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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 20, 2002

Letters to the Editor

Commentary caught essence of problem

The commentary by John Knox in the June 16 Advertiser entitled "A better look at the 'big' picture" is benchmark work.

The comparative size of Hawai'i's government and our taxing and spending patterns are critical issues, especially given the upcoming elections. Yet all too frequently, the alleged think-tanks, the politicians and the press compare apples to oranges. In turn, attempts to address the problems of the scope and financing of government are based on false assumptions and personal agendas.

Knox has done a first-class job of defining the issues clearly so that every concerned taxpayer can understand them.

As we look at the preferred government of the future and the best way to resource it, let's go back to the basics provided by Knox and reduce the hyperbole and oversimplifications that make for cute political bumper stickers but faulty public policy.

Charles Freedman

Catholic Church here must face up to past

The Hawai'i Catholic Church's new "zero tolerance" policy applies more to victims of sexual abuse than to the priest perpetrators.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu refuses to investigate sex abuse victims' claims or offer any form of assistance to those traumatized by pedophile priests in Hawai'i. The Catholic Church continues to hide behind the statue of limitations and legal definitions of liability.

Despite Bishop DiLorenzo's claims that the church has strict policies and procedures regarding abuse, nothing has changed. The church continues to suppress information and refuses to help victims, even going so far as to countersue one victim's family.

The church's policy of secrecy continues: Names of accused pedophile priests still living in Hawai'i are withheld. Victims of abuse continue to be victimized, this time by a cold-hearted hierarchy.

The Honolulu Advertiser's June 14 editorial chastises the church for its lack of compassion, but The Advertiser should continue to pursue the issue and petition for the release of documents.

The church needs to acknowledge, take responsibility and make amends for abuses of the past.

Holly J. Huber

MLS Web site is not a multiple listing service

MLS is a multiple listing service with real estate information that is provided to Realtors who subscribe to the service for a fee. On May 23, a homebuyer wrote a letter regarding Prudential's May 19 introduction of its Web site, brokersmls.com, stating, "Up until now, only brokers had access to the multiple listing service ... "

The fact is that Prudential's Web site is a "Virtual Office" Web site — not the MLS. Its Web site contains incomplete real estate information from the MLS. Consumers do not have access to the Realtor's MLS. Real estate brokers do not have access to the MLS unless they are members of the local Realtor trade association: the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

Prudential also had a full-page advertisement in your May 26 Hawai'i Homes section beckoning consumers to access the "classified information" from its Web site by using its Realtors' access numbers, thus giving consumers the impression that MLS is available to them at no cost. This may be a new Web site for Prudential, but Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties was the first to launch such a Web site many months prior. The site provides a comprehensive property database for O'ahu, Kaua'i, the Big Island and, soon, Maui.

Only a Realtor can provide the assistance prospective buyers and sellers need for such an important decision. While real estate Web sites are rich in information, they should be viewed as an adjunct to, rather than a precursor of, the Realtor/client partnership.

Valerie F. Brown

Police are paid enough in Hawai'i

On your June 18 front page, you printed an article on how Hawai'i police should be paid more, and you compared them to San Francisco police. How can you compare police who work in an area of 17,000 people per square mile (San Francisco) to 1,500 people per square mile (Honolulu)?

If you compare what the police make in San Francisco, then you should also compare what teachers make. The starting salary for a teacher in Hawai'i is $28,000, and for San Francisco it is $37,000. Did you not run an article on how teachers get paid, on average, compared to all national salaries? Why did you not do the same comparison here?

The police, like teachers, get paid enough in Hawai'i.

Michael Kamakeeaina

More money for public schools isn't answer

Your recent editorial about state support for the Department of Education presumes a direct relation between spending and system performance.

Letters to the editor indicate that many readers also suppose that increased spending will improve DOE performance. I believe this is mistaken.

The relation between parent income and student performance is stronger than that between per-pupil budget and student performance. Higher taxes might well reduce overall system performance.

In terms of state and local expenditures per capita, Hawai'i is already among the most heavily taxed states in the U.S.

The Honolulu Advertiser's uncritical support for the UHPA/HSTA/HGEA/UPW cartel's exclusive position in receipt of the taxpayer's K-Ph.D. education subsidy harms students, parents, taxpayers and real classroom teachers.

Malcolm Kirkpatrick

Public health ads are for our own benefit

I am confused by the vehement objection being expressed against the public health ads. The reference to "Big Brother" (which has been made quite a lot lately here in Hawai'i) is so inappropriately applied to this situation.

The Department of Health is not mandating a healthier lifestyle or the changes that we should make in order to achieve a healthier lifestyle. It is using the public broadcast media to promote healthier choices by individuals — and the language it is using even suggests that it is only looking at moderate measures for people to take.

There is nothing in the language or tenor of the ads that suggests Big Brother is trying to make us all live a certain way.

