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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, January 27, 2003

Letters to the Editor

Inouye's cruise ship plan bad for Moloka'i

Sen. Dan Inouye has concocted a plan to blunt the cruise ship controversy that is pure brilliance. Here's the deal: It will be all right to have more and more cruise ships, as long as they are Hawai'i cruise ships and the federal government pays for them. That way we will get jobs, and the environmental concerns will be minimized.

My first thought when I heard this was: What year is this? Is this yet another case of government and corporations holding hands, marching off into a future that we, the people, have to pay for and that we don't want?

The main issues in this cruise ship dispute are: too many people and too much pollution. I don't see that this proposal addresses either of these concerns. It just pretends to. It just extends our ancient plantation/union style of political organizing into the third millennium. It will all be OK as long as we make money.

Well, here's the bad news: The residents of Moloka'i have always put the welfare of the many, and the land, over the greed of the powerful few.

Rich Zubaty
Kaunakakai, Moloka'i

President is just trying to finish his dad's war

As a Vietnam veteran, I am still acutely sensitive to the rationale postulated by President Johnson for going to war in Vietnam. Johnson's specious reasons for committing the U.S. to an unpopular, and ultimately unwinnable, war are mirrored by President Bush's rush to invade Iraq.

Twelve empty warheads hardly justifies the loss of American lives that will surely happen in an invasion of Iraq. However, I suspect the president's real reason for war is to complete the mission left unresolved when George Sr. decided to conveniently end the Gulf War before the Republican Guard and Saddam Hussein were destroyed.

I suggest we pay heed to our cool-headed allies who counsel diplomacy or the discovery of more compelling evidence before we begin a war we may well regret we ever initiated.

Robert T. Guard

Hawai'i Buddhists are against war with Iraq

The Hawai'i Association of International Buddhists wishes to go on record in opposition to the U.S. government's plan to initiate a war against Iraq.

We further oppose a war against terrorism, which by definition has no end because it struggles with an invisible enemy. The terminology of war perpetuates the destructiveness from which we have already grievously suffered.

We must remember also that our technological war weapons hide the hideous terror and destruction inflicted on innocent populations.

We strongly urge the administration to continue a multilateral approach through the United Nations with a renewed spirit of cooperation. While we recognize that rogue nations pose a threat to peaceful nations, it is important to seek the causes for their stances and to reflect on how our own policies have contributed to creating such problems. Our nation should seek fairness and equity in dealing with all nations.

Albert Lui
President, Hawai'i Association of International Buddhists

Governor should focus on higher minimum pay

Gov. Lingle says she had difficulty attracting high-caliber people to her Cabinet because of low pay. Further, she says that the need for a quality "tourism liaison" is such a huge question of pay equity and a "fairness issue" that private money is needed.

How about being fair to our 17,000 working families who get minimum wage and live below the poverty line? Just this year, the minimum wage went to $6.25 per hour. That's $13,200 a year on average for a 40-hour week.Poverty guidelines for 2002 show a family of three in Hawai'i is still in poverty at $21,600.

Lingle's top Cabinet member gets about $85,000 per year, but that's not enough, apparently. She wants the tourism liaison to match industry standards (the Hawai'i Tourism Authority executive director gets $240,000). That would be a 282 percent increase in salary. Will Lingle propose raising the minimum wage from $6.25 to $17.62 as "a fairness issue"?

Probably not. But, at the very least, fairness calls for raising minimum wages in Hawai'i to over the poverty line — that is, from $13,200 to $21,600 per year.

Patrick Stanley

Nevada has a better way for pedestrians

We moved to northern Nevada 18 months ago. There are a lot of elderly citizens here and a few pedestrian accidents. The main thing we had to learn, coming from a lifetime of driving in Honolulu, was that the law here requires that drivers stop if a pedestrian is waiting at a crosswalk on their side of the street.

Busy four-lane streets come to a halt on both sides when someone is waiting. This also carries over to other streets or places where there are no crosswalks. Drivers stop.

This is so different from the way it is in Hawai'i, where, as a pedestrian, you must wait for a long time to cross a busy street and then feel you have to run because the cars coming toward you will rarely slow down. Here, the pedestrians have the right-of-way, even before they are in the street. Strange for us to learn, but nice.

Police here have set up "sting" operations wherein an undercover "pedestrian" waits to cross and cars that do not stop are then ticketed by a waiting patrol officer.

Perhaps Honolulu lawmakers could look into giving pedestrians a break and passing a similar law. It's safer and feels much friendlier.

Carla Murakami

There's a better way for bus rapid transit

Here is a simple idea for a bus rapid transit that can run from Makaha all the way to Ala Moana Shopping Center or even Kapi'olani Park. This will have the least economic impact on our taxpayers, is the easiest to implement and provides federal grant money to the city and state for transit.

