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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Letters to the Editor

Chinatown residents didn't create problem

Regarding the Oct. 20 story by James Gonser, "End to homelessness sought": The story was timely and interesting.

As a resident of the Chinatown area and a member of the Downtown Neighborhood Board, I do take issue with one commonly held misconception repeated in the article. Many seem to think that no one, except the homeless, lives in Chinatown. The article states that efforts to clean up Chinatown have resulted in the homeless moving to "more populated areas."

According to the 2000 Census, Chinatown is one of the most densely populated areas in the state. There are only a handful of areas that fall into a higher density category: Hobron Lane, part of Makiki, and areas near Salt Lake and Kalihi Valley. Nearly 15,000 people live in the Downtown Neighborhood Board area.

A corollary to this "no population" misconception seems to be that as long as homelessness is confined to Chinatown, no one else cares. Excuse me, but the residents of Chinatown did not create the homeless problem any more or less than the residents of Portlock. Chinatown residents should not be expected to bear all the burdens associated with homelessness either.

Maybe the tragedy of homelessness would get more attention if we put a homeless shelter on Black Point.

Karl Rhoads

Jet Skis should be banned in ocean area

I am a firefighter and rescue boat operator for the Honolulu Fire Department. I have been working for 31 years on the North Shore of O'ahu.

The North Shore Ocean Recreation Management Area (ORMA) prohibits the use of Jet Skis within its boundaries. The proposed tow-in regulations will allow Jet Skis to enter ORMA.

For safety reasons, this should not be allowed. Jet Skis should not be allowed inside ORMA for any reason except use by lifeguards.

Barry Blomfield

Wal-Mart a boon to Ke'eaumoku area

I live on Ke'eaumoku Street and very much appreciated the Nov. 4 letter from P. Tachibana. I couldn't agree more.

I'd so much rather see a Wal-Mart open up than more strip bars and massage parlors. I would much rather handle the traffic problem than drive all the way to the current nearest Wal-Mart, which usually forces me to make a day of the whole shopping affair.

I can't wait for the grand opening of the new Wal-Mart on Ke'eaumoku. I'll be in line every day.

Nicole Boxley

Hawai'i's public schools should be decentralized

Hawai'i's present DOE structure is centralized, with power and policy made by the very few. This creates abuse, waste and mismanagement, with too much power and authority in the hands of a few.

Local school districts would be a demonstration of "decentralized government." It would allow parents, teachers and students to work together for the betterment of their own district. If problems occur, the monthly school board meeting could address them with the input of parents, teachers and students.

An efficiency expert and, I am sure, an auditor would tell you that, in the long run, decentralized government is better able to meet the problems and needs of the people.

Money is saved and problems are solved quickly. Everyone in this type of system is accountable (administrators as well as teachers).

When someone tells you that we can't divide up the DOE into seven districts throughout the state because it will cost too much, tell them that parents deserve the right to have local say and control of their schools.

Parents should demand to have a voice in how their schools are run. It is your right. Don't be fooled.

D. Riepl
Lihu'e, Kaua'i

Negative ads can be helpful to voters

It is no doubt that this is a historic and pivotal time for Hawai'i, the electing of its first woman governor. Either Mazie Hirono or Linda Lingle will have the privilege to lead Hawai'i in a path of needed change. Both gubernatorial candidates believe the status quo is no longer acceptable and will not be tolerated.

The voters of Hawai'i had a chance to exercise their right to vote. If they did not, then they have neither the right to complain nor to criticize the state government.

No voter should be turned off from voting because of negative ads if they are factual.

If there are facts to support the negative ads, then they are truths that must be considered as a valuable tool in helping voters to decide which candidate would be the better choice to lead Hawai'i.

As long as there is factual evidence to prove the faults of either candidate, then negative ads are welcomed to discredit the opponent.

This is the way of politics.

Drew E. Kosora

Cayetano commentary didn't face the facts

Concerning the Nov. 3 commentary by Gov. Cayetano:

• Even $775,000 ("less than 1 percent of the total") is unacceptable to me as a taxpayer. Sharon Miyashiro's apparent fiduciary betrayal (to say the very least) of her position deserves more than an apology from you, governor.

• New Jersey is a fine example of business as usual, governor, by your party, to regain position in a failing senatorial campaign. I find your comments that "Bush ... is leaving nothing to chance to ensure Republicans get full control of the U.S. Congress" to be ironic and an insult to anyone who has paid attention to national coverage of this election year. To say nothing of the nonsense of asking people to vote for a deceased person.

