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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Letters to the Editor

Hawai'i State Museum a wonder to behold

To those who mocked the idea of a state museum, I say, "Go and visit the Hawai'i State Museum."

I saw friends and neighbors admiring the work of friends and neighbors, seeing themselves and Hawai'i with new eyes, connecting with art.

"That's where Daddy grew up," I heard a father explain to his son. Then it dawned on me why French people visit the Louvre. They're looking at their own history, at themselves.

Now we in Hawai'i can connect with our own art. It's true, "Art is for everyone."

Thank you, Gov. Cayetano.

Jean Yamasaki Toyama

'Politically correct' film was distressful

Gregory Shepherd's review of the Nov. 1 program of the Honolulu Symphony expressed in a calm and kindly way the extreme distress my wife and I felt about Elizabeth Lindsey Buyers' film and the accompanying music.

The film was quite poorly done and was, as Shepherd said, "a politically correct cartoon, and not a very good one at that." The musical program, except for the Gershwin, was not memorable.

We hope that future programming will avoid such mistakes as this.

Eric A. Weiss

Loss of 'pure Hawaiians' due to intermarriage

It is unfortunate that the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra was used as a voice to extend a biased lament on the loss of "pure Hawaiians." Your symphony reviewer, Gregory Shepherd, was accurate in the criticism in his Nov. 3 article "'Masterworks' a tottering soapbox."

It is tragic that from 1778 to 1900 pure Hawaiians lacked natural immunity and modern health practices to combat some of the "newcomer" diseases that resulted in fatal illnesses and infertility. But the loss in number of "pure" Hawaiians is closely related to the miscegenation of Hawaiians with persons of many races. The continuing high rate of intermarriage of pure and part Hawaiians has severely diluted the bloodline and reduced the identifiable count of these persons.

The film "And Then There Were None" presented by Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey Buyers, accompanied by depressing symphonic background music, offered statistics on the reduction of numbers of "pure Hawaiians" without mentioning a remarkable increase of "part Hawaiians."

Persons of Hawaiian ancestry continue to be a sizable component of Hawai'i's population. Their culture is a source of pride and offers valuable contributions to the people of Hawai'i. Those attending a Honolulu Symphony production would prefer hearing beautiful Hawaiian music, instead of viewing and listening to a film-symphonic "25-minute oppressor/victim dialectic."

Eleanor C. Nordyke

Student portfolios worth looking into

Regarding the Nov. 3 article "Wall Street: The Simulation": Don't you think you should do a feature on how the students at Kalani High have managed to turn $100,000 into $255,853.41 in less than one month?

In fact, all the school portfolios listed have beat what they'd have if they'd just invested at 5 percent interest compounded daily — even the elementary schools. This is even more impressive considering the difficulty of getting 5 percent compounded daily at today's rates.

I'm sure all the grown-ups are dying to hear what the kids bought for their hypothetical portfolios, especially since five out of six of the professional investment advisers (on the opposing page) have less capital than they started with.

Out of the mouths of babes ... ?

Debra Ryll
Princeville, Kaua'i

Football field was renovated properly

This is in response to the Oct. 17 letter from Tesha H. Malama regarding two recent projects at Campbell High School's football field.

Malama stated, " ... the same contractor failed to meet DOE inspection for the second year in a row ... " and "Why was the same contractor used when it failed the year before?"

These statements are not correct. In fact, the first project to install a sprinkler system was completed as scheduled in August 2001. The following project to recrown and regrass the field was contracted to a different contractor from the sprinkler project and was completed in April 2002.

However, when school started this fall, the grass lacked the necessary growth "thickness" and we therefore extended the project contract to provide additional soil amendments. The field improvements passed our final inspection on Oct. 23.

We appreciate the opportunity to clarify this project's details for all concerned parents and supporters of Campbell High School.

Mary Alice Evans
State of Hawai'i comptroller

Hawai'i's paramedics provide best of care

Thank you, Bruce Anderson, for giving credit for a job well done by paramedics in Hawai'i. It's just too bad it took an audit critical of management to elicit the "pat on the back."

I have worked for Honolulu's Emergency Medical Service for nearly 17 years. I am not surprised by the audit's findings — just surprised it took so long to uncover. It will be interesting to see what deficiencies and problems are found at the city level.

Findings of the state audit is just the tip of the iceberg. The real monster lies beneath the red tape and Band-Aid solutions used to remedy a mountain of long-standing problems.

Despite poor management, the level of care rendered by Hawai'i's paramedics has been extremely progressive. We have taken on a tremendous amount of new responsibility and continue to strive to assure that the quality of patient care remains optimal.

The public can be assured that paramedics in Hawai'i will continue to provide the best medical care possible. This grand revelation is old news to us. In spite of it, we are truly dedicated to serving our community. We just hope that the direction of EMS won't suffer further because of poor management.

