Letters to the Editor
Don't take condo away from church
The Honolulu City Council will vote today on whether to condemn First United Methodist Church's Admiral Thomas Condominium. What a terrible way to use its power on a church that has been serving the public interest.
One of the most crucial questions for the council members to answer in the process is the question "Where is the public interest?" Is serving 700 low-income people with our food bank programs considered serving the public interest? Is helping the future leaders of our country with our preschool and scholarship programs considered serving the public interest? How about providing a computer training ministry for the unfortunate? What about providing facilities for programs such as AA, Anger Management, etc.? First United Methodist Church also houses the Samaritan Counseling Center of Hawai'i.
John Felix said that Resolution 02-301 would not affect the church, its members or its daily operations. But as we learn from history, eventually condo owners will have majority control over the property.
I truly hope that the council takes a careful look before condemning the church's property and stops stealing the land of others for political gain.
First United Methodist Church member
Aloha spirit doesn't apply to pet owners
My wife and I have been on the beautiful island of O'ahu for 29 days now; we have met some very wonderful people who taught us the meaning of the aloha spirit. We were extremely happy to be here and looked forward to our next three years until we began the long, arduous hunt for a home to rent.
Why so long and arduous? Because we have pets. Two dogs to be precise.
One is a beautiful 8-year-old greyhound we adopted from the Guam Greyhound racetrack before she was to be euthanized, and the other is a handsome young pup of three years that adopted me at the ripe old age of 6 or 7 weeks old. Both are very well-mannered and know the importance of waiting until they are taken out for a walk before going to the potty.
Neither of them are big barkers (like a lot of the little dogs you meet), and neither of them chew on anything but their rawhide bones or food.
Even with that, we have been unable to find a place to live. We have found that the aloha spirit does not apply to pet lovers.
This prejudice toward people who have pets has jaded us toward the state of Hawai'i. I am tired of hearing statements like "Get rid of your dog" or "Can you put them into a kennel"? The first thing that comes to mind is, "Would you get rid of your children so you could find a house to live in?"
It is discrimination to deny someone housing because they have a pet. This has been one of the most disheartening things that we have had to deal with and hope that someday the homeowners of Hawai'i who are in the business of renting out homes find it in their heart to show aloha to all not just the non-pet owners.
Efrain and Tracey Ruiz
Politicians were under Rodrigues' influence
In his Nov. 27 column, David Shapiro makes the point that politicians and labor leaders responded to Gary Rodrigues' conviction on fraud and embezzlement charges by praising his union leadership while expressing "sadness that he tarnished himself with 'one mistake.' "
Shapiro neglects to add that these politicians were Democrats including Ben Cayetano who owed their election in a substantial degree to the support of Rodrigues' UPW and other public employee unions. This is the embarrassing truth they would prefer to ignore.
Rodrigues' conviction is an additional confirmation of the need to smash the grip of the public employee unions and leaders like Rodrigues on Hawai'i politics. The election of Linda Lingle was an enormous and welcome step to that end.
Carl H. Zimmerman
UH fans displayed warm hospitality
Aloha and mahalo, Warrior fans.
Speaking as one Alabama fan en route back to the Mainland, I want to salute the UH Warrior fans who extended to 'Bama fans warm hospitality and good sportsmanship before, during and after Saturday's game.
Your team gave ours a hell of a fight, and you can certainly be proud of the spirit and future of Warrior football.
Away games come in all kinds of packages with all kinds of fans, but not many can top the experience of UH-Alabama '02. Go Warriors and Roll Tide! We'll see you all next year.
Stewart D. McLaurin
UH should play in Cincinnati next year
Out of all the discussion and whining about the UH-Cincinnati game, I have yet to hear the only logical solution: For the controversy to be settled, UH should visit UC next year.
If UH beats UC and walks away without a brawl, then the Warriors can truly talk about how they got their "licks" in. Until then, silence should be the rule.
Cincinnati had chance to clean up its game
Coach Jones did an outstanding job in the Warriors' football game against Cincinnati. He did not condone the fighting that occurred after the game; he only spoke the truth.
Those of us who watched what I would describe as a very competitive, but dirty, game on the part of the visiting team know that Coach Jones requested that the officials eject No. 42 from the game for intentionally going after Timmy Chang's knee. This kind of cheap shot on a defenseless quarterback could have caused a career-ending injury. Such action is totally unacceptable on any football field.
If the officials had honored Jones' ejection request, the losing team may have realized that their unsportsmanlike behavior would not be tolerated and toned down their play. Instead, they chose to fight.
Out-of-sync problem with 'block' scheduling
Crystal Murray's proposal for modification to class schedules, in her Dec. 2 letter, "School 'block' schedule made way for P.E," seems to have merit; however, Hawai'i may have a unique problem vs. Michigan. I am not familiar with the "block" system that she refers to. I have experienced another type of "block" system that I considered a potential for disaster.