Run dedicated busways on H-2, take the airport interchange and exit on Nimitz Highway. Cross over at the Sand Island intersection and run on Nimitz/Ala Moana in contraflow using the medial strip for a bus-tube station (not elevated) a la Curitiba, Brazil.This would be fast and convenient for all involved; however, it would require the state and city to actually work together.

I have studied the Curitiba system as a model for Honolulu. What makes Curitiba a success is city and state cooperation and their not jumping on the rail bandwagon.

Guillermo Colon

Many contributed to Korean centennial

These past weeks, Hawai'i was the site of a unique celebration of 100 years of Korean immigration to the United States.

As the Centennial Committee for Korean Immigration, it was our honor and pleasure to offer the local community opportunities to learn more about Korean culture and the individuals in our midst who come from this proud heritage, and to meet Korean leaders, artists and performers.

It was an even greater honor for us to receive invaluable support for the multitude of events, particularly from the U.S. federal government, Korean agencies and local organizations, in order to produce the Korean Broadcasting System's open concert in such a short time frame.

These groups and individuals went beyond what we imagined in their commitment, encouragement and tangible support — without which we could not have executed our program.

KBS' decision to develop this production in Honolulu will do so much to enhance the image of Hawai'i and to illuminate for all to understand the pivotal role that Hawai'i played in the Korean immigration experience. This event was truly a fitting culmination of several years of events that have celebrated the achievements of the first Korean immigrants in the face of unspeakable hardships.

We thank all who participated and the Hawai'i community for being part of this event and for accepting the Korean centennial as your own and in your hearts.

Janis Koh
Korean Centennial Committee

Don't measure schools by comparative funding

Jerome Manis is a bit hasty in his criticism of Gov. Lingle's DOE reform proposals (Letters, Jan. 8).

Hawai'i taxpayers support one of the most expensive governments in the United States. Waste and fraud at UH and in the DOT are not arguments for similar taxpayer abuse by the DOE. It is a mistake to use the fraction of total state and local expenditures devoted to government schools to measure the government's commitment to education.

Another problem with interstate comparisons of aggregate budget or per capita expenditures is that a smaller fraction of Hawai'i's population is of school age, and a larger fraction of the school-age population attends independent schools. Taxpayers have no obligation to students who do not exist.

The relation between per-pupil spending and performance is weak. The world's top-performing countries (measured by the Third International Math and Science Study) are not the top-spending countries. The top-performing U.S. states are not the top-spending states.

Decentralization is no barrier to funding equity. Across the U.S., small school districts cost less, per pupil, to operate, and they do a better job.

Malcolm Kirkpatrick

UH volleyball team needs your support

Hawai'i is proud of its UH volleyball program. But you would not be aware of that if you attended a game. Attendance has been diminishing due to many reasons: television, higher ticket prices, and competing activities and midweek schedules.

Chief Vili has a difficult job keeping the noise level up from the fans, whose average age is in the upper 50s. Can we turn this around?

Eldred Kagawa

Here's why police officers leave

I recently resigned from the HPD. I wish to thank Chief Donohue, my supervisors and colleagues for a great experience. I value their leadership and friendship. I leave HPD well-trained and -experienced. The state of Washington will reap the benefits of the experience I gained in Hawai'i.

I would also like to thank the people of the City & County of Honolulu. You are what makes our Police Department the success it is. On the day of my resignation, the state attorney general released the recent crime statistics. Not surprisingly, there are significant increases in property offenses.

I strongly encourage citizens to find out why, and suggest that you need to look no further than the district and circuit courthouses. Then you, like me and many others, probably will leave there just shaking your head in disgust or disbelief.

Want to know why the State of Hawai'i received poor marks from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers? Go to District Court, courtroom 7A. How does a woman who was so drunk that she crashed her car into a light pole on Ala Wai Boulevard, then reversed into a fire hydrant, manage to get her case dismissed, claiming that the prosecution denied her right to a speedy trial when she herself was responsible for the delays caused by her firing one attorney after another?

This case is not the exception. Judges here routinely overrule common sense in favor of indulging privately retained defense attorneys who demand continuances for the specific purpose of causing unreasonable delays with the goal of having cases dumped for technical legal reasons.

Want to know why hookers still hustle tourists, family members and friends on the public sidewalks of Waikiki? Go to District Court, courtroom 7B. How about the defense, "I knew he was a cop, I was only joking." How does that work? The legislative intent of the street solicitation statute is crystal-clear. How does a convicted prostitute with prior convictions get probation? Where is the oversight?

How is it that a convicted felon who shows up for sentencing simply runs out of the courtroom when he realizes he might go to jail? Go to many courtrooms, and there isn't a deputy sheriff to be found.

You see, the police, the Legislature and the prosecutor's office are all working hard to protect the public, yet they face an uphill battle every day. Catching criminals is not the problem. The people need better results from the courts.

Demand it. You deserve it.

I don't want to belabor the low-wage issue facing the Police Department, along with the continuing exodus of officers, but consider this: Police officers cannot strike — we look for our futures elsewhere.

Patrick Maher
Federal Way, Wash.