Letters to the Editor
Diatribe against Lingle begs several questions
I am writing in response to R. Carolyn Wilcox's June 18 diatribe against Republican gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle (thinly disguised as a response to David Shapiro's "diatribe" on the lack of leadership of stature in the state Democratic Party).
Wilcox's letter is an example of what is unfortunately already an all-too-familiar theme of the defenders of the status quo (the Democratic stranglehold on power in our state) in this year's election campaign trying to smear Linda Lingle with over-the-top adjectives and no substance. The desperation is showing.
Wilcox charges that Lingle "speaks only in platitudes," with no message.
Questions: Does Wilcox think the complete audit of the state's finances called for by Lingle would not identify fixable problems, such as in the 300 separate special funds? Does Wilcox think we do not need a fundamental restructuring of our state's failed public education system? Is Wilcox happy with an ethical atmosphere that has seen so many Democratic legislators and government officials convicted of fraud and other offenses?
If those aren't big issues, what are? What does Wilcox expect Lingle to say, "Everything is fine"?
Richard W. Baker
You can't win arguing about Vegas gambling
Looking up from my newspaper, I asked my wife, Stephanie, "Did you hear about the woman from Hawai'i who just won $5 million on the slots at Las Vegas?"
"Yes, so what?" she replied.
"And did you know there have been two other big-time winners from the Islands in the past?" I ventured, attempting to arouse her interest.
"Yeah, so?" she shot back.
"Well, did you also know that about 80,000 former Hawai'i residents now live in Las Vegas? And that it is the most popular destination for Hawai'i residents?"
"Big deal!" she retorted. "Do you know that Las Vegas is like a big black hole sucking up the savings of thousands of Hawai'i families?"
I realized it was her turn to ask questions and mine to listen (not reply).
"For every person who hits big money in Vegas, there are probably thousands more who lose money there. If you ask me, it is one way how Hawai'i residents are keeping the economy of Vegas alive while depleting the Hawai'i economy," she huffed.
I was about to react when I realized she hadn't finished.
"And what do we get for all this? Our own governor is mistaken for a foreigner in Vegas!" she snarled, glaring at me.
"So what is your point?" I asked meekly.
"Simply this," replied Stephanie: "At this rate, we may have to change the city's name from Las Vegas to Lost Wages."
I could not argue with that.
Raj K. Bose
Thank you, Sen. Inouye, for high school projects
On behalf of the students of the Lahainaluna High School 'ohana, we wish to thank Sen. Daniel Inouye for the wonderful construction projects that are currently in progress on our campus.
We are the proud benefactors of the Hawai'i 3R's Program, an initiative Inouye started a year ago. Through the coordination efforts of Ann-Maile Yamasaki, executive director for the project, and Yuki Lei Sugimura, Maui coordinator, we are currently working with the Maui Marriott Hotel to build a fence above the embankment near the cafeteria and to install railings on two stairways. Also, with the help of Clifton Electric and the Maui Electric Co., we will upgrade the electrical power on our football field.
It really feels good to be at the oldest school west of the Mississippi and to see the improvements on our campus. This endeavor boosts students' morale and increases academic achievement efforts.
We appreciate the senator's efforts on behalf of all students in the state of Hawai'i and especially those at Lahainaluna High School.
Student body president, Lahainaluna High School
Obese people should have to pay more
Charging oversized people for the respective number of seats they take up is a no-brainer.
Anyone who owns any type of business where space is limited and revenue is directly proportional to the amount of seats he can sell knows that he loses money when someone takes up more seats or space than paid for.
Airlines and bus companies, for that matter should change the wording of their fee schedules to some dollar amount per seat or some reasonable amount of standing room, instead of per person.
Those of you who catch the bus know how annoying it is when teenagers take up an extra seat to store their school bags. Or when a person with his weekly groceries takes up half the walking aisle. This is not only about business' bottom line, it is also about consideration for others.
For anyone to say that it is OK to violate other people's space is plain arrogant.
If I paid for a certain small space on a plane for several hours, I fully expect the airline employees to enforce the rules to protect my rights from neighbors who try to invade my space. A plane ride is frustrating as it is; let's try to keep it an enjoyable experience and not a quest to fight off intruders.
Lik Chee Kwong
Involve students in fighting homelessness
As a way of supporting the Institute for Human Services in its work of sheltering the homeless, I would like to offer an alternate view. Most of the letters I read decry both the number of homeless in Hawai'i and their mental condition.
Well, they should. I have heard suggestions that 70 percent of our homeless individuals are suffering from diagnosed psychiatric disorders.
