Letters to the Editor
Shapiro's commentary missing critical facts
David Shapiro made serious allegations against me without checking out the facts (Volcanic Ash, May 7).
I introduced SB 459 (campaign spending) this past session, the exact bill that Gov. Cayetano vetoed the previous session because it exempted legislators. This time I had the exemption deleted. Thereafter, input came from others, too, not just from me. For example, SD 1 of the bill was the final product of the chairwoman of our Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs.
As for the conference committee drafts, we chose the House draft to work with. The final conference draft of SB 459 was poised to pass on the last day of the session. However, the House chose to recommit the bill, thus killing it for the session.
I note again that the final conference draft was not my work product alone, but that of the entire conference committee.
In his May 14 column, Shapiro mentions his personal medical problems and how disgruntled readers refer to his column as "volcanic ass," and suggests that cultivating humor "would help breed the creativity and good will we need to get on top of our problems." This commentary comes after he e-mailed me the following message on May 12: "Sen. Kawamoto: I wanted to let you know that I received your letter (of 5/8/03) and reviewed the points you made. I remain comfortable with what I wrote, but I'll certainly take your views into consideration if I visit this subject again."
That does not make his May 7 commentary any less egregious.
Sen. Cal Kawamoto
D-18th District (Waipahu/Pearl City)
Blaming missionaries over morality wrong
In his defense of cockfights, Ken Kamal Kapoor (Letters, May 14) turns to the missionaries who "came to Hawai'i from the Mainland" to declare certain practices in Hawai'i, such as immorality, "shameful" and "uncivilized" (his quotes) according to their standards.
Weren't infanticide and human sacrifices at the temples shameful and uncivilized? The ali'i thought they were when, in 1819, they abolished the Hawaiian religion, burned the temples and the idols, and banned the tabus (laws of unspeakable oppression to the people).
That was less than a year before the first company of a handful of missionaries arrived in Hawai'i.
Mr. Kapoor mentions, sarcastically, the laws against immorality passed by ... the missionaries in the 1800s.
This, notwithstanding his imitation of Pidgin English, reveals his ignorance of elementary Hawaiian history. The king and the council of high chiefs passed laws against immorality in the early 1820s.
The missionaries taught right and wrong because, after the overthrow of the tabus, there were no laws regulating the life of the kingdom.
In the 1950s, the Rev. Abraham Akaka said, "Everything that is good today in Hawai'i we owe to the missionaries." Does Mr. Kapoor know who that was?
Innovative leadership needed for our problems
As my plane descended from the clouds, there in a sparkling sea of blue was an emerald jewel O'ahu. A first-time visitor to Hawai'i, I was stunned by what was to me a surreal scene from my airplane window. All was pristine the colors so vivid. That was 21 years ago.
Back on the Mainland, nothing could erase that initial scene from my mind. I had to move to Paradise.
Now the city wants to stop watering the emerald jewel. How many days have I driven down Nimitz or other roads and seen sprinklers going in pouring-down rain? What about investing in sprinkling systems that water when needed?
Our roads have deteriorated another tourist first impression. The Advertiser reports that the poor condition of the roads will cost each motorist an additional $140-plus per year in maintenance. If I'm going to spend an additional $140 per year in maintenance, doesn't it make as much sense to pay an additional $140 in taxes to repair the roads?
True political leadership is innovative and solves problems rather than throwing political temper tantrums. Most important, the best leaders inspire citizens to want to do what is needed.
Just pretend we are at an amusement park
Readers are writing The Advertiser regarding rumble strips on the Pali Highway (state). Motorists don't want them.
Readers are writing about potholes all over the island (city and state). Editors of The Advertiser wrote about the delaying of repairs.
Mike Leidemann wrote that streets are in poor condition and that the jolts and bumps are not your imagination.
A Feb. 4 Advertiser headline read "Hawai'i road upkeep rated nation's worst." This was reported by the Surface Transportation Policy Project, based on federal data.
People are writing about the city putting medial strips in communities where motorists and residents do not want them. Two traffic lanes are taken away so as to inconvenience the motorists. Leidemann recently wrote that streets will have to be widened by 2005. (The city really makes sense, huh?)
Now I have figured it out. It makes no difference as to what motorists or residents want or need. Let's forget the rumble strips and potholes and just pretend we are at an amusement park riding the roller coaster.
And regarding the medial strips: Let's just pretend we are in heaven among the beautiful grasses and trees, and that there are no such things as drivers who want convenient roads.
In other words, Big Brother knows best what is good for us.
High gasoline prices don't make sense
I have a bone to pick. Why are we, the residents of Hawai'i, paying over $2 a gallon for gas while the rest of the nation is doing a buck-and-a-half?
