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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 22, 2005

Letters to the Editor

POLICE CHIEF

CORREA KNOWN FOR HIS COMMUNICATIONS SKILLS

I am surprised to hear that anyone would question the police chief's communication skills.

Years ago, he was on our neighborhood board in East Honolulu. When the board would get all tangled up and confused, Boisse Correa would lay it out, make it clear, and then everyone knew exactly what to do next. It was "game over," and everyone was suddenly on the same page. I thought, "This guy can really communicate."

Perhaps the police chief has been caught up in all the details of his new job and has not had time to properly use his communication skills. Step back and watch in amazement when he does.

I would suggest, for example, that he take rank-and-file police officers at random, invite them to his office and explore their concerns in depth. That would give him a basis for his communications to the department as a whole. His ability to make friends will break any logjam on the communications.

Mark Terry
Honolulu

HAOLE ITEMS

SINCE WE'RE OPENING GRAVES, OPEN THEM ALL

I fear that Judge David Ezra's decision regarding opening graves just does not go far enough. It is not only Hawaiians who had funerary objects; there are haole funerary objects, as well. Let's dig 'em all up.

Imagine the cultural research that would ensue should haole graves in Hawai'i be exhumed and examined. Jewelry items cast light on haole culture little crosses on chains, and beads that reportedly had magical powers to propel the souls to a "heaven" in the sky. Rings on fingers often indicate the marital status. Precious stones set in rings, bracelets and necklaces should not be buried in darkness forever. The clothing would expose fashion trends of the past.

The caskets themselves provide valuable information. Crude wooden ones indicate how little the offspring of the deceased cared. We could marvel at the "spare no expense" caskets bought by guilt-ridden families of wealth. These objects lend important cultural insight and should be in a museum for our children's children to see.

Valuable anthropological data can be gathered by measuring the skulls and other bones of the occupants, perhaps even providing information as to the migration patterns of haole ancestors.

Modern forensic skills could be used to autopsy the departed and compare the information with the death certificates to ascertain their veracity. Talk about cold cases.

Of course, all due respect must be given the descendants of the dead haole. They could form organizations to lobby the government, anthropologists and others involved in the exhumation process. Once the cultural objects, clothing and shoes are removed and the corpses measured and properly autopsied, the remains could be stored in trailers and warehouses until all questions are answered.

Rolf Nordahl
Honolulu

BIRTHRIGHT

IMMIGRATION PROPOSAL SHAMEFUL TO AMERICA

Stand under the mistletoe, you editors, for your excellent editorial, "Babies latest target of immigration foes" (Dec. 13)!

A great Christmas story tells of a married couple, she near term in her pregnancy, traveling to a place called Bethlehem. On arrival, they find no room at any inn. At weary last, they lay down in a stable with the animals.

At Christmas time, at the "Inn of America," Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., and others in Congress are our very own no-vacancy innkeepers in a place they have renamed Bedlam. They seek to change the humane law that grants automatic citizenship birthright to any infant born in the United States whether illegal or illegitimate. This pitiless assault on infants should be aborted. It shames us as a nation chiefly of immigrants and the descendants of immigrants.

Are we to block the light of the evangelist Luke's luminous, guiding star and of the flaming beacon held aloft by the Statue of Liberty, which shines on the words of Emma Lazarus' famous poem at the base: "Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses ... your homeless, your tempest-tossed ... " and we'll lob them right back at you?!

Frances Viglielmo
Honolulu

TAX HIKE

COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE THINKING OF THEMSELVES

God help the poor widows and retired people on fixed incomes that the City Council and mayor want to tax out of their homes.

Think you will be voting for a single incumbent member of the City Council in the future? Council members surely aren't thinking of your welfare but only of theirs.

The tax-and-spenders are running wild again. They want to raise the "tax hell" of the United States to new heights, and can you believe it, at a time when there are millions and millions of state tax dollars in surplus?

Notice the difference: Republican Gov. Lingle proposes a tax rebate to all the people. At the same time, the Democrat-controlled City Council is weighing a 26 percent tax increase.

As everybody but the mayor and City Council seem to know, when the property tax goes up, so do rents and new B&Bs. Are you ready for a 26 percent increase in your rent? The tax-and-spend council and mayor could care less.

Don McDiarmid
Kailua

SUSTAINABILITY

FOOD IRRADIATOR ISN'T IN OUR BEST INTERESTS

The reaction to opposition to Pa'ina Hawai'i's food irradiator by the state Agriculture Department and The Advertiser's editorial provide further testimony that Hawai'i officials fail to comprehend the message of social, ecological and economic sustainability.

Key ingredients in sustainable development are local control of economic decision-making and food and basic goods security and sovereignty. At this point in time, economic efficiency demands that society reduce the amount of energy output used to supply consumer needs. Research shows that more than a quarter of global warming greenhouse gases are produced by transportation of goods in our globalized economy. Yet despite these facts and the dearth of Hawai'i-grown produce in our groceries state officials and legislators continue to fund and promote the export of Hawai'i's agricultural production at the expense of local consumers and the environment.

