Letters to the Editor
Protect aquatic species during stop in our ports
As a Moloka'i resident, I was intrigued by your report of the cruise ship controversy. First of all, to say there will be no impact on our state is ludicrous. The cruise industry has the potential to increase our population by 15 percent to 20 percent on an island with limited infrastructure.
Cruise ships, or any large ships for this matter, are carrying all kinds of aquatic organisms on their hull and in their ballast, from exotic, potentially invasive sea weeds to new littorines that could displace our 'opihi or pipipi habitats. It's normal procedure for large ships that spend a lot of time at sea to enter fresh bodies of water annually to clean off their hulls by killing off these saltwater creatures in freshwater and vice versa.
According to experts, current efforts are inadequate to prevent the introduction of invasive species into the Great Lakes, for example, via the ballast of ships. What about our great lake, the Pacific Ocean, or right here, our home in the middle of our great lake?
It's also irresponsible for the executive director of the Moloka'i Visitors Association to say 90 percent of the residents support the ship landing when no surveys have been conducted or hard data produced.
For a representative of DLNR to even consider grandfathering or circumventing an environmental impact assessment is insensitive to the potentially harmful impacts. He is a member of the same agency that introduced ta'ape and toau from Tahiti to our waters, and these fish have displaced the habitats of much of the red fish that are considered delicacies in Hawai'i.
Security needs to be the same at all ports of entry as it is at airports, and this includes quarantine inspections for invasive species. More than 10 new damaging insects establish themselves on O'ahu each year via the ports of entry. The state has a responsibility to protect our native aquatic species.
Glenn Ioane Teves
Pagan celebrations came before Christmas
As an individual who celebrates Christmas, and not as a religious scholar, I researched the origins of Christmas to determine the validity of L.E. Harris' claims.
According to Encarta on msn.com: " ... most scholars believe that Christmas originated in the 4th century as a Christian substitute for pagan celebrations of the winter solstice. ... The Roman Catholic Church chose Dec. 25 as the day for the Feast of the Nativity in order to give Christian meaning to existing pagan rituals. ... Christian beliefs combined with existing pagan feast and winter rituals to create many long-standing traditions of Christmas celebrations."
This proves that several of Harris' conclusions are false, including the assumption that Dec. 25 is "the day most Christians agreed that Jesus Christ was born." Christians created a holiday at the same time of year as others celebrated and not vice versa, as Harris stated.
All winter holidays and celebrations deserve the same level of respect and acknowledgement as Christmas.
Using the word "holiday" and "holiday season" demonstrates mutual respect for others and their respective beliefs. It is more fruitful to acknowledge and respect diversity than to alienate with a narrow focus. At this time of year, dealing with the present world issues, the focus should be on what brings citizens together.
Hanukkah, Kwanzaa aren't pale imitations
L.E. Harris begins by stating: "It's Christmas, not the holidays. We seem to have officially forgotten this." Then he proceeds to denigrate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as some sort of pale imitations of the obviously superior Christian holiday.
As someone with fond Hanukkah memories from small-kid times, I remember being taught lessons of survival and light and faith in God; it wasn't all about jealousy of Christmas, as the writer so blithely states.
Harris also writes: "African Americans seem to have stumbled onto something called Kwanzaa." Does this line strike anyone else as more than a little demeaning? Don't Christmas and New Year's together qualify as "The Holidays"? What's the real problem here?
What this writer really seems to lament is that we now include all faiths as first-class citizens. No one is outlawing the observation of the birth of Jesus (as Christians have historically outlawed the observance of other faiths, e.g., the Inquisition and Blue Laws).
Well, L.E. Harris, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah are not "euphemisms" or "someone trying to invent Christmas," as you so unthinkingly write in your letter (during Hanukkah, no less).
May God (in whatever form you deem appropriate) bless you and your family this Christmas season just please allow my family, and our African American neighbors, our freedom of religion, too, and freedom from your hurtful, unthinking advice.
Vote ends battle for 'responsible development'
At the final meeting of the current City Council, residents of the Mililani area lost their three-year battle to provide for responsible development in Central O'ahu when the council voted to approve the Central O'ahu Sustainable Communities Plan on a 7-2 vote.
The approved plan also included the last-minute addition of another 150 acres for development near Royal Kunia; this was added at the council meeting without any prior opportunity for public comment. Some of the council members said this addition was crucial to the developer getting loan approval to build a badly needed school to catch up to the needs of those who were already living in Royal Kunia: no additional 150 acres = no loan = no school.
Throughout the duration of this struggle, the mantra of the Department of Planning & Permitting has been, "Don't worry, the plan is just a general guideline and without adequate traffic infrastructure and educational facilities, zoning for development will be denied." This also seemed to be the position of the council members who voted in favor of the plan.
If your children attend schools such as those in Mililani whose seven schools have more than a hundred portable classrooms in a "master planned community" and are still over the capacity they were designed for, ask yourself: "Is this how the zoning process ensures adequate school facilities?"
If you live in Central O'ahu or the 'Ewa area, ask yourself this as you sit in traffic going to and from work each day: "Is this how the zoning process ensures adequate traffic infrastructure?"
And finally ask yourself this: "With a history like this, do I feel confident that the zoning process will work any better in the future?"
Editorial lacks vision for waterfront park
I disagree with The Advertiser's Nov. 17 editorial supporting a new Aquarium Complex built on the last open waterfront land in urban Honolulu's Kaka'ako area.
Please have your editors spend a day at Ala Moana Beach Park every weekend for a month before you publish such a foolish editorial again. They will most likely find themselves circling several times to find a parking place and then they will find that the crowds in the park are elbow to jowl.
Are your editors aware that the population density of the urban core of Honolulu is growing every year? The existing development plan for Kaka'ako will, within the next 10 years, make the area another Waikiki with many towers containing 20,000 or more new residential condos.
If the logic of your editors is followed, i.e. filling in the Kaka'ako waterfront area with an aquarium, medical school, cancer hospital, bio-tech and office complexes with massive parking lots to support each one of these facilities, where will all the coming 60,000 to 100,000 new Kaka'ako residents go to enjoy a park on the waterfront?
The proposed Cancer Center and Medical School could easily be built on some of the unused hundreds of thousands of acres of former sugar cane land.
This would put these facilities that are full of very expensive high-tech equipment out of a known tsunami danger area.
Beachgoers say that urban Honolulu needs a lot more beach park frontage now with spacious, clean picnic areas, restrooms, playgrounds, tennis courts, skateboard arenas, soccer/football/baseball fields and yes, even a tightly run camping area and a swimming pool to teach swimming lessons.
What is the Advertiser's vision for urban Honolulu's recreational oceanfront beach park needs 10, 20 or 30 years in the future?
Rational planning for these needs should begin now while the Kaka'ako waterfront land is empty and available, and before a few wealthy developers and powerful politicians make personal fortunes off this site while ruining the site's potential as a large, open, busy regional public park.
We will never forget vote on leasehold terms
Excuse me ... I know a family who is renting a house in Wai'anae. Although both husband and wife work full-time jobs, they struggle monthly to pay their bills and feed their children. They are hard-working and honest people.
Misters Yoshimura, Bainum, Holmes, Felix and Okino could you take away the land from their landlord and give it to this family? I'm sure they are just as "needy" as those folks in Kahala.
Remember this we the people will never forget what you did on Dec. 3. You will never be elected to any kind of public office again. Mr. Okino, you just lost my vote and the votes of almost everyone I know, and that's a lot of people.
Shame on you guys. Disgusting.