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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Letters to the Editor

UH-West O'ahu is not a 'white elephant'

I would like to respond to the negative comments about the University of Hawai'i-West O'ahu by the Board of Regents in an Oct. 18 article. It might not be economically feasible to build a new campus in Kapolei, which I can understand. However, I don't think the idea of providing education for working professionals and distance learning to many people on the Neighbor Islands is a "white elephant."

Several years ago, I was a student who could take only night classes because I worked during the day. The Manoa campus was not an option, with its extremely limited night-class schedule that only allowed me to pursue a small number of majors. I did try attending Manoa, but was frustrated with how long it would have taken to complete the required courses because there were so few courses and they filled up so quickly.

I then found out about West O'ahu and how there were more classes scheduled at times that were convenient for people in my situation. I graduated five years ago and do not regret attending. I feel West O'ahu is an institution worth saving as an affordable educational alternative for the non-traditional student.

Ken Souza

Kaapu's life spanned two different races

I deeply regret that Kekoa David Kaapu passed away without having the chance to see his Hawaiian and haole roots working together as one 'ohana.

His father was David of Punalu'u, a pure Hawaiian who opened his grass-thatched home on the beach at Punalu'u to thousands of visitors to Hawai'i over many years in the '30s through the '50s to allow many to experience the true Hawaiian lifestyle. I saw, I was there as a child.

Kekoa's mother was from, I believe, the East Coast, and a haole lady who fell in love with the romance of paradise and a handsome, strong Hawaiian man.

Together they raised Kekoa Kaapu to be a leader of both of his races, which he did and was continuing to do with little fanfare. A Harvard graduate and versed in the ways of highly educated white men, he held dearly to his native Hawaiian roots also, and throughout his lifetime fought for the rights of Hawaiians to be represented more equally in our government, business and society. He championed Hawaiian rights, but also recognized we are the 50th state and forever Americans, regardless of what some radical natives would try to have us believe.

A product of two races, common in Hawai'i, Kekoa D. Kaapu, former city councilman and legislator, was indeed a "man of Hawai'i."

Peter Ross
Nu'uanu (8th generation in Hawai'i)

Target those who would thwart education reform

David Shapiro's Oct. 15 column should be required reading for every voting citizen of this state. And for dessert, read the letter from Gov. Lingle on the opposite page.

As Shapiro points out, House Speaker Calvin Say "represents the roadblock to education reform." He is the most visible tip of the iceberg, but there are many others under sea level who are equally responsible. The electorate must wake up to the fact that you can elect a governor who represents the changes you want, but he or she cannot make those changes without the help of the legislators.

You cannot continue to elect representatives and senators who refuse to acknowledge anything is wrong and expect anything to improve.

I can't decide whether I should laugh or cry at the quote of Speaker Say: "It's only been not even a year she's been in public office, and now she wants to delve into public educational policy reforms?" When would he suggest she start delving?

One of the governor's highest priorities when running for the office was education reform, so her pursuit of her vision should hardly come as a shock to the speaker.

Our children are being used as pawns by petty politics and power plays.

We have a chance in November 2004 to give the governor and her administration the tools they need to make a difference — not only in education, but in many other areas of concern. Watch your legislators very carefully this next session and keep their feet to the fire. If they continue to stifle any attempts at reform, you can take care of that problem easily in November 2004 when all of the House and some of the Senate is up for re-election.

Shirley Hasenyager

U.S. has no authority over Hawaiian lands

Regarding the Oct. 13 letter by Robert M. Chapman ("Issues of crown lands, annexation are settled"): The court that passed the ruling in 1910 on Lili'uokalani vs. the United States was not an international court nor a court of the Kingdom of Hawai'i, so why would anyone think the judgment was a legal ruling?

Crown lands, ceded lands and public government lands are not legal titles and have no validity by kingdom or U.S. law. These terms in English do not define the land system that was subject to the wahi kanaka on government lands and they do not describe the tenement rights of kanaka living with all rights of property ownership on those lands. Hence the "special legislature" thrown into the annexation documents (really a genocide council) to remove the rightful inhabitants protected by government land titles.

The Joint Resolution treaty, July 7, 1897 (I have a copy of it), was a penned document only by those who possessed no title or title of nobility; it had no legal effect to grant the United States constitutional authority over the nation of Hawai'i.

U.S. Constitution, Article 4, Clause 3 of the 10th Amendment gives Congress the power to admit "states into this Union" only — not a territory, as was the nation of Hawai'i.

So there are the true and hard facts, Mr. Chapman. Your country still has no constitutional authority over the citizens, land or anything of the nation of Hawai'i.

Mahealani Ventura-Oliver
Waiehu, Maui

Sovereignty belongs to the American people

Every issue of The Advertiser I peruse seems to contain a letter addressing the complaint of "lost sovereignty." Frankly, I find it baffling.

Have those who perpetually lament the annexation ever really put their complaints in any context? How might those whose ancestors died on the Trail of Tears or were slaughtered as Ghost Dancers receive their complaints? How do they reconcile the fact that Hawai'i's residents chose statehood of their own volition?

