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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Having a fast car doesn't require race

I am saddened to see yet another youth lose his life due to drag racing.

I am a fan and participant of the import auto scene, but I have seen some downright stupid displays of speed on public roads by drivers who should know better. Unfortunately, it takes incidents like this for all of us to take a step back and say that's not right.

My heart-felt condolences to the family, and I plead to the others to think before you act. Having a fast car doesn't mean you have to prove it. Things like this don't need to happen, ever.

John Hyytianinen

Lili'uokalani wasn't involved in Moanalua

In his letter calling for the "return" of Moanalua Valley to Hawai'i's people, E. Alvey Wright's reasoning is flawed by his statement that "Native Hawaiian Queen Lili'uokalani is believed to have given Moanalua Valley to S.M. Damon."

Perhaps a more careful reading of Hawai'i history is in order.

The entire ahupua'a of Moanalua — both valleys, from the Ko'olau crest to the ocean — was part of the Kamehameha lands that passed to Bernice Pauahi Bishop. In her will, the princess designated these lands to endow the Kamehameha Schools. The perception has always been that she did not foresee the phenomenal growth of her estate, thinking that the land would have to be sold to pay the school's expenses. But she wanted, it is felt, to keep Moanalua out of this process, so that it could be saved for Hawai'i's people.

Shortly before she died, therefore, she deeded the entire ahupua'a of Moanalua to her friend Samuel M. Damon, who was her husband's business partner in the founding of what is now First Hawaiian Bank.

Damon at once set aside the Moanalua Gardens area "for public use and enjoyment," and so it remains to this day.

Later, in the 20th century, the trustees of Damon's estate extended Moanalua Gardens into Kamana Nui Valley behind the subdivision. Moanalua Valley has been open to the public for "appropriate recreational and educational purposes" ever since.

Moanalua had already been given to the people when Lili'uokalani ascended the throne, nearly a decade after Bernice Pauahi died. Although Pauahi had been asked to succeed Prince Lot Kamehameha, she declined. The Kamehameha dynasty ended when Lot (Kamehameha V) died.

As part of the Kalakaua dynasty, Lydia Lili'uokalani was not an heir to the Kamehameha lands, and could not, therefore, have given any part of them to anyone.

Anna Derby Blackwell
First Executive Director, Moanalua Gardens Foundation

We don't need reminder of school zone speeds

Your June 11 paper reports that the state Department of Transportation is planning on installing 12 to 20 permanent speed radar displays near school zones in order to "remind" speeding motorists to slow down. They are also working on using federal money to pay for police officers to work overtime by placing them near these radar display zones.

The cost for this project is said to be about $80,000, which will be funded also with federal money. Can't the state think of a better alternative than what it is proposing?

On one of my trips to the Mainland, I've driven in a neighborhood where all cars passing through a school zone during school hours were required by law to drive no more than 15 miles per hour until they reached the all-clear portion of the zone. Can't our state adopt this type of program and enforce its obedience rather than spend all that money on a "reminder" project? As taxpayers, don't you think that it's a waste of time and money?

We need something in place to force motorists to either obey the speed limit or pay the consequences once they've been caught. And I don't mean the already-high $250 fine for speeding though school zones. I mean increase the punishment significantly since many innocent children's lives are at stake.

People need to be reminded of the consequences of speeding rather than be reminded of their speed. We all know what the speed limits are around the city. It's just a matter of whether or not we know enough to follow and obey the law or simply ignore it.

Michael Sasano
West O'ahu

Hate crimes injure more than individuals

Recent letters and occasional editorials in your paper miss a major point behind hate-crime legislation: A hate crime is a hate crime because it affects more than the individual victim; it sends a message to and terrorizes an entire community.

When a crime is committed against any individual, it hurts that individual and those who care for her or him. If that same crime is committed against a member of an identifiable group — women, gays, members of a specific ethnic group — and that crime is accompanied with threats identifying that individual as a member of that group, then the crime extends beyond the individual. The entire group must live with extra fear, knowing that they are targets.

A hate-crime law punishes more severely because the crime is greater: It injures more people.

Mark Lutwak

Power structure guides our political system

Please allow me to expose the circular reasoning that underlies much of the foundation and conclusions of an otherwise timely and necessary discussion by Kevin Dayton and Lynda Arakawa of where Hawai'i's political system is headed.

The writers and many of their interviewees tend to indicate that Hawai'i politics are headed toward a more "conservative center" (a rather oxymoronic term, we should appreciate), yet their only evidence is the fact that voters are electing more "moderate" candidates.

Now I ask: When both parties are increasingly nominating candidates who express similar non-ideological positions that don't threaten the state's economic power structure, can the resulting election of an era of political chameleons really be said to represent a change in the feelings or values of the voters? Or are the voters merely carrying out the new role preserved for them, of rubber-stamping the political representatives of that power structure?

