Letters to the Editor
Waddle should not exploit sub tragedy
For attorney Charles Gittens to suggest Cmdr. Scott Waddle be "rewarded" with a book or movie deal to tell his story is wrong. What happened was a tragedy due to negligence, impressing guests on board, allowing the crew to use their own judgment, etc.
Now Gittens wants Waddle to be rewarded for this? I hope Waddle can show compassion and integrity and not exploit this tragedy for his own wealth.
Democrats no longer friendly to the unions
The latest move by the Democratic-run, socialist Legislature to force one health-care provider on public employees and allow government to privatize services shows how "union friendly" the Democrats really are. What happened to the "pro-choice" party?
I can just see the job announcements now: "Wanted: government employees. Salary: half of Mainland, pay increases to keep up with inflation will be very hard fought. Benefits: We will tell you what you can have. Retirement: The employer reserves the right to take a portion of your investment, if deemed necessary by the employer."
I am sure we will attract highly qualified employees with this type of leadership. It is time for real change in this state, and the only way to accomplish change is to clean out the big square building on Beretania Street.
Let the public employees be warned: Democrats don't care about the people who serve their constituents. November 2002 is coming.
Power line corridors must not use herbicides
The systematic spot killing of vegetation along the power line corridors is hardly ecological. Over the years, one by one, herbicides have been determined to be carcinogenic and taken off the market.
Because of health concerns, several counties around San Francisco now use goats to remove the vegetation. Any amount of herbicide usage is too much, if it can be avoided. Remember the arsenic problem on Maui due to misuse of weed killers? Or the heptachlor debacle?
Children are more vulnerable to herbicides because of proportionately heavier exposure, greater hand-to-mouth behavior and playing closer to the soil. Children are also biologically more vulnerable. Many diseases, like pulmonary fibrosis, take decades to develop.
No herbicide is free from adverse effects. We should always err on the side of safety for our Island people. The good news, however, is that we will not need to worry about this because the Kamoku-Pukele line is not necessary.
We are hopeful that a statewide comprehensive plan to underground all high-voltage lines will be implemented soon, under the leadership of HECO.
Jeremy Lam, M.D.
Pineapple alive, well as a Hawai'i export
Regarding D.G. Anderson's April 29 commentary: Like many others, he associates pineapple with sugar as an industry long gone.
This is not the status quo. Del Monte Fresh Produce (Hawai'i) recently hired 100 full-time workers, which brings it up to 800 employees. In the past five years, it has increased its production by 30 percent.
It is competing successfully in the global marketplace with a superior product. Advanced technology and the Hawai'i identity are reasons for this success.
Please do your research before making such statements. Agricultural exports from Hawai'i at this scale are few and need the support of people aspiring to lead this state.
New tower means more noise, fallout
In your April 28 article on the latest Hilton expansion, Sam Bren, chairman of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board (who inexplicably supports Hilton's outrageous plan), is quoted as saying "change is growth."
That kind of slogan may be appropriate for a bumper sticker but ignores the fact that Hilton is slowly but surely taking over a large part of Waikiki (including the beach) and contributing nothing except more pollution, noise, traffic congestion and strains on the water and sewer systems, not to mention the destruction of views.
It is not clear whom the board represents, but it is not the residents.
Unlike Bren, we live next to the Hilton and have endured the years of remodeling of the Hilton Lagoon apartments and the building of the huge Kalia Tower. Our lanai furniture was ruined with the dirt and dust, and now we are informed that we must go through it again and that their tour buses and other traffic will move under our noses, coming and going day and night.
Consider the beautiful job the Hale Koa did, leaving large expanses of green space for the public and not hindering anyone's view. Hilton doesn't have to utilize every inch it has. People come to Hawai'i for the beauty, the views and the peace, not wall-to-wall cement.
With apologies to apes, Hilton reminds us of the thousand-pound gorilla that thinks it owns the jungle and can do whatever it wants regardless of who or what gets trampled. Where is Tarzan when we need him?
Jim and Pat Mazure
Jap Road honored Japanese pioneer
The controversy over Jap Road in Texas reminds me of similar controversies over Onizuka Street in Los Angeles and the streets at Barbers Point.
Some Japanese object because "onizuka" means "place where the ogre lives." Some local people object to street names like Bataan and Tinian because they're too Mainland and violent. However, are these the true reasons?
In one novel, young swordsman Miyamoto Musashi passes an old man tending vegetables. Suddenly he dodges and whirls to confront the old man, who's still tending vegetables. Later the old gardener, actually a priest and master spearman, tells him that he could feel Musashi's hate from far away, and feeling his own hate made Musashi act silly. Musashi discovers an ogre in his heart. In the same way, those whom street signs offend are probably seeing reflections of their inner ogres.
