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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Blind policing the blind in energy regulation

Rep. Hermina Morita's challenge that HECO has turned a "blind eye to change" is understated. Being blind is totally different from systematically ignoring, for self-serving reasons, what you see.

The primary customers of HECO's senior management "live on Wall Street," not Beretania.

Until the crisis in California, it is we who have been blind to the fact that Hawai'i's electricity rates are the highest in the nation. What is really "unfortunate" is that it is our "government [that] bears the responsibility in regulating public utilities."

However, like the HECOs it is supposed to protect us from, our state government is itself "a textbook case of an institutional remnant of the Industrial Age, hierarchical, rule-following, controlling everything — too rigid to respond to new challenges and opportunities."

Our state government's role in turning around Hawai'i's economic problems is a clear case of the blind leading those who act blinded.

Irv Rubin
President, Temenos Inc.

Military should have its own schools here

When I read the brief article on Hawai'i's Army Family Action Planning Conference, I noted its agenda included "applying national standards to school curriculum."

I agree with having a serious look at national standards, but I was prompted to make another suggestion that has come up many times over the last several years — a complex of Department of Defense schools for military dependents.

It would be a win/win situation for everyone. DOD students would have a more consistent education, with opportunities for much more parental input, and paid for by the U.S. government rather than the taxpayers of Hawai'i.

Most of the families do not claim residency or pay income taxes in this state, and not being residents, they have little, if any, power or say in Hawai'i's schools their children attend. The state also loses excise tax revenue from purchases in tax-free stores on bases, and on-base housing is obviously not a source of property taxes. In this sense, the military uses more government services than it pays for.

DOD schools would give military children the kind of education they deserve and in keeping with what their parents want for them — and Hawai'i's taxpayers would have a huge tax burden lifted.

Carol Aiken

Forfeiting to St. Louis was a bad decision

The Damien officials who decided to forfeit the St. Louis games made a bad decision.

Since 1966, when Damien first played St. Louis, it has been known as a Catholic school rivalry. Not just in football, but in all sports. When I coached the outrigger team at Damien, the rivalry was just as strong as in football. The same is true in basketball, baseball and all sports.

Gene Chun
Damien, 1969

Governor's statement on salaries was correct

Nandarani Evans (Letters, June 18) claims, "Hawai'i teachers are the lowest paid in the nation," then fails to inform readers she's using a cost-of-living factor in her calculations.

The governor was not "mistaken" in noting during the strike that Hawai'i's public school teachers are the 18th highest paid in the nation. Evans can verify this fact with HSTA's own parent union, the National Education Association. With the new contract, Hawai'i ranks even higher. Over two years, starting salaries rise from $29,204 to $34,294. With professional development, the starting salary jumps to $36,695.

Since 1997, the Cayetano administration increased starting salaries for new teachers from $25,436 to $34, 294, an increase of nearly $10,000 or 34 percent in just six years.

For those who doubt the governor's commitment to improving Hawai'i's teaching profession, it should be noted that salary increases were given in the face of severe budget cuts and a depressed state economy.

Jackie Kido
Director of Communications, Office of the Governor

Yes, Macy's provides win-win situation

Thanks for the thoughtful and insightful editorial "New Macy's chain can still be Liberty House." I hope the Federated Macy's folks read it.

I think you are correct in all of your practical reasons why this is a win-win for Liberty House and Macy's. As you point out, it is good to have retailers running the store, and a solid financial base is absolutely necessary for Liberty House to survive.

Like you, I hope they keep the name Liberty House, which means a lot to locals and tourists. I assume the reason for wanting to call the store Macy's is so the Asian tourists will become familiar with the name, which will help with Macy's overseas expansion.

Tom Foster

Progress isn't library's most important product

To all those who are technologically retarded or feel the world is moving much too fast, you are not alone. You have a champion in the Hawai'i State Library system.

While most mortals in Hawai'i can ship letters and packages between any two addresses in one to three days with relative ease, the library can accomplish the same thing in two to three weeks.

While the World Wide Web provides access to more than a billion Web sites with a single click, it takes about 11 different screens to access the Hawai'i State Library.

And if you visit a library in person, don't forget your library card. Otherwise, you do not exist and probably never did.

Somewhere this side of medieval times, but well before the Renaissance, your Hawai'i State Library system is vibrantly alive and vigorously acting in the spirit of Walter Mitty. The ever-faithful motto of the Hawai'i State Library system: "Progress? What's that?"

Buck Joiner

Hate-crimes bill has serious shortcomings

Regarding Liz Randol's and Paul Weidig's June 22 letters to the editor in support of hate-crimes legislation: Let's take their logic one step further and see if it still seems benign.

