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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Kamehameha should recruit best students

I believe that 70 percent of the students at Kamehameha should be Hawaiian and the other 30 percent should be the best students in the world.

This mix would provide the exposure to other students of various cultures, backgrounds and upbringing.

The 100 percent Hawaiian policy was necessary in the past. Today, that policy is rather insular. The Hawaiian student should be given the opportunity to interact, compete and match wits with the world's best.

So come on, trustees, open your doors partway and start recruiting some of the world's best students.

Clyde Hedlund

Relighting at Hawaii Theatre wonderful

Kudos to the lucky who braved the inclement weather to enjoy the epic relighting of the Hawaii Theatre marquee.

Fans enjoyed classic Hawaiian music complemented by some of the smoothest hula you will see outside of the Merrie Monarch Festival. I enjoyed the Celtic Pipes escorted by the Honor Guard. Attendees were also treated to a few classy tunes courtesy of our very special Royal Hawaiian Band.

The high point of the evening was the traditional blessing by Tony Conjugacion, who gave all a healthy dose of "chicken skin." Stepping out into the rainy night between the theater and the fans huddled across the street, Tony called on his ancestors. We all knew that we were not hearing just Tony but the power and mana from generations past blessing the theater and all who will enjoy it for generations to come. Whew ...

The evening was finished off by the flicking of the switch turning on the classic "HAWAII" sign on top of the marquee, and the lucky crowd floated off into the rainy night with echoes of the ancients coursing through their hearts.

Eric N. Hill

Bainum should have stopped smear story

Duke Bainum attributed his loss to two main factors: a large voter turnout and the smear tactics against his wife, Jennifer. Why didn't he stop this story when it first came out on the Internet? Why didn't he file a civil suit for defamation of character and libel against the Internet investigative reporter who put out the story?

His campaign adviser is attorney Andy Winer. They could have gotten an injunction for the investigative reporter to cease and desist and pull the story off her Internet news Web site and keep her from reporting even more damaging information in her subsequent Internet reports.

Instead, all we got for over two weeks was his complaining to the media and on his Web site that the story about his wife was all lies, half-truths, fabrications and a smear plot against his campaign. This tactic obviously worked against him, and the story is still out there and building momentum.

Steven T.K. Burke
Pearl City

High court spelled out why it denied petition

I am writing about the quoted remarks of Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Russell Uehara concerning the Supreme Court's recent rejection of his petition against Judge Virginia Crandall with regard to the State of Hawai'i v. Shaun C. Rodrigues (as quoted in your paper on Nov. 4).

Mr. Uehara is paraphrased as saying "the high court did not give any reasons for the denial." Mr. Uehara is wrong. The Supreme Court very clearly said it denied the petition because "any request for relief related to the order granting release on bail pending appeal should be filed in the pending appeal."

In short, the deputy prosecutor sought relief in the wrong way. The Supreme Court denied the petition without prejudice to the deputy prosecutor seeking relief in the correct way.

Marsha Kitagawa
Public affairs director, Hawai'i State Judiciary

Criticism of public schools must end

I want to personally thank Treena Shapiro and Kevin Dayton for the great article focusing on a number of wonderful initiatives in our schools.

For too long, some have criticized our political leaders, our teachers and our students. It's time for this criticism to end. Those naysayers need to join in and be part of the solution.

There are many, many wonderful success stories throughout our school system. Just check out your neighborhood schools.

I'm encouraged by the progress in our schools. Mahalo to Superintendent Pat Hamamoto, the educators and students. Let's keep it up.

Rep. K. Mark Takai
D-34th (Pearl City, Newtown, Royal Summit)

Light shining out on the ocean is obnoxious

Has anyone else noticed or complained about the obnoxious sodium vapor light that is shining out to the ocean and onto the sand at night? It is like a pimple on the beautiful face of Waikiki Beach.

There is absolutely no social redeeming value to have this type of light, unless the hotel is afraid a passing freighter might get too close and cruise through the dining room. Hopefully other people can convey the message to the Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel to pull the plug on this truly unnecessary light.

Brian Flannagan

Air conditioning must be restricted at malls

A few weeks ago, O'ahu was experiencing very hot weather. HECO released a statement that electricity usage was reaching record levels and threatened rolling blackouts and it ran radio and television ads suggesting consumers turn off air conditioners as well as delay laundry and dishwashing to reduce the demand.

