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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Letters to the Editor

New city auditor should have widest authority

Concerning the scope and authority of the new city auditor: This position should have the widest possible charter of operation. No less than authority to audit every city activity, moving and stationary, including the personal expense accounts of the mayor and council members.

It is preferable to conduct early audits of sensitive areas such as progress on construction projects than to be confronted well into a project with the disclosure of fraud, questionable cost overruns, contracts awarded without competitive bidding, etc.

For audits to be limited, even selected and directed by the City Council, is to make the auditor a political tool. Do it right or don't do it at all.

John E. White
Certified internal auditor, retired

Prevention of student problems saves money

As school psychologists with more than a half-century of experience between us, we have repeatedly seen evidence that the prevention of student problems is less costly than interventions after negative behavior develops. Unfortunately, the budget crisis in the state of Hawai'i jeopardizes funding for afterschool activities as well as for school safety programs.

Supervision for homework, organized sports, a nourishing snack and creative play supplement a good classroom education and help sow the seeds for mentally and physically healthy individuals. These activities are positive alternatives to the crime, gang involvement, illegal drug use and alcohol abuse that occur when students are left without the availability of programs such as A-Plus and varsity sports.

In addition, school safety officers on campuses help deter incidents and may prevent students from escalating their destructive and self-destructive behavior.

Joanne Shapiro
Gloria Ann Katz

Theresa Blanco wasn't involved in illegalities

Why would your newspaper want to imply that Theresa Blanco was involved with anything remotely related to illegal practices? I know Tess and Joe Blanco to be of the highest caliber of honesty, integrity and just plain heart.

To put this article on your front page is sensationalism at its worst. It more than proved that she had handled all mistaken appropriation of funds from Sen. Inouye's campaign funds in an honest and forthright manner before anyone needed to bring it to her attention. Yet, the writer chose to imply another wrongdoing on the part of a political group.

I feel an apology is due to Tess and a clarification free of the writer's animus toward these mistakes.

Doug Morton

Social workers group seeks better system

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Hawai'i Chapter, is the professional organization for social workers in the state. We represent over 1,000 members statewide. Many of our members work directly with the child welfare system and were involved in the recent federal review of Hawai'i's system, which your paper reported on July 19.

We are concerned about the safety of our Island keiki and see this review as an opportunity to reform our child welfare system. The preliminary report by the federal review team identified many strengths and areas of improvement of our system. While we are happy to hear that the commitment of all those working in the system is our No. 1 strength, we agree that the system needs additional social workers so they will have manageable caseloads. We also agree that there is a need for ongoing training of foster parents, social workers and supervisors.

NASW will be happy to work with the department in addressing the deficiencies identified in the federal report. We would also like to work with the Department of Human Resource Development to more clearly differentiate between those individuals who have been formally educated as social workers (BSWs, MSWs, DSWs or Ph.D.s) versus those who have other degrees but are hired in social work positions based on substitute experiences.

By working together, we can achieve the goal of providing the best care for the children of Hawai'i.

Debbie Shimizu, LSW
Executive director
National Association of Social Workers, Hawai'i Chapter

Honolulu Airport is on private property

In regard to the July 22 article "OHA sues state over airport money": The Advertiser has its facts wrong. A treaty of annexation was never ratified in the U.S. Senate. They tried twice; they failed.

One of the key testimonies against the treaty of annexation to the United States was the testimony of kingdom auditor Franklin Pratt. Pratt was also ambassador for the Kingdom of Hawai'i in Washington, D.C., so all the U.S. senators knew of him and his reputation.

"The Crown Lands were set apart by the King as his private estate, distinct from the lands he voluntarily surrendered to provide revenue for the government known as the Kingdom Government lands" (San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 19, 1893).

The crown lands are the private property of the Kamehameha family, and the kingdom government lands are the national lands of all the Hawaiian people. The records from Franklin Pratt show that Honolulu Airport sits on kingdom government lands.

As a relative of Kamehameha, I am giving the state, county and federal governments 30 days to pay the rent or vacate the property.

Eric Po'ohina

Motorcycle riding in tandem is dangerous

I am saddened by the horrendous accident last week involving three HPD motorcycle patrol officers, the woman and the 10-year-old girl.

In view of this accident, the HPD should re-evaluate the need for motorcycle officers to ride in formation while en route to an assignment. Yes, it looks "neat," but is it necessary? In one lane, they ride in tandem and usually follow as close behind as they are apart.

In a situation as the one that took place, the riders on either side must react independently of an ensuing situation and not in unison. They were boxed in.

It has been over 40 years since I received my motorcycle operator's license, and I remember to this day my instructor advising me to never ride in tandem because of the dangerous situation it presents.

