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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Would you tailgate a police car at 55?

I have just about had it with the recent influx of letters regarding which lane to be driving in and at what speed, so let me offer you another, and hopefully final, viewpoint.

If you were cruising in the left, or "passing," lane, and you were behind a police car traveling 55 mph or even 60 mph, would you ride the officer's bumper to give him the hint? No, no sane person would, and why not? Because you'd be attempting to exceed the speed limit!

The speed limit should be a final determining factor in this argument. Yes, the sections listed by other writers state the person in the left lane should yield; however, if you are traveling the speed limit and the person behind you wants to exceed that limit, let him be responsible for doing so. Why should a law-abiding citizen move out of the way for someone who has no respect?

I hope common sense kicks in here and you folks with a copy of the traffic law can understand this.

Benjamin S. Brechtel

Criticism of JACL's stand was uncalled for

I was very disturbed by a letter from Kekuni Blaisdell et al. criticizing the Japanese-American Citizens League for supporting the passage of a legislative measure that would create a process by which Native Hawaiians could be federally recognized.

Over the past several months, I have heard numerous complaints from various individuals about establishing Hawaiians as a federally recognized group of individual people. The issue that troubles me most is that these individuals are asking that I, a Native Hawaiian, be denied the opportunity to even participate in the process to achieve federal recognition. Without the passage of the Hawaiian federal recognition legislation, I won't even have an opportunity to say, "Yes, I do want to participate in a process to ultimately be recognized by the federal government as an indigenous group of people," or "No, I do not wish to participate."

The Japanese-American Citizens League was one of the first national groups to come out in support of federal recognition for Hawaiians. I am offended that these individuals are criticizing this fine organization for their support of this effort. If anything, the members of JACL should be commended for their strong and early support of this effort. JACL now joins the ranks of a number of national organizations that have also thrown their support behind this effort, including black and Hispanic groups.

Please let me decide what I want for my future. By denying me that right, you are merely taking the place of those whom we have scorned and criticized — those who have colonized us and taken all that we hold dear. Thank you to the members of JACL for their courage in supporting Hawaiian federal recognition.

Charlene Silva-Johnson

Voters should decide on Natatorium's fate

And the saga of the Natatorium ("Emergency repair set for natatorium," Aug. 10) continues.

A few want to tear it down completely. Even fewer want to save it. Meanwhile, the majority of us are smart enough to know that no matter how much money is wasted, the ocean eventually will settle the issue.

It's a shame, though, because $6.6 million is a lot of money. Our money. Here's another call for a public vote. Let Honolulu residents decide what to do with the Natatorium and how to pay for it.

Now there's a legacy more impressive than simply delaying the inevitable.

John Kamalei

Leasehold conversion law should remain

Repealing the mandatory leasehold conversion law would be a bad mistake.

In spite of the fact that it is supported by a number of Hawaiian groups, the new bill would do nothing to further ownership rights of the ones who deserve it most, the renters, and it would do nothing to help the majority of Hawaiians living below the poverty line.

In fact, it would only serve to fill the pockets of the rich landowners, such as Castle & Cooke, that took the land away from the Hawaiians.

I urge the City Council to kill the proposed bill.

Jacques M. Bargiel

What happened to low-income bus pass?

To settle the bus strike last September, the City Council decided to raise the bus fares. As part of the agreement, the City Council approved a provision stating "Qualified low-income adult and youth riders will get a break and pay the current monthly bus rates."

It is now getting close to one year since that bus fare increase, and the reduced fare for low-income adult and youth riders has still not been provided.

Where is it?

S. Kawamoto

What if funds dry up?

You are correct: The "New 'magnet' school (at Bishop Museum) should be only the first" (Aug. 13 editorial). But you forgot to mention a very important fact: The school is being paid for by federal grants. What happens when those monies are gone? Will the Legislature pay for the school after it becomes a reality, or will the school be force-fitted into existing budgets?

Leonard Wilson

Dobelle lawyer wrong

Evan Dobelle's lawyer, Rick Fried, keeps referring to the UH Foundation funds spent by his client as "not taxpayers' money." I have been donating to the foundation for decades, and the last time I looked, I was and still am a taxpayer. Maybe Mr. Fried doesn't make charitable contributions or file a tax return, but most of us who do get a reduction in our taxes for our donations.

Dennis Kohara

Finally, east-siders get commuting break

All right! Finally us east-side commuters got something good for a change!

I live on Lunalilo Home Road in Hawai'i Kai, and I'm still not happy with that center beautification eyesore that was constructed down my street. Like Rod Haraga said, the commute saves us poor east-siders a 10-minute commute, and he's right. After I go around the block to get to an intersection with a stop light, that's about 10 minutes.

I feel sorry for you Makiki residents for losing an onramp, but hey! What can you do? A neighborhood board meeting won't do you any good. "If you reject it, they will build it."