Argue all you want, but the fact remains that the day the people of Hawai'i accepted statehood, all vestiges of their "kingdom's sovereignty" passed to where it resides for all who are a part of this nation: in the people of the United States.

However, those who demand to resist should be given their chance. Do not drive on H-1 again — it's a federal highway. If you have a job connected either directly or indirectly (e.g., through contracts) to the U.S. government, quit your job. Voluntarily pay the extra money to purchase items receiving a federal subsidy. Forget Social Security, federal unemployment benefits, worker's compensation, veteran's benefits and school loans. Do your part and act today.

Otherwise, stop complaining.

Mike Johnson

Comments deserved a more firm response

Thank you, Bill Kwon, for your column on the comments by Jan Stephenson and the lack of coverage during the aftermath. You hit the nail on the head.

Jan Stephenson stated that Asians were "killing" the LPGA tour with their "lack of emotion" and "refusal to speak English." She then further inserts her foot in her mouth by saying that there should be a quota on Asian players because they are taking American money. Why was there no further commentary or punishment? Especially here in Hawai'i, which has a predominantly Asian population?

Stephenson wasn't even given a slap on the wrist for her comments. Instead, she was allowed to participate in the tournament and still hold her golf clinic here.

Stephenson issued a "damage control" apology claiming that the comments were taken out of context and that she wasn't a racist. Despite the sheer ignorance of her comments, I want to believe that she's not a racist. But there's no escaping the fact that she is mind-numbingly stupid.

Myong Choi
Salt Lake

Lower the top speed that cars can achieve

We have speed limits of no more than 70 mph in most if not all parts of the country. So why is it that off-the-lot vehicles are built to go 85 mph and beyond?

If we seriously want to reduce road fatalities, we have to restrict new cars from having the capacity to go beyond 70 mph and for a speed restricter to be placed in old cars. Anyone exceeding the limit would be banned from the streets or risk having their vehicle confiscated.

Robert Sepulveda
Pearl City

Who sold the booze?

Once again we read about young adults dying on our roads. Once again it was a fascination with fast cars and booze. Who sold enough booze to these two young men to produce the alcohol levels reported in Wednesday's paper? Those folks should also be held liable.

Bill Michel
'Ewa Beach

Drug paraphernalia businesses a scourge

With all the drug-fighting efforts put out by the federal, state and city governments, including organizations from the private sectors and individuals who have family members addicted to, fighting against or recovering from the use of illegal drugs, it's a shame to see many retail stores selling drug-smoking accessories such as rolling papers, "bongs," glass pipes for ice, metal and wood pipes for smoking hashish, posters and T-shirts glorifying marijuana, etc.

Although these drug paraphernalia mongers can sell these items legally, they are capitalizing off the illegal narcotics trade at the expense of those addicted to drugs.

Hats off to the thousands of anti-drug sign-waivers and other supporters for their efforts to combat drugs in Hawai'i. I hope one day these sign-waivers will do their sign-waiving fronting these retail drug paraphernalia businesses.

Emerick LaMontagne

Skip 'nice-to-have' items instead of raising taxes

There's been much hand-wringing on the part of the city administration and City Council about how we are going to fund the recently negotiated contract with the bus drivers and the pay raise awarded our police officers. The line both the administration and council has taken is that although we don't want to raise taxes, we see no other way to fund these contracts.

Plus they have to deal with a loss of ridership on TheBus. This will likely result in another rate increase, which will result in even further ridership losses. So ultimately the city will probably decide to fund a higher percentage out of city coffers (read taxpayer's pocket).

Let's see, a new fuel and weight tax to fund the bus driver contract and police officer raises is probably an already done deal. What is unclear is how we are going to prop up the bus system or deal with looming HGEA contracts. More taxes, I guess.

I normally focus on the mayor for our financial woes, but City Council members have to take some of the blame for continuing to go along with the mayor. Some of them are new, and some are not, but the body as a whole has been complicit.

The last time I checked, the vision teams are still in action, dreaming up ways for the mayor to spend money (with City Council blessing). And if I'm reading your letter-to-the-editor section correctly, some of these projects aren't wanted. So let's cut funding for the vision teams immediately. This will also save us some money for sunshine law training that was recently mandated.

I haven't been to Kuhio Avenue for a while so I don't know if the medians have already been installed, but I did note that the city has a contract out to bid for landscaping these medians. If the medians haven't been built, then scrap the whole thing. The city also has a bid out to furnish ornamental street signs and lights along Kuhio. What's wrong with regular signs and lights?

And then we come to the Brunch and Sunset on the Beach. Although these two programs eat up very little of our budget, they do symbolize what's wrong with our spending priorities.

I'm sure members of the City Council are aware of other "nice to have" spending items in the budget. Why don't they cut off that funding and direct the money to where it's needed instead of immediately turning to the tax-increase option?

Bill Nelson