Letters to the Editor
Appointment of Yogi to airport is cronyism
The appointment of Davis Yogi to head the Airports Division appears to be one last act of cronyism by Gov. Ben Cayetano. Although Yogi may be qualified to be a personnel director and business manager, does that equate to experience in airport-related matters?
Beginning with the "appointment" of Jerry Matsuda, Cayetano has shown that any state job can be given to anyone he desires just by manipulating what experiences are required to do the job. The job used to require extensive airport experience, then was changed to require an engineering degree, thus disqualifying all applicants except Matsuda. Now, they have done it again.
I hope Gov.-elect Lingle will take a long, hard look at all the department administrators and ensure that they are truly qualified to manage those departments. The airport needs and deserves a truly qualified airports administrator, not just another political hack looking for a cushy retirement.
P.E. must emphasize health and nutrition
Regarding Georges Gerard's Nov. 22 piece calling for a separation between academics and physical education: Gerard is confusing physical education with spectator sports here.
A good physical education program would provide students with knowledge about their bodies, health, nutrition and behavior. It would give them fitness programs and activities that would help to keep them healthy and fit throughout their lives.
Currently, Gerard's understanding is the understanding of the DOE. It must be corrected.
Decent physical education will help students stay healthy and will help them also achieve in the academic realm. Overemphasis on spectator sports exploits students for the sake of entertainment and sets them up for an adulthood of shallow ignorance. Even that tiny minority of students who become athletic "stars" suffers.
The nursing crisis: Why consider a strike?
I have been a registered nurse working in Hawai'i for over 22 years. There are many reasons that explain why now is the time for a strike. Please consider the following explanations:
Nurses have a moral and professional obligation to care for and keep their patients safe. We must be the patients' advocate. This obligation cannot be taken lightly. People's very lives are at stake.
Many of us work in very specialized units and must keep up our skills and stay up to date on current breakthroughs and trends in our fields. We must be well-informed as we collaborate with other members of the healthcare team. We are fighting to maintain safe staffing levels and to ensure that a qualified nurse is assigned to care for each patient in each specialty 24 hours a day. Financial considerations and layers of management constantly override our decisions.
Because of our awesome responsibility and endless frustration, we suffer an inordinate percentage of stress-induced illnesses. We are prepared to strike for the welfare of our patients and ourselves.
The aloha is gone from healthcare in Hawai'i. Up until about 10 years ago, this state was unique because we provided quality care with lots of aloha. Administration and staff worked together. Hard work, skill and loyalty were valued and rewarded. We proudly boasted about the fine hospitals we worked at.
The hospitals are now "big business," we are told. We are being forced to become generalists, and management would have us "float" to specialty units unprepared. They would also have us responsible for so many patients that we would be forced to decide what can be neglected in order to provide "adequate" care, not the "quality" care we want to provide.
We will not become wealthy working as nurses. However we do deserve a "living wage." We need to support our families many of us are acting as heads of household or primary wage earners. Yes, we are prepared to strike for increased wages and benefits.
Hawai'i's nurses do care for you. We must also care for ourselves.
Registered nurse, Kane'ohe
Gay-Straight Alliance setting bold example
As officers of Kamehameha Schools' Amnesty Club, an organization dedicated to serving and elevating all segments of our society, we are often dismayed by the growing intolerance toward the gay and lesbian communities in Hawai'i.
At a time when it's easy for young people to remain uninvolved in the unjust and often hateful world around them, we are encouraged to hear of the newly established Gay-Straight Alliance at Kalaheo High School.
The maturity of this organization's founders is impressive, and their perseverance should inspire others both young and old to follow their bold example. We wish the alliance success.
Kamehameha Schools' Amnesty Club
Gary Rodrigues built a unified home base
As the former O'ahu Division director of the United Public Workers, it may be appropriate that I comment on the rise of my colleague Gary Rodrigues.
I have known his family since 1948, and Gary most of his working life. Gary's father, Jack, was an honorable and courageous worker and leader of Kaua'i County's public workers. He was an inspiration to his son ... and Gary was a natural to step in to the UPW leadership.
From the time of his employment, Gary was a forceful and assertive leader. The public workers on Kaua'i had endured a longstanding struggle for dominance, and Gary was hired to bring together the existing factions. This he did.
Gary was not an organizer by nature. He did not "build the union," but he was a man who could win over adversaries. He inspired a sense of loyalty at top levels of many of the worksites of county workers. In some cases, he attracted the strongest and most vocal leaders; in others, he isolated members whose support was not easily won.
The overall effect of his leadership style was the building of a strongly unified home base. He became an even more effective influence in the UPW and, as well, on Kaua'i when he again followed his father's activity in the grassroots politics of the Democratic Party.
Rodrigues became the spokesman and alter ego for Henry Epstein, then state director of the UPW. Within a few years, he dominated union policy on political matters. His sense of "how-to" and "who" to influence was pragmatic and effective.
If his style was offensive to some, it didn't matter to him because it worked. With Epstein's retirement, the only control over Gary was gone. There was no stopping Gary Rodrigues.
