Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, May 8, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Toxic waste disposal made without input

A recent and quite arbitrary decision was made regarding the disposal of toxic sludge from the Ala Wai Canal into the Sand Island Beach Park area by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The community was not notified about this until after it had been put into effect, and still is very much unaware of its existence or ramifications.

Now, despite the vehement protests of the Kalihi Neighborhood Board, a few well-informed residents of the community and several legislators whose districts were affected, DLNR has decided to implement this highly controversial and hated plan without reservations.

Why did the state choose to contaminate the only beach park in the Kalihi area, one utilized by residents and nonresidents alike? Was it because most citizens here are socially and economically deficient from people of trendy neighborhoods? Was it because most people in Kalihi are newcomers to this state and this nation and therefore are not worthy of due consideration? Or is it because Kalihi has, is and always will be the dumping grounds of the island?

Shane D.K. Yaw

UH library system being ignored by state

The article on the University of Hawai'i library by Jennifer Hiller does not begin to address the issues.

A university library is its brain and center. This central point is lost on the governor and Legislature. Ben Cayetano's administration has continued the construction-first, education-later approach that Hawai'i has come to expect.

Hawai'i has so many brilliant young people, aching for a real education and chance in the larger, real world. When will the old fogies in the governorship and Legislature get out of their way and help them realize their dreams? Read to your children, support our libraries and university.

Jonathan Boyne
Librarian, UH-Manoa

Civil service reform will hurt legislators

Lame-duck Gov. Ben Cayetano and those legislators who voted for passage of the two anti-union civil service reform bills are patting themselves on the back and high-five-ing each other. Retribution will be forthcoming in the 2002 elections.

Calvin Say says the unions' attempt to intimidate them backfired. He, Coleen Hanabusa and the rest of those who led the charge will feel the heat in their re-election bids or runs for other offices.

Say relates that repercussions from the public-sector unions will be felt more in the statewide races and not on the district level. Big mistake. When they messed with the state health fund, they awakened a sleeping giant statewide, the civil service retirees and their extended families who number in the thousands. We will not take this lying down.

Steven T.K. Burke
Co-chair, Hui Ana O Maka'i (police retirees)

Peer Ed funding cuts endanger program

Over the past few years, Peer Ed funds have been cut. This year the program drastically suffered from these budget cuts. Next year, only four of the 26 schools will still have a full-time program. The other 22 schools are cut to half-time status.

This program is a necessity for every high school. As a peer educator, I can say that this class has taught me about important health issues every student should know about. We do presentations for elementary and intermediate schools, and also classes within our own high school. We talk about things like drug abuse, sexual assault, rape and safe sex.

We can do our job by getting to the students at an early age so we can help prevent things like teen pregnancies, drug abuse and sexual assault. I'm not saying our program is 100 percent effective, but at least we are getting valuable information out.

Brandon Chang
'Aiea High School

State, city pass buck on dangerous traffic

Several months ago, I brought a dangerous traffic situation to the attention of my state representative. The matter was forwarded to the district City Council member.

A state traffic engineer contacted me via telephone to inform me the matter was a city problem, not a state problem. A city traffic engineer contacted me by telephone and follow-up letter relating that the matter was a state problem.

I was contacted by four Honolulu police officers, all by telephone. The last police officer called me from his cell phone as he was parked across the street in his blue-and-white vehicle.

All had the same message: There is nothing they can do about the speeding because there are no speed signs posted on South Kuakini Street on the Punchbowl side of Pali Highway.

The traffic code states, unless otherwise posted, that the speed limit in a residential area is 25 mph. The excuse for not tagging: Judges throw the citations out because there are no speed signs. I say tag them anyway and force drivers into traffic court. Sooner or later they will get the idea their actions are not going to be condoned. 

Recently, an accident occurred at this very site. The Chevy truck with a camper top struck a vehicle that was entering South Kuakini Street from a driveway. This is a blind curve with a building obstructing the view of both Pali Highway and South Kuakini Street.

Now, the only thing residents along this street can look forward to will be someone's worst nightmare, someone being killed. I guess this is the way the state and city do business with their citizens, bouncing them back and forth and blaming each other. Go figure. 

John Slater

New Hilton tower is an abomination

We object to the development by Hilton Hotels of the proposed Waikikian Tower.

The increased congestion and noise on Ala Moana Boulevard will remarkably impact the residents who live in the surrounding area. The little remaining ocean views for those of us who treasure this aspect of our lives will be all or partially eliminated.

