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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Letters to the Editor

City was negligent in planning for succession

City Managing Director Ben Lee's defense of the "City's retired (being) rehired" is frightfully lame.

When it's known that it will be "hard to find experienced professionals" to replace retirees, competently managed organizations plan for succession before the fact, not after the fact.

What, for example, is driving the truth behind retired City Councilman Gary Okino's observation that "very capable and competent people are hard to replace"? When an organization repels instead of attracts good people, a good hard look as to why is in order.

In other words, not only are we seeing yet another flagrant example of the "cronyism" that has been Hawai'i's own longstanding version of governmental "Enron-ism," such actions only serve to make Honolulu's city management even more questionable.

Furthermore, since "there are no guidelines on how long a retiree might (receive successive) 89-day contracts," there are effectively no limits to the "double dipping" that is putting added strain on our already-limited resources.

Our only hope is that come Election Day there will be no need to "twist the public's arms" to get to the polls and let it be known that we will no longer tolerate such "double ripping."

Irv Rubin

Dangerous sailboards must be registered

The situation at Diamond Head Beach has become intolerable for surfers who enjoy a good relaxing day in a break that offers plenty of room for beginners and experienced alike.

Sailboarders zoom by at very close range at 35 mph or more and do blind leaps of 10 to 15 feet in the air without knowing where they are going to land and with no regard for ocean etiquette or safety for the surfers, who feel like sitting ducks waiting for something very bad to happen. Authorities must take immediate action.

We protect the bodysurfers at Point Panic as we protect the bodyboarders at Sandy's and Makapu'u. We must do the same at Diamond Head.

This is an opportunity for officials to prevent a potential lethal injury before it happens. Register sailboards like any other watercraft capable of high speeds and number them so their riders can be accountable for their actions. Most important, riders must take a mandatory course of ocean safety.

I call for all surfers to document their near-death experiences with sailboarders and submit them to the authorities. Until then, ban that sport from the south shores.

T. Edward Hancock

Home political signs should be banned

It's that time of year again when the biennial flora of election posters sprouts like coarse weeds on lawns and mailboxes throughout our neighborhoods.

This eyesore of the electoral process is silly, nerve-jangling and just plain unnecessary. It's a tacky urban blight we should not have to be regularly subjected to. Isn't it enough that we have to put up with self-serving politicians all year long?

We should ban home political signs under the outdoor advertising law and return our neighborhoods to their natural island serenity.

Gene Altman

False advertising

What are we to think of politicians running for office who, in spite of being in their 60s, are distributing campaign flyers with pictures of themselves that were taken when they were younger? Is this an attempt at deception?

Ursula Barmus

Tanonaka impressive on plans for economy

I'm a life-long Democrat who attended a political rally for lieutenant governor candidate Dalton Tanonaka. I was surprised to see so many people show up to listen to a Republican.

I did not know much about Mr. Tanonaka, but was impressed enough that I plan to switch my ballot to Republican this election so I can vote for him and gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle, who also attended the rally. I wanted to learn more about their plans to improve Hawai'i's economy.

Lingle and Tanonaka appeared determined to do whatever it takes to create better jobs for people like me. Lingle praised Tanonaka's ideas to bring new businesses here and said she would be happy to have him work alongside her for the next four years.

I'm tired of getting nowhere in such a wonderful place as Hawai'i. I was born and raised here and want more opportunities for me and my family. I see no Democrat with plans like Lingle's and Tanonaka's. I hope other Democrats join me in switching to the Republican Party this election.

Peter Yamaguchi

Mayor should answer questions on mistake

The mayor of Honolulu is a public figure; he is elected and paid by the people of Honolulu.

On the evening TV news on Aug. 16, another of the mayor's screw-ups — Hanauma Bay — was discussed. One of the reporters tried to get a comment from the mayor. The reporter was told the same old thing that the mayor's office always says when there is a screw-up: "The mayor is unavailable for comment."

The people of Honolulu are entitled to an answer.

Is the mayor too good to answer for his mistakes? If the mayor doesn't have time for the people, then he should step down now.

Robert P. Potter
Lahaina, Maui

City mix-up at Duke ceremony was stupid

Had I not been there to witness the ceremonial draping of the Duke Kahanamoku statue Friday afternoon with 112 lei and bear responsibility for the delivery of the 15-foot, 5-inch maile lei from the inmates at the Kulani Prison on the Big Island, a ho'okupu to honor Kahanamoku, I would think the city maintenance workers' mix-up hilarious and reminiscent of a Three Stooges rerun.

However, I was there, and this screw-up is near sacrilegious and so absurd as to give stupidity a new definition.

When I got word of what happened on Saturday morning, I became sick to my stomach. How would the inmates feel, knowing their maile gift was torn asunder and passed out to mere passers-by? I was so pleased that Mike Gordon's Aug. 24 story paid special attention to the Kulani inmates and Cory Lum's photograph caught the picturesque scene. I purchased two dozen copies just for the inmates.

