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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 26, 2002

Letters to the Editor

Entrenched denizens don't want change

In one of Roger Miller's hit songs, he observed "Oh you can't roller-skate in a buffalo herd ... but you can be happy if you want to." To that might be added an observation about public education in Hawai'i: You can't be held accountable in a bureaucratic snake pit. (The prospect of happiness there, however, is far less certain.)

As an Island Voices commentary on Aug. 27, community college associate professor John C.N. Shen wistfully hopes the state Department of Education will somehow be persuaded to reform itself by beginning to apply "some good old-fashioned common sense." Old-fashioned? I'll say.

As for prospects of reform from within, I hope Professor Shen has prepared himself for a long wait: Those who populate the upper reaches of the DOE food chain look at real accountability like a startled horse looks at a rattlesnake underfoot. Not hard to understand. Real accountability for actual results would put the precious careers of highly positioned team players on the line.

Careers count. Kids don't.

Thomas E. Stuart
Public school teacher, Kapa'au, Big Island

Hiding Mink condition is politically unethical

During Saturday's primary election, Rep. Patsy Mink was hospitalized in the intensive care unit. We all want to see her recover. She has been there for three weeks or longer, and the family and her political sycophants have been persistent in not revealing medical information beyond superficial statements.

Her proponents claim she has a constitutional right to privacy in regard to her health.

Well, no. When a candidate for Congress is acutely ill, to hide that person's physical condition is simply unethical.

At election time, the voting public deserves answers. Shame on the politicians, and shame on your investigative reporters.

Russell T. Stodd

Crossover votes hurt chances for change

It's been insinuated in the media, and I've talked to several people who say they and their friends did it. Apparently, a number of Linda Lingle's backers crossed over in Saturday's primary and voted for Mazie Hirono to ensure Lingle of an easier race in the general election.

If true, Hawai'i is still mired in self-serving, special-interest politics. If Republican crossover voters had really been motivated by change, they would have voted for Ed Case. Doing so would have guaranteed real change. But no, by voting for Mazie, they proved their motives were purely political.

Yes, Lingle would have had a tougher race against Case, but voters would have heard a great debate over the specific types of change each candidate sought and how to achieve them. We're not going to see that now. We're going to see old-fashioned pandering by the candidates to get as many votes as possible.

Ed Case didn't lose on Saturday. Hawai'i did.

Joel B. Kennedy

Tell all they must vote for real change

Based on the turnout in the Sept. 21 election, it appears that most residents in Hawai'i simply do not care what happens in our state government or in our state.

That only 41 percent of the registered voters turned out to vote indicates that many are complacent and willing to let things continue to get worse.

The majority appears to be conditioned to think that we "cannot do anything about it."

Wrong! We can make changes by electing those who are not part of the problem. Look at the new faces, those who have not been part of the problem and who can bring about some changes for the better.

Mazie Hirono sat back quietly for eight years as part of the present administration that has failed to fix the problems, and that has either created new ones or permitted others to fester — without finding solutions.

Linda Lingle offers us a chance for change, but only if your complacent neighbors get off their easy chairs and get out to vote in the general election.

Tell your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers that if they don't vote, and they get four or eight more years of the same, they deserve it.

Keith Haugen

10 states have women running for governor

Hooray! It's the Year of the Woman. There's Mazie Hirono versus Linda Lingle, and in nine other states, women are also running for governorships.

We've come a long way since Jean Rankin's (1917) election to the House of Representatives.On to the U.S. presidency, for "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world!" Carry on, sisters!

Diane A. Scoville-Kingsley

Voting process left much to be desired

Well, I went to the polls to exercise my right to vote. I was given a folder that was far too small to accommodate the large, oversized ballot. Part of the ballot could be seen. Why were the folders so small?

After voting, I walked up to the area where my ballot was to be deposited. The voting official stationed took my folder, then looked over my shoulder as I inserted my ballot into the validation machine. The official could plainly see whom I had voted for. What happened to our right to privacy?

I recall with the old system that no one saw your ballot. It was dropped into the ballot box, and the voter receipt was then given to the voter.

I believe that a process must be set up so that these officials do not infringe upon our rights. I sincerely feel that these concerns must be addressed and measures must be taken to correct them before the general election.

K. Mahi

Lingle should support West O'ahu College

Linda Lingle said she wants an aquarium to be built at Ko Olina because it would provide jobs for people on the Leeward side. But she does not want to build West O'ahu College or expand the second city (Kapolei).

Can you imagine the number of jobs West O'ahu College and the second city would provide compared to a mere aquarium? Can you imagine the localized boost in the economy for small businesses like a gas station, restaurants, fast food, movie theaters, etc.?

West O'ahu College would not only provide construction jobs, teaching jobs, managerial and maintenance jobs, etc., but would provide higher education for Leeward and Central O'ahu, which the people in these areas want and deserve.

N. Kimura

Vote against those who create problems

Please, if you see some candidate's sign-waving idiots who are obstructing pedestrian traffic and creating a traffic hazard, do us all a favor and do not vote for their candidate.

I recently saw a kokohead-bound bicyclist almost get killed across from Kalani High School just because these well-dressed lolos thought it was catchy to lean into the bike lane. Hey! Stay home if you going be stupid.