I'm sure everyone can reduce consumption by using common sense, but it seems a huge amount of energy is wasted in Waikiki, retail centers, restaurants and hotel lobbies where doors remain open while air conditioning is running. Waikiki's ABC stores have wide-open fronts with plenty of air conditioning escaping. At Ala Moana Center, most of the stores keep doors wide open, including Foodland. This is a terrible waste of power just to make it a little easier for customers to enter.

It certainly seems that these businesses should close their doors before I have to turn off my air conditioner or wait to do laundry. Maybe the building codes should be changed and the blatant waste of air conditioning needs to become a fineable offense so that the average resident can wash dishes.

Nemo Harding

Gerald Teramae earned recognition

Congratulations to Gerald Teramae's school, Ali'iolani Elementary School, for being one of the "3 schools honored for superior gains" (Nov. 6).

I wish I could have attended the awards luncheon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village to give Mr. Teramae a standing ovation. I was not there.

I was and still am at Waipahu Intermediate School doing my best to help our students experience a meaningful education that will impact their lives.

Mr. Teramae, as our former vice principal of Waipahu Intermediate School, I have to hand it to you, a job well done.

Joyce Choy

Blast from the past

George Santayana said it best: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Four more years.

Donald C. Blaser

Rainbow papaya saved industry

The Hawai'i Papaya Association is writing to respond to letters criticizing the genetically modified (GMO) Rainbow papaya, which is resistant to papaya ringspot virus.

The papaya ringspot virus nearly wiped out the Big Island crop.

Advertiser library photo

Rainbow papaya is the reason we're still in business. Without it, we wouldn't have trees to grow or fruit to sell. Instead of 350 to 400 papaya farmers in the state, there might be 50.

When ringspot virus reached Puna in 1992, 95 percent of the state's fresh papayas grew there. Whole fields were infected, and growers had to choose between cutting all their trees or letting them stand and hoping for some harvestable fruit. With sick trees left standing, the virus spread quickly. Soil depletion wasn't the problem. Papaya trees growing in all types of soil and under all kinds of agricultural practices were susceptible.

Unlike Rainbow papaya, some early attempts to control the virus were hard on the environment. Some growers tried to control the aphids with insecticides, including malathion. Some looked for isolated places to farm and ended up clearing forests to plant papaya on marginal lands.

Growers lost their crops. Many went out of business. So did most of the Big Island's packer/shippers. Operations that stayed afloat had to lay off workers.

Starting in 1998, virus-resistant Rainbow trees were planted in place of virus-susceptible varieties like Kapoho. The level of virus in the environment dropped, giving growers more choices. They could plant Kapoho again and balance losses from the virus against Kapoho's value on the Japanese market. Having a Rainbow crop to fall back on provided security. It also meant that growers were willing to cut down Kapoho trees at the first sign of disease.

GMO papaya pollen does not affect native Hawaiian plants. Hawai'i has no native papayas and no native plants that breed with papaya. Most papaya trees have flowers that self-fertilize, but sometimes pollen moves from one papaya tree to another. To prevent cross-pollination between Kapoho and Rainbow, we separate the two varieties.

About 20 percent of Hawai'i's fresh papayas are exported to Japan, which pays more per pound but doesn't accept GMO fruit. The Hawai'i Department of Agriculture set up the Identity Preservation Protocol program to prevent GMO papayas from being shipped to Japan. To certify a papaya field through the program, the grower tests every tree to make sure none are genetically modified. It's extra work and money, but everyone is happy with the results. Japanese inspectors have found no GMO papayas since the program was implemented.

Pollen drift does not disqualify growers from being certified organic. Fruits from a non-GMO tree grown under organic practices can be certified organic whether the tree self-pollinates or outcrosses with other pollen. All growers, not just organic growers, who want to make certain their seeds come from high-quality plants can bag the flowers to guarantee self-fertilization.

Without the virus suppression we get from Rainbow, we wouldn't grow Kapoho. By keeping virus levels low, Rainbow helps growers who produce virus-susceptible varieties, including organic growers. Packer/shippers have a steady supply of fruit. Consumers can choose their favorite variety knowing that all Hawai'i papayas are equally affordable, nutritious and safe. Even growers who produce other crops benefit because the packing plants that depend on papaya also process lychee, rambutan, longan and sweet potato.

Puna's 2002 papaya crop is up 35 percent since Rainbow was introduced. Growers put out of business by the virus have been able to return to farming. Two new packing plants have been built in Hawai'i. The Rainbow papaya saved farms and jobs. Without it, our industry might not be here today.

Kenneth Y. Kamiya
Hawai'i Papaya Industry Association