Letters to the Editor
The real heroes are those who defend us
A carnation lei to Greg Casler for his June 19 letter answering David Williams' letter concerning military heroes. Mr. Casler hit it right on the head.
Military people do not see themselves as heroes. They see themselves as people doing their jobs in their chosen profession, which just happens to be the security of their country.
I am a retired military man who still works with the military here at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. I work with people I consider "heroes." These are the men and women who had to pack up and leave their families and homes to go to Iraq.
One of my heroes is Staff Sgt. Ron King. I worked with Ron until he went on temporary duty to Saudi Arabia. On June 25, 1996, Ron and 18 American servicemen were killed in the bombing of the Khobar Towers. Ron's daughter just graduated from high school last week without her dad. Those families are my heroes.
Mr. Williams should reassess his loyalties and commitment to his country. Be proud of these heroes.
Vision teams help less affluent areas
As the City Council struggled to form its budget, the vision teams appeared to be an easy target. However, they were established for specific reasons.
The original intent of the vision team process was not only to involve the community at large in planning the future of its neighborhoods, but also to counter the perception that only politically active and affluent communities were receiving funding for projects.
In a recent Honolulu Advertiser article, council Vice Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi was quoted as suggesting that the City Council determine funding levels for community-requested projects. The vision team monies were intended to ensure that each community receive a few projects they chose, without having to compete with other interests.
The original intent was also to provide capital improvement project funding for community projects, which is a separate budget area from the road-maintenance projects proposed by the City Council as a replacement. In fact, many of the first projects proposed by vision teams were rejected because they were considered maintenance, not capital improvements.
I assume that Councilmember Barbara Marshall's quote in your June 19 article "Halt to vision team spending proposed" was taken out of context, and that rather than believing that "It's not their money. It's part of the city budget." Ms. Marshall understands that the City Council is the steward of the community's money, not the owner of collected tax dollars.
Sacrifices must be made across the board, but this is one of the few ways in which less privileged communities have a level playing field.
Dangerous surfing can be well-regulated
What's wrong with having surfing as a school sport? It's already a club in most schools, which means it's also run by the school system.
Surfing is dangerous, yes, but no more so than a high school football game. In fact, more students are injured playing football than surfing.
An experienced surfer knows his or her limitations, and with a few of them running the program and a few well-placed rules and regulations such as a wave-size limit for school contests, we should be able to have an excellent new sport for our public schools.
And Mr. Dempsey (Letters, June 20), if you're worried about students being released from class to surf, think about this: Students are already cutting classes to surf and not getting an education. If we release them for a school function to surf, they must maintain an acceptable passing grade to participate, just like every other sport available.
Surfing is not bad and will only get more popular. Let's help harness what Hawai'i's children love and get them an education at the same time.
Natatorium, Kalaeloa should be used wisely
At long last our local politicos are showing some creative thinking.
Sen. Fred Hemmings' proposal to make the best use of the now-useless Waikiki Natatorium seems to make good sense. What a great venue this would make for our volleyball enthusiasts.
The collaboration between Gov. Linda Lingle and Sen. Dan Inouye to get an aircraft carrier based here is also inspired.
Especially attractive is the possibility of returning some or all of Kalaeloa to the Navy. The federal government has the resources to keep this area clean and functional. The state and city obviously do not.
After years of neglect, Kalaeloa is now totally trashed. Let's put these facilities to good use and keep them maintained.
Why isn't education coming before coach?
Is Hawai'i great or what? June Jones, a football coach (I repeat, a football coach), is the highest-paid state official while at the same time we have dilapidated schools and libraries, potholed roads and underpaid teachers, firefighters and police officers (to name only a few problems).
I seem to be missing something here. So, will someone please tell me why a few hours of pigskin entertainment in the fall is more important than basic issues like public safety and education?
Jones' salary doubled; so did our expectations
It's great to dream, but let's be realistic the University of Hawai'i will never be a perennial powerhouse in football like Texas, Nebraska, Miami or Florida State.
These schools pay their football coaches big money because they always fill their stadiums and go to big bowl games, bringing in millions of dollars. Back here at home, season ticket sales are decreasing while ticket prices need to be increased. Is something wrong here?
I agree that June "It's not about the money" Jones is a very good coach, but $800,000 yikes! Does this big contract guarantee the fans of not only a winning team, but a team that goes to a big bowl game bringing in big money every year?
