Letters to the Editor
Transit system too pricey, won't work
The BRT as a modest reality to the "dream of a futuristic rail system"? Yes, but like fixed rail, the reality is:
1) It costs too much. We can't afford to pay the drivers we have now, remember? BRT has an estimated $1 billion price tag.
2) It won't fix traffic congestion because despite the billions spent nationally, less than 10 percent of commuters use transit.
Americans love the safety, privacy, comfort and cleanliness of their cars. Transit has its place, but voters won't tolerate blatant social engineering or hugely expensive projects with dubious benefit.
The Disneyland fantasy of a clean, sleek monorail that everyone rides is just that an amusement park fantasy. Want to fix congestion? Take a glaring hint from the Nimitz contraflow lane. Build a reversible freeway from town to 'Ewa. More lanes always equals less congestion. The carrying capacity of a road trumps the BRT or rail hands down.
Rosy prognostications aren't working out yet
Letter writer Mark Hanson (Oct. 27) grew from assistant professor in 1999 to associate professor in 2003; otherwise, his rosy prognostications concerning the UH-West O'ahu campus are problematic.
Four years ago, he asserted that enrollment was growing at UH-West O'ahu while declining at UH-Manoa, and earlier this month he asserted that UH-West O'ahu grew by 20 percent over the last five years. Official records show an increase in enrollment at the Manoa campus to 19,742 in 2003 (from 18,709 in 2002), and a decline in enrollment to 821 in 2003 at UH-West O'ahu (from 834 in 2002).
He also employs reverse psychology Professor Hanson is a stalwart in the UH-West O'ahu psychology department, after all in decrying that UH-West O'ahu uses "a whopping 2 percent of the UH budget." He conveniently ignores $350 million in projected costs. The land and, what's more important, the zoning for tract homes in West O'ahu were obtained by fronting the idea of a college. Former Gov. Jack Burns said that there was plenty of "doe-ray-me" in West O'ahu urban blight, but he was having none of it. Finally, the state of Hawai'i under former Gov. Ben Cayetano did what the City and County of Honolulu would not.
The homes have been built. But there is no real academic justification for the sordid deal.
Regent proposal insult to students, teachers
Board of Regent member Ted Hong's recent proposal to completely close UH-West O'ahu sends the message to the 300,000 people who live in West O'ahu that he feels they do not deserve to have the opportunity to earn a B.A. degree from the state university.
As was quite clear from a Board of Regents hearing held out in West O'ahu a few years ago, most of the people here cannot attend the Manoa campus. Many are single parents, many do not have cars, some have physical limitations, etc. Is Regent Hong saying these people don't count?
I understand the problem with building a new campus at this time, and I am not advocating doing so. But to go one step further and say that there should be absolutely no baccalaureate campus for West O'ahu residents is, in my opinion, an insensitive, uncaring and even elitist attitude.
His further comment, as reported in The Honolulu Advertiser, that people actually made the mistake of making their careers out here is totally outrageous. Many professors have been teaching out here for over 20 years. All the full-time faculty hold Ph.D.s. Many of us have written books and articles that have made an impact on our respective fields, and several of us have received the Board of Regents Medal for Teaching Excellence. Why would the state Legislature and the Board of Regents have decided to hire us, approve the positions, give us tenure, approve our ability to award B.A. degrees (over 3,500 awarded to date) and given us teaching awards if we never should have made our careers out here?
I have been teaching at UHWO since 1986, and I am affronted by Ted Hong's insulting comment questioning my career choice to be at UH-West O'ahu. It is also, in my opinion, an affront to all the students we serve.
Division of Professional Studies
Volunteer policing makes good sense
I was excited to read your recent article about the new volunteer policing program that Councilman Mike Gabbard is introducing. I think it is a great idea, and I will certainly be one of the first people to sign up.
For far too long, my neighborhood has been a magnet for abandoned cars and illegal dumping. It makes a lot of sense to give people like me, who are fed up with these problems, the opportunity to get involved and make our community a better place in which to live.
I also feel that this will allow the HPD to focus on more of the serious crimes like robbery and drug abuse that are increasing every day. Let's just hope that Mayor Harris and the City Council have the intelligence to make sure this program goes forward.
Slobs ruining events at Kalaeloa beach
It is nice to read that many people on O'ahu are concerned about other folks dumping rubbish on the land instead of in appropriate rubbish disposal places.
Since Barbers Point Naval Air Station has become Kalaeloa, the lovely, clean beaches have become a massive cigarette-butt receptacle. The rubbish left daily on the beaches ruins the pleasure of sitting and enjoying Sunset on the Beach and the Honolulu city lights.
There seems to be a stinky culture of dump-where-you-are for some of us local folks. My family was enjoying a barbeque in the beach picnic area when a few folks at a table area near the beach had one of their friends walk over to a tree and urinate on it. That got our attention as the beach restroom was as many steps away as that tree was. Moments later another fellow from that group walked to a different tree and did the same.
Of course, all the emotions were felt anger and sorrow that some folks would do that to a small beach area where children play among the trees. And especially do that to the precious 'aina! There is one culture not to preserve: the dumping culture! Please take the time to properly use the provided bathrooms and waste receptacles.
