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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, November 29, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Saying 'deep kimchee' is offensive to some

An open letter to Channel 2 News: As a consistent fan of the Channel 2 morning news for years, as well as a faithful viewer of Joe Moore at 6, I must ask that you and other local newscasters be aware of an offensive oversight.

In the last year I have heard interviewers and interviewees allowed to humorously refer to a troublesome situation (four times this year) as "deep kimchee."

As a Korean American, I assure you with an intact sense of humor, I find this remark mildly amusing, if not somewhat overused.

This term should continue to be used, save for my suggested in-between-use of, "Deep natto, deep diniguan, deep hog maw, deep harm ha, deep lutefisk, deep anchovies, deep aki, etc." — that is to say, if your other viewers wouldn't find it a tad bit racist for you to do so.

A little sensitivity?

Maureen B. Ko

Plenty of alternatives for our city landfill

It seems that everyone is throwing out new ideas for the location of our new city dump. So notwithstanding the hard work of the advisory panel that spent countless hours in public hearings and carefully analyzed alternative sites, here are my suggested locations for our new city dump:

• The Waikiki Natatorium. That's right, we could use our 'opala to fill in the swimming pool. We could compact our trash to such a point where it would provide a structurally stable mass to prevent the further deterioration of the Natatorium. Because of the relatively small size of the Natatorium pool, the City Council would give the city administration six weeks to develop new technologies to vaporize our trash, thereby eliminating the need for more landfills.

• Lake Wilson. We can end the threat of further infestations of Salvinia molesta by draining Lake Wilson and then using the empty confines of the lake for our new landfill.

• Kilauea volcano — nature's incinerator. Why not compact the trash, ship it to the Big Island via barge, and toss it into Kilauea volcano where it will be instantly incinerated. Sure beats shipping it all the way to Washington or Idaho.

• Aloha Stadium. The rust bowl has pretty much outlived its useful life so we can give it a new life as a landfill. Coach Jones and the Warriors can play on Maui for a few years while we figure out where to build a new stadium. As a matter of fact, we can get the City Council to organize a new advisory panel to evaluate alternative stadium sites and they could hold hearings and ... oh, I forgot we tried that already.

Keith Ishida

Kobayashi deserves praise for creativity

I want to publicly thank Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi for her creativeness in thinking outside the box concerning the selection of the next dump site.

All the committee members are to be congratulated on what appears to be a decision that will hopefully force the mayor and the administration to invest in the necessary technology to rid O'ahu of landfills once and forever. Landfills need to become a thing of the past on this island paradise. It's obvious the people of O'ahu don't want their island to be a dump anymore.

John S. Fletcher

Recycling program should come first

Once again the city is doing things backward (like taking away parking spaces along the Ala Wai before the proposed new parking lot was built). Before asking an area to host a new landfill site (which everyone in that area will oppose), the city should start a complete recycling system.

Last year we moved from San Jose, where we recycled almost everything. It was a weekly challenge to see just how little wet garbage and unrecyclable items we had to throw away. When we came here, we were bothered to have to throw everything in the same garbage bag. It was shameful when the city union forced the stoppage of the Mililani recycling program.

Is everyone aware that this is an island (a beautiful island) that is running out of space?

Mike Owens

Federal funding for No Child encouraging

As I opened The Advertiser and began to read, tears came to my eyes. I was reading your excellent (as usual) articles and I came across the subject of new special-education legislation. It told me that the federal government would start funding the No Child Left Behind Act (though only at a 40 percent reimbursement).

This means that our congressional team came through again. We all know that special education eats up a large portion of our Hawai'i tax dollars. Our keiki, and especially our special ones, will now begin to receive the federal financial support needed along with the already present hard-working DOE team to guarantee our children's future.

Cristina Sayuri Ogawa
Special-education teacher, Kalakaua Middle School

New BRT service is no rapid transit

En route to Waikiki, I transferred at 'A'ala Park to the new route E of the BRT service, inaugurated recently.

If this is supposed to represent "Bus Rapid Transit," it clearly does not.

Route E is scheduled to travel from 'A'ala Park to the zoo in 30 minutes.

During the morning traffic slack after 10 a.m., it took us 32 minutes, and we sailed past all five stops between Bishop Street and Ala Moana Center because there were no boarding or alighting passengers. Compare this with the route 42 schedule, which also runs along Ala Moana Boulevard to Waikiki, making all local stops and booked at 37 minutes between 'A'ala Park and the zoo terminus. The route B City Express service requires only 24 minutes from 'A'ala Park to the zoo, traveling via King and Kalakaua, a 10-minute improvement over buses 2 and 13 on a similar routing.

