Letters to the Editor
City wasting money on community signs
Two million dollars for community identification signs? What a joke!
In times of a "municipal budget crunch" ("New signs of costly times," June 15), the city can come up with all kinds of money for these overpriced projects. The city finds it more important to spend a half a million dollars to let the people "know they're entering a residential area and should slow down" rather than focusing on the education of our children and preservation of our Islands.
The city can never seem to find any funds for the most important resource our children. And what about a recycling program that could help to preserve our environment? It is sad that the city finds more ways to waste money than ways to invest it wisely.
Democrats are yelling 'Shut up and deal'
It is no surprise to see the seething resentment at the success of our governor, Linda Lingle. After years of cronyism and pork-barrel politics nearly bankrupting the citizens and the state of Hawai'i, the Democrats are shooting blanks. They have only words of dislike, disdain and distortion.
This governor and her supporters stopped tax increases, secured release of the funds for Hawaiian Homelands, tirelessly hammered out a reasonable budget, and exposed pockets of slush funds and unreasonable requests. The list goes on, from opening up the state purchasing process to being unafraid to say when the performance of state employees is below expectation of the people.
The sting of the bright light and simply spoken truths are not easily accepted after years of being able to do whatever suits the government or the government employees.
Politics is not a sporting event, so there are no "good sports" when they lose. Not only have the Democrats lost the governor's position, but every day more and more is learned about their years of deceit and dishonesty.
Citizens of Hawai'i are proud to have a leader with the intelligence, integrity and stamina to fulfill our hope for "A New Beginning for Hawai'i."
Maui County Republican Party
'Special relationship' with Hawaiians wrong
Attorney General Mark Bennett said he made the case that Hawaiian-only programs were based not on race but on "a special trust relationship established between Native Hawaiians and the U.S." ("Feds clear grants for Native Hawaiians," June 13).
What kind of hogwash is that? What is this "special trust relationship" that was established? Explain to the citizens of the United States of America how and why you are pushing to give U.S. citizens, only of Polynesian heritage, grants of more than 31 million tax dollars? That so-called "special trust relationship" is nothing more than a fairy tale. A politically correct double-talk, to try to screen out what it actually is: racial discrimination and it's illegal.
Mr. Bennett also said Congress has the right and plenary power to provide for Native Hawaiians. Is that true, Mr. Bennett, even when it is racially based? I think not, Mr. Attorney General.
By the way, what is a Native Hawaiian? Give us a definition. I know they migrated here from Polynesia. Doesn't this make those in question of Polynesian heritage? What blood quantum do they have to be 100 percent? Fifty percent? Twenty-five percent? Or just a guess?
What right does Congress have to be racially biased? None.
The citizens with a Polynesian heritage living in this state have the same rights as the rest of the citizens living in the United States. However, you politically rationalized that they are "unique" citizens by spending tax money on Polynesian programs that include language immersion schools. At the same time, the U.S. government allows Kamehameha Schools a tax-free status. This is an estate that has billions and educates a select few Hawaiians (those who pass an exam), and the rest are shuffled off to the tax-supported public schools.
Personal vendettas don't belong in budget
A recent "Volcanic Ash" column proves once again that David Shapiro is one of the most astute observers on the Honolulu scene. His "Kobayashi brought us chaos" piece demonstrates the price we all pay when the kind of "get even" politics practiced by Ms. Kobayashi rules.
Last year, Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi criticized Mayor Harris for balancing the budget by refinancing debt. Now, 12 months later, she thinks that's a pretty good idea.
Eliminating $13 million in new revenues that the mayor proposed, yet reducing spending by only $1 million, just doesn't make it.
In this economy especially, there is no place for personal vendettas at budget time or any other time.
Mark R. Arnold
Condition of former Barbers Point appalling
I'd like to thank staff writer William Cole for the article on Kalaeloa (June 16). Having had access to Barbers Point in the past, I was always impressed at how immaculate the base was kept.
The Navy took such pride in Barbers Point and kept the premises clean at all times. Seeing a stray piece of paper on the side of the road was extremely rare.
These days, the base is littered with everything you could think of, and its condition is appalling. It really is a disgrace when Native Hawaiians continue to fight for lands to be returned to their people and all we're left to do with this land is watch it waste away and spoil to ruins.
The military isn't throwing garbage out of its car window while driving through Kalaeloa; it's not using it as a dumping ground. Local people are, and that saddens me. Have we no pride?
How hard would it be to respect the land and throw garbage where it belongs? Some people really don't appreciate what they have back home in Hawai'i until they leave. Appreciate what you have now before it's all gone.
Requiring helmet use doesn't make sense
Dr. Mark Stitham (Letters, June 16) makes a logical point when he advocates helmetless riders post a bond to help cover the cost of head injuries after an accident. In fact, why stop there?