Human kolea eat up much-needed money
Lee Cataluna's Oct. 24 column was well written. No need for Lee to apologize to an angry barrage.
The comparison of the kolea bird and the foreigners who come to Hawai'i and leave with wealth was truthfully mentioned. Thousands of dollars spent on the human-type kolea could have been spent for the needy in Hawai'i.
A sample of poverty, a visit to Ala Moana Beach Park, will reveal the need for more help for those using this area (especially families with little children) as a place to sleep and rummage through rubbish cans for food to survive.
Let's get real and tend to business in our beloved state by helping those who really need assistance.
Editorial was wrong on 'meth mom' prosecution
The Oct. 27 editorial on the prosecution of the "meth mom" is very confused. While it is passionate, its reasoning is jumbling up suppositions that don't even need to be addressed.
The point of the legal case is that a mom knowingly ingested an illegal substance, obviously engaging in an illegal activity, which resulted in the death of her child. That's it.
There is no venture into discussion of an unborn child. The risky activities mentioned by the editorial (alcohol, cigarettes, prescription medication, riding horses and off-roading) are not inherently illegal.
There is no gray area, fuzzy boundaries or "difficult legal, ethical and moral questions about a woman's rights during pregnancy" here. Peter Carlisle's "campaign" to prosecute drug users is not new; he is defining a new dimension to the prosecutor's duty. To say such prosecution will deter pregnant drug abusers from seeking prenatal care is presuming greatly these people would even go there in the first place.
The poor babies who are hapless victims need someone to stand up for them.
Article shed light on neglected topic
This is to applaud and commend the Oct. 26 article "No more skipping on kids who skip" by Derrick DePledge, et al. The writers successfully tackled a big topic and touched upon its many aspects.
As a symptom of other problems, truancy is clearly a complex issue (reflected in the length of the article). And in this age of misplaced blame, it's about time we stopped thinking about school attendance as a school-only concern.
It's sad and frustrating to hear about poor decisions by disconnected students. Let's continue to ask our kids and ourselves, "Why do some students fall behind in class or fall away from school?" And no, the answer isn't going to include "adequate yearly progress" or "teacher portfolios."
The "No more skipping" article sheds light on an often-overshadowed topic. Let's see truancy for what it usually is: personal lack of value of education.
Control needed over UH Warrior mascot
The altercation at Saturday's UH-UTEP football game between UH mascot Vili Fehoko and the UTEP mascot and cheerleaders was unfortunate, involving stadium security.
Actually, I'm surprised more incidents have not occurred with other opponents because he can be overly aggressive and intimidating, which is not sportsmanship.
In fact, his bullish style portrays a combative attitude that could result in bad confrontations. Not good.
UH should exercise some control over him or risk future legal actions.
Perhaps a change is in order.
Truant students need positive influences
Looking for solutions to the truancy problem? External control tactics that have been proposed by lawmakers fines, community service, jail time for parents would only create additional problems for families that already cannot control their teens. Lawmakers, the Board of Education and the DOE must change their mindsets if they truly want to resolve this problem.
Students, especially high school students, should be held responsible for their education and truancy problems. Instead of passing a bill that would hold parents responsible for their child's education, attention should be paid to "designing" schools that would meet the diverse needs of students who attend our public schools. Not all students are college-bound. Are we addressing the needs of those who are not?
Larry Galiza, the student from Farrington ("No more skipping on kids who skip," Oct. 26), identified a key factor for motivation and success a positive influence. Create policies, practices and courses that positively influence truant students and they will attend.
Non-natives a huge part of Hawai'i, too
I believe Gov. Lingle's statement that without Hawaiians there would be no Hawai'i unfairly demeans the contribution of the other 90 percent of the people of Hawai'i.
As the grandson of four immigrants, I appreciate the tolerant and caring people of this wonderful melting pot. It's like my childhood home where immigrants gave their lives to lay the foundations we enjoy and learned to care for each other because no one else would. Back there, that tolerant and caring spirit was called neighborliness, and even after being robbed, my grandmother left her rural home unlocked because a hurt traveler might need a phone when she was away.
Here it is called aloha, and fortunately it still lives in the people of Hawai'i.
I believe it is the varied and friendly people of Hawai'i who make it special. They greet, transport, shelter and entertain the visitors on whom we depend. The weather comes from God. The visitor shows feature the fire dancers of Samoa and lively dancers of Tahiti and Fiji. Pacific Rim and European countries provide an endless variety of cuisine, and the ancient cultures of Asia make a special contribution to art, architecture and philosophy.
No. Our special Hawai'i does not depend exclusively on any single part. It is like an alloy forged from separate metals. Entirely new. Different from and better than any of its parts. Yet, still showing the contribution of each part.
George L. Berish
Arrests of protesters at forum is appalling
An injustice was perpetrated against four American citizens who were arrested on the evening of Oct. 28 for simply exercising their First Amendment rights.
Those arrests never should have taken place, despite the so-called "policy" of the Honolulu Country Club banning the carrying of signs into its building. It was a public forum, but apparently the Army decided that peace-loving Americans should not have their views heard (or read.)
I am appalled by the actions of the security guards, the Honolulu Police Department and the owners and management of the Honolulu Country Club for allowing the Army to bully them into arresting four peace-loving, nonviolent protesters. Auwe!