So just what is BRT, with all its investment in exotic traction and fancified bus halts, supposed to be providing to justify this expense? BRT is shibai! It is just another bus whose progress is stymied mainly by the speed and congestion of road traffic, not by the number of stops in its timetable.

The faster we can move past this "Jeremy's Folly" into a duo-rail rapid-transit core line through the city, the sooner will our political leadership have accepted responsibility for truly advancing the future mobility of our citizens.

Richard Berry

Dave Shoji should get June Jones' salary

In today's competitive world, many businesses have adopted a compensation package for management employees that includes rewards and bonuses for those managers who meet or exceed company goals. If a manager doesn't meet the company goals, he or she doesn't get the bonus.

If you apply this compensation strategy to the UH coaching staff, it only makes sense that Dave Shoji should get June Jones' salary and bonuses and Jones should get Shoji's salary.

And since Jones indicated in a television interview that he doesn't need the money, I'm sure Dave Shoji could use it — and would probably use it for more women's volleyball scholarships because Dave is really here for the kids.

Ken Estrella

Release of the education funds not about politics

For years, the Department of Education has been asking for complete control over the funds allocated to repair and maintain schools. Last January, Superintendent Pat Hamamoto said before a joint session of the Legislature that unshackling the DOE from other state departments was the "most important" factor in improving education in the state of Hawai'i. Both houses of the Legislature agreed and enacted a law that set July 1, 2004, for the transfer of repair and maintenance duties and July 1, 2005, for the transfer of capital improvements and new construction responsibilities to the DOE.

Through a Joint Interagency Task Force, the Department of Accounting and General Services, which currently handles school repair and maintenance, and other state departments have been working with the DOE to assist it with this important transition. It is interesting to note that the DOE wanted to administratively delay the transfers for several years. This is contrary to the law. Any delay would require the Legislature to amend the statute.

The DOE, at its own request, has been given the responsibility for repairing and maintaining the schools. If the DOE feels it is not ready to handle these functions, it can ask the Legislature for more time, and the administration will support it to get the law changed.

The governor's decision to abide by the law and release $100 million for school repair and maintenance has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with providing the DOE with the resources it needs to ensure our children and educators have a physical environment that is conducive to learning and, as Mrs. Hamamoto herself has said, holding the superintendent and the Board of Education accountable for the conditions in the schools.

Linda L. Smith
Senior policy adviser, Office of the Governor

The big issues shunted aside

The Advertiser's Nov. 22 editorial "U.S. bleeds red ink: Why you should care" and the cartoon on the opposite page depicting the Bush administration blaming global warming on gay marriage have more in common than meets the eye.

The national deficit and global warming are certainly value-laden issues. The former threatens an unconscionable burden of debt on our children, with far-reaching social consequences, while the latter threatens sustainable life on our planet. Unlike with many other value questions like abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage, neither liberals nor conservatives have the option of personal choice or even civil disobedience as a strategy for protecting themselves from these potential catastrophes.

As an unapologetic liberal, I think that even if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, there is little doubt that safe abortions, though more difficult to obtain, would be readily available. Just as seniors illegally import drugs from Canada (bless their hearts), our neighbors to the north would surely provide safe haven for abortions.

As far as physician-assisted suicide is concerned, the salient point is that anyone intent on dying with dignity doesn't really need a physician anyway. Laws against gay marriage are not about to deter gays from establishing long-term loving relationships any more than heterosexual couples openly "living in sin" without any prospect of connubial bliss on the horizon (which, by the way, is far more of a threat to traditional marriage than gay unions).

Unfortunately, problems like the national deficit and global warming do not lend themselves to civil disobedience or personal ethical choices. Moving to a blue state or even to Canada isn't going to protect someone from a collapse of the world economy or a depleted ozone layer.

One might have hoped that economic and environmental crises of international and transgenerational proportions would be a meeting ground for a liberal and conservative coalition. Not so. This might have something to do with two characteristics of our age, the lusting after immediate gratification and an unwillingness to think past noon the day after tomorrow. More importantly, there is a divisiveness in our country, popularly expressed in terms of culture wars or value differences, driven by a political wedge that has collapsed morality into ideology.

We will continue to distract ourselves by arguing over abortion and gay rights because we feel we can control the outcome. All the while, the larger, long-term and admittedly more abstract issues clamoring for attention, and which signal a common fate, go unattended.

David Panisnick
Professor of religion, Honolulu Community College