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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Adair's cartoon about Fallujah was right on

I support Dick Adair's cartoon about Fallujah. Anyone who remembers Vietnam should remember the phrase "We destroyed the village to save it." Now we have destroyed Fallujah to save it.

As in Vietnam, it is a no-win situation for our teenage soldiers. As in Vietnam, they will be expected to be brave and make no mistakes. Surrounded by hostile fire, the mistakes will be easy to rationalize. Later, in a safe bed at night, it will be much harder.

We will win every battle with our overwhelming military superiority but will lose the war for the hearts and minds of the people. We will follow the insurgents from city to city attempting to plug one hole after another in the dike of rage being created by our uninvited presence. We will pour in billions to rebuild what we have destroyed and will be dismayed that the relatives of those we killed still hate us and will not warn our soldiers of surprise attacks.

In 1972, the so-called silent majority of Americans voted for the war candidate who promised "peace with honor" because we could not bring ourselves to accept the obvious, that freedom was not on the march as planned. Instead we got peace with dishonor and thousands more soldiers killed.

Ronald C. Pine

Fallujah cartoon an act of treachery

Dick Adair has the freedom to depict his anti-war sentiments but he does not have the license to obscenely and disgustingly depict our military in Fallujah as war criminals.

It was an abuse of a free press and unpatriotic for The Advertiser to have allowed Adair's Fallujah cartoon to see print. An apology is due for branding our military as war criminals, which is an act of treachery during a time of war.

Ruben R. Reyes

Multibillionaire failed to buy the presidency

George Soros, the richest man on Earth, was quoted as being prepared to spend whatever would be necessary to defeat George Bush.

Soros placed a full-page ad in The Advertiser and probably every major newspaper across our nation. The crowded text was inane and blustery. The ad included a photo for those who might wish to worship his image.

Such demagoguery by an egocentric multibillionaire is appalling. The fortune he wasted would have sponsored numerous scholarships and worthy endowments.

The immense economic power wielded by Soros protects him from media criticism. His offensive attempt to influence the election will be ignored.

Fortunately, he failed. Soros is so rich he can buy anything he wants except a presidential election.

Charles "Jack" Harter
Kilauea, Kaua'i

Neglect of costly projects is upsetting

Twice in recent weeks your newspaper ran stories of disappointing community improvement projects.

One, "Hawai'i Kai sign crumbling" (Nov. 1), told of the cracks and fissures in the sign, presumably from people sitting on it.

Then, a few days later, you told of the landscaped retaining wall in an 'Aiea neighborhood where vandalism of the sprinkler system and tacit neglect has resulted in all the plantings dying. In my mind, this is par for the course. Does anyone remember the extensive landscaping done on the H-1 Freeway when it was finished? A sprinkler system that did not work properly and lack of professional attention killed off all the plantings. Road crews now mow weeds.

I would like to add two neighborhood projects that are fast joining the aforementioned. The 'Aina Haina neighborhood sign, while a simpler version of its Hawai'i Kai counterpart, had a lush green hedge surrounding it. Someone recently cut the hedge back so severely that three-fourths of the hedge is now dead. Then there's the $200,000-plus beautification of the area under the freeway in Kahala at Kilauea and Wai'alae avenues. Originally planted with lovely ground cover, hedges and flowering bushes, it too has met the fate of neglect. All the bushes are gone, the ground cover is now mostly weeds and three-fourths of the decorative palms are gone.

We live in paradise. Is it too much to expect with our 12 months of mild weather (so conducive to yearly plant growth) that what is planted is cared for and nurtured to give the beautification its original intent? Who's in charge? Does anyone care? It's terribly discouraging.

Christine Morgan

Business people must keep their eyes open

Your Nov. 8 editorial "Diplomacy a must for Taiwan mission" is well written and to the point.

In the world of politics and business, one cannot in the name of "aloha" do things not in line with U.S. foreign policies and expect to get away with it. Past complaints addressed in your editorial have been ignored and put many business executives who travel to China in a very difficult position.

In many situations, business executives must distance themselves from Hawai'i state government in order to avoid any embarrassments.

In the past, an experienced former U.S. State Department official was employed in the governor's office to ensure proper protocol was conducted and in line with U.S. policy. Hawai'i is a small state and cannot afford to burn any bridges.

Johnson W.K. Choi

New residential units should be restricted

Honolulu's increase in electrical power usage will be costing us all. This trend will continue as long as we build larger air-conditioned homes that are inefficient power users.

One thing the city can do to ease the situation is to require that all new residential units and those undergoing major improvements have solar systems sufficient to supply their hot-water needs as a condition of their permit. This would lower our dependence on petroleum fuel sources as well.

Bob Stengle
'Aina Haina

Dismiss the lawsuit against Kamehameha

I find it hard to believe that the Ninth Circuit Court would consider the case of Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy. The suit against it should be dismissed. It is unconscionable for lawyer Eric Grant to bring forth this frivolous suit for those who have an anti-Hawaiian agenda.

Because of political correctness and racial sensitivity, this case is made to seem that it is a racial discrimination issue. It is not. It is ridiculous to cite the case of blacks being barred from white schools because it is not similar to Kamehameha Schools. It is not discrimination because it does not exclude the very race that is trying to get enrolled. I would simply ask Mr. Grant to name the race that is being discriminated against and he would be hard-pressed to find a race not enrolled at Kamehameha. At this very moment, there is a non-Hawaiian enrolled at this school. He is there not out of hatred, but of love.

