Letters to the Editor
Ambulance stands unused during night
I am writing to beg the citizens of Honolulu to call, write, e-mail or fax Sen. Brian Taniguchi, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, to schedule a hearing and appropriate funds for Senate Bill 390.
From 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., there are only three ambulances with advanced life support capability to serve metropolitan Honolulu, which ranges from Palolo Valley/Kaimuki to Salt Lake/Halawa. They are located at the Kapahulu Fire Station, Queen's Hospital and St. Francis Hospital.
There are normally four ambulances during the day and evening, but from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., located on Young Street near Ke'eaumoku, a perfectly functional ambulance with supplies and equipment shuts its doors because no one will budget money specifically to staff it with two emergency medical services personnel per night.
This means Manoa, Mo'ili'ili, Makiki, Ala Moana and west Waikiki now rely on other ambulances to add these districts to their already largely populated areas, slowing response times and spreading coverage too thin.
Would anyone stand for a police or fire station shutting down for the night? Isn't human life more valuable than property and material possessions? Do we have to wait for something terrible to happen before people realize we don't have enough ambulances staffed with paramedics who treat the sick and care for the injured?
Please contact your representatives if you live in these areas, have family or friends there, or just care about human life and helping others. Demand that we get the pre-hospital service we deserve.
Blame military brass for submarine fiasco
Cmdr. Scott Waddle is a scapegoat. It wasn't his decision to have a group of VIP civilians in a situation for which there was no legitimacy.
These orders came from the same brass who are not men enough, or officers enough, to now take responsibility for the tragic events they set in motion.
My heart is with the Japanese people. My heart is with Waddle. My heart is with the American people for the great shame some of our top leaders have brought upon us.
Clinton responsible for lack of training
]I am the wife of a soldier who was next to be flown out on one of those helicopters that crashed recently in the Kahuku training area. I am mindful of how very blessed we are as a family to still have our husband and daddy. My heart breaks for the families who lives will be forever impacted by this loss.
But I am also angered by certain phrases being tossed about in the media today. All over the radio, newspapers and television, I hear about this and other recent incidents and accidents being the result of "the Army's overall shortfall in training" and "problems in readiness."
I'm especially struck by the irony of the media's insinuations because the "shortfall in training" is the direct result of former President Clinton's leadership as commander-in-chief, and the media have always coddled him, overall.
They toss out these grim accusations as if the U.S. military itself were to blame. May I suggest that military morale, equipment and training were all just casualties of the Clinton era? Clinton neglected the military from the onset of his administration. He waited eight months to even appoint a secretary of the Army, but even more telling was the eight-year lack of support for the armed forces.
The budget cuts, the lack of modernization, the deterioration of equipment and the decline in morale were all a result of our former commander-in-chief's lack of regard for our military.
No soldier wants to be less than prepared for a real-war situation.
Teacher retention should be priority
I am a school counselor on Moloka'i and a proud graduate of Moloka'i High School. I see the damage that is done to students when there's a teaching shortage.
One of our fourth-grade teachers left in the first quarter. We couldn't find a teacher to fill the position, so our students had a handful of substitutes throughout the second quarter. Students were having angry outbursts. Some did not feel safe and secure, so they consistently sought teachers. One boy didn't do any work during the second quarter, and nothing was done to help him because nobody knew about it.
Students feel the teacher shortage. They don't have a sense of consistency or permanency when teachers come and go.
We need to pay our teachers more so we can keep them here. We need to make the teaching profession a "profession."
Teaching career is no longer attractive
Question: What is the difference between a stevedore and a teacher?
Answer: A stevedore earns two to three times more than a teacher without a college degree because he can hold the public hostage over toilet paper and rice.
Now my question is: Why would any young person want to be a teacher?
We are already short of teachers and are forced to hire "warm bodies" to try to teach our future leaders. About 800 more will soon be retiring. New graduates are taking jobs on the Mainland because the pay is so much better.
I tried to start a Future Teachers club at my school only to have 1 of 1,500 students express interest.
The state can't even attract the contracted 300 special-education teachers from the Mainland at $100,000 per year, even though this is triple my salary. Where is the state going to get its teachers? In fact, where is the state getting the money for these 300 Mainland teachers?
Incremental pay should be standard
I moved to Hawai'i in 1995. When I found out the teachers here did not receive incremental pay, I was shocked.
Incremental pay keeps teachers in school districts; it adds respect to the profession and makes teaching a viable career.
Hawai'i is going to be in a big mess when the current teachers are ready to retire, when other states are going to recruit our best and brightest and when the teachers who remain get fed up.
I consider teaching my charity. I've bought books for my students, given them lunch money when they didn't have it, purchased ingredients for my students to make Christmas presents for their families. I've seen many teachers do the same.