Like us, Texans name roads to honor people, although they sometimes spell the names wrong. In any case, they have honored and upheld the legacy of their former Japanese neighbor for 100 years. I'm proud of the Japanese pioneer and his friends.
Cayetano has done a lot for education
How can people say Gov. Cayetano doesn't care about education? When he took office, our children were studying in school bathrooms. So, he went to work and built more new schools than any other governor did.
Teachers before never got the kind of pay raises they've been getting under Cayetano. He's done more for education than any other governor, that's for sure.
Genaro Q. Bimbo
Absentee ownership has harmed valley
The long battle for the return of sanctity to the operation of Waimea Falls Park sank to a new low April 20 after years of misdirected operating philosophy. New York real estate developer and adventure park owner Christian Wolfer's Attraction Hawai'i Management Co. filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
This legal action occurred not in Hawai'i, the home of the park's employees, facilities, creditors and cultural heritage, but in New York, where Wolfer's legal action will presumably be negotiated in front of a judge familiar with the nuts and bolts of day-to-day real estate transactions, but completely unaware of the multi-layered problems at the sacred Valley of Waimea. It is the home to generations of Hawaiian high priests and contains a virtual treasure trove of documented historical cultural sites, as well as being the home of the internationally acclaimed world-class botanical garden.
All continue to fall into ruin due to the current management's hell-bent desire to turn what was once O'ahu's premiere visitor attraction into an "adventure theme park" with "thrill rides."
With the fate of Waimea hanging in the balance as the city moves forward with its condemnation procedure, perhaps it is worth noting here that the entire Waimea Valley debacle is but the latest example of what absentee ownership and management of many of Hawai'i's real treasures has produced.
Perhaps it is time for the great Hawai'i-based foundations and trusts with their cultural and historic roots to begin to buy back some of these treasures.
Ralph A. Bard III
Takahashi founded bank at critical time
On April 16, Hawai'i lost one of its great leaders. Sakae Takahashi was a decorated World War II veteran, retired attorney, former territorial treasurer and state senator, as well as one of the original founders of Central Pacific Bank.
The establishment of CPB, and the part Takahashi played, is an inspiring story that many may not know. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government ordered the closing of all Japanese banks in Hawai'i, freezing all assets. After the war, the deposits were eventually returned to customers, but the banks never reopened. Thus, with no bank to serve the Japanese community, local Japanese businessmen and families had difficulty securing loans or obtaining mortgages.
Takahashi was the driving force behind a group of Nisei veterans, such as Daniel Inouye, and businessmen determined to make Hawai'i a better place to live and work. To provide growth capital to Hawai'i's large Japanese American community, this group, with Takahashi leading the fund-raising effort on his home island of Kaua'i, managed to raise $1 million in capital to establish Central Pacific Bank.
The bank opened its first location on the corner of Smith and King streets in 1954 with nine employees. From these humble beginnings, CPB has grown to become Hawai'i's third largest commercial bank, meeting the banking needs of all of Hawai'i's people. This same kind of vision, determination and entrepreneurial spirit are the foundation of many small businesses in Hawai'i today.
Chairman and CEO, Central Pacific Bank
State should fund peer-education program
Peer education helps educate students like me about all kinds of substances and situations in life.
Not all parents will talk to their children about drugs, sex and other things. So all the money that was saved on the strike perhaps could fund the peer-ed program.
Okata didn't give away union store
Contrary to Keola Kamaunu's claim in his April 28 letter ("HGEA's Okata gave away the union store"), HGEA Executive Director Russell Okata did not make a "tradeoff without any consent, either from the elected leadership of the union or its membership," when he met with Gov. Ben Cayetano on April 11.
The writer is ignorant of the fact that the governor must negotiate his offer with HGEA's seven bargaining units, and that any agreement must be ratified by the membership.
Here's what happened April 11:
While meeting with Okata to discuss other matters, the governor unexpectedly said that if HGEA would negotiate new levels of sick and vacation leaves for future hires and a "two strike" drug testing policy, he would support the award and withdraw his veto threat.
The governor's offer does not change HGEA's arbitration award, which is on track to be funded. What changed was the governor's new and unexpected willingness to support the award if HGEA negotiated two issues that would not affect the award.
Okata agreed to present the idea to HGEA's negotiating teams. He did not immediately reject the idea because he has the obligation and responsibility to convey offers to the negotiating teams. It is the team's responsibility to reject, accept or work out a compromise. The governor understood the employers must bargain with each team to bring about the changes he wants.
Okata met with the HGEA's seven negotiating teams on April 24, explained what happened and assured them they would do the negotiating. He asked them to consider the employers' expected proposal, which will be subject to member ratification.
Six bargaining units voted to proceed with an agreement with the employers to address these issues in negotiations. While Unit 3 did not want to formally enter such an agreement, team members expressed some openness to discussing these issues with the employers.
Public information officer, HGEA/AFSCME Local 152, AFL-CIO