Regarding the observation of UH political scientist Yas Kuroda that the alliance between labor unions and the Democratic Party will survive the Democrats' betrayal of workers' support: I don't doubt that the naivete and power-hunger of union leaders will maintain that co-dependent relationship. However, if you extend Kuroda's quote that "labor unions have no other place to go" to the national scene, you deny the impact of 3 million pro-labor and pro-environment voters who chose Ralph Nader in 2000 — and a larger number who stayed home — thus punishing the national Democrats for their rightward turn.

To Democrats who say it can't happen here, progressive voters are ready to say "go ahead, let us make your day." I have confidence that Democratic punishment for 2001 will be the order of the day in 2002.

Richard Weigel

Make some theaters junk-food-free zones

It is becoming evident that the concentration of additional "movie complexes" has reached, or is approaching, the point of saturation. More and more houses are now showing the same limited numbers of movies.

This prompts a suggestion for consideration by the powers that be. Why not set aside one group of theaters that would be "junk food" free?

My wife and I would be willing to travel a bit farther, or pay a bit more, to be able to go to a movie without enduring the objectionable smell of rancid butter, stale popcorn and greasy french fries.

There are, I think, many others who do not like the food choices.

To paraphrase: Build it; we will come.

Stephen T. Murin

Bringing in another Army brigade wrong

I read with some dismay the June 10 article "Hawai'i in line for new Army brigade." It seems that our Sen. Inouye has not gotten the message that Hawaiians do not want any more bombing and destruction of their native homeland.

The senator's entire career has been one of garnering more and more federal military money for the State of Hawai'i. Apparently he is oblivious to or has forgotten the disaster that befell the local economy with the pullout of troops to Desert Storm.He is also oblivious to or has forgotten a similar situation that occurred after the R&R moneys from the military dried up after Vietnam.

For the State of Hawai'i to continue to hope that the traditional money makers — the military and tourism — will give the state a solid financial base from which it can grow is beginning to wear thin. Why isn't this federal official and our other elected federal officials, along with our state elected officials, looking at other ways of generating a more solid, local financial base that is not subject to the whims of the military or the tourist moneys from the Far East?

We are two very, very small steps away from making our state a technology center. Everyone, at the federal, state and county level, should be doing more for this budding industry. In all fairness, the outer island counties have done more than their brethren located in either Washington, D.C., or South Beretania Street.

We should also be the agricultural mecca of the United States. Why are we not? Federal and state incentives to farmers and tax relief would do tremendous wonders for us.

Philip Sharp

Military dependents face uphill challenge

How refreshing to read the June 17 article about Angela Graben, an outstanding military family member.

I have been a Navy dependent since 1957 and know, from personal experience, that it is a tough life and that the parents (usually only the mother) have to make that extra effort to make sure the children prosper.

There are many outstanding military dependents who, despite the frequent uprooting, really do well in life. Perhaps the hardship of being constantly uprooted either makes or breaks an individual.

Please write more articles about our outstanding military family members, especially the children.

Mrs. Nancy R. Jones
Foster Village

Gender-issue article needs correcting

Your June 12 story "Canoe groups must decide gender issue" contained a number of errors on my statements, my opinions and details of my civil rights cases. I wish to set the record straight.

Identified as one of the "two paddlers who were born as men but paddle as women," I am the complainant in two of the civil rights cases reported on, and I wish to note the information that applied to me was not all factual and might mislead your readers.

• It was stated erroneously that I have a "state identification (that) lists no gender." Rather, my Hawai'i state driver's license is valid: A copy is on file with my canoe club that verifies my gender as female.

• I do not live in "constant fear" of a "scenario," as reported, where I might be accused "of being men masquerading as women to gain physical advantage in women's sports." I have not heard such a statement made except by the news media at different times.

• I do not carry "three doctors' notes," as reported, because I "live in constant fear of that scenario," as described above, nor to prove I'm "no imposter," as implied.

• Any "philosophically opposed" opinion that may exist between Tammy Wronski and me does not cause me to not "even speak" to her, as reported. Rather, I keep my distance due to Wronski's harassment of me, which I've documented for authorities and for which I've secured a three-year court restraining order against her, issued March 9.

• The statement "no one has officially challenged" me grossly overlooked the grievance I filed last September with the Civil Rights Commission listing race associations that had blocked my participation in two long-distance races after labeling me an "illegal/ineligible paddler." The ongoing investigations of the O'ahu Canoe Racing Association and Na Wahine O' Ke Kai Race Committee officials resulted from that complaint and numerous eyewitness statements.

I write as an Island resident whose personal and public lives have been adversely impacted in the past by misinformation from the media. With correct and complete information on this complex topic of transgendered people, gender verification rules and individual civil rights, a future article could stand as an example of truth in the media. I urge you to verify what you report on.

The use of speculative, inaccurate and incomplete information only keeps your readers from the real facts of the issues.

Li Anne W. Taft