Letters to the Editor
Hawai'i, show your support for troops
In light of the current war, where are all the Americans? There seems to be no support in neighborhoods around O'ahu supporting our troops fighting on behalf of all of us in America and elsewhere in the world.
When the World Trade Center was attacked, almost every resident in Hawai'i donned some sort of support apparel, stickers and flags were everywhere. Now it isn't even evident that something is happening in our lives, a major war.
Hawai'i, wake up. Just because it isn't happening to you, many of our people are there fighting on your behalf. They could be dead, prisoners of war or injured, but the worst we suffer is lack of visitors get real!
I encourage everyone to get behind our troops. This is real, it's happening and nothing you can do can change it pray and support it in the American Way!
We are killing people who didn't harm us
People who rage at anti-war protesters (Letters, March 25) forget one thing: Unlike in Afghanistan, we are killing people who didn't do anything to us.
We name this war "Iraqi Freedom," but not much that we've seen so far suggests that Iraqis want to be freed this way.
Looking at the moving images of American POWs, we must think of the images we don't see: the Syrian civilians killed by our errant bomb, Baghdad Iraqis who end up as "collateral damage." We must not fall into the trap of thinking that these lives mean less than American ones.
Nancy P. Moss
Blood quantum view alienates the majority
Emmett Lee Loy's March 22 letter illustrates that he does not understand that his stance alienates the majority of people with Hawaiian blood.
The collective voice of 450,000 full- or part-Hawaiians is louder than the voice of the 80,000 Hawaiians with at least 50 percent native blood. A unified stance of all with Hawaiian blood is needed to fight off those who threaten Hawaiian institutions and culture.
Few Americans were part of 1893 revolution
Lorrin A. Thurston was not my great-uncle (as erroneously stated in two letters to the editor because of an editor's error). As clearly stated in my book "Hawaiian Sovereignty, Do the Facts Matter," he was my grandfather.
Letter writer Damon Senaha wonders who were the American citizens being protected by U.S. Minister Stevens when he brought ashore the 162 men from the USS Boston, a move that had been taken several times in earlier years at moments of crisis.
As he could discover by reading Chapter 5 of my book, which describes in detail the events that led to the revolution, there were well over 1,000 Americans in residence in Honolulu who were not part of the revolutionary group. That group of 13 or as letter writer Michael Lafreniere calls them, "a handful of foreign-born, greedy, self-interested traitors" was comprised of seven subjects of the monarchy (including L.A. Thurston, one of three Island-born members of the committee), four citizens of America and two Europeans. All were residents and taxpayers of Hawai'i.
In 1893, Cleveland's "fact finder" to Hawai'i, James H. Blount, wrote in his report that the 5,500 members of the city's Annexation Club at that time included 1,218 Americans (22 percent of the club); 1,022 Native Hawaiians (19 percent); 251 Englishmen (5 percent); 2,261 Portuguese (41 percent); 69 Norwegians (1 percent); 351 Germans (6 percent), along with 328 persons unclassified but making up the balance.
Lafreniere's assertion that my grandfather should rightly have been hanged for treason was the queen's viewpoint also. When President Cleveland sent Minister A.S. Willis to replace Stevens as minister and also order the revolutionists to return the kingdom to Lili'uokalani, she overplayed her hand by telling Willis she'd have them hanged when she got control, which caused Cleveland to abandon that course and recognize the new Republic of Hawai'i.
Notably, when the queen's abortive counterrevolution failed in 1895, the republic confined her to the palace for a few months instead of hanging anyone.
Elimination of carpool lanes is a no-brainer
I'm astonished it takes an outsider to divine what the Department of Transportation should be doing with regard to improving traffic flow on the H-1. Exactly what are DOT engineers doing during the average workday?
Anyway, the UH professor responsible for the study ought to be commended but one suggestion he didn't make stands out: elimination of carpool lanes.
During the morning and afternoon rush hours, I'll bet less than 5 percent of traffic qualifies to use the carpool lanes. This is an obvious waste of a perfectly good lane, not to mention a failed attempt at social engineering, and to convert it back to "general" use is a zero-cost no-brainer. All it takes is the removal of a few signs.
Students 'stuck' in Islands a sad note
As a Hawai'i public-schooled student, I had the honor of traveling off-island with my high school band twice, first to Pasadena, then to Japan. Hawai'i kids are limited in their group travels because of costs and opportunities.
I understand the concerns of parents, administrators, faculty and students in this tense time. I would like to point out that the world keeps on turning with or without war, during times of economic depression and economic growth. The opportunity to travel is an experience that sometimes only comes once in a blue moon.
The recent "outbreak" of atypical pneumonia in Hong Kong has been limited. Please check your maps and notice where Hong Kong and Beijing are, and notice that, to my knowledge, there have been no reported cases of the outbreak in Beijing.