Roger Goodell

Public access TV wasn't in compliance

In the Sept. 22 article "Public access TV must open records," Ho`ike managing director J. Robertson said, "Our records have always been open." The truth of Ho'ike's compliance to open records can be found in their own minutes and records.

According to Ho'ike's minutes of the Oct. 9, 2001, meeting, the June 5, Aug. 29 and Sept. 7 minutes were not accepted until the October board meeting. These minutes from all these months were not released to the public prior to that date.

The excuse made by Robertson and the Ho'ike board for not releasing minutes within 30 days is they were not "approved" yet. This policy has been in effect during Robertson's past 17 months as managing director of Ho'ike.

The delaying tactic that a board can wait months to approve minutes before they can be made available is not allowed. Ho'ike's policy is at odds with the Office of Information Practices and the state Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA) definition. That definition requires the board's written minutes be publicly available within 30 days after an open meeting. It is not only a definition; it's the law. There are no exceptions.

There are many examples of how Ho'ike has not been in compliance with UIPA. When members of the public informed the board repeatedly of this violation and other bylaw infractions, police were called. People were threatened with arrest for being disruptive. The only disruption I saw occurring was Ho'ike in violation of open records law and sunshine laws.

Someday, Ho'ike will thank the public for caring enough to pursue these issues and bring the entire organization out of the shadows into the sunshine of truth and accountability.

Carol Puhi
Puhi, Kaua'i

Gore's speech should have gotten coverage

The Advertiser is free to publish what news it wants. However, I was shocked, disappointed and dismayed that you gave ZERO coverage to Al Gore's speech in San Francisco that criticized the Bush administration desire to attack Iraq.

It got headline coverage in national print and broadcast media, as well as international media. The Advertiser didn't even give it a blurb.

Al Gore is not "irrelevant," as the Bush administration tried to say. He won more votes than the president in 2000, and he won a majority here in Hawai'i.

Vice President Gore and the people of Hawai'i deserve better from your paper. Opposition is important in democracy. Your newspaper has the duty to report it, even if it doesn't agree with your own political leaning.

Lance Robinson

They judge us without knowing our troubles

Brad Lendon's Sept. 15 commentary evokes two very strong feelings in me. The first is sadness. Sadness that the events of Sept. 11 had to occur, needed to occur, in order for me to wake up — to realize that there are other people in the world who matter just as I do.

It's sad to think that even after Sept. 11, the main thought on most people's minds is whether or not they will get home in time for "Survivor." It pains me to think that many people still live in their sheltered worlds.

The other feeling I had is anger, intense anger at other peoples' opinions of Americans. They think that because we live in America our lives are perfect, but they are not. They talked about how only people living in their countries suffered.

They know nothing about how my Hawaiian ancestors were insulted and deceived by foreigners, or how our kingdom was stolen from beneath us. Yet they judge us. They know nothing about my grandparents' struggle through plantation camps, separated by race, or my grandmother being deprived of learning her native language because it was improper, or the racism my own father endured to become the first lawyer of Puerto Rican descent in the state of Hawai'i. Yet they judge us.

My ancestors have gone through so much pain and suffering in their lives so that I may live a better life. Every day I thank God for what He has given me, and I don't feel that it is right for them to judge anyone.

I realize that there is pain everywhere in the world, and I hope one day I will be in a position to do more than just talk about it. I don't think it's right for them to judge us when they don't even know us.

Kristen Ortiz
Grade 10, Kamehameha High School

Land reform in Hawai'i is nothing but stealing

The concept of land ownership came with the "Great Mahele." This was followed by"adverse possession." Then came along the "Maryland Law," or what they call land reform today.

Call it what you may, I call it stealing. Remember Kahala? Those poor homeowners reaped a fortune on the land they resold after buying it for a "song" from Bishop Estate.

Jane Molokai

New medical school should not be built

The new medical school being built in Kaka'ako is another doom-and-gloom project initiated without foresight.

We already have 7,000 physicians in this state, and most are looking elsewhere for paradise.

The John Burns Medical School has had a spotty, if not cancerous, track record. The state's insurance and liability laws pontificate change. Research programs are a pie-in-the-sky phenomenon with 49 other states vying for one grant.

Get real! Think outside the box.

Norbert Perez

Wai'anae Coast needs alternate route now

As a Nanakuli resident, I too was affected by the downed poles and traffic backed up on Farrington Highway on Sept. 16. My family didn't make it home at all that night.

However, the suggestion to open Kolekole Pass would not have solved the problem for most on the Wai'anae Coast. Unless the gate on McCandless Estates is opened as well, Kolekole Pass only gives access to Nanakuli. The downed poles were between Lualualei Naval Road and Hakimo Road.

Access to Wai'anae would have been through McCandless Estates and down Hakimo Road. Having the McCandless gate opened on that Monday would have allowed the majority of traffic to go around the problem, rather than waiting to go through. Folks from Wai'anae and Makaha could have taken Pa'akea Road past Ma'ili and avoided the mess on Farrington Highway.

The Wai'anae Coast needs and deserves an alternate route now, not years from now.

Amy L. King