Letters to the Editor
Why spend money in Waikiki for CEOs?
I agree with the voices calling for a more diversified economy that respects the working class.
I had considered spending my federal tax rebate in Waikiki after Sept. 11, but I changed my mind after corporations started dumping hard-working employees in a frantic attempt to save CEO and shareholder 'okole.
What good would my hotel stay have done for the newly unemployed? Better I give to the food banks or social service agencies.
This perpetual-crisis machine our "one-horse" economy is tiresome and abusive.
On a lighter note, if we could just hypnotize Gov. Cayetano into believing he is up for re-election, we could solve our fiscal crisis with a resulting budget surplus.
Patrick DeBusca Jr.
Developers triumphed over Hawai'i residents
Once again the Hawai'i Legislature has shown that it puts development and profit ahead of Hawai'i's people.
Instead of passing bills that would benefit residents, like eliminating the tax on food, it is dedicated to enacting the second great "mahele" under King Cayetano. Bills have been proposed that virtually give away public land to developers with special loans and tax breaks.
The real state emergency is that money paid into individual funds hasn't been spent on them. The tobacco settlement money is going to a new medical school; boating and harbor funds have been spent on everything but boating and harbor improvements. But when a developer says he will help bring money into the state, the Legislature bends over to grant his wish.
The wheeling and dealing going on in this session is deplorable. As for the speaker of the House who openly pushes for emergency legislation by developers: Calvin, say goodbye.
If our legislators were so inclined to hand over their responsibilities to a last-term governor, then they each should have submitted their official resignation along with their vote.
Aloha spirit remains despite the attacks
As a past and future visitor to Hawai'i, it saddens me to hear of the economic problems associated with the drop in visitors to your truly beautiful state.
I visited Hawai'i after Sept. 11 and did notice that there were fewer tourists around than in previous visits. However, the one thing I did notice that hasn't changed is the aloha spirit. The people were as friendly and helpful as ever, just getting on with life in paradise.
Sure, things will never be as they once were, but keep doing what you do best and the rest of the world will once again be flooding back to the "Aloha State."
Warriors' victory was big boost to state
Congratulations to the UH Warriors for their victory over 18th- ranked Fresno State. The Warriors' impressive win on national TV was a very big boost to Hawai'i and the UH football program.
Now if only the Warriors could win the rest of their scheduled games and win the WAC championship, at least it would bring a little happiness to our struggling economy and end this tragic year on a positive note.
Arsenio Ramirez Pelayo
You can't escape tax by buying out of state
Terry Wilson's Oct. 26 advice to seek a car dealership out-of-town is incorrect. He wrote, "Fly to Portland, Ore., where there is no excise tax, and buy a car with zero percent financing."
Several years ago I did exactly the above and six months later the State of Hawai'i billed me a "USE Tax" for "out-of-state purchase for all sales and excise taxes."
Before anyone gets caught up in this, check it out.
Forget the Japanese, think of the Americans
Has anyone taken a survey on how many of us Americans are staying away from restaurants with our children because of the smoke from the Japanese tourists?
When in California, which has banned smoking in restaurants and bars without any apparent loss of Japanese tourists, we go out to eat all the time with the family. Here in Hawai'i, we have to carefully avoid all the "tourist" restaurants around Waikiki, Restaurant Row and Aloha Tower Marketplace to get away from the smoke. We have to keep our own list of "safe" restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen at Ala Moana where it is safe in spite of proximity to Japanese tourists.
To kill Americans with secondhand smoke for fear of possibly turning away Japanese tourists is a most irresponsible act.
How many waiters and waitresses have to die (like flight attendants) before people will wake up and do something?
Severance package for LeMahieu isn't OK
Let's see if I have this right. Our Board of Education wants to pay Paul LeMahieu six months severance pay because of its compassion for him. He's out of a job and out of income. Welcome to the club.
Why doesn't the board extend its compassion to the thousands of Hawai'i residents who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, while they're extending the same to a man who "crossed the line" with a woman who is not his wife?
Dr. LeMahieu quit his job; he wasn't fired. Let him stand in the unemployment line along with the thousands of other Hawai'i residents who now find themselves out of work. Let him do what the rest of us are doing limping along, trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents, and worrying that if the economic downturn continues, we'll lose our homes, our children will go hungry and our bills will go unpaid.