It is misleading to call it preference. It would be better understood if it were called a requirement or a prerequisite of a private institution. Consider St. Andrew's Priory, which accepts only girls, and Saint Louis, for boys only. Take a private school for kindergarten that accepts only 5-year-olds, a church that requires baptism, or a private millionaires club.

All this then should be sex, age, religious and income discrimination. All these are not discrimination but conditions for private enrollment. What is unconstitutional is for Hawaiian- bashers to file a frivolous suit for their veiled agenda.

Ken Chang

Police already are serious about crime

Regarding Robert Becker's Nov. 15 letter, "Police need to get serious about crime": As a veteran police officer who has had to work with the legal system, I can say that no one is more frustrated with the system than we in the law enforcement community. The people to address your frustrations to are the lawmakers of this state and not the officers who have to work within the boundaries of the law and have no say as to who is to be locked up and who is to be released.

Imagine if you were an officer and you checked a person's arrest record and see that he has been arrested more than 100 times (yes, 100) and he is still walking around victimizing more people. How frustrated would you be?

So, as for "police officers getting serious about crime," that comment should be directed toward the lawmakers of the state, and see how serious they are about crime, because believe me, the people most serious about crime are the ones who elect to put their lives on the line every day to try to keep everyone safe from it.

Walter D. Gouveia Jr.

KITV's decision to cancel film offensive

I am an 18-year veteran of the U.S. military and take great exception to what KITV did on Veterans' Day evening.

KITV decided not to show "Saving Private Ryan" and instead showed "Far and Away." Looking at KITV's program selection, it begs the question: What is the station trying to promulgate?

World War II was a horrendous time for this country, and the world depended on the United States to save it from tyranny. We lost hundreds of thousands of men defending this country and others during that time frame, yet KITV excludes this story due to the graphic nature of its contents. Shall we also exclude today's youth from history by only showing those programs that contain no sexual content and softer views of violence?

How quickly people forget. I for one will not watch KITV again until there is a change of its leadership. I cannot believe that ABC would allow this type of censorship. I strongly advise all military families and their loved ones to also boycott this station.

Geoffrey McPherson

Astronomy must be encouraged to thrive

I am gravely concerned about the future of Hawai'i. The unsustainable path we are going down does not bode well for future livability in Hawai'i. You do not have to look far to see the grim future: daily traffic gridlock, the continued paving over of paradise.

It is critical to attract well-paying, sustainable jobs. We cannot rely on the cyclical, unsustainable jobs that tourism, construction and real estate provide.

One way to lessen our reliance on our current unsustainable economic base is to encourage the development of astronomy on Mauna Kea. But there is a part of the community that is strongly opposed to this.

If we do not encourage astronomy, we'll see these telescopes built elsewhere and the gradual decline of astronomy on Mauna Kea.

It is not right. How are we supposed to encourage good, sustainable jobs to come here if we continue to scare them off? Think about it.

Aaron Stene
Kailua, Kona, Hawai'i

Teachers hamstrung by DOE

I'm sorry that Kalaukieleula Hergenrader, a public school teacher, misunderstood my letter describing actions taken by the Board of Education to reduce academic standards. Her response (Letters, Oct. 27) was that teachers are doing their best to meet the standards and educate students.

Having been a teacher myself, I know that it takes a lot of time and effort to be a good teacher. In fact, I agree that Hawai'i's teachers are among the best trained and most committed in the nation. They are doing as well as they can under the circumstances. However, the circumstances in which Hawai'i's public school teachers find themselves have prevented them from fulfilling their highest potential as educators.

Teachers at a school, working with the principal, should be able to determine what to teach and how to teach it. They should also have a significant role in determining how school resources are allocated to ensure that the resources are being used most effectively. However, teachers are currently being prevented from doing so. That is why, for example, some schools are suffering from a lack of textbooks, even though teachers say textbooks are critical to providing quality education.

Currently, the faculty of a school has discretion over only a very small percentage of the money the school uses. Most of the money is spent before it ever gets to the school because those higher up in the bureaucracy determine how that money is to be expended.

In the textbook example, the bureaucrats wrongly decided that there were higher priorities than textbooks. Fortunately, this situation is supposed to change. In the 2004 legislative session, a bill was passed creating a formula that is intended to distribute money to schools fairly and give school staff more discretion about how money is spent.

Unfortunately, it will take until 2006 before we know whether the formula will actually work or not because that is when the law goes into effect. Implementation was delayed because the Department of Education administration said it would take two years to develop the specifics of the formula and to test it, even though other school systems have used the formula for years.

All of this indicates that the DOE is incapable of moving quickly enough to implement not only this formula, but other needed improvements in education as well. The organizational inertia inherent in the DOE reveals a serious flaw in the way public education is organized in Hawai'i.

It must be frustrating for teachers to have to work within this flawed organizational structure. I believe that teachers want to control the resources that they use and that they want to be able to move quickly to improve the quality of education. However, despite all of the efforts that teachers make, they are being held back by the oppressive circumstances in which they find themselves.

It is not surprising the standardized test scores of Hawai'i's public school students are among the lowest in the nation.

John Kawamoto