One district in the state of Washington implemented such a system except, instead of alternate days, they used alternate semesters. The benefit was longer class sessions for each subject; the problem arose when a student transferred in or out of the district and was almost totally out of sync with the new school's class system.
While the alternate days seems to be more appealing, I wonder if the same out-of-sync problem may be extant particularly for the high number of children of military families who have a potential of being transferred in mid-school year.
A similar potential impact applies to students who are on a "multi-track" schedule here and transfer to other school systems out of state.
Lingle's experience a welcome reminder
I also applaud Linda Lingle's sharing her experience with a breast cancer scare, and am thankful the result turned out as it did. There are far too many instances where men and women have neglected significant symptoms, and the chance for complete recovery and a longer, productive quality of life.
Your data on breast cancer being the leading cancer in Hawai'i men does not comport with data from the Intercultural Cancer Council, the Centers for Disease Control or the National Cancer Institute. Lung and prostate cancer are the two leaders among men nationally.
On a different cancer topic, the greatest cause of preventable cancer deaths tobacco remains a major contributor to pain, suffering and anguish for families, as well as lost economic contribution.
Hawai'i is to be saluted for raising the cost of tobacco. This is one of the best, proven means of preventing Hawai'i's future generations from developing addiction to the products of the world's largest, most politically influential drug cartel.
Konrad E. Hayashi, M.D.
Lack of permit marred Toys for Tots event
I attended the the Dec. 1 Toys for Tots event at the Convention Center and was surprised that there were not many sponsors and food booths. This is an admirable event, where all bikers donate a toy to Toys for Tots for the children of Hawai'i.
I was upset their permit was canceled for the ride through Waikiki. These bikers all brought in toys, and the only thing they wanted was to have a parade. They still did the ride, but it was dangerous with vehicles cutting in front of them.
I saw people in Waikiki run out to the sidewalks to see these bikers. I am very disappointed but very proud of the bikers who still cared and came to the event. I know there are a lot of people also disappointed with the city permit office.
Thanks for thanksgiving
I just want to thank you for your very positive and uplifting editorial on Thanksgiving Day. Some of the stories I had read over the past year, and several I had missed. It was a very good way to start the one day set aside to be grateful for the immeasurable blessings in our lives.
You did an excellent job of giving us even more reasons to be grateful.
General Plan is indeed being used
Your Nov. 22 editorial on growth in Central O'ahu provided one perspective on some of the very complex issues facing this city and state. I would like to take this opportunity to offer an alternative perspective.
The issues of traffic, schools and open space are neither new nor unique to Central O'ahu. Where there is growth, these issues arise and must be addressed. The Central O'ahu Sustainable Communities Plan is a key step in this process.
The General Plan for O'ahu encourages development in the urban fringe areas of Central O'ahu to meet housing needs not readily provided in the primary urban center. The Sustainable Communities Plan provides a vision for this growth and serves as a planning tool for government and the private sector to ensure that infrastructure is developed in a timely manner.
Contrary to your implications about the General Plan and the City Council's "undermining" or abandonment of the General Plan, this council, through the Sustainable Communities Plan, is in fact implementing the General Plan.
Earlier this year, the state Land Use Commission approved the redistricting of portions of Koa Ridge and Waiawa after months of hearings and testimony from experts and concerned citizens on each side of many issues. Surprisingly, your editorial failed to even identify other issues and factors that figured into the commission's decision.
Every year, hundreds of families choose to make their homes in Central O'ahu. Our figures show that over 90 percent of new home-buyers in Central O'ahu are O'ahu residents, and most of them already live in Central or Leeward O'ahu. Yes, we build desirable communities and homes for the people of O'ahu, and we're very proud of that fact.
Over the years, thousands of families have made their home in Central O'ahu, and thousands more have chosen the 'Ewa region. Home-buyers have had a choice. The "channeling of growth" that you view as wise is not only contrary to the very plan you seem to advocate, but it is not good for the market and ultimately is bad for home-buyers our residents.
We agree that the best agricultural lands should be preserved. We support diversified agriculture and believe it is an important part of Central O'ahu's future. However, certain lands like Koa Ridge and Waiawa designated "prime" years ago are now surrounded by commercial, industrial and residential developments and are not as viable as they once were. They are better suited to serving the housing needs of our children and grandchildren.
If we stop building homes, not only will the number of cars and school enrollments continue to increase due to population growth, home ownership will soon be out of reach for those who have not realized their "American dream." Hawai'i already has one of the lowest home ownership rates in the country (56 percent in 1999). Eventually, it's true that such a no-growth policy may result in fewer cars and children in schools, but it will be because many of our young people will have no choice but to leave their island home and seek opportunities elsewhere.
If this state is to remain economically viable, growth must occur. And a healthy economy will go a long way in paying for infrastructure. The challenge is to plan for growth and provide housing opportunities for our residents, build infrastructure in as timely a manner as possible and preserve open spaces and the best agricultural lands.
Harry A. Saunders
President, Castle & Cooke Hawaii