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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, July 25, 2003

Letters to the Editor

Principals set tone for school discipline

I respectfully disagree with Laura Ridler (Letters, July 15) on parents being responsible for the child's discipline.

I have been a teacher for 16 years, and I can tell you that there has been a decline in discipline in the last eight or so years. The principal does set the tone for the school. If the students know that all their parents have to do is call and their punishment will go away, they do it.

I worked in a school in Virginia Beach, Va., where if you had the right connections and your parents made a phone call, you were allowed to come back to school regardless of your action. When I worked at a school in Hinesville, Ga., the principal set the tone that no matter who your parents were or what your position on a sports team was, if you did the "crime," you did the time.

Parents aren't always teaching discipline. A fine example of parenting gone awry is the young person accused of shooting the man in Punchbowl. From what I read, the young man was supposed to have been in Samoa until his 18th birthday. Obviously, they knew he was here and not in Samoa.

Terri Hammersmith Glotfelty
'Ewa Beach

Tourism promotion being done all wrong

Do the public a favor and disband the HTA and get rid of the HVCB. Investigate both organizations and the Neighbor Island organizations connected to them, MVB and the others.

It just shows the arrogance of these people, who are supposed to be working for the people of Hawai'i. They are not producing, and they continue to get paid high salaries.

If they don't produce tourism in a responsible and ethical manner, these people should be out.

Look around the state; all the islands look like Southern California. Only Moloka'i has the atmosphere of what Hawai'i used to be: wide-open spaces, no congestion, and clean air and water. The magic is gone on the other islands. The rest of the world is packed with people everywhere; visitors want to get away from the crowds.

Each island should have its own organization to promote it, and no outsiders from other islands should be telling them how to promote their island.

Julie Lopez

Conference provides opportunities for girls

On May 5, there appeared an article by Leigh Strape, Associated Press, entitled "Study looks at jobs filled by women." It stated that "women are more educated and employed at higher levels than ever before ..." and "The bad news is that the new high-tech economy is leaving women behind."

For the past 11 years, the American Association of University Women, Honolulu branch, has been actively involved in turning the bad news around.

Each January, a half-day conference provides opportunities for fifth- and sixth-grade girls to meet successful women in the community in jobs requiring math, science or technology skills. Girls Engaged in Math and Science (GEMS) has as its goals:

• To stimulate and increase young women's interest in math and science by demonstrating the excitement and fun in learning and by emphasizing the importance of these educational areas in daily life.

• To foster awareness of career opportunities in math and science fields available in the 21st century by providing students the opportunity to meet women working in these fields.

The 2004 conference will be Jan. 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Kapi'olani Community College. Registration is on a first-come basis, with a limit of 250. Applications will be available in October through public or private schools, as well as from AAUW-Honolulu Branch, 1802 Ke'eaumoku St., Honolulu, HI 96822; phone 537-4702.

Beverly Aiwohi
Jane M. Asher
GEMS 2004 coordinators

ACLU defends against all government abuse

Sarah Kawanishi's assertion (Letters, July 18) about whom the ACLU chooses to defend is patently incorrect. The ACLU defends all people whose fundamental rights, as delineated by our Bill of Rights, are ignored or violated by our government.

If you check its record, the ACLU has defended the spectrum of citizens that makes up our United States of America.

Oftentimes, we are able to work with government to rectify injustices without litigation. But there are instances when, as a last resort, the ACLU must go to court to secure the rights of our citizens or organizations from governmental abuse or neglect.

We hope that citizens become more familiar with their Bill of Rights and hold their government officials responsible for defending them. They belong to all of us. As more individuals become aware of the Bill of Rights and assert their rights when the government oversteps its authority, there will be less need for the ACLU.

Vanessa Y. Chong
Executive director
ACLU of Hawai'i

Overthrow important for Hawai'i's progress

Gee, we have a statue of King Kamehameha in the U.S. Capitol — a celebration of the man who led the war of aggression that illegally overthrew the kingdoms of Maui and O'ahu. Maybe we should also have statues of the people who led the citizens' overthrow of the corrupt kingdom that ensued.

Seriously, though, the conquest by Kamehameha (aided by foreigners) was a necessary step in the forward progress of Hawai'i, and the ensuing kingdom let Hawai'i join the nations of the world united instead of being picked off piecemeal.

Similarly, the overthrow of the kingdom by Hawaiian citizens and the ensuing annexation and statehood were necessary steps in the forward progress of Hawai'i as part of a powerful sovereign nation instead of its being annexed by force by any of several other interested nations, which would not have been nearly as good for Hawai'i or its people as has the United States of America.

Bob Gould

It doesn't take a purist to spot paper's errors

Emmett Cahill's letter of July 16, "Grammatical error isn't necessarily bad," refers to "gripes from purists" mentioned in the After Deadline column by Anne Harpham. He gives an example describing a gas station "across the YMCA" instead of "across from the YMCA" and asks, "Did the word 'from' add anything to the facts?" Well, no, if the writer meant "on the YMCA."