The Duke Kahanamoku family and foundation, like the humble Duke, would probably not make a fuss, but I can for the scores of people whose gift of lei were recklessly removed. I expect the city to forthwith apologize to the Kulani inmates and the hundreds of people who donated their time and energy in the creation of the beautiful lei.

Marcus R. Oshiro
House majority leader, surfer

Water isn't permanently destroyed when it's used

You are contributing to the total ignorance of the general population by publishing the Aug. 20 letter from Hesh Goldstein.

People are naive enough to believe a letter from an "authority" that water is permanently destroyed when consumed by an animal or by my shower. You are leading the public to believe totally unscientific and absurd ideas.

Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. That includes water.

Water is recycled via evaporation to clouds, to rain, to the rivers and seas, and back into the earth.

Water is recycled via absorption into the ground and thence into a well, spring or aquifer.

But you know this (I sincerely hope so). So it is your duty to educate, editorialize and provide unbiased and truthful information.

R. Spotswood Robertson

Make anniversary worth remembering

The first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks will soon be here. As we all try to figure the proper way to commemorate this horrible event, I would like to make the following, modest proposals.

First, I propose that each of us resolve to restore, even strengthen, the ties that connect us to each other on a personal level. That former friend you haven't spoken to since your last, big argument. The guy at the office you could never get along with. See if you can find some common ground you can agree on.

Second, I propose that we all resolve never to forget Sept. 11. That we teach our children and grandchildren to remember the attack in this way. Not with plaques or moments of silence, but rather to remember this day as a distress call, a danger alert for our freedom and for everything we hold sacred.

Brian Krasner

A bonus for Frazier but not for teachers

Kudos to columnist Lee Cataluna for pointing out the ridiculous situation of how Herman Frazier will get $5,000 if UH doesn't have any major NCAA infractions.

I'm all for sports — a grandma who still has her high school swimming letter. But teachers here who have advanced degrees are being refused a promised bonus due to a lack of funds. Eh?

Anyway, Lee does a fabulous job.

Fran Thomas

Fern Hayes: tireless spirit of aloha

Fern Hayes was not an elected official or the CEO of a major company. She was a resident of Hawai'i, like you and me. So it probably came as no surprise that her recent death went relatively unnoticed.

Sure, she had some recognition during her lifetime, an award here and there, even an occasional thank-you for all the good she did. And in death, she left a considerable amount of money — most of her estate — in a trust to one of her favorite charitable organizations, the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. Two of her sisters suffered with Alzheimer's and, since she could not do any more for them, this was her way of helping others.

But Fern Hayes was more than that. She was anything but an "ordinary" citizen. She was an example of what everyone should be. She gave, and gave, and gave. She shared, and shared, and shared. She was the quintessential example of the aloha spirit.

At an age when most people are happy to stay home and tend their gardens, she went to homes to help North Shore elderly, many of whom were younger than she, in the Senior Companion program. Despite the obvious danger, she went to high-crime areas like the Waimea Bay parking lot to personally patrol and watch for thieves who would ruin a vacation for those visiting her part of the island.

She often gave things to people in need. And her home was open to friends and strangers alike. I recall when a group of young Maori girls from New Zealand asked me for directions to Shark's Cove and, while helping them, I suggested they go across the street and introduce themselves to my friend, Fern Hayes. They did, and she prepared what they described as a "feast" for them. They all became friends.

She served on the board of directors for Kahuku Hospital and as president of that facility's auxiliary. She was active in her church, Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Mission at Waimea Bay. She worked as a volunteer for her candidate for elective office, then worked as an unpaid volunteer — even after she had become legally blind and could no longer drive from Pupukea to the state Capitol. She learned to ride the bus and remained independent, despite the visual challenge.

Fern Hayes was named "Woman of the Year" by a professional business women's group in Washington in 1950. She was active in the Community Chest on the Mainland, and a highly successful businesswoman as a radio station manager, a newspaper publisher, and as a part of the management team of Malia International, then the leader in the local fledgling garment industry in the 1960s. In 1997, at 82, she was named Outstanding Senior Volunteer of the Year for the City & County of Honolulu.

She retired in 1978 and traveled extensively, making friends all over the world. She often invited people from other countries to come to stay at her Pupukea home. They did and she played the gracious hostess, sometimes for weeks at a time.

It was for her and that home that "Ku'u Home i Pupukea," the first song ever for that locale, was written in 1973. In the translation of that song, the lyrics say that her home is "delightful to visitors. They shall be at peace if they come." For 30 years on the North Shore, visitors were all welcome and at peace in the Pupukea home of Fern R. Hayes.

She is missed.

Keith and Carmen Haugen