during this same period? The longer Hawai'i fights this reality, the longer it will lag behind, crying and complaining that it just is not fair.
With the amount of money flowing into this state from tourists and the Defense Department, there is no reason why this state should not lead the way in the standard of living for all its citizens. Taxation and bureaucracy never have or ever will accomplish this goal. Local business and investment opportunities are tried and true.
Peter L. Roy
Moanalua Valley should be returned
Privately owned Moanalua Valley is sacred to native Hawaiians, declared sacred both by the courts and by eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that Moanalua Valley contains "Kamana Nui, the valley of great power, and Waolani, the valley of the spirits, which was, in tradition, the 'dwelling place of the gods.' " The U.S. Supreme Court let stand the decision of the lower court.
The U.S. secretary of the interior was convinced by the Moanalua Gardens Foundation that Moanalua Valley was sacred. He then declared the valley eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Development is prohibited.
The principal source of the findings of the courts and of the secretary was blind chantress Namakahelu. Her "Creation Chant" explains that Kamawaelualani, the first Hawaiian man, was born to Papa and Waikea, the cosmic progenitors of the native Hawaiian people.
Native Hawaiian Queen Lili'uokalani is believed to have given Moanalua Valley to S.M. Damon. Now the estate of S.M. Damon should give back Moanalua Valley to Native Hawaiians. Native Hawaiians must have the right to memorialize physically their culture, genealogy and history in this most legally sacred land in the State of Hawai'i.
E. Alvey Wright
Freedom of belief applies to gays, too
In defending his right to hold anti-gay attitudes in his June 13 letter, Robert Owen writes, "Hawai'i's citizens should have the freedom to have the belief system of their choosing and should not be made to feel bad about their beliefs." We couldn't agree more.
That right there is why we spent the better part of the last decade working for same-gender marriage and why we'll spend the next one on civil unions, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, schools in which gay students are safe and respected and anything else that will advance the gay-lesbian-bisexual agenda, which is to shape a nation in which each individual lives in equality, safety and comfort.
We don't need you, Mr. Owen, or the 68 percent of Hawai'i citizens who voted to prevent same-sex partners from marrying to feel bad about their beliefs. We don't even need you to change those beliefs. What we are asking what all minority groups have asked and continue to ask is that your inherent prejudices not dictate public policy.
Former Chairwoman, Marriage Project Hawai'i, Captain Cook, Hawai'i
Sharing our roads with bicycles beneficial
I am a retired professional commercial driver and a former law enforcement officer. I would like to speak on the subject of sharing the road with bicycles.
This subject deserves our attention because bicycles save fuel. Not only can we improve traffic but we cash in on bringing the bike people up to par by licensing, mandatory safety equipment, turn signals, brake lights and insurance, the same as with autos.
If we are to maintain the integrity of sharing the road, all parties should be willing to be responsible and be subject to the same laws.
Why was BWS worker driving a luxury car?
I have been a state worker for over seven years, and I have used state cars for various purposes. I couldn't help but wonder about that picture taken of a Board of Water Supply worker taking readings from a car.
I noticed that the interior of this car had leather panels and seats, clean and with a lot of extra comfort features. As a paying customer, I wonder if this is a realistic picture of a company car? If so, then are consumers paying for this luxury for these workers?
If the workers taking the readings are doing it in a personal car, then is that right also? Or has the Board of Water Supply approved employees using personal cars to drive around our neighborhoods in unmarked cars? What do your readers think about this?
Japanese city cars, trucks wonderful
I agree with Richard Lavin that the Japanese city cars, trucks and vans should be allowed in Hawai'i. They have been used in Japan for years without a problem, saving those who own them hundreds of dollars on fuel.
I know every time I go visit my in-laws, I love to use their Suzuki "Tonka Toy" Van. It's a lot of fun to drive and costs pennies.
Bureaucracy hampers education
Regarding the article in the May 21 Advertiser headlined "Economic erosion" by Jon Goldberg-Hiller, Luciano Minerbi and Eldon Wegner: There are two important areas we need to address:
Ensure that our education system is the best it can be, given that that is our major and most important investment in our future.
Consider how to best allocate the tax dollars we have because I have not seen an argument for tax increases that will be successful in any future election.
The issue with education is that we have a problem with bureaucracy. Cuts that have been imposed over the last six years have impacted teachers and teaching, but have not impacted the bureaucracy at all. Our educational bureaucracy is like a funding prevention mechanism. Money goes in but never gets to where it can benefit the student.
This is particularly true at the University of Hawai'i, where there has been a decline in faculty over the last six years but an equal or greater increase in the number of bean counters and other inertia-creating bureaucrats.
Our state and municipal governments have exactly the same problem on a larger scale.
I really don't mind paying taxes when I know that my tax dollars are accomplishing a social good. It does upset me, however, when I see useless expenditures on departments and projects that benefit few but the managers.
When Goldberg-Hiller, Minerbi and Wegner talk about right-sizing the government, this is what we need to do: Examine every office, every program and every department. Is our money actually being spent in ways that accomplish the intended purpose of said office or program? Or is it just an excuse for some party to find overpaid employment to their otherwise unemployable friends?
My preference in any adjustments to government spending is not the "trim from the bottom" that has been the trademark of the Cayetano administration. Instead, we need to look at empowerment decentralization as a first step in accomplishing the goals we want from our government, programs and tax spending.
Granting UH true autonomy and then decentralizing decision-making so that schools and departments manage their own funds is one way this could work right now.
Perhaps now that we are in the lame-duck period of the Cayetano administration, we can address "right-sizing." I look forward to more discussions concerning this matter.