Ed Tomasu Jr.
Hawai'i Kai

Arizona Memorial should change hands

It was reported in The Advertiser that the visitors center of the Arizona Memorial is sinking ("Visitors center sinking; Arizona Memorial among sites in repair backlog," March 29). Why? It was built on poor soil, therefore will sink. But, according to the article, there is a backlogged maintenance and repair problem in all of Hawai'i's national parks produced by decades of money shortfalls, and things don't look better for the future.

As a longtime resident of this state and a veteran, I agree with Sen. Dan Inouye that we should take the Arizona away from the National Park Service and place the custody and care of the memorial (which is actually a graveyard for our sailors) back to the Navy where it most rightly belongs.

We also don't need a gift shop and souvenir sales at the site of our dead heroes. Can you just imagine going to Punchbowl on Memorial Day and being confronted by booths of T-shirt sales?

John James
Secretary, Friends of The Arizona

State commissioner should not approve bank merger

Central Pacific Bank has admitted that it is spending nearly half a billion dollars to buy out the stockholders of City Bank and pay off the officers of City Bank who cooperated in this caper.

Now Central Pacific is spending more money in a propaganda campaign on television, using Japanese Americans to portray itself as the saviour of the Japanese American population in Hawai'i. It is even using the name and image of one of its deceased founders in its attempts to create a "feel good" public impression. However, Central Pacific is not revealing that it is no longer a Japanese American-owned local bank, but is in fact a subsidiary of a large foreign bank now.

A bank exists to serve the public, like a public utility, which is why all banks operating in Hawai'i are supposed to be regulated by the state commissioner of financial institutions. This public official must approve the proposed merger of these two banks. If he perceives his true responsibility correctly, he must not approve this merger, to protect the public interest and prevent the loss of competition in the banking business and the closing of many City Bank branches and the firing of many City Bank employees.

This is not a case of a failing bank being saved by another bank. By public admission, City Bank increased its second-quarter income by 171 percent, increased its stockholders' income by 153 percent and increased its total income by 28 percent. The stockholders of City Bank are not losing money.

With a straight face, Central Pacific Bank states that if the merger of the two banks goes through, the stockholders of City Bank will own 42 percent of the stock of Central Pacific Bank. Why should the stockholders of City Bank be permitted to own 42 percent of another bank when they already own 100 percent of their own bank, which is in good financial shape? Central Pacific is trying to appear like the little boy who stuck his thumb in a pie and pulled out a plum and said "What a good little boy am I."

The state commissioner is supposed to be looking out for the public's interest and not for the banks he regulates. If the stockholders of City Bank do not reject this merger, then the commissioner must disapprove it. But has the commissioner's judgment been compromised by too much schmoozing with the officers of the two banks? In Hawai'i, anything can happen and usually does. Hopefully, in this case the public interest will win over human greed.

Robert K. Fukuda

UH's brand is its promise

I was glad to read the Aug. 13 letter from David Flynn explaining the difference between an academic seal and promotional logo. I would like to add that the logo is but a small part of the University of Hawai'i brand.

As a principal in The Brand Strategy Group, I was involved, with my partner Gloria Garvey, in the branding and planning process for close to 18 months. The brand committee, comprising 28 dedicated individuals from all 10 UH campuses, understood that branding is more than a look, logo or letterhead. It's more than a simple statement. It's more than colors and themes. It's more than merchandising opportunities.

A brand is a promise.

When a potential student, parent or funding source evaluates a school or department, they are asking: What does this institution stand for? What are its values? What are the promises and expectations it evokes? How is it positioned vis--vis other institutions/schools/departments? What are its core capabilities? And — increasingly important — what is the value it will deliver to the prospective student or funder?

These considerations constitute almost a textbook definition of brand. Just as the corporate world has had to shift its focus from "what we have to sell" to "what people want to buy," universities — both private and public — are making an effort to understand what potential students and their families, corporate partners, alums and funders are looking to "buy." Increasingly, colleges and universities have to think like a business to stay in business.

A good brand and a good strategic plan both dictate that a college focus. Instead, planning is often seen as an opportunity to do more for everybody. There is also a fear of focus because it may mean saying no to some faculty and ignoring sacred cows. For branding to be successful, colleges, just like companies and organizations, must focus on one or two things and then deliver them.

The UH was in good company as it looked to "brand" itself in an effort to build and implement a strategy for moving forward. Best practices in branding education include numerous state-financed and private universities and colleges, community colleges, schools within schools, Christian colleges and universities.

As a UH graduate with two sons starting at the university this month, I understand and am aware of the university's core capabilities, its brand promise, the value the university offers and what I was "buying" when I decided to send my sons to UH.

It is my hope that the university one day can communicate fully the breadth of its offerings at all 10 campuses, the too-numerous-to-mention examples of excellence and leadership, and the success of its programs and people — just some of the things I learned while working with the school that I was not previously aware of.

The university is a place Hawai'i can be proud of.

Brook Gramann
The Brand Strategy Group, Kailua