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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, November 7, 2002

Letters to the Editor

OHA existence should be ended gracefully

Your editorial "Ceded land settlement can't wait much longer" proposed that "both sides ... negotiate a fair settlement that neither cripples the state nor hinders OHA's constitutional mandate."

The problem is that OHA doesn't have a constitutional mandate. It has an unconstitutional mandate. No one can read Rice v. Cayetano and honestly say that "it's just a voting case." No one can read that decision and believe that OHA has any chance of surviving a challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court. Even the Akaka Bill won't help, because OHA is a state agency spending state money.

So what the new governor and Legislature must do is not support OHA, but plan for its orderly end. There is no valid social or economic need that OHA serves that cannot be met through another state agency using race-neutral criteria of need or merit.

No one need go without education or housing or healthcare if OHA disappears. It will be far cheaper to retire OHA gracefully now than to pour more millions into a doomed experiment.

Paul M. Sullivan

Symphony selection was no 'Masterwork'

I want to congratulate Gregory Shepherd for having the courage to write his truthful review of the recent Honolulu Symphony concerts. I too was very disappointed in Samuel Wong and his staff for subjecting us to an evening of raw political propaganda and, even worse, poor musical selections.

The film "And Then There Were None" was such a racist diatribe that it only served to alienate the various ethnic groups that make our state so wonderful. The CEO of Kamehameha Schools introduced the film by stating that the arts should bring different cultures together. This film did the exact opposite.

Over the years, Maestro Wong has done an excellent job of showcasing Asian and other cultures' music. It is hard to believe that he and the Symphony staff reviewed this film and thought it appropriate.

Thank you, Mr. Shepherd, for lacking "political correctness" and writing the truth. Shame on Maestro Wong and associates.

The title of the Symphony Series is "Classical Music's Masterworks." Certainly the Honolulu Symphony could find thousands of musical pieces more fitting to perform.

Howard Wiener

Symphony reviewer wrong about program

Gregory Shepherd saw a "tendentious harangue about the evil haoles" and their "depredations visited upon the native populace" in the Elizabeth Buyers' presentation of "And Then There Were None" in his Nov. 3 critique. We saw something quite different.

We saw reminders that a lovely and hospitable race of people had their numbers decimated by 95 percent within one century. We saw reminders that the culture of this race could not and would not compete with the unfamiliar and pernicious culture of the malihini, much to their continuing historical detriment. We saw reminders of the insidious stratification of Hawaiian society, where the most acceptable interactions between de facto rulers and ruled became the easy sharing of their hula and entertainment by the kanaka maoli, coupled with the easy acceptance of such tribute by the elite — an acceptance and appreciation smacking of noblesse oblige.

This social interaction has an element of Hawaiian cultural nobility — in their ready acceptance of this social station — tinged perhaps with a sense of present shame.

Shepherd sees unjustified bitterness in the presentation; we see justifiable sadness — the sadness of a culture completely overwhelmed, and perhaps on the road to extinction.

Shepherd acknowledges the racial decimation, but suggests that the benefits of written language and movie cameras provide balancing recompense, which strikes us as no less than an astonishingly perverse value judgment.

Perhaps music critics should restrict their expressions of tendentious arrogance to their very narrow fields of expertise; they stumble badly otherwise. Social critics they ain't, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Bob and Paulette Moore
Pearl City

'Heart of the Sea' captured a legend

"Heart of the Sea," a documentary about Hawaiian legend Rell Kapolioka'ehukai Sunn, was an excellent work by filmmakers Charlotte Lagarde and Lisa Denker. We were among the thousands fortunate enough to find seats at Saturday's Sunset on the Beach in Waikiki where the film was unveiled.

This deeply moving piece truly captured the life of Rell Sunn, an exceptional woman who touched the lives of many around the world. Thank you, Charlotte and Lisa.

Mark, Candy and Mishan Suiso

It's time to get serious on Convention Center

During the past legislative session when I questioned one nominee's appointment to the Hawai'i Tourism Authority, Gov. Cayetano described it as a "personal attack." Now he's characterizing a new law to grant Convention Center marketing to the same entity that's managing the facility as a "personal axe to grind against HVCB."

He fails to mention that in the past three years that the HVCB has marketed the Convention Center, it has failed to meet the goals set by the HTA. In 2000, the HVCB fell short of a 24-event, 145,000-attendee goal, booking 23 events with 83,000 attendees. In 2001 and 2002, the HTA goals were 30 events and 160,000 attendees, but again HVCB's performance fell far short, with a dismal 16 events and 32,300 attendees in 2001, and 18 events with 19,900 attendees so far this year.

The bureau's three-year, taxpayer-funded budget was $22 million, and we're supposed to be satisfied with this lackluster performance?

The new arrangement ordered by the Legislature involves contracting the private firm that now operates the Convention Center to do the marketing — which is no different than, say, the Sheraton or Hilton hotels that operate, manage and market their own properties.