Would they be so righteous (or should I say "lefteous") if a hate-crime bill imposed higher penalties exclusively for crimes committed by minorities who hate haoles, or by gays who hate straights?

It's ironic that Randol linked opposition to the hate-crimes bill to being a Nazi. The Nazis were all for the unequal protection that Randol wants, except they preferred special rights for Aryans while Randol prefers special rights for gays and lesbians.

And as for Weidig saying that fundamentalist Christians are the ones behind the opposition to the hate-crimes bill, well, I'm an agnostic who's leery of diluting the First Amendment for much the same reason fundamentalists are: I don't want my religious rights trampled on by politicians.

The authors of the Bill of Rights had a bellyful of political leaders persecuting select groups, so I doubt they had the requisite guilt that Randol wishes they suffered for their audacity in outlawing unequal treatment of any citizen.

Jim Henshaw

• • •

Age-of-consent bill stirs community

Cayetano is a man of words, not action

In January 2000, when Gov. Cayetano gave his State of the State address to the new Legislature, he said, "Nothing is more important than the care of our children."

Now, upon learning of his vetoing of the proposed bill to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16, we find that the governor is more in favor of protecting the offenders rather than the young victims.

There is no state that has the age of consent as low as it is here.

Stan Philbrick

Hawai'i already has tough sex laws

The Hawai'i State Commission on the Status of Women supports Gov. Cayetano's veto of the age-of-consent bill.

While we are deeply concerned about the emotional and physical well-being of adolescents and believe they should be well protected from sexual predators, we strongly believe that House Bill 236 would not accomplish these goals.

Hawai'i already has some of the best sexual assault laws in the country. It is already a criminal offense to engage in sexual contact with anyone, including adolescents, without their consent.

While proponents' spin on this legislation suggests it targets the 34-year-old male predator who is preying on 14- and 15-year-olds, the bill more likely would turn a number of young adolescent males in our community into class A felony sex offenders who must register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

Other jurisdictions that rushed into similar legislation wish they had consulted with agencies and experts who deal with sex assault prior to changing their laws. Rhetoric and emotion are not the foundation of good laws.

Jeanne Y. Ohta
Interim Executive Director, Hawai'i State Commission on the Status of Women

Veto correct; bill didn't make sense

I agree with Gov. Cayetano's veto of the age-of-consent bill. It appears the bill the Legislature passed was too all-encompassing and too punitive.

This bill would create a whole new category of sex offenders and so-called "predators" that did not exist before. This is a bad way to prove you can get tough on violators of this new standard by giving long sentences and labeling them for life.

We should be asking the Legislature to pass bills that make sense and are reasonable in their impact. This one does not.

Dan Elmore

Demand politicians override the veto

If an adult (even a young adult) has sex with a child of 14 or 15, it is not an "error in judgment" and not a "social problem." It is an infamy.

We need to raise the age of consent to run off the pimps and pedophiles who prey upon our children (and the 19-year-old bozos who can't find a girl or boy their own age).

Call your senator and representative. Demand a special session to override the veto.

Ray Gagner

Common sense went out the window

Has Gov. Cayetano gone completely mad?

A bill that would have raised the age of consent from 14 to 16 was vetoed by Cayetano because he was concerned that a 19-year-old male might have consensual sex with a 14-year-old female and that would result in the male being prosecuted and labeled as a sex offender. Doesn't he understand that is the meaning of statutory rape?

It means that a 14-year-old girl who cannot drive a car, legally drink and is a freshman in high school is too young to give her consent to have sex and the state serves as her guardian in some legal aspects.

A 19-year-old male can just as readily be a sex offender as a 50-year-old pervert. The state is required to protect the young and the innocent from predators.

Maybe it's time a non-lawyer became governor so common sense might prevail?

Fred Gartley

What's to study about raising age?

By Hawai'i law, 14-year-old children cannot buy cigarettes, buy booze, nor get a driver's license, and they must attend school. The large majority of voters and legislators also believe they should be protected from unscrupulous sexual predators, raising the "age of consent" from 14 to 16.

Conversely, Gov. Cayetano believes we need to "study" the situation more, so he vetoes the bill. What's to study?

In the meantime, is it OK for adults to continue sexual exploitation of 14-year-olds, governor? Are you inviting the nation's pedophiles to Hawai'i? Will your study show 14-year-olds are adults? Finally, will the Democrats have the moral will to override their lame-duck governor? Or is it business as usual: no guts, no nothing.

Beam them far away from us, Scotty!

Frederick A. Holck