I can understand that Hawai'i could be a nickel higher, but why 50 cents higher? If it is because of the Hawai'i gasoline tax surcharge, I don't see how and what purpose that does for the roads in Hawai'i. Perhaps we could use the surcharge to alleviate our traffic problems.
In my humble opinion, the wholesalers are the ones pocketing more than they are entitled to. We went through this whole charade a while back, and the state actually won its lawsuit against these people. The bottom line is that we are not better off now than we were before the lawsuit was filed.
I spend over $200 a month for gasoline, and that is totally absurd. Everything in life has a balance, and, obviously, things are not in balance. If Linda Lingle were to pay for her own gas, then I would think we would be getting results (fast).
Crystal meth dealers should get life terms
Government and politicians seem to be missing the point over the crystal meth problem: Drug dealers get off too easy.
Everyone knows the havoc crystal methamphetamine has wreaked on families and society throughout Hawai'i. We need harsher and stiffer penalties for drug dealers. It is frustrating to see drug dealers back on the streets doing their unproductive thing after just getting busted.
The way crystal meth has become a wicked problem for the state of Hawai'i, drug dealers should be put behind bars for life. After all, they create much harm to people and society through addiction, health problems and property crimes.
Too much attention has been spent on addicts and not on the drug dealers who start this problem in the first place. Cutting the supply is the first way to solve the problem.
There's a better way to deal with peacocks
It is sad that Makaha Valley Towers wants to "control" peacocks on the property by killing them. The board of directors should look to the success of the trap-neuter-return program in Hawai'i that has made impressive progress toward cutting down on the number of feral cats on O'ahu.
According to Hawaiian Humane Society statistics, the number of stray cats brought to the Humane Society from July to November 2000 was 44 percent lower than during the same period in 1999. This is strong evidence that trap-neuter-return works.
The idea is simple: Volunteers "trap" males, which are then neutered and returned to the wild, and unwanted litters are not produced. Can't the board of directors use a little foresight in controlling the peacocks instead of going for the quick kill?
Doing it their way is way more expensive because in a few years, they will be calling the Fish and Wildlife Service to come and "thin" the population.
Trap-neuter-return is a truly humane way of dealing with the peacocks that are spoiling the pupu parties of the residents of Makaha Valley Towers. I worry about the mentality of controlling nature when it "misbehaves." If we continue to let the powerful ones have their way, we will be looking at photographs of nature in Hawai'i, not the real thing we know and love.
Understand and listen to our state motto: "Ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina i ka pono" and know that there are many of us who care deeply for our 'aina, our home.
Where did the weapons of mass destruction go?
Secretary of State Powell testified before the United Nations that Iraq had between 100 tons and 500 tons of weapons of mass destruction. Not a single one has been found.
If at least 100 tons are not found in Iraq, we are in greater danger than before the war, because these horrible weapons must be in other countries.
E. Alvey Wright
Education is all about attitude
Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuse us for caring about the quality of education our little ones receive.
"Anyone in the know," as Charlene Hosokawa puts it in her May 13 letter, knows that the longer children are enrolled in Hawai'i's public schools, the poorer their performance in standardized testing.
If we truly want to improve the performance and expectations of our public schools, then require publicly elected and appointed officials and politicians, public-school teachers, administrators and even members of the Board of Education to place their own precious kids in the same dysfunctional schools we're expected to support.
It's not about more funding, pay raises, sick days, tenure, etc. It's about attitude and expectations.
Hosokawa goes on to say that "sending a child to a private school is a status symbol." For the vast majority of parents who make the sacrifice to fund their kids' private-school education, we do it because education is a priority of ours. Our neighborhood has families that have new BMWs and Lexuses in their driveways and their kids in public schools and also families driving five- to 10-year-old vehicles and kids attending private schools.
Choice is the key word in this equation and in school voucher proposals that keep getting tabled around the country. Kids become a product of the environment they're exposed to eight hours a day for at least 12 formative years of their life. Parents who passively accept the public school systems' low expectations, low standards, poor performance and teacher/administrator government employee ("can't fire me") attitudes are shortchanging their kids' futures.
You don't need a lot of money to place your kids in a private school just the desire. There are financial aid, scholarships and grants, and you could always go out and get another job to ensure your kids are safe from danger and negative influences and learn in a warm, nurturing atmosphere where teachers and administrators are held accountable. Faculty who don't perform in these private schools find new careers or go to work for the BOE.
Charlene, you are way off base on your charges that there is an elitist networking conspiracy going on in Hawai'i's private schools. These families support with their tax dollars public-school teachers like yourself and choose to spend additional hard-earned pre-tax dollars educating their kids. Shame on you for suggesting otherwise.
Ken and Rosalie Middleton