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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 16, 2002

Letters to the Editor

Oil companies can blame only themselves

The Legislature has been portrayed as the mad scientists who created "Frankenstein," but the reality is that the oil companies deserve full credit for the passage of the price-cap legislation.

As one who has been involved for years on this issue of "price gouging" at the pumps, I have witnessed the threats and misleading information that the oil companies have submitted in testimony at the Legislature. Their solution to remedy the high gasoline prices in Hawai'i is to do nothing.

But in the state antitrust lawsuit, they conceded that the Hawai'i market was a haven for high margins and high profits, and this practice would continue as long as it was legal. These large corporations made a business decision to continue their practices of price gouging in spite of negative publicity and consumer outcry.

Our legislators were forced to fight back and protect the consumers of Hawai'i. The oil companies could have been "less greedy" and lowered gas prices by 20 cents when production costs fell by 40 cents a gallon last November and probably kept the "golden goose" fat and healthy. They made a choice to flex their muscles and challenge the very market that was laying the golden eggs.

This may have been a bad business decision. Greed is not a bad thing, but being overly greedy can have severe consequences.

Frank Young
K&Y Auto Service

A grateful mother sends her thanks

I would like to thank my doctors, Greigh Hirata and Rod Boychuk, and third-year medical students John Sheehan and Maile Young for the exemplary medical care I received when my daughter Jana was born at Kapi'olani Hospital in January. I had meant to write to the dean of the UH medical school, but time slipped away.

I also thought it was fitting to thank them now because I am one of those over-40 moms everyone has been reading about in the media (e.g., Time magazine, "Babies vs. Career"). Two other attorneys, Darolyn and Melissa, also gave birth to healthy babies around the same time.

My first infant daughter, Hilary, died when she was only 6 days old in 1990. I still grieve for her, and it is particularly hard on Mother's Day.

I know Drs. Hirata and Boychuk are exceptional physicians; my second daughter, Colette (now 10 years old), and now Jana are living proof. Ê

This mom is grateful for these outstanding medical professionals, and I send my thanks on Mother's Day 2002.

Margaret K. Masunaga
Captain Cook, Big Island

State should sell off unproductive property

The state of Hawai'i is unable to make informed decisions regarding the management of real property needs.

This is for several reasons: lack of overall needs assessment, lack of transparency into actual costs vs. value of state-held properties, duplicity, unknown risk associated with unknown contractual elements, incompetence or malfeasance, and most of all, lack of a master plan and leadership.

The state must eliminate unproductive programs and sell select state buildings. For instance, the state recently purchased, for approximately $25 million, the Capitol One Building, which is ridiculous. Let the private sector promote and sell art. Sell the Capitol One Building back to the private sector.

In an effort to grow government, the state has in its budget $33 million to purchase the old Federal Building. How ironic that private businesses are vacating buildings because of a bad economy created by the state's incompetence and the state is buying up property.

Set priorities, sell unneeded buildings, take the money and fix schools.

Sen. Fred Hemmings
R-District 25 (Waimanalo-Kailua)

Decision on single-sex education encouraging

Bravo to the Bush administration for reversing three decades of federal policy and announcing its intention to encourage single-sex education in the nation's public schools.

Let us hope that this reinterpretation of Title IX is not used to pit girls and boys against each other to see whose interests will be served, but use it as an opportunity to redouble our nation's efforts on behalf of all students in all educational settings.

While single-sex education is not a match for all students, a growing body of research shows that many students thrive in gender-specific school and classroom settings. Scientists studying the human brain, for example, have found measurable differences in girls' and boys' brains that play a role in how they learn.

It is well-documented that single-gender schools can serve as models for the development of single-sex public schools and classrooms. Mahalo to the federal government for giving parents and public school administrators the flexibility to explore the possibilities of single-sex education.

Betty White
Principal, Sacred Hearts Academy

Aloha spirit doesn't include giving a job

I grew up on a plantation, a place called Pa'auilo, on the Big Island. At 18, I enlisted in the Army. For 22 years, both in war and peace, my home was always Hawai'i.

Now, 30 years later, it's time for my family and me to come home. The home that I love and miss so much. The home for which I have fought in a war. Home of the aloha spirit. Or is it?

For three weeks I have tried to get a job. Yet with having served as a four-star general's aide, mastering the skills of political protocol, I have been met with only questions of race, gender and under- or over-qualification excuses.

It seems that large companies based on the Mainland or elsewhere have taken over not only our Islands but our cultural ways. They base their decisions only on the almighty dollar.

Having a mother who is very ill, I am forced to seek employment elsewhere. I always believed that the aloha spirit was helping our own and giving each other a chance. Have we lost the spirit our grandfathers taught us? If aloha means welcome, then it should also mean welcome home.