• Why shouldn't the president campaign? After all, you and your party dredged up the lip-chewing "good old boy" from Arkansas to prop up your party's candidates. Fair is fair.

Jane Kirby

Editorial board elite should be replaced

In regard to Jerry Burris' Nov. 3 column and The Advertiser's endorsement of the Lingle/Aiona ticket: Who is the "we" at The Advertiser who made this decision and endorsement?

Was a poll taken of all Advertiser staff as, for example, UHPA did of its membership? Or was this the judgment of the few elite who comprise its editorial board?

If the latter, it is perhaps not surprising that their endorsement went to the Republican Party, which traditionally represents the privileged elite.

However, The Advertiser's editorial board may be out of touch with the paper's staff. If so, the Republican mantra of the need for change may apply to the editorial board as well. Indeed, one element of The Advertiser's stated mission is "to provide a voice for all the community."

Perhaps The Advertiser should practice the participatory democracy it preaches. Otherwise it would seem that its editorial board is as hypocritical and elitist as the ticket it endorsed.

Mark J. Valencia

Accident-caused traffic tie-up must be addressed

For the second time in less than 30 days, and for the sixth or seventh time in the past few years, Leeward O'ahu motorists traveling eastbound on the H-1 have again been virtually cut off from downtown Honolulu.

A perhaps disproportionate number of major accidents have occurred on the freeway between the H-1 and H-2 merge and the Aloha Stadium area. The result has been gridlock for many hours on end — on a newly formed parking lot.

My normal commute time from Village Park to Pearlridge of 7 to 12 minutes took almost two hours the other day. I'm sure that many other lives and businesses were affected.

As I look back at the contributing factors, I wonder whatever happened to the idea of traffic advisory information signs near the on-ramps to the freeway. I remember this from years ago and I have seen some of them appear here and there around the island.

If motorists knew before getting on the freeway that the way was blocked, they could decide to take alternate routes on surface streets. Or, if the HPD or the state DOT could somehow post someone at on-ramps that feed the freeway, they could divert the traffic before it further clogs the artery.

The question I'd like an immediate answer to is, why isn't the state DOT Highways Division notified of such an incident so it can decide to keep the Zipper Lane open for a short time longer? An incredible amount of the congestion would be eliminated if commuters were first notified of the accident via the information signs, then advised to enter the Zipper Lane to go around the problem. Motorists would then rejoin the freeway at the normal Zipper Lane exits near the airport.

This would enable thousands of drivers to bypass the logjam, decrease the overload on the surface streets and get most of us to work on time, or enable us to catch our flights or get the kids to school.

Nothing is more frustrating than to be stuck in traffic while the Zipmobile cruises along, shutting down a great escape route for all of us. The Zipmobile driver probably gets back to the shed before the freeway is cleared.

Gary K. Hashimoto

We need some answers for reading questions

Help! I'm starving.

Let's revisit the "bread-and-blueberry" anecdotal analogy that was used in the Oct. 27 commentary from a seasoned teacher of 21 years. Some of us could not even begin to understand what the mishmash is all about. What a strange discourse, indeed.

Let's figure out who can read 20 to 40 pages at home each night with caring and educated parents. Well, I personally don't need 21 years of teaching experience to make sound observations about the students in my classes and come to some kind of a conclusion about their reading skills.

I have come to realize that there are three categories of parents who send their children to school to get some bread and bring it home. It would be nice if the student could at least understand how important the bread is. But if there are underprivileged, uncaring and non-English-speaking parents, then we really have a big problem.

The students are products of these parents — thus the problems then do stem from home. These students will not be able to understand why reading is so important. Yes, I do agree that parents are a big part of educational success. However, some parents don't give a hoot.

Did we forget about the struggling students? Especially the English as a second language learners? I would not be too surprised.

What's the solution? Can we still ask Junior to read 20 to 40 pages if he is a struggling reader and his parents can't help him? What if his parents don't care to help him in any way?

Perhaps that's the reason they sent him to school in the first place. When we can come up with a solution to this problem, we can then ask our struggling students' parents for help to have their children read.

I also believe that "Reading is the key to becoming truly educated, so it needs to be promoted at home." Nevertheless, before any miracles can happen, I think some parents may not understand the importance of refining their blueberries and having some bread. I would humbly ask George W. Bush on the Oprah Show: What would happen to teachers if these struggling students were left behind?

Dear teacher of 21 years, with all due respect, do you have any sound advice or solutions? Until then, I can only crave for bread and blueberries, but I'm starving for answers.

Joyce Choy
First-year teacher