Outrageous! It makes sense that many citizens in Hawai'i are agitating for better health services for the homeless, along with more bed space and programs to move them back into affordable housing and jobs with a living wage. I support those voices.
On the other hand, I believe we will never make a dent in our homeless problem until we systematically address the issue within our public and private schools. I know much research, and even outreach, is generated at both the university and K-12 levels of education on the subject of poverty. I urge that educators take this energy a step further and involve students while they are engaging in service to (or researching) the homeless, in a systematic study of poverty.
This kind of teaching is called service-learning. Its intent is to expose students to the messy problems we face today, homelessness being one of the worst, while empathetically engaging homeless people.
While students confront these problems in academic settings (a social studies teacher's focus on homelessness in the context of critical thinking about the Industrial Revolution, for example), their service to the homeless becomes less patronizing, less noblesse oblige, less "thank God I can walk away from this at the end of the day," and more reciprocal, more meaningful, more thoughtful, more empathetic, more grounded in experience.
Joshua E. Reppun
Princess' legacy was for Hawaiian children
Paul De Silva writes that "Kamehameha Schools should be color-blind," protesting Kamehameha Schools' admission policy. What De Silva stops short of understanding is that the Kamehameha Schools were left as a legacy in the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop to children of Hawaiian ancestry.
Many individuals in their trusts, wills and legacies have left their estates to many different racial groups or race-based organizations. Fortunately for Hawaiian children, Pauahi left her estate to us.
I, too, benefited from the princess' legacy, being educated at the Kamehameha Schools for 13 years. Aloha to our dear benefactor. It is because of you, dear princess, that a Kalihi girl like me was given the opportunity to experience what it is like to live and be educated like a princess.
Pamela Kehaulani Nakagawa
Commentary wrong in special-ed case
Robert M. Rees is practicing journalistic sleight-of-hand with his statement in the June 10 "Counterpoint" commentary that "(Judge) Ezra ruled that Amber's family is entitled to sue based on Hawai'i's deliberate indifference." Mr. Rees implies that the state Department of Education was found guilty of "deliberate indifference" toward Amber's family.
In fact, Judge Ezra ruled that the Nahale family was entitled to pursue its claim of deliberate indifference. He noted in his decision that, since questions of fact remained, the determination of whether the DOE acted with deliberate indifference would be made by a fact-finder in another court. To date, such a determination has not been made.
One hopes that whatever the outcome, it is reported fairly and accurately.
Tourism marketing coup
Amid all the criticism about the financing in the "Lilo & Stitch" contract with Disney, the Hawai'i Visitors and Convention Bureau, under the leadership of Tony Vericella, carried off the biggest coup in tourism marketing anywhere. This is big!
Don't deny parking to surfers
Here's to Duke Bainum for his letter to city officials expressing concern that eliminating parking in the Diamond Head Cliffs area would adversely affect surfers and other recreational users of the area.
Who were the geniuses who came up with that plan, anyway? Anyone who regularly uses the Diamond Head Cliffs area knows there isn't enough parking, especially on the weekends. If anything, more, not less, parking is necessary.
According to the city, residents recommended more landscaping and less parking "so Diamond Head Road does not become a parking lot" and "to make the area safer for pedestrians, bikers and visitors." That's just plain stupid.
First, the parking areas on Diamond Head Road are congested because there isn't enough parking. So people stop and try to squeeze into spaces that aren't there, or wait for others to pull out, all the while obstructing the clear flow of traffic.
If you eliminate the parking on the makai side completely, that would just exacerbate the traffic problem on the mauka side and create an even worse situation.
Second, I surf off Cliffs and run over Diamond Head regularly, and Diamond Head Road is not an unsafe area. There's nothing wrong with the pedestrian path; it's wide enough as is. Why does it need to be fixed?
If anything, the most dangerous aspect of the area is created by the bicyclists going up and down Diamond Head Road, either in the street or on the pedestrian path. But why should the surfers and other people who park on Diamond Head have to suffer for that? Why not make the bikers use Monsarrat to get over Diamond Head and restrict Diamond Head Road to pedestrians?
Third, where will the pedestrians and visitors, whom this plan is intended to protect, come from if there's no parking? Do you really think that casual pedestrians and visitors who currently drive up in their rent-a-cars to check out Diamond Head are going to park down at Kapi'olani Park, the next closest parking area, and walk the mile or so up Diamond Head Road?
Finally, I wonder who was on the panel of residents who came up with this plan? I mean, just where do these people live that they are so concerned about Diamond Head Road becoming a parking lot?
There are very few, if any, houses on the mauka side of Diamond Head Road where the parking in question is situated. Seems to me that there is very little impact, if any, on the resident community from the current parking situation along Diamond Head Road.