Letters to the Editor
Chancellor's dorm experience unrealistic
Regarding Michael Tsai's article on July 24: It is a bold attempt by the new University of Hawai'i chancellor, Peter Englert, to live in the dorms, but a halfhearted one at that.
The article portrays Englert as a man who is "(tasting) dorm life" to demonstrate (his) commitment to supporting ... students and to (help) maintain an environment that is conducive to their academic goals."
Yet anyone who has truly lived the "UH-Manoa dorm experience" knows that Mr. Englert's seemingly realistic setting in Gateway is heavily biased toward his comfort and, as a result, will not enable him to fully assess the problems of UH housing. Can true issues of concern such as "drinking, drugs, noise and fights" really be surveyed in a mere three weeks, by living in a room with private bed and bath, and with "youth groups" as neighbors?
Until Mr. Englert moves into a real dorm, preferably Hale Lokelani or Mokihana, during the anarchistic fall opening weekend, meets and resides with a complete stranger for a whole year, as well as 20-floor neighbors, and partakes in 3 a.m. fire drills, excrement-sullied bathrooms and constant noise, his assessment of the dormitories will yield inaccurate and incomplete findings.
Nicholas M.W. Wong
California schools pay teachers more
Although it looks very good on paper, the governor's new assertion that Hawai'i pays its starting-out teachers more than California does is incorrect.
First of all, via its governor, California is committed to education more than Hawai'i is.
Pay scales vary from school to school in California. At the high end of the scale, a not insignificant number of schools are paying in the neighborhood of $85,000 for their veteran teachers, who are finally approaching what they deserve with all their training and experience. In addition, beginning teachers are making more than they would in Hawai'i in at least the schools I checked out.
More important, as a matter of course, step increases at California schools are paid yearly and are much bigger than Hawai'i's insecure, roughly $150 increases.
There is no need to argue with the Legislature to get step increases in California and no need to creep along at such a snail's pace in terms of real dollar increases.
So, while the quality of life is different here and better in ways, teachers are sacrificing a decent pension and benefits package, as well as salary. Kathleen Gamber, who distinguished herself in the Pahoa schools and whom I had the good fortune to have as a distinguished teacher supervisor during my tenure there, pointed this out recently. She will begin in Las Vegas this school year.
Animal suffering isn't entertainment
"It is hypocritical to come down hard on cockfighting, which is simply a poor man's chance to gamble, when no other option exists," David Childs said in The Advertiser on Aug. 8.
It is inexcusable that some people view animal suffering involved in staged cockfights as a form of entertainment or a way to make a profit.
The newspaper has an obligation to publish stories about issues and activities that are detrimental to the public. While cultural, cockfighting, as it is practiced today, is an exposure to danger.
Cesar Chavez, who condemned the practice of cockfighting, once wrote: "Kindness and compassion toward all living things are a mark of a civilized society. Conversely, cruelty, whether it is directed against human beings or against animals, is not the exclusive province of any one culture or community of people."
Hawai'i banned cockfighting in 1884. Why is it still around?
Rosa Maria Murphy
Accent the positive about Hawai'i hotels
Hilton Hawaiian Village is the most beautiful high-class hotel on Waikiki Beach.
It has beautiful exercise rooms, jewelry stores and clothing stores for children and adults.
It also has jogging and many other sports that attract tourists.
Why do you write about the hotel's unfortunate accidents?
Please write and advertise about Hawai'i's beautiful nature and the blue ocean.
Helen H. Morita
Nonprofit group cares for our furry friends
There are alternatives to the Humane Society. The Sylvester Animal Sanctuary in Waimanalo is a nonprofit foundation that cares for sick, injured, abused and unfortunate dogs, cats and birds.
It is lifelong care where euthanasia is not an option. It needs donations of time, money and animal care supplies. It receives no salaries, unlike the Hawaiian Humane Society's $70,000 annual salaries.
Don't let your frustration with the Humane Society prevent you from helping our animal friends.
Of course Hawaiian programs discriminate
It is disturbing what people like Kenneth Conklin do with the concepts of fairness and equality. It is true that programs to help only Hawaiians and part-Hawaiians are discriminatory, but they are so to make up for past wrongs done to us.
America was founded on many wrongs: slavery, slaughter of Native Americans, stealing of Hawai'i. These wrongs gave an unfair economic and thus political power basis to white colonizers. Until such wrongs are set right by programs that must discriminate so they help those who need it, this society is not equal. Any claims against such programs are nothing more than attempts to keep the power structure as is unfairly balanced to white colonizers.
Mr. Conklin has a very good claim on being American, none on being Hawaiian.
