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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, January 21, 2005

Letters to the Editor

Bush's propaganda is foisted on callers

I called the Social Security 1-800 number the other day. I eventually got a real live person — a very helpful one, actually. Even one located right here in Hawai'i. But while on interminable hold, I was treated to a series of would-be helpful advice pieces.

And then, to my impatient ears appeared a crass political commercial for the Bush administration's Social Security fix.

Most experts agree, I was told, that Social Security will shortly go broke, etc. Never mind that most experts don't agree, including those who are paid by the Social Security Administration to fret over its future. Why is the SSA's Muzak system serving up a political commercial? Why is my tax money being used to make and deliver a message intended to lobby me?

If this isn't a violation of law, it bloody well should be!

Rev. Mike Young

War on drugs must focus on treatment

The Lingle administration's long-awaited drug-control package seems grossly off balance toward the supply side of the problem at the expense of attacking the demand for drugs. Hawai'i's treatment centers are getting the short end of the stick, and that is a very shortsighted approach.

Drug addicts self-medicate. They take drugs to numb some unbearable emotional, psychological or physical pain. Drug treatment programs, especially 12-step programs, focus on healing that pain. Take away the pain, and you take away the need for drugs. Take away the need, and you greatly reduce the demand. And since addictive behavior is hereditary, if adult users are treated, their children stand a greater chance of breaking the cycle. Healthy, happy people don't need drugs, so the war on drugs should focus on people's health and happiness.

According to Hina Mauka managing director Alan Johnson, 912 users have gone without treatment due to lack of funding. That is tragic and frightening.

The governor said that she has been withholding funds to make sure treatment programs are effective. Alcoholics Anonymous, upon which all 12-step programs are based, has been around since the 1935. How much more time does she need?

Robert Pennybacker

New bandmaster should be Hawaiian

So now we know that there is only one Hawaiian in the Royal Hawaiian Band and that one is band director Aaron Mahi, the only member of the band whom the new mayor, Mufi Hannemann, proposes to fire. The question is, why? What has Mr. Mahi done? What's the real story, and why hasn't an investigative reporter from any newspaper or TV station tried to find out?

After reading Ed Michelman's Jan. 5 commentary on Aaron Mahi and the Royal Hawaiian Band and hearing that the new mayor is about to fire Mr. Mahi, I can do nothing but protest his actions.

Having been in the Hawaiian music business for most of my 83 years, I wonder at the ignorance of the new mayor in even considering such a move. I and many others think that at least the majority of the Royal Hawaiian Band should be Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian musicians of the caliber of Aaron Mahi, who is not only a very excellent musician and well-educated in the Hawaiian culture and music and the history of the band, but is also a dedicated Hawaiian who has taken our band to Europe and even Carnegie Hall.

If Mr. Mahi should ever be replaced as director, I would think the people of Hawai'i should insist that the new director not only be Hawaiian and have full knowledge of the history of the band, Hawaiian music and Hawaiian culture, but that he or she should be vetted by a group of Hawaiians, such as the Hawaiian civic clubs, before being hired. I respectfully suggest that we either put Hawaiian musicians in the Royal Hawaiian Band or change its name.

Don McDiarmid Jr.
Chairman, Hawaii Calls Inc./Hula Records

Contractors' work should be checked

I don't know what it is with these contractors who are working on our roads, especially on our side of the island. I'm talking about the Farrington Highway in front of the Catholic church in Nanakuli and wherever they dug up the roads all the way to Wai'anae. I know that those roads were not in the conditions they are in now.

The state inspectors should check on these jobs whenever work is completed and see that the roads are put back the way they were. The bumps and holes that are there now are ridiculous.

Bill