Kelly Fuentes

Shouldn't insurance firms pay regardless?

I read through Rod Ohira's Nov. 2 piece, "Freeway pileup tangles insurance," about the recent string of freeway accidents.

Though I do not understand the huge complexity behind Hawai'i's no-fault vehicle insurance laws, I was under the impression that insurance claims, by virtue of the purpose of no-fault vehicle insurance coverage, were paid for damages to an insured motorist's vehicle regardless of the traffic situation — except for negligent actions.

And if that's the simplest form of Hawai'i's no-fault vehicle insurance laws, I think your article would have served the public better by explaining that aspect, rather than explaining that insurance companies are perplexed at finding whose actions caused the huge string of accidents.

And if my impression of Hawai'i's no-fault vehicle insurance laws is correct, then I think your article was skewed toward an issue that basically should be moot. Further, it would muddy singular subjects that are of a legitimate concern and deserve attention all their own, namely: roadway safety and "drivability," and traffic snarl.

However, if I am understanding incorrectly Hawai'i's no-fault vehicle insurance laws, perhaps an article about that subject would be beneficial.

D.K. Mashino

Convention Center should be a casino

The O'ahu Visitors and Convention Bureau and the Hawai'i Tourism Authority are contemplating attractions to improve tourism on O'ahu — ideas like lighting up Diamond Head and night scuba diving at Hanauma Bay.

Why not work with the Legislature and convert the Hawai'i Convention Center into the state's only casino?

A creative sunshine law could regulate its use and control its impact on the community. It would create renewed interest in Waikiki as a destination and create jobs and generate revenue.

And if it doesn't work, it can be converted back into the lifeless monolith it is at present.

Craig Furubayashi

Korean Air gets credit

While this may not be the most earth-shaking concern in Hawai'i, let's give credit where credit is due. Neither Continental nor Delta was the first airline to fly the Boeing 777 to and from Hawai'i. United has been doing so for some time, but the very first airline to use the 777 here was Korean Air.

Frank Mauz

Surf height forecasting a mess

The state of surf height forecasting and reporting in Hawai'i is in a shambles.

In a land that is home to some of the best oceanographers in the world, one would think we would have accurate and unambiguous methods of reporting and forecasting the conditions of our biggest playground.

Up until about a year or so ago, we were all speaking the same language regarding surf heights in Hawai'i. Basically, we would take the reported height and double it to get an idea of what the face of the wave would look like. While scientifically incorrect, it was a consistent method for all of us to estimate wave height.

Problems arose when visitors listened to our wave heights and misunderstood them. So recently some people have taken to reporting face values versus the backs of the waves. OK, there's nothing wrong with that, but the problem lies in the fact that at this point, there are no less than three different scales out there in which surf heights are being reported:

• The Surf News Network! advertises at its Web site that its measurements are two-thirds of the face value.

• The National Weather service advertises at its Web site that its sizes indicate the wave-face value.

• Others are out there still using the half-face or back-of-the-wave measurements.

The worst situation lies in the television news and newspaper reporting methods. They offer surf heights but do not tell you in what scale they are reporting.

The safety of water people was further diminished recently when the best source of forecasting was shut down. Pat Caldwell of the University of Hawai'i School of Oceanography had the most coherent, comprehensive and accurate forecasting tool available to us. I made countless safety and recreational decisions based on his detailed forecasts.

Of course, one has to realize these are forecasts and not observations, but he did a great job of appropriately using disclaimers to alert people to this fact.

The statement now occupying his Web site claims it was shut down to enhance safety by eliminating inconsistencies in forecasting. The problem is, this was the only really reliable and detailed forecast.

The National Weather Service does a horrible job of letting us know what the ocean is doing out there. It offers no explanations of conditions, just gives ultra-conservative forecasts and lame observations.

I cite this morning as an example. As I sit here writing this, it is 10 a.m. on Sunday morning. The Web site of the NWS still has an observation from Saturday at 2 p.m. If it is so concerned about our safety, where is today's observation? To say that eliminating Pat Caldwell's site will eliminate inconsistencies is ridiculous.

Last week as I was driving to the North Shore at 7 a.m., I called the Surf News Network for an update. It reported surf heights of 4 to 6 feet. Not five minutes later, the radio reported heights of 10 to 12 feet. Neither offered the scale it used in reporting the observations, but they were basically using two different languages to describe the same waves. If we are going to continue to have multiple methods for reporting, the reporters need to include scale in every observation.

A valid concern for the safety of our visitors resulted in a system that has become so ambiguous it poses a danger to even the most seasoned kama'aina. As for Mr. Caldwell, he should publish a pay-for-prescription Web site. I'd pay to get that information back.

Michael Plowman