Letters to the Editor
Let's rid Islands of the noisy pests
Coqui frogs do not belong in Hawai'i. They belong in their homeland, Puerto Rico.
We savor our sounds, sights and smells, as do those who travel to Hawai'i. They do not come to Hawai'i to experience Puerto Rico's noisy inhabitants. One of the reasons people travel to other lands is to experience cultures and environments unique to each destination.
Let's expedite the removal of coqui frogs from the Hawaiian Islands.
Honolulu: the 'City of Eternal Night Noise'
Too bad Honolulu roosters can't organize and join Gary Rodrigues' United Public Workers so they would be able to make as much noise as colliding freight trains in the night, complete with back-up whistles, gunning engines and shouting ... as early as 4:03 a.m. outside my apartment two days a week.
You've heard of the Eternal City and the City of Light? I nominate Honolulu for "City of Eternal Noise in the Night."
Pidgin speakers need special attention
The Sept. 30 headline "27 percent speak English as 2nd language" highlights a weakness in how the census reports communities like ours. It also shows a defect in the way many leaders see us.
Lumping Hawaiian with "Pacific Island languages" might work in Maryland. In our state, and in places like Seattle and Las Vegas with a lot of Hawai'i people, it hides the progress of Hawaiian resurgence. If our congressional delegation leaned gently on the Bureau of the Census, it might help produce a measure that matches reality.
Local Pidgin is not listed. I conclude the census must have missed half the state. Or talking local kine was presented in demeaning terms. Or an answer like "Wot?! You guys tink all us guys ova hea no can talk Ingalish?" was checked off as English.
Forcing educators to educate is hot right now. It's time both we and they recognize that what pulls down our kids' test scores is not recent arrivals from Majuro or Ilocos Norte who need English classes. It's bureaucratic reluctance to help Hawai'i-born children whose heritage comes to them via Pidgin. They also need English classes, taught with respect for who they are.
No wonder many give up on education early, rather than being helped to become expressive in both their own language and that of the national community. Why shouldn't they have the best of both worlds?
Joseph E. Grimes
Songwriters should embrace downloading
A Sept. 30 letter by songwriter Diane Warren argued the opinion that music piracy prevented songwriters like herself from making money. She claims that if people were not willing to pay for music they love, songwriters would not have incentive to make music.
Hello? From one songwriter to another, I have an interesting idea: I write music because I love it. Not because some fat record label is claiming it'll line my pockets with a 10-cent royalty for every $19 CD it sells off a store shelf.
Musicians and songwriters should embrace a time where we now have a direct venue to express ourselves straight to the home of people who are interested in listening to new material.
If the downloading of free music shakes up a commercial music industry that spits out artificially manufactured boy bands and teen idols, I say good riddance.
Schools shouldn't need volunteer help
Possibly Keith Matsumoto had his tongue in his cheek in his Sept. 23 letter thanking politicians for wielding paint brushes for a whole day to help accomplish needed maintenance at Kapunahala Elementary School.
Politicians making in-kind contributions of labor for essential state services is the moral equivalent of their conducting a bake sale to pay teachers' salaries. But then that's the irony of public service: They need to give these "contributions" so the state can continue to allocate the millions of dollars going into the state's ongoing art and culture collection and its fine new facility.
Gregg W. Robertson
Editorial on airline exemption off base
Your Oct. 2 editorial regarding the Aloha and Hawaiian airlines' exemption is totally off base.
First, you insinuate that Aloha and Hawaiian will use the exemption to gouge the flying public. There will be no price-gouging in this market. If Aloha and Hawaiian keep the prices artificially high, there is no doubt that another carrier will enter the interisland market. The exemption only regulates schedules and capacity and not who can enter the market.
Second, your editorial states that "there is little to gain if the exemption creates capital for the expansion of service to the Mainland and beyond."
One can assume that you are raising the possibility that profits obtained from price-gouging could be used to finance expansion of routes. Based on the figures provided by Aloha and Hawaiian for their interisland service, they are not looking to gouge anyone, but are merely looking to stop the bleeding. You have failed to acknowledge that Gov. Cayetano and the Department of Transportation have stated that any price changes would be strictly scrutinized.
Third, any expansion of routes by Aloha and Hawaiian would greatly help the public. For example, if cutting interisland losses would allow each carrier to serve two new markets, it would bring approximately 750 passengers into Hawai'i each day. Wouldn't this help our tourism?
There're good reasons to shun public schools
HSTA President Karen Ginoza gave as the reason for the 300 percent higher attendance rate for Hawai'i private schools over Mainland private schools (for high school whites) being "strong traditions of private schools (in Hawai'i)." Ms. Ginoza failed to tell the main reasons why so many Hawai'i parents send their children to private high schools at great financial sacrifice.
It's because parents don't want their sons and daughters physically threatened and sexually harassed.