Ticker-tape parades are fine, but not traveling at 60 mph.

Gary Watanabe

Bus drivers should be better compensated

O'ahu bus drivers are ambassadors of aloha, and if O'ahu Transit Services is unable to provide sufficient benefits and wages for the bus drivers, then the Hawai'i Visitors and Convention Bureau should kick in the needed funds.

It makes more sense to keep our local drivers happy and smiling than to throw money at a few commercials aimed at luring Canadian retirees to Hawai'i. Visitors return to these Islands and plan on longer stays because of the completeness of transit on O'ahu.

Chris Lee

Fire in Makua Valley was heartbreaking

I am disheartened and angry from the recent turn of events in Makua Valley.

I am a young Hawaiian who is being educated on the Mainland, and am thus away from my island home for most of the year. Coming home and seeing my cultural and natural inheritance burned for no apparent reason is heartbreaking. I ask myself, why would the Army, with basic knowledge of wind characteristics, set a fire that has now ravaged the valley it vowed to protect?

I look forward to a day when these natural treasures are protected by people who actually care for them and not by those blind to the spiritual and cultural value of our natural spaces.

Lopaka Purdy

Compact islanders editorial well stated

I want to commend you on a very balanced editorial: "U.S. owes compact islanders much more," July 14.

In it, you made a very important point that the U.S. "provides substantial financial aid to those islands in exchange for certain defense and foreign affairs rights (emphasis added)." In other words, compact funds are made as payment for the "perpetual denial" and "defense veto" rights that have been delegated to the United States under the compact. This is no free money, as some believe.

Under "perpetual denial," the United States can deny any third country from gaining access to the islands for any reason, including military. With this power, the United States has kept countries like China, Russia and others from entering the islands or establishing any influence there. The "defense veto" gives the United States the power to veto any diplomatic initiatives the islands may undertake if, in the judgment of the former, the initiative is not in line with its defense responsibility for the islands.

A second important point you made, which heretofore has not been prominently written about, is the fact that migrants are making positive contributions to their communities and are not just "taking" but are also contributing their fair share to their new homes.

As I have written in previous letters to the editor, the FSM government fully supports fair reimbursements to Hawai'i and any affected U.S. territory for their costs in providing education, healthcare and other services to migrants.

Kasio E. Mida
Consul general
Federated States of Micronesia

Don't single out Harris

Time and again, we read in the papers about the "Harris probe," only to find in the body of the story that alleged offenders also contributed money to Ben Cayetano and Mazie Hirono. I believe it unfair to label this investigation by the Campaign Spending Commission as the "Harris probe" when other politicians are also involved. Mayor Harris is being unfairly singled out by these misleading headlines.

Rolf Nordahl

Abercrombie out of step

Why can't Rep. Abercrombie admit that toppling Saddam was a good thing? I wonder if he was disappointed to hear that Saddam's sons had been killed. Or is it, what is good news for America is good news for Bush, what is good news for Bush is bad news for me? Whom does he represent, the French?

Mike Renald

Kamehameha's statue has no sign despite offer

While Congressmen Abercrombie and Case decry misinformation about Kamehameha at the U.S. Capitol, the king is not being treated much better back home.

Indeed, he is "naked" of any signage that would tell his thousands of visitors when he lived, where he was from, or the wonderful deeds he accomplished during his lifetime.

And these visitors are not all out-of-towners. Hundreds of Hawai'i school kids come to the statue each year to learn about the king.

This disgraceful situation occurs in a state where tourism is critical to our economy, and where there is a tremendous interest in our unique royal history, traditions and culture.

A letter to The Advertiser produced a local businessman who offered to donate an attractive granite sign (worth $5,000) that would present the life of the king. Moved by the Sept. 11 tragedy, he said he wanted to "do something good for the state."

It was then up to the State Foundation on Culture & the Arts to come up with a suitable text and design.

But after a snail's-pace year of delays and inactivity that necessitated my continual prodding, the foundation abruptly decided to hand the project over to a private architectural firm. The reasoning was that signs at all buildings in the downtown area should have the same look (as if that matters to tourists hopping on and off buses).

Not surprisingly, there is still no sign at what is now one of our most popular attractions. And my donor is wondering whatever happened to his generous offer. As a longtime state employee, I am embarrassed because, since last year, the City & County of Honolulu has not only erected numerous signs at Waikiki Beach, but several statues as well.

Until a sign is constructed, as in Washington, ignorance continues to abound. During the recent King Kamehameha Day celebration, I overheard two tourists, who were gazing up at the king.

"Who's that?" one asked.

"The Hawaiian flower god," the other replied.

Isn't it about time we did something?

C. Richard Fassler