Meat recall should be a wake-up call
The July recall of 18 million pounds of ground beef by ConAgra, the nation's second largest meat processor, should be a wake-up call for all consumers: Federal meat inspection is not adequate to ensure a safe meat supply.
The recall was occasioned by a high incidence of infection with a deadly strain of E. coli bacteria. The bacteria are introduced by fecal contamination of the carcasses and can cause bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and, in some cases, kidney failure and death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that some 80 million Americans a year suffer from food-borne illness. Up to 90 percent of chickens contain campylobacter, 5 percent of cows carry the lethal strain of E. coli and 30 percent of pigs are infected with toxoplasmosis. Egg consumption is a leading cause of salmonella poisoning.
How many illnesses and deaths will it take before American consumers consign meat consumption to the garbage heap of lifestyle history, along with smoking and drug addiction?
We do not have to restore the pool
Those not old enough to remember have no idea what the Natatorium was about in its heyday.
The beach next to it, now generally called Kaimana or Sans Souci, was not particularly attractive, as it is now. And the diving platforms and water slide were the major reason for using the murky waters of the pool. Neither will see the light of day in a rebuilt pool.
It is not likely that the sand on the beach will survive removing the walls of the Natatorium pool, so we are probably stuck with them. But we do not have to restore the pool itself as a pool. There have been many suggestions, including volleyball courts and even a passive grass lawn. I can hear the cranial machinery turning among those given to commercializing our recreation spaces, imagining a huge permanent screen for Sunset on the Beach.
My major concern with the pool being restored is it will prove to be a long-term maintenance nightmare, just as the former pool eventually became and was closed to public use. Our city and state do not have much of a reputation for maintaining public works effectively.
Edward L. Bonomi
Falling boulders can be prevented
After reading about the unfortunate passing of Dara Rei Onishi from a rock fall that hit her family house, I was saddened because it could have been prevented.
The slope could have been properly surveyed and stabilized to prevent any rock falls. There are many solutions available that have been used in Japan and California to prevent such events. such as terracing, plantings, proper drainage, rock bolts, using concrete such as Soilcrete, and many more.
Hopefully, the public and private sectors will use geological engineers in the future to prevent such a horrible thing from happening again.
Geological engineer graduate student
Pearl Harbor tunnel should be for buses
Richard Castillo's recent letter about a Mamala Bay parkway and Pearl Harbor tunnel is provocative but not a good solution if it is just another freeway for personal cars.
I believe a Pearl Harbor tunnel should be built soon but be limited to TheBus. (We might consider high-occupancy van-pools, also.) That would require much less construction, could be implemented quickly in stages and would truly promote mass transit.
Here's why it's time for a change
This responds to the statements made by Gov. Ben Cayetano's spokeswoman, Jackie Kido, in your paper on July 24. I could not agree with her more we have to choose our leaders carefully.
In 1998, voters chose her boss, our present governor, for the second time. And both the House and Senate remained under the single-party control of the Democrats, and this is what we got:
- More corruption in government than ever seen before and imprisonment of state and local officials (all Democrats, by the way).
- Hundreds of millions of dollars of wasteful spending (Felix, Department of Transportation, etc.).
- An economy that continues to falter and forces our children to move to the Mainland for jobs and affordable housing.
- A public school system in dramatic need of improvement.
- An increasing backlog of school repair and maintenance (now numbering in the hundreds of millions of dollars).
- An ugly teachers' strike that locked out our students.
- More families living in poverty today than we had 10 years ago.
These are just a few points she missed, but that is understandable because her commentary was not meant to be accurate or sincere. If it were, she would have removed all reference to Linda Lingle and it would have been a decent column about corruption.
Instead it was designed to attack Lingle.
Ms. Kido twisted two issues and used them as the basis for her campaign. The truth is, a tax credit is not a subsidy. The state and the taxpayers pay nothing to provide this incentive, which would help create much-needed jobs in an economically depressed area. The state does not spend any money or lose any money; in fact, it gains money because people with jobs pay taxes.
Ms. Kido also refers to the gas cap bill without mentioning that 21 members of the House of Representatives voted against this terrible bill, which will create gas shortages (particularly on the Neighbor Islands) and drive up the cost of gasoline. She also did not mention the bill doesn't take effect for two years and that the governor can stop it if it hurts the public. If it hurts the public ... what kind of bill is that?
Instead of smearing Linda Lingle, I think Jackie Kido should be explaining to the people of Kaua'i why her boss still wants to raid the Hurricane Relief Fund.
Let's hope Ms. Kido didn't use that too often common practice of writing her attack while on the clock at the koa-paneled offices of our state Capitol. Should we call for an ethics investigation into whether that did happen? Best we not as they are already too busy investigating other Democrats.
We've had enough of this kind of politics. It's time for a change. It's time for Linda Lingle.