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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, July 21, 2002

Letters to the Editor

Bottle bill still going strong in New York

Contrary to Jerry Neil's July 15 letter, the bottle bill is alive and well in New York, including New York City.

In fact, according to Donna Stewart of New York's Bureau of Waste Reduction & Recycling, the bottle bill "has been the most successful waste-reduction and recycling program in New York since it went into effect in 1983."

With public support for container deposit measures frequently over 90 percent, no state has ever repealed the bottle bill. Consider:

  • Since 1983, New York's bill has been responsible for recycling 63 billion beverage containers.
  • In Massachusetts, a 60 percent reduction in glass cuts in children was documented after passage of its bottle bill.
  • In Michigan, nearly 5,000 private-sector jobs were created in the recycling sector through its bottle bill.
  • In Oregon, 83 percent of beverage container litter vanished after it passed a bottle bill.

Hawai'i's visitors and residents can look forward to similar benefits from Hawai'i's recently enacted bottle bill.

Jeff Mikulina
Director, Sierra Club, Hawai'i Chapter

We should find out whether vouchers work

The school voucher editorial of June 28 was thought-provoking. Here are a few thoughts that are intended to provide further stimulus:

Assuming (1) everyone with private-school children, public-school children or no children should work to improve the public education system; (2) choice is good and stimulates competition and improvement; (3) the public education system has some wonderful, dedicated teachers and administrators who deserve our support and encouragement and in most instances not our blame; (4) private schools are not a money-making activity, and tuition doesn't come close to covering operating expenses; (5) private schools receive many more qualified applications than they can accept; and (6) private schools save all taxpayers money since they remove a significant burden from the state — so, maybe some of the points in your editorial aren't too worrisome.

I doubt there will be a stampede to use vouchers in Hawai'i if laws providing for this system are passed. Private schools are full and there aren't many new ones being built.

The amount of the voucher probably won't cover the cost of private school, but it might be the difference between a family sacrificing and paying the difference versus not being able to pay the full amount.

It could hurt public schools to lose parents who are pushing for change, as you mentioned. But, can a parent change the system in time for his or her child to benefit? Perhaps, but not likely. Many of the "fixes" are fundamental and economic and will be with us for decades.

Vouchers may not be the big fix their proponents think. Could they help? Maybe. Let's see if they can.

David H. McCoy

Non-Hawaiians should stand at back of line

As a Kamehameha graduate, I'm appalled at the admission of a non-Hawaiian into Kamehameha. We are constantly forced to defend the Hawaiian culture.

Non-Hawaiian students aren't beneficiaries of the princess' trust. This keeps the spirit of the princess' will intact.

Admission onto the Kapalama campus isn't just for O'ahu-born Hawaiians, but for all Hawaiians. The same should be for the Maui campus. Non-Hawaiians should be allowed to attend Kamehameha, but only after all "eligible," not "qualified," Hawaiians have filled available slots for the grade applied for. If space is available, then offer the open slots to qualified non-Hawaiians, and those students must pay the market-value tuition of a prestigious private school.

It's shameful that past trustees have made admission into Kamehameha a competition that pits Hawaiian vs. Hawaiian. It's unforgivable that the present trustees and CEO have made admission into Kamehameha a competition that pits qualified Hawaiians vs. qualified non-Hawaiians.

The trustees and CEO should resign because that's the Hawaiian thing to do; they have "Broken Trust" with the spirit of the princess' will.

D. Dela Vega

Kamehameha decision sets terrible precedent

Auwe! To me it seems so simple. Pauahi's will was clearly intended for Hawaiian keiki. Hawaiian keiki clearly need and deserve educational opportunities like Kamehameha Schools.

All children are "qualified" to learn. They could have changed the qualifications, extended the application deadlines, anything. One non-Hawaiian at Kamehameha Schools means one lost opportunity for a Hawaiian.

Does Kamehameha Schools honestly believe there is not a single Hawaiian child left on Maui who is not deserving and capable of an education at their new campus? Come on, now.

Probably even scarier (and thus even more horrendous a decision) is the precedent it sets for the future of Kamehameha Schools and other Hawaiian-serving organizations.

Hawaiians don't have much. Let's not jeopardize what resources and opportunities we do have.

Keola Nakanishi
Class of 1992

Don't blame long-liners for monk seal hooking

I just watched Channel 7 News present a story about a "long-line" hook removed from an endangered monk seal. Typical of the press to put the blame on long-line fishermen.

Anyone with even a small understanding of fishing should have recognized the "hook." It has been 10 years since I have fished commercially, but I know that the hook that was removed from the seal was one used by "bottom fishermen," not pelagic long-liners.

Nothing wrong with placing the blame. However, place it where it belongs. Bottom fish — onaga, paka, uku and all of the other bottom fish — are the mainstay of the ethnic food chain of Hawai'i. People of the Islands depend on this fishery, as does the tourist industry.

Monk seals are "kolohe." They like to take bait and small fish from fishing lines just like porpoise and other marine mammals. All of them have the uncanny ability to totally strip a 40-mile long-line of every bait placed on the hook without getting hooked. Very seldom will one make a mistake.

This monk seal found a bottom fisherman's line that probably had squid bait and some fish on it. In the process of taking the bait or fish, something changed in the environment and the seal was hooked. For hooks the size shown, a leader of under 100-pound test is usually used. The seal probably broke the line and swam away.

The seal lives, and our local fisheries should also survive.

Fritz M. Amtsberg

2002 National Games overwhelming success

My compliments to the organizers of the 2002 AYSO National Games on O'ahu. From the hula show and fireworks display at the opening ceremonies to the awarding of champions on the last day of competition, the 2002 National Games was an overwhelming success.

For many of these kids, the National Games was their opportunity to shine in a professional-like atmosphere — representing their teams and cities in a tournament that provided a perfect blend of Olympics and World Cup excitement.

Congratulations to all the organizers, participants and winners. See you next time.

Michael Misetic
Coach, Chicago United U-16 Boys