Lance C. Singson Sr.
Newport News, Va.

Continental Air also stops off at Micronesia

Regarding the May 3 article "Airline adding seats to Hawai'i," in the Business section of The Advertiser: While it may be considered a minor point by many, to a Micronesian like me from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), it's quite important that we set the record straight so there is no misunderstanding out there.

The reporter stated that Continental Airlines also "flies to Guam and the Marshall Islands from Honolulu," which is not completely accurate since the airline flies also to and through the FSM from Honolulu on its way to Guam. The public needs to understand that the flights to the Marshall Islands are the exact same ones that go on to the FSM and finally to Guam. These flights don't terminate in the Marshall Islands, as one might conclude from the story.

As a resident of this state, I am happy about the improvements in the tourism industry, which will positively affect related industries in Hawai'i. I am also happy that Continental, which is the dominant airline serving Micronesia, is also doing better.

Kasio E. Mida
Consul general, Federated States of Micronesia

Agriculture critical to future of Hawai'i

Mike Markrich's excellent May 5 Focus feature, "Planting a future," should be required reading for all citizens and political leaders concerned about Hawai'i's future. He hit upon many of the themes agriculture's supporters have sounded for years:

  • Agriculture is good for tourism. It provides foods visitors love, but more important, it preserves the lush green space visitors expect.
  • Land-use policies that define agriculture, preserve agricultural lands and provide for a reasonable accommodation between agriculture and development must be one of the state's highest priorities.
  • Encouraging agriculture is a matter of food security and safety. We must enhance our capacity to feed our citizens with high-quality, reasonably priced food.
  • Protection of our agricultural water supplies is essential. The Legislature made a good start in the recently ended legislative session.
  • Innovative public policy is necessary to encourage farming entrepreneurs and help them achieve success. A system of agricultural incubators, as we proposed to this year's Legislature, is a step in this direction.
  • The state must support agricultural research. Agriculture is at a critical juncture in Hawai'i.

Markrich's themes must be addressed now to take advantage of a unique opportunity to re-establish agriculture as a major pillar of the state's economy.

This is an unusual election year in Hawai'i. Nearly every public office will be up for a vote. The results of the election could well determine the direction of agriculture over the next eight years and beyond.

Andrew G. Hashimoto
Dean and director, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

Bridge won't work; build tunnel instead

Build a tunnel since a bridge would be too overwhelming.

The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge's span is 220 feet above the water to permit aircraft carriers to pass. Bridge towers are taller — not a good idea near an airplane approach to Honolulu International Airport. A beautiful cable-stayed Calatrava bridge would require ugly mile-long ramps, providing 4 percent slope — an eyesore galore. A low Ford Island retractable bridge wouldn't work because ships interrupt highway traffic.

A tunnel under the Pearl Harbor entrance channel linking 'Ewa and H-1 near the airport would not have these problems. With a Nimitz viaduct, the existing Leeward corridor traffic congestion would lessen.

Most of the new construction would be on federal lands — the right-of-way, design and the construction schedule should be fast-tracked.

Bruce Bennett

Questioning authority on dress code correct

It is gratifying to see wisdom and sanity being applied to the graduation at Maui's Baldwin High. What with the naysayers' letters to the editor, I was despairing that tolerance and inclusion would be shown — let alone some respect for laws against discrimination.

Unlike so many of us, Ivy Ka'anana, backed by her mother, stood up to authority and the limitations imposed by Baldwin's dress code for graduation attire. Some might have thought that, after all, Ivy was only one kid out of many, and perhaps she should just go along. But a few went much further, suggesting that Ivy didn't deserve to graduate because of her actions.

In fact, her actions benefit all of us, for erosion of our civil liberties is a constant threat, and unless authority is challenged, those civil liberties will ultimately be lost.

Mahalo nui loa to Ivy, her mother, complex superintendent Donna Whitford, the ACLU, the Legal Aid Society of Hawai'i on Maui and the attorney general's office for doing the right thing.

Buck Buchanan

There's an easier way to turn onto Beretania

I think it would be better if the outside lane on McCully was the one that led to the bridge going over the freeway rather than the inside lane because it would allow traffic to turn left on Young Street and Beretania unobstructed, thereby reducing the amount of cars creating the backup we must now endure.

Most people who intend to go over the bridge use the inside lane because they want to avoid merging from the outside lane into the inside lane; hence, the outside lane is underutilized.

I expect a traffic count would clearly demonstrate the difference in use for the two lanes. With today's heavy traffic load, we should do whatever can be done to fully utilize both lanes in the most practical manner.

George McCarthy