And as for the taxpayer funds being used to subsidize these ads, the true taxpayer burden that we should be concerned about lies in the increased amount of public funds that continue to be needed to address the serious health conditions resulting from the very behaviors these ads are trying to change.

I'd rather see my tax funds being used to pay for prevention than treatment — it's a lot cheaper.

Aaron Mersberg

Bravo to land board for curbing growth

Scott Ishikawa's excellent "Land board slashes Central O'ahu plan" shows that the state Land Use Commission represents the interests of Hawai'i's residents.

There has long been concern that those bodies charged with controlling land use in Hawai'i have been little more than handmaidens to Castle & Cooke Homes and other corporate giants.

For too long, developers' petitions to rezone agricultural land to urban have won approval with little debate, leaving the taxpayer to foot the bill for overcrowded schools, clogged freeways and water diversion. The recent decision may spell the end of rubber-stamping corporate wishes.

Castle & Cooke's petition is a classic case of adding to urban sprawl. The Land Use Commission is perhaps remembering that the official land use plan for O'ahu calls for clustering development around Kapolei to give residents a nucleus of schools, shops and employment so they don't have to commute to Honolulu. If Castle & Cooke wants sprawl, have it build and maybe throw in a monorail to Honolulu.

Three cheers for the Land Use Commission!

Howard C. Wiig

History of intervention gives us a black eye

Regarding the June 16 commentary "Is the United States becoming the world's watchdog?": William Schneider ignores historical facts when addressing national sovereignty and self-determination.

The author fails to mention that when the U.S. took over Greece in 1947, the U.S. supported former fascists and Nazi collaborators instead of the worker-based nationalist movement due to the fear that the U.S. would lose an outpost to communism and the Middle East's oil.

Pre-emptive strikes against 60 nations where there are "terror cells" are hard to justify. Whether groups are "terror cells" or freedom fighters depends on the side one takes, but the violation of international sovereignty through pre-emptive strikes gives justification to conflicts such as the Russian invasion of Hungary or the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia.

The most egregious quote, though, is the one from the president, which states "we have the opportunity to extend a just peace by replacing poverty, repression and resentment around the world." Accordingly, the U.S should re-examine its policies toward Afghanistan in the 1980s, supporting unpopular regimes in the Middle East and Latin America, bombing the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, fostering war in Colombia and its rejectionist policy toward the PLO.

William L. Marcy IV

Homeless problem still nags Fort Street

As a student of Hawai'i Pacific University, I was excited to hear that the city was actually going to try to take care of the transient problem on Fort Street Mall.

When the city attempted to rid the mall of the homeless persons who create problems for local businesses and constantly harass students and professionals going about their day — by taking away the benches — I thought it was a bizarre attempt, but I was willing to try anything.

Many citizens complained about the treatment of the homeless on Fort Street, but I don't think any of these people ever had the experience of watching a person defecating and urinating in the middle of the street while they were trying to make it to an algebra class. During the years I have attended HPU, I have given the homeless what I can, as have many other students, but this is obviously a problem requiring government intervention.

HPU is the most international university in the United States. It recruits students from all over the world. For some of these foreign students, it is their first experience of America, and unfortunately they must come face to face with what seems like Hawai'i's rejected mental health patients who constantly harass them for money, cigarettes and whatever else. This is when they are not yelling and singing at the top of their lungs serenading us during our lectures.

It seems as though there are now more transients and loiterers than ever on our "campus." If the city is not going to do anything about the problem, can we at least have our benches back so we can sit down while we are harassed for money and waiting for our classes to start?

Jacinta Brown

Parking violators are proliferating

Yes, we all have had a problem finding a parking space. But I wonder if the laws pertaining to where you can and cannot park have changed.

My reason for this observation is all of the following new parking places that O'ahu drivers have found:

  • Restricted parking.
  • Reserved parking.
  • No parking.
  • No parking during the hours of 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Merchant Street.
  • Handicap parking.

All of the above have caused me to go crazy. On a daily basis, we have to tell people that the "reserved" stalls in the front of our office are for staff members or customers. The general answer is "Oh, I can't park here?" On one occasion, a driver told me he was not going to move and that I could call the cops. He left anyway.

The last one is my pet peeve and one of the most blatant violations. Are the drivers mentally handicapped? No, they are just insensitive to the people who really need to use the stall.

Along with the new changes that are being imposed on business owners, the Legislature needs to look at a means of preventing non-handicapped from parking in handicap stalls. One method would be to renew all of the handicap hang tags and include a photo of the handicapped person on it and change the law to require the handicapped person to be in the vehicle. Maybe this would minimize these parking violations.

Steve Shelby

Riding in pickup truck beds is just madness

I see from the Sunday police report that again, two people riding in the back of pickup trucks were killed, and a third was thrown onto the road.

When I tell friends from the Mainland about our ridiculous "laws" that permit such madness, they think I'm pulling their legs.

Were this only so. How much longer will Hawai'i continue to be the nation's laughingstock?

Giv Cornfield