It is time that we insist the $350 million Convention Center be given the attention and resources it deserves. The poor results of the past five years prove that convention marketing cannot succeed as a stepchild of our general tourism marketing efforts.

Sen. Donna Mercado Kim
D-15th District (Kalihi Valley/'Aiea)

Publication unethical

Foul! How unethical to publish an article written by Gov. Ben Cayetano, critical of Republicans, just two days before our election for governor. What shabby journalism!

Donald D. Graber

Paper carps should be brought back

I am a senior citizen. Many years ago on Boy's Day, some Japanese families flew huge colored paper carps on bamboo poles above their houses. It was such a beautiful sight.

Today, one seldom sees this and I miss it so much. Observance of the rich culture of different ethnic groups gave Hawai'i a unique society. This, and other ethnic traditions, should be revived.

How Tim Chang

Why leave UH when the economy is flat?

I found the recent article about college degrees taking five years or more to earn at UH and other colleges interesting. The people interviewed said it was a multitude of reasons, including jobs, course availability and inadequate advising.

However, back in the 1970s, it was all the same. There were no computers for online selection, and I still remember walking around Klum Gym with 10,000 others desperately looking for class placement, often standing in lines for hours waiting in vain because seniors had first dibs. There were only six advisers for the entire student body, and they were located in temporary rooms with no air-conditioning behind Bachman Hall.

Yet we survived, and most of us graduated in the four years allotted.

I believe the underlying reason for the delays is the economy. Why graduate when where you want to live and raise your family isn't available to you? Might as well stay in school and focus on degrees with specific purposes like accounting, computer science and nursing so there is a chance at a good-paying job. Forget about enjoying higher education — it now has become a means to an end.

Let's hope our new governor will understand the plight of our young people and give action to the rhetoric. Let's give them substance to go along with hope of a future.

Stephany L. Sofos

Football fans should come out to games

As a season ticket holder for UH football games, I would really love to see more fans out there supporting the team. The players have come a long way, and we should all be proud of them.

I realize Pay-Per-View is a lot cheaper than attending a live game. I'm not asking for more season ticket holders, but if more people show up to a game every once in a while, it makes a difference. Aloha Stadium looks a lot more empty than it should be. Come on, everyone! We have a great coach, a terrific team that works really hard and a superb marching band to look forward to.

On another note, if you attend the games, don't leave before the game finishes.

At the San Jose State game, I saw people leaving way before the game was over. Even though you know UH will win, stay till the very end. That's part of being a good audience. Just like in a theater or play, you don't leave until the show is over to show your respect and appreciation for the performers. It's considered very rude to just leave.

So, let's all show some aloha to our team and see them through until the end of the game.

Kelli Miura
McKinley High School Sophomore

Where is everyone's spirit at UH games?

Where is it, I asked myself and many more people leaving the close but outstanding win against San Jose State Saturday night. Where is everyone's spirit?

The stadium was silent as UH was slipping in the fourth quarter. The UH football players need a little help from their fans. Let's give them a little noise when they need it. Let's liven it up a little and let them know we are there and supporting them.

They gave us a bowl game, so let's give them some noise.

Nathan Lutz

Peace isn't radical

It's a shameful and ominous day for this country when peace and nonaggression are considered to be radical ideas.

David L. Wilson
Ha'iku, Maui

Welcome, openness rooted deeply in 'aina

Hawaiian culture has always meant a depth of kindness, openness, welcome and inclusiveness that I never experienced in my own Japanese-American culture or any other.

Simply said, Hawaiian people have always intermarried and accepted people, regardless of their culture, race or religion. I don't think any other peoples who have migrated to Hawai'i can say the same.

Having spent many decades in the tourism and travel industry, I can state that it was the "feeling" of welcome and openness that the tourism industry and general populace responded to about Hawai'i's aloha and was the foundation of tourism. Remember the "Hawai'i Calls" radio show?

It was not a fabricated nor public relations concept but rooted deeply in the 'aina and culture of the indigenous Hawaiian people and was carried across the ocean.

I was told as a very young boy by a beautifully souled tutu-wahine of a classmate that when I felt alienated by not being Hawaiian at a May Day celebration, that "born in Hawai'i makes you Hawaiian because you were raised with the 'aina and values of Hawaiians." I have always taken that as a spiritual legacy and trust that I must uphold.

I don't believe Hawai'i is Hawai'i without that culture, values and sense of selflessness.

Queen Lili'uokalani said in her book, "Story of Hawai'i," that Hawaiians don't own, possess or lust for control or power of nature's gifts but only wish to love, share and enjoy them with each other. That was why she sought alliance with other monarchies rather than the materialistic West. To behave otherwise would be contradictory to their cultural being, and she knew this. Isn't this similar to the indigenous people of Alaska and Native Americans?

As we witness the results of this general election, how much will we have revealed in our maturity as a state and society? How much have we matured on the issue of haole and local? How long will we enable the politics of Hawai'i to keep us apart?

Dave Miho