We have been owners in Discovery Bay for 25 years and have watched helplessly as Hilton has gradually usurped our quality of living, first with construction of the Tapa Tower and, more recently, the Kalia Tower.

A signal at Dewey Lane will be a nightmare. We already look down on the street at any hour of the day and see traffic backed up as far as the eye can see. How will this little neighborhood endure the pressure of added traffic?

Last year we enclosed our lanai to avert breathing in the polluted air that wafts up from the street, blackening the floors and walls. Now we feel it may be necessary to leave this area completely. Is there anything that we as citizens of this city can do to avert this abomination?

Kenneth E. Darrow
Sharon G. Darrow

Mansho's dedication overrides mistakes

Rene Mansho should run for mayor of Honolulu.

Regardless of what naysayers in her district think about her, she has done an outstanding job for Hawai'i, especially for the promotion of tourism. Her time and energy throughout her public career have been spent, not for personal gain, but for the good of the economy, the state and its people.

Her integrity and dedication to the community override all of the few omissions made during her term as councilwoman.

Toshio Chinen
Pearl City

Cartoon unfairly depicted protesters

Your May 2 Letters page cartoon was offensive to those who believe in an alternative to so-called "free trade." The cartoon not only ridiculed the protesters in Quebec, it trivialized their cause.

Your readers might be interested to know that the Free Trade Area of the Americas is an expansion of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has destroyed 400,000 jobs in the United States alone, with new jobs paying on average 77 percent of what they had paid before.

In addition, the increased pollution resulting from expansion of destructive manufacturing practices has dramatically increased rates of hepatitis and birth defects on the U.S.-Mexico border.

And despite President Bush's claim that free trade "lifts the lives of all people," the main people who get a lift are the wealthy in the developed world and the big multinationals.

Palani Southworth
Hawai'i Kai

Legislature ignored Neighbor Isles again

Once again the Neighbor Island counties went home disappointed from the Legislature. It's very discouraging — and disconcerting — how seemingly one person, in this case the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, can stop an idea whose time has come: the idea of treasuring our visitors not only in our business reports but also in our commitment to their safety, in particular their safety on our beaches and in our ocean.

Kaua'i's most lethal, and also beautiful, beaches are state beach parks. One person a year drowns at Hanakapi'ai alone.

Neighbor Island County Lifeguard Services personnel want to guard the state beach parks, but they need the state to pull its share of the load — not an unreasonable request, seeing as we're talking about state beach parks. The counties have needed a properly crafted immunity bill to reduce the liability they would take on by this exposure; and they have needed financial support to provide the service.

The state once again came up with neither.

Monty Downs
Chairman, Kaua'i Water Safety Task Force

Mental health matters to Hawai'i

May is Mental Health Month in Hawai'i. Mental health matters to every individual, and in every community. Hawai'i is no different.

Mental health matters to our healthcare system, our businesses and our families. From keiki to kupuna, one in five people in Hawai'i, and throughout America, experiences a serious emotional disturbance or mental illness each year.

Hawai'i cannot afford to ignore illnesses so prevalent in our community. In fact, mental illnesses are more prevalent than cancer, lung disease and heart disease combined, leading U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher in December 1999 to declare mental illnesses one of our nation's leading public health issues.

Mental health matters to overall health and is key to maintaining good physical health. Research shows that depression is common in individuals who suffer from heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Although physical illnesses are generally treated, too often the mental illnesses are not.

In addition, great disparity exists between mental and physical health. Individuals may not prioritize their own mental health needs, many health insurance companies do not offer comparable coverage and healthcare providers often do not recognize the symptoms of mental health problems — even though nearly half of all visits to primary care doctors are related to psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Mental health matters to our business community. Absenteeism, employee turnover and lost productivity are just a few of the economic costs associated with untreated mental illnesses in the workplace. Stress and depression rank as the second and third largest issues facing employees, according to a survey by the Employee Assistance Professional Association.

All told, mental health problems cost the economy in Hawai'i million of dollars each year. And the cost to individuals can be even greater as workers experience mental health problems that affect their health, satisfaction, productivity and wages.

May, Mental Health Month, is a time for our community to acknowledge the importance of mental health and take action to ensure that individuals with mental illnesses have access to care, treatment and prevention services they need.

Senseless barriers such as stigma, misunderstanding and discrimination can be torn down by recognizing that mental illnesses are real, mental illnesses are common and mental illnesses are treatable.

The surgeon general declared that mental health matters to America. Now it's time we let our policy makers and community and business leaders know that as well.

Ben Carroll, president
Greg Farstrup, executive director
Mental Health Association in Hawai'i