If the government spent as much to promote domestic consumption of locally grown produce as it does to promote export-based industrial agriculture, there would be no need for a dangerous Cobalt-60 irradiation facility to be dumped in lower Kalihi in a tsunami inundation zone.

Richard Weigel
Director, Hawai'i Sustainable Lifestyle Network

NINE-SECOND WINDOW

WATCH OUT FOR THE GEEZERS CROSSING BERETANIA STREET

We live on Beretania Street (not on Kalakaua). We live inside the green fence between Punahou Street and Kalakaua Avenue on Beretania Street. We are geezers.

To qualify for this building, we must be at least 60 years old. Some of us are at least 90. We like to sit under our tree in our little garden. It is not a banyan tree. That is across the street. Our tree is a ficus. It has grown, bravely, over the past seven years and provides a shady spot for us to sit and "talk story."

When we came here, the brochure told us we'll be a few minutes walk to churches and the supermarket. It's true! The trick is to try to get across Beretania alive. Killer cars, bent on getting where they're going, come at us five lanes of killer cars. They come around the corner from Punahou. We can hear them screech as they try to avoid the oncoming stream of cars down Punahou those that have just ejected from the freeway below Wilder and failed to slow down.

The screeches are spine-tingling (even for geezers). It's more exciting than white-water rafting! You must try it! We geezers have counted the seconds we are allotted to get across Beretania to go to the supermarket. It takes nine seconds. Some of us (most of us!) are slower now than we were 20 years ago. Nine seconds is just a little short for us. But, then, we know we must keep traffic flowing.

Geezers pushing shopping carts are an annoyance. Those mean, green carts can poke a real dent in a killer car. We're not supposed to remove them from the parking lot, but the message got around. It helps to negotiate the nine-second crossing. We were severely chastised for bringing those carts across the street. Some of us were guilty of leaving the carts in the hall or on the elevator.

Somehow we were not impressed with the argument that they are a safety hazard, having made it safely across Beretania in nine seconds.

Wave to us as you screech past our green fence but please keep your eyes on the road. A geezer may be trying to cross Beretania in nine seconds.

B. Shawhan
Honolulu

STREET PERFORMERS

HERE'S WHY THEY HAVE TO GET OUT

As someone who has lived and worked in Waikiki for the past eight years, perhaps I can convey more convincingly the serious safety concerns related to street performers.

Council Bill 71, introduced by Councilman Charles Djou, would restrict street performances on public sidewalks in Waikiki from 7 to 10 p.m. nightly along Kalakaua Avenue between Lewers Street and Uluniu Avenue.

I recognize how popular Tin Man, Gold Man, Clay Man and other street performers are for tourists walking up and down Kalakaua. In fact, I enjoy the color and vibrancy that these performers bring. Most people aren't aware that celebrity comedian Robin Williams got his start as a mime on the streets of San Francisco. However, the purpose of Bill 71 is to address pedestrian safety concerns on the most congested sidewalk in the state of Hawai'i, and it needs our support.

To begin with, the University of Hawai'i conducted a comprehensive sidewalk study demonstrating how dangerous it is when too many people pack a crowded sidewalk. In November, the Waikiki Neighborhood Board voted to support Bill 71. The Honolulu Police Department and the Honolulu Fire Department are on record as supporting Bill 71. So are many members of the Waikiki business community, and countless average citizens are tired of not being able to use the sidewalk without being forced to step into the street.

Second, Bill 71 will finally do something about the numerous illegal business operators using the sidewalk to make money in the name of free speech. Talk about shibai! The people who set up chairs every night to peddle hair braids, fake tattoos, massages, sketch artistry or who sell trinkets and tell fortunes are simply doing so to fill up their calabash bowls with dollar bills. Unlike legitimate business owners, they pay no taxes or fees, don't have to bother with Health Department clearances, and I understand the cost of rent is pretty cheap. In other words, what rent?

Finally, the ACLU has argued that civil liberties are being violated by restricting the freedom of speech of street performers. What about the civil rights of people with disabilities? The Americans with Disabilities Act establishes accessibility requirements for state and local government facilities, including sidewalks. Bill 71 CD1 included a revision to address ADA accessibility concerns.

If Bill 71 is allowed to become law, Waikiki's "grand boulevard," Kalakaua Avenue, will be safer for residents and visitors, more peaceful and quiet, and legitimate small-business owners won't be forced to compete unfairly with street performers setting up shop on the public sidewalk.

As far as Tin Man and his friends are concerned, they would still be able to perform their talents. Waikiki has over 80 blocks of sidewalks to use that don't fall under this ordinance. Something tells me they will continue putting smiles on the faces of tourists and young children. Waikiki wouldn't have it any other way.

Mike Peters
Member of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board