Stephen T. Murin
Newspaper ignored assassination of JFK
I generally enjoy reading The Advertiser, both in hard copy and soft copy via the Internet. However, on Nov. 22, I was very surprised and disappointed that no major article was included in remembrance of the assassination of John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.
I believe that anyone who was over 10 years old at that time could remember exactly what they were doing and where they were on that horrible day ... and for several days afterward. That assassination, in its way, wasn't dissimilar from 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. It marked a seminal point in people's lives ... and for The Advertiser to ignore that event is most unfortunate.
It doesn't matter if a person liked JFK or didn't. In a time when Americans, in general, and those in Hawai'i, are bemoaning the poor education provided by schools, especially in history, The Advertiser is doing a major disservice to its readers.
'Aloha Spirit' is just a bumper sticker
I have lived in Hawai'i for the past six months. Everywhere I go I see "Live Aloha" and "Aloha Spirit" bumper stickers and signs. As a Mainlander, I have yet to see this "spirit."
I drive from 'Ewa to Wheeler every day, and during any drive, there are abandoned vehicles left on the road, engine parts thrown into the fields on the roadsides, trash strewn everywhere, and I see more slums and ghettos on O'ahu than I did growing up in a New England city.
The conflict this past weekend at the UH/UC football game was the icing on the cake. No pride, no honor just disrespect and utter disregard for sportsmanship.
My impression of the "aloha spirit" is that it is a slogan to draw tourists, who will leave too soon or not explore the inner part of the island.
Take some pride, show respect this is a paradise going to waste.
Rail transit: Take away the option of driving
The main problem with the mass-transit proposals to solve O'ahu's traffic problems is that people won't use the solutions.
Anything that allows people the option of using mass transit or continuing to operate as they have been will fail. There is, however, an alternative that will involve very little in the way of new, expensive construction and will utilize the roads that currently exist.
The solution would entail the construction of "staging areas" large parking areas with shelter provided for times of inclement weather. From these areas there would be special express-service buses operating to and from the downtown and Waikiki areas.
In addition to these express buses, there would be smaller trolley buses operating in these areas.
Now we come to the part that makes the villagers get out their torches, pitchforks and lynching ropes: Between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., vehicles would be banned from most of the streets in Honolulu and Waikiki. People wouldn't be clogging up the highways and streets if they're not allowed to.
This is just an outline of a possible solution one that would be inexpensive compared to the grandiosity of building a rail system that people wouldn't use anyway.
It's time to acknowledge the truth that people are extremely selfish. If given the options of using mass transit or driving their individual vehicles, they'll be behind the wheel without giving it a second thought. The only realistic way to make any rapid-transit system on this island work will be to give people no other option but to use it.
Economical solution to ease traffic flow
The main problems that tie up the H-1 traffic flow are: Traffic comes to a stop and backs up between the H-1 and the Nimitz merge; between the H-1 and the Kina'u exit merge; between the H-1 and the Punahou exit merge; between the H-1 and the Dillingham exit merge; and the stop-and-go traffic on Kamehameha Highway during peak hours.
Recommended immediate solutions: In the morning (6 a.m. to 8 a.m.) and evening (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), we need to change the traffic light patterns and eliminate crossing traffic patterns during this period at major intersections along these merges.
For morning and afternoon changes: Folks wanting to cross at these intersections from side streets must make a right turn, then U-turn into the main eastbound and westbound traffic during these periods.
There should be suitable U-turn merges as required.
Folks wanting to cross an intersection at these peak times may complain, but we can ease their pain when we tell them how much of their tax dollars will be saved by eliminating more viaducts, as proposed by our new governor.
Dobelle endorsement served university well
The continued furor over Evan Dobelle's public support of Mazie Hirono is curious. Besides his enjoying the same academic freedom cherished by every other university professor, his action served the university as a whole and gave us the best of both worlds, allowing us to work with both parties to expand educational opportunities for our children.
Remember that no one knew before the election which candidate would actually win such a close race. Had the Democrats won, UHPA's endorsement of the Republican candidate might well have widened the rift between the university and the governor's office and made working together more difficult. Dobelle's endorsement ameliorated that possibility.
Now that we have a Republican governor, UH professors can enjoy a better relationship with the governor, and President Dobelle will serve the state in the best interests of the university, as he always does. And, he may have an easier time working with the Democratic Legislature.
I have no doubt that Evan Dobelle was sincere when he said that he voted for Mazie Hirono because he believed in her. When he says that he would vote for her again, we know at least that he is honest, even when under great pressure to express the opposite. How refreshing.
No federal matching funds were lost
In his Nov. 25 letter, Ed Cesar pointed to Mike Leidemann's Nov. 16 article that alleged the state lost $400 million in federal matching funds. While the DOT did transfer $100 million to the state general fund, no federal funds were lost.
Prior to any transfer, the department ensured that no federal matching funds would be lost.
Brian K. Minaai
Director of Transportation, State of Hawai'i