His salary has more than doubled same as our expectations.
Dr. Rosemond wrong for blaming parents
I was dismayed to read John Rosemond's May 18 column regarding attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the headline that accompanied the column, "Poor parenting may be to blame for ADHD."
Not only does Dr. Rosemond oversimplify a complex issue by blaming parents for children with ADHD, he generalizes about children and families in a way that is neither accurate nor helpful.
Perhaps most egregious was Dr. Rosemond's nostalgic notion of the approach to parenting used prior to the 1960s and 1970s. Romanticizing, oversimplifying and generalizing are unworthy of a "family" psychologist from whom we expect research-driven conclusions with specific information about clinical diagnosis and effective treatment.
Children who struggle with learning differences and their families need accurate diagnoses and effective treatment, as well as support and understanding from all corners of the community.
Head of school
Gas-powered scooters are hazardous, noisy
Regarding the June 21 article "It's official those gas scooters must go": Please add my support of the banning of gasoline-powered scooters from public streets and sidewalks on O'ahu.
They are a safety hazard to innocent bystanders (pedestrians) as well as the children and teenagers riding them.
And the noise just one of those scooters generates in the middle of the night can easily wake hundreds of people from a sound sleep.
Possible future regulation of gas-powered scooters would probably result in something very similar to a motorcycle. I don't think children can legally drive motorcycles. Gas-powered scooters are even more dangerous and disturbing to the peace.
'Townie' lifeguards did a fantastic job
Three cheers for our lifeguards!
One for being fully prepared for the large and powerful swell combined with extreme tides that we experienced last week, one for being dedicated and vigilant, and one for the fantastic job they did.
As a North Shore surfer with nearly 30 years experience, I admittedly thought of "town" waves and the incessant unnecessary "high-surf advisories" as child's play. I was surprised to be pinned to the reef and pretty well humbled by the unexpectedly forceful surf last week a reminder never to lose respect for the ocean.
It's amazing that in these conditions, our lifeguards made over 350 rescues and didn't lose a single person. Luck must play some part because there are surely situations where a life just cannot be saved, yet one thing is absolutely certain: Without the vigilance and training of our lifeguards, many families would be grieving right now.
I am very proud of these men and women, and I think we should all be. So next time you see a lifeguard, tell them, "Good job, braddahs, good job, sistahs, good job!"
Lingle disingenuous on rape victims
In a June 20 article, "Lingle likely to veto 50 bills," The Honolulu Advertiser quotes Gov. Lingle as saying she doesn't understand why the Legislature didn't include an exemption allowing St. Francis Medical Center to refuse to dispense emergency contraceptives to rape victims. We feel compelled to respond because we know that the governor has received numerous letters from national experts that fully explain the reason no religious exemption was included in the bill.
On March 25, the governor was provided with a copy of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) specifically pointing out, Part III, Directive 36: "Compassionate and understanding care should be given to a person who is the victim of sexual assault. ... A female who has been raped should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault. If, after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation or fertilization."
Catholics for Free Choice wrote the governor on May 2: "An enclosed study, released by CFFC in December 2002, analyzes the sexual assault treatment practices of Catholic hospitals. Importantly, over 200 Catholic emergency rooms nationwide routinely provide emergency contraceptives to rape survivors."
In addition, the governor received a letter from the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project on June 12, which stated: "We want to emphasize that the federal Constitution does not require the inclusion of a refusal clause (religious exemption) in this legislation."
The U.S. Supreme Court has clearly held that the Constitution "does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability" on the ground that the law conflicts with his or her religious beliefs. A religiously affiliated institution has no federal constitutional right to refuse to abide by a general law requiring the provision of reproductive health services."
The governor also knows that the emergency room of St. Francis is operated by contract personnel and not by St. Francis itself.
The governor knows about the trauma to rape victims because Adriana Ramelli, executive director of the Sex Abuse Treatment Center at Kapi'olani Medical Center, met with her staff and briefed it on this issue. She also knows how emergency contraception works because our medical director met with her staff and briefed it.
We believe that the governor understands, she just disagrees that is certainly her prerogative. But, she should not lead people to believe that both the Legislature and the governor have not been fully informed.
Rape is a crime of violence. These women did not ask to have sex, they were forced to and for the governor to force them to become pregnant by withholding emergency contraceptives is callous and appalling, and this we understand.
Barry Raff, MPH
CEO, Planned Parenthood of Hawai'i