Racecar drivers are required to wear helmets because they reduce the chances of head injury during a race. Why not require all automobile drivers and passengers to wear one of those wonderful inventions?
Helmet advocates insist the helmets do not hinder vision or sound. And it has been proven time and time again that helmets certainly do reduce head injury and medical costs (I would never argue that point).
Therefore, we must carry Dr. Stitham's argument to its next logical level. Let's pass a law that requires all drivers and passengers to put on helmets before driving or riding anywhere in their cars or trucks. Imagine the money taxpayers would save.
You are correct, Dr. Stitham, when you say, "The right to swing your fist ends at the point of another man's chin." That adage also means the right to put a helmet on a head ends with your own head. Wearing a helmet makes sense. Forcing one to wear a helmet does not.
After surfing, what will be next push?
So, surfers want to make surfing a legitimate school sport? I can see it now students being excused from classes to catch waves. There are already a number of sports that are taking students away from classes on a regular basis, such as golf.
Some sports are non-collegiate, such as bowling. What is next? Billiards? Dart throwing? Skateboarding? Fishing? There is a strong interest in Hawai'i in all these activities.
Also, can the DOE handle liability in the event of a drowning or shark attack? Knowing our system, we would probably use a drowning or shark-attack death to create a memorial surfing event.
Mayor Harris must get with the program
The Natatorium should be renovated as a memorial to honor World War I soldiers who were killed in action, but the pool will never be worth its high restoration price.
Former City Council member Donna Mercado Kim said all this about two years ago, but lesser city leaders did not come to her support. As a result, nothing has been done.
Wasn't it also about two years ago that Mayor Harris embarked on his quest for higher office while still in the mayor's seat? Hey Jeremy, this Natatorium controversy would have been resolved a long time ago had the city a competent leader in your office. Toughen up and get with the program.
Stuart N. Taba
It was my lucky day, thanks to the Shimas
On June 11, I lost my wallet in Chinatown. Fortunately, a wonderful couple, Mr. and Mrs. Shima, found the wallet, and on their busy schedule, they delivered it to my home. They did not accept a reward.
I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Shima for their wonderful deed.
Mr. Shima, you said it was my lucky day. Yes, it was, because you and your wife made it happen.
UH should concentrate on education instead
What does it say to the young people of this state when the University of Hawai'i raises tuition, then considers paying June Jones nearly a million dollars a year to coach football? He is a coach who, by some standards, has been successful, but with a record of 31-20, he has been less than 60 percent efficient.
The idea that UH has to be another University of Miami or Florida State is asinine. UH would be much more valuable to the people of this state by concentrating on providing a good, affordable education to the youngsters of Hawai'i.
Thomas N. Kinney
Please keep Brunch
After several years absence on the Mainland, I returned last fall and discovered Brunch on the Beach and have found it to be one of the highlights of the month when I can go to Waikiki, sit in the middle of Kalakaua under a blue umbrella and enjoy great food and superb entertainment. Please continue this wonderful experience, which is enjoyed not only by tourists but by the residents as well.
Kenneth K. Miura
Teachers must address violence in classroom
Rep. Roy Takumi is right when he states that there already is a Board of Education policy addressing school violence and other student misconduct in the schools ("School violence worries teachers," June 15).
Prior to being elected a BOE member, I worked with teachers in the schools for over 11 years, and the problems that existed then obviously have not gone away. Teachers already have the authority to remove disruptive students from the classroom. The final burden of dealing with these disruptive students rests with the administrator.
It was not uncommon then and it is not uncommon now to hear that for fear of retaliation, teachers do not exercise the authority to remove disruptive students from their classrooms. Or, that students are returned to the classroom with smirks on their faces as if to say, "I'm back, and there's nothing you can do."
Lest I sound anti-administration, the fact remains: The buck stops with the school principal, and unless meaningful steps are taken, student misconduct and violence will continue.
My advice to teachers: Read Chapter 19. Know your rights and obligations under Chapter 19. Hold your principal accountable to the requirements of Chapter 19.
And if that's not enough, invoke the health and safety provision of your teachers' contract. If that doesn't work, call your local Board of Education members and tell them that the board's policy on student misconduct is not being implemented. It is the board's duty to monitor and assess whether its policies are being implemented, and unless board members hear from teachers or parents personally, we can only assume that school violence reported in the media is an aberration.
Teachers have the right to teach, and students have the right to learn. Neither can occur when student misconduct becomes the norm. There are laws already on the books guaranteeing those rights. And it is incumbent upon the Board of Education to ensure that these rights are respected.
Mary J. Cochran
Board of Education member