As to the matters of the terror attacks and the war, I feel safer in Hong Kong than I would in the United States. Maybe it is the strict, swift rigorousness of the Chinese government, the security or visible police I'm not sure, but I feel extremely safe. I have many classmates who are currently studying in Egypt. I do worry about them because of their proximity to the war zone. There are always risks when traveling internationally; common sense often is a nice rule of thumb.
The cancellations or delays of school trips is a sad, sad note of the fate of some Hawai'i students "stuck" on an island.
Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Encourage your council member on recycling
It's really wonderful (again) to see Mayor Harris' commitment to protecting our island environment with his new curbside recycling program.
This new project has made me think a bit more seriously about our island's sustainability and limited resources. I encourage everyone to take that extra 10 or 15 minutes each week to recycle and help keep our island home pristine.
Please call your council member right away and encourage him or her to support this wonderful program.
Judy S. Murata
Education plan must focus on the classroom
In spite of much publicity over a $3 million cut to the education budget, Gov. Lingle reveals that the education budget continues to increase.
It is true that education spending increased from $134 million in 1970 to over $1.3 billion today for about the same number of students with no marked improvement in student performance or teacher pay.
Meanwhile, House Education Chairman Roy Takumi and House Finance Chairman Dwight Takamine seem to agree with the governor. Rep. Takumi stated, "It's like if you're at a job and you get a $50 raise and you're happy, but then the company says, 'Oh, by the way, we're going to take your desk away.' " Except the reality is that it is the district administrators who just had their pay increased this year by about $30,000 to $115,000 each, resulting in even fewer dollars available to the students. It is the teachers' and students' "desks that are being taken away," figuratively and literally.
Rep. Takamine says, "You have to understand what is behind the numbers: The growth in the budget is in areas farthest removed from the classroom."
How many dollars flow to the classroom out of the entire budget? Any governance plan on the table must show how it empowers principals, teachers, parents and students, not bureaucrats.
Residents should be able to vote on gaming
Why continue to watch more than 500,000 Hawai'i citizens spend $300 per day in Las Vegas each year?
Think of the social benefits derived from 1 million more tourists per year spending $500 per day. Think of new tax revenue for support of education, social programs, support for the homeless, tax relief and so many other benefits. How about 5,000 new jobs to support a single large casino on O'ahu and profit-sharing that would raise low-income families to median levels?
There is no single business sector that would not be positively affected by annual spending of more than $400 million on local goods and services.
It is time for the state government to allow the population of Hawai'i to openly discuss this issue in a controlled forum. There is a bright future for a Hawai'i that seizes the initiative and recognizes that it is being left behind, both economically and financially, simply because those in authority will not allow gaming to be publicly debated toward a statewide referendum.
Cutting into traffic at off-ramp irritating
On the freeway, many people cut into traffic lanes on the Kapi'olani off-ramp. My mother and I notice this when driving to school from Kahala to Manoa. As we inch our way slowly to our destination, people zoom up on the side of us and turn on their blinkers to cut into our lane.
It aggravates me when people do that, because all they do is zoom up and cut in front of everyone who has been waiting patiently. They should wait, too; it's only fair.
I know this issue affects many people. For all those cutters out there, as hard as it could be, please wait in line just like the rest of us. You would be making everyone else happy and preserving our aloha spirit.
Eighth-grade student, Mid-Pacific Institute
Administration erring on drug plan dates
I am perplexed by the Lingle administration's insistence that the prescription drug programs that the Legislature passed last year do not take effect until January 2005 and that the administration's program takes effect now.
The governor used this 2005 date in a letter to the editor on Feb. 7. Bob Awana, her chief of staff, used the same date in his letter of March 19.
The Healthy Hawai'i program, which benefits 170,000 people without drug insurance, will be implemented this year once we receive the waiver from the federal government and the governor releases the funds that she has restricted. Unless she releases the funds, this program will never be implemented.
The Hawai'i Rx program will take effect on July 1, 2004. I don't know where the administration got its date.
Last, the governor's program, Prescription Care Hawai'i, will not go into effect for at least six months. While I support this program, stating that it will help people now is not accurate.
We can always disagree on the best way to help our community. But the public interest is best served when the facts are presented accurately. I would hope that the Lingle administration believes this, too.
Rep. Roy Takumi
D-36th Dist. (Pearl City, Palisades)
Help libraries out with security guard cutback
If our public library system is short of money, why can't it cut back on its underemployed security guards instead of library hours?
I understand that the main library needs this sort of thing, but at the three neighborhood libraries I frequent, the poor guards just stand there looking at people. I once asked the state library director about this waste of funds. She told me that individual libraries decide whether they needed guards, that kids come into libraries after school and the librarians don't want to be disciplinarians.
I've been at libraries afternoons (and lots of other times) and never saw anybody who needed disciplining. Even if that were the case, a retired schoolteacher volunteer might be able to handle after-school hours. Failing that, can't they give the security guards something to do, like putting books back on shelves, while waiting for something that needed their clout?