Here is another one: A June 9 Advertiser headline states "Bush insists Iraq had banned arms program." If Iraq "had banned" the arms program, one would wonder why the president is still looking for them. Well, the headline really meant to say "Iraq possessed banned arms."

In his May 31, 2001, article about the making of the movie "Pearl Harbor," Derek Paiva describes "an eye-popping re-creation of America's day of infamy." Well, he meant to say "Japan's day of infamy," right?

An Advertiser news services item of July 1, 1999, is titled "Author contributes to lives of crime." Oh, really? Nope, she just contributed $1.5 million for an institute to train forensic scientists and pathologists in Virginia. That's all.

And here is a genuine pearl of a headline from an article by Ken Kobayashi from June 26, 1998: "Promotion of prostitution upheld by Supreme Court in Kaua'i case." A hint: A word is missing. OK, OK. One more: It's about lap dancing ...

George Avlonitis

Gas price caps would have negative effects

In his July 16 letter, Sen. Ron Menor argues that gas price caps are needed to protect Hawai'i consumers from excessively high gasoline prices in Hawai'i.

The gasoline price caps were enacted in 2002, but with a delayed effective date of July 2004, so the likely impact of the new law could be determined prior to implementation. Hawai'i would be the only state to impose price caps.

At the request of the Legislature, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism has been working with a team of independent experts to study the reasons for high gas prices in Hawai'i and to predict the likely consequences of imposing gas caps. In its interim report to the Legislature in January, the team of experts disclosed a preliminary conclusion that price caps, as enacted in 2002, would probably result in higher prices, greater price volatility, closure of some stations and possible gas shortages.

The final report is expected very soon.

Maurice Kaya
Chief technology officer, DBEDT

Restaurant patron came to the rescue

On July 16, an unfortunate event was followed by an overwhelming gesture of kindness at Nick's Fishmarket in Waikiki.

A patron at Nick's, dining with his wife in a nearby booth, took it upon himself to brighten our night after overhearing that our wallet had been lost. This patron, known to us only as "Mark," discreetly informed our waiter that he would like to treat us to dinner.

With conflicting emotions of disheartenment at losing the wallet and gratitude and awe at this extreme display of Good Samaritanism, we didn't know how to act or what to do. We are truly at a loss for the right words to express how appreciative we are of the wonderful deed done by this extraordinary man named Mark.

Much mahalo and God bless. Your kindness is a true example of the aloha spirit.

Darren Muranaka
Amy Kushiyama

Carlisle's proposed ice solution is shocking

I have been reading with shock and horror about city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle's proposed "final solution" to the ice epidemic. I agree that it is a terrible problem, but dehumanizing the people who are suffering from a recognized disease is unconscionable.

There are many recovering ice addicts who are productive members of society. Is it easy? No. Does it take time, love, dedication and caring? Yes.

If I remember correctly, the last time government advocated putting the sick, weak, mentally challenged or whomever they didn't like in "camps" was World War II Germany, and the man advocating this "final solution" was Adolf Hitler — an example I would hope Hawai'i would choose not to emulate.

Suzi Fellows

Numbers don't add up about elderly drivers

A Sunday editorial discloses that the number of drivers over 70 has increased 32 percent but that the associated fatal crashes has increased only 20 percent, not 32 percent as would be expected. This is a performance improvement of 31 percent.

I wonder if other age groups are showing this much improvement?

Perhaps there are competing risks on which the additional testing money would be better spent.

Harry E.P. Krug Jr.

Campaign violations brought little penance

It really frosts me that SSFM International CEO Michael Matsumoto and others are receiving slaps on the wrist for implementing programs of illegal campaign contributions: small fines (especially compared to the fees they were paid), community service and probation — no criminal record, no suspensions or restrictions on participating in future government contracts.

These firms did a cost-vs.-benefit analysis and determined there was very little downside and much to gain. They were right — crime does pay. Why else would these people knowingly violate state campaign and money-laundering laws?

While I agree with Judge Sakamoto that "Mr. Matsumoto engaged in a common pattern and practice that have existed for several years and has been through several generations of campaigns," I must add that the pattern and practice are common only to those in the "pay to play" game. And, the game is played not only in the Honolulu mayoral campaigns but the Maui mayoral campaigns and the state gubernatorial campaigns, as the records have shown.

Judge Sakamoto goes on to say the practice gave "unfair advantage to the campaigns ... really diminished the integrity of the (voting) process." Well, I believe the same can be said for the consulting firms. SSFM and others systematically played the "pay to play" game over the years in both the county and state arenas, resulting in unfair advantage and diminished integrity in the awarding of consulting contracts.

The majority of the design and consulting firms out there knew the difference between right and wrong and had the integrity not to cross the line.

In sports, the referee or umpire ejects players from the game and suspends them from future games for violating the rules. Where are our referees and umpires in all of this? Judge Sakamoto and Mr. Mayor? Should not these players, these teams, be heavily fined, suspended from engaging in government contracts and forfeit some games?

Kathe Meier