I'm sad because LeMahieu appeared to be doing a good job. I'm sad because two families will bear the fallout of the affair. I'm sad, too, because LeMahieu violated a primary tenet of teaching: We teach more by what we do than what we say.
Sure, he owned up to the affair. The question is, would he have done it if the Legislature hadn't questioned him so intensely days before he quit? If our BOE wants to be compassionate, it should take the money it planned to pay LeMahieu and spend it on our children.
Community control of schools essential
It is the responsibility of our elected representatives on the Board of Education to solve the public education problem. We elected them. We must hold them accountable.
People of Hawai'i and the legislative auditor have identified the problems of the public schools as its structure, its size and its bureaucracy. The solution is to restructure the DOE for community control of schools.
For example, the Hawai'i Kai community would control Kaiser High School with all its feeder schools as the Kaiser High School Complex. The community would elect representatives to serve on the High School Complex School/Community-Based Management Board to determine policy for the complex.
Judge David Ezra evaluates teaching compliance for the Felix requirements by the high school complex. Recently, the DOE suggested that the high school complex approve the school schedule. This allows the high school and its feeder schools to conform to the same school schedule. The standards and accountability must be established by the SCBM of the high school complex.
Let the people decide. If they screw up, it is their decision. I have faith in the people making the best decisions for their children.
James Kuroiwa Jr.
Words of hope, now words of gratefulness
There are the words of my late husband, Jun Nakata of the Ehime Maru:
As a result of your kindness, this day has come to pass.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Many things happen in this world, don't they
Happy things, painful things ...
Inexperienced as I was, I lived dependent on the kindness of your support.
Your concerns for your family are the same as mine.
From now on, I hope to live positively.
Therefore, this is from my heart to yours.
Finally, words cannot express how deeply grateful I am.
To the people of Hawai'i who volunteered their support to us immediately after the accident.
To Rear Adm. William Klemm and the people of the U.S. Navy who considered the nine missing as though they were members of their own families and continued their efforts in salvaging the Ehime Maru, despite the worldwide tensions that occurred after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
To the people of the Japanese Self-Defense Force's Chihaya and the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center's Kairei, far away from home for a long period of time, who patiently and perseveringly searched for the personal belongings.
To the divers from the U.S. and Japan who, despite the extremely dangerous search operations inside the vessel, worked by hand to preserve the dignity and integrity of the bodies so as not to damage them. Although I could only meet you from a distance, I pray for your safety as you continue the search for the remaining missing person.
Also, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of the consulate general of Japan in Honolulu and the governments of both the United States and Japan.
Use of DDT is safe, cheap and effective
A couple of your readers raised some pretty hysterical complaints about DDT. A reality check is in order.
While DDT was banned for possible carcinogenicity, this came shortly after a long hearing that resulted in the hearing commissioner concluding that DDT should not be banned. DDT was in common use from the 1940s to the 1970s.
During World War II and shortly thereafter, GIs and civilians in war-torn countries were dusted with DDT inside their clothing. In the postwar decades, large areas were routinely sprayed with DDT for insect control, some of which were not health threats but merely nuisances, like gnats. Some even proposed that DDT be sprayed on a calendar basis to keep crops insect-free. Naivete about this inadvertently resulted in DDT getting worldwide field safety trials.
Today, 60 years after its introduction and despite the early decades of indiscriminate use, DDT has not caused any human health problems, not even in those with very high levels of DDT in their bodies. Bioconcentration of DDT will build to high levels in animals only if there are massive inputs into the ecosystem. This would not be the case today. Furthermore, it would not be used on crops.
The World Health Organization has estimated that DDT has saved 500 million lives. Several medical and public health organizations are advising and pleading against the total ban of DDT.
With its bad press, DDT won't be used in Hawai'i in the near future, but its persistence, low-mammalian toxicity, low cost and long safety record make DDT critical for vector insect control in Third World countries. Let's not let our ignorance condemn millions of the world's poor to death or debilitation.
Extension specialist in weed science, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai'i at Manoa