I'm fed up, and if this government pushes it, I'll take my bachelor of science in business administration and my teaching credential and look elsewhere.
Timing is way off for new med school
The Advertiser and Rep. Dwight Takamine have performed a valuable public service in raising questions about the proposal to build a new UH medical school in Kaka'ako to replace the existing facility on the Manoa campus.
As worthy as the project may be, the timing is way off. Leaders in the visitor industry are expressing serious concern about a likely downturn in tourism, and the usually optimistic Seiji Naya of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism is warning that major economic indicators are turning negative.
Prudence dictates that we rethink such "prestige projects" as the med school, aquarium and proposed cultural and science centers, and concentrate public investment on more immediate needs, such as the public school system.
Moreover, if the Legislature provides even the $10 million requested by the med school for planning and architectural work, that would amount to a green light for a new facility, since the school would be back at the Capitol next year to argue that the state has already made a commitment to the project.
It would be better if the Legislature suggested to Medical School Dean Edwin Cadman that he go back to the drawing board and come up with a more modest proposal to replace the aging Manoa facility, with inducements that could attract funding from the private sector.
As The Advertiser noted in a March 22 editorial, there are some "scary" aspects to the current proposal: First and foremost is the question of where the school would get the money to repay the proposed special-revenue bond.
Webster K. Nolan
Carlisle should have offered his thoughts
Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Peter Carlisle testified March 1 in the state House Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs hearing against three bills to raise the age of consent in Hawai'i from 14 to either 16 or 18. He suggested that the legislators should study what the other 49 states use for language in their laws.
He stated that the current bills may be well intentioned, but were poorly written. He felt they should sit on the issue and come back with better legislation next year, leaving the current laws alone for now.
Now for the punch line.
House Bill 162, which he thought was the worst written, was taken from the existing Hawai'i Revised Statutes in its exact language. The only change in it was to change the age from 14 to 18. If the law was so poorly written, why did he not feel the need for fixing the current law?
If language in the law was a problem, as a lawyer and prosecutor he should have offered the committee language he felt would make the new law enforceable. If he felt 18 was too high, he should have offered his opinion on what he thought was reasonable.
I was amazed to hear him quote a "lack of statistical data" to support the need to even raise the age of consent at all. How is this for statistical data? Hawai'i is the only state to have the age of consent at 14.
During hearings in the Senate on a similar bill, Carlisle stated that we wouldn't be able to enforce such a law. How do prosecutors in the other 49 states get their jobs done?
Kicking the meat habit might be a good idea
Over the past month, I've been reading that the mad-cow and foot-and-mouth diseases in Western Europe have cut meat sales by 50 percent and doubled the number of vegetarians, that our meat-inspection system has been a massive failure, that Vice President Cheney has suffered his fourth heart attack and that more than 60 percent of Americans are overweight.
The other day, I heard Bill Maher on "Politically Incorrect" talking about some folks who observe the Great American Meatout by asking their friends and neighbors to kick the meat habit on the first day of spring and explore a wholesome and nonviolent plant-based diet. He may have something there.
Hawaiian culture isn't dead, mutating
I was stunned when I read Rick Bundschuh's March 13 letter with his claim that the Hawaiian culture is dead, dying or in the process of mutating. With tongue in cheek, my initial reaction turned to one of amusement when I couldn't help but wonder at all those DBEDT marketing managers thrown into a frenzy of damage control trying to protect the reputation of one of our state's major industries: tourism.
Bundschuh's letter implied a kind of racial arrogance that has no place in the Hawai'i of today. Alani Apio's commentary must have struck some chord in Bundschuh to incite such a scathing response. Let us all remind Bundschuh that Hawai'i has always been inclusive rather that exclusive, and has always adopted or assimilated customs and ideals to evolve into what we all are today.
Unlike Bundschuh, I believe our Hawaiian culture is alive and flourishing, that the Hawaiian culture, like all existing cultures, is in the process of evolving (rather than mutating or dead, as he puts it) to suit its times. I believe our reverence for our living culture of aloha, malama and pono will circumvent a burgeoning culture of violence that has become so prevalent on the Mainland.
We are not perfect, but our culture encourages us to try to be. And like Apio, most of us here and elsewhere, maoli or not, still cherish, respect, honor and lament what we once were, appreciate and love who we are now, but look forward to what we all may potentially become.
Ron Kanaiaupuni Ni'au
Waimea, Big Island
Missing lines make highway dangerous
For several months now on Acacia Road, off Kamehameha Highway at the Pearl City Post Office, the double yellow lines have been nonexistent in some places, especially on the curve, as well as the white lines.
This makes for a dangerous situation not only during the day, but at night it's very much worse with all the traffic on that street.
Why hasn't this dangerous situation been taken care of?
Chester W. Chaffee
Shame on them
That sound you hear from the City Council is the slapping of wrists.