They want their children to be able to use the school bathroom, to have current textbooks to have textbooks. They want their children to have a desk to sit in at class.
They don't want their children seeing fellow students sleeping in class while teachers pretend it isn't happening.
They want their children to be in air-conditioned classrooms, to have laptops and to be challenged.
Parents want their children to attend schools where teachers or staff members who act inappropriately get fired, and where the main focus for the principal is curriculum instead of lawsuits and meetings.
They want their children to attend a school where the campus is the pride of the community instead of something they avert their eyes from when they drive by.
My hat's off to all of our public school teachers, principals and students who come to their schools every day notwithstanding these obstacles, but we are only going to see improvement if our public school leaders tell us how bad it really is, what needs to be done to improve it and then demand change.
Teachers need to demand more than higher pay (which they should get, by the way); they need to demand schools that are better than our private schools. When that day happens, I'll be out on the picket line with them.
Firefighters performed well during Kailua blaze
Recently a private residence on Kailua Road caught fire and burned almost to the ground. Our home is four houses away, and we could see the high flames and feel the intense heat. The Kailua firefighters were on the scene fast, but this old wooden house went up so quickly there was not much they could do to save it. The homes along this road are very close together.
The firefighters kept the intense blaze from spreading to other adjacent homes, thus minimizing damages.ÊFortunately, the winds were very light.
The firefighters also woke up neighbors with the horns on the fire engines. This was a very smart action, because had the winds been normal, at 10 to 20 mph, the probability of the fire spreading would have been increased vastly, and neighbors may have awakened too late.Ê
These firefighters deserve much praise for all the good work they do in protecting us.
We don't know how genetic foods affect us
It is sad and most ill-informed that Jon Willers' letter of Sept. 12, "Rant on biotechnology ill-informed, unfortunate," would assume that biotechnology and genetic transfer have been around since the dawn of time.
Actually biotechnology, as a science, was developed less than 30 years ago. Therefore, we do not know the long-term effects of this new technology.
Also, he assumes that traditional crossbreeding is similar. It is not. The difference is that biotechnology now offers the horrific option to crossbreed between species, such as the test fields on Kaua'i now being planted with corn containing human genes.
In traditional breeding, thousands of genes are transferred at once. In biotechnology, a cell is tricked into accepting a single gene shot into it by a gun. Genetic engineering shatters the natural boundaries between species with unpredictable results.
There are countless studies in other countries reporting disturbing health issues, which is why genetically altered foods and crops are banned in over 20 countries. In the U.S., over 60 percent of foods on the supermarket shelves contain genetically engineered products, yet they are not labeled.
We still do not have an answer as to the rise in cancer, allergies and the 28 million who suffer migraines. The U.K. reports an alarming decrease in the effectiveness of antibiotics, increases in intestinal lining of experimental animals fed genetically engineered food and noted kidney and liver damage. Thus the British Medical Association has called for a moratorium on genetically engineered planting.
Sacred Falls Park ruling was correct
A careful review of Judge Del Rosario's decision reveals that Sacred Falls State Park presented an extraordinarily dangerous situation.
It was known and documented by the state before the May 9, 1999, tragedy that the waterfall area in the park was the most dangerous rock-fall zone in the entire state park system. The waterfall area was even designated as a hardhat zone for the park employee who worked near the waterfall for only 20 minutes per week.
Despite the known severity of the falling-rock hazard, the state promoted the waterfall at Sacred Falls as a public recreation area where families with young children were encouraged to picnic and swim.
Judge Del Rosario concluded that the state had a duty to adequately warn park visitors of the falling-rock hazard at the waterfall. The overwhelming evidence at trial established that, without effective warnings, the average park user would not know about the nature and severity of the hazard.
In reaching his conclusions regarding the existing warning signs, Judge Del Rosario applied national standards recognized by the state's own warning sign expert.
It is inaccurate and a distortion to conclude that other park areas will necessarily be closed as a result of Judge Del Rosario's decision.
It is not fair to conclude that the plaintiffs were irresponsible in any way. The plaintiffs were all visitors who had no knowledge or understanding of the extremely dangerous history of falling rocks at Sacred Falls. Virtually all of the plaintiffs had learned about Sacred Falls from reliable sources like newspaper articles or visitor literature. It was a beautiful day with no indication of an impending disaster. The plaintiffs were in a park that was described as a "nature walk for the whole family" by state of Hawai'i tourism literature.
Under Hawai'i law, visitors in a family park setting are entitled to adequate warnings regarding life-threatening hazards in the park. Based on the evidence, Judge Del Rosario effectively concluded that families with young children and novice hikers seeking a safe hiking experience would likely avoid a designated hardhat zone with a lethal hazard from falling rocks.
Hawai'i is one of the premier eco-tourism destinations in the world. This is not only because of the beauty and splendor of Hawai'i's environment but also because Hawai'i is known as a destination with high standards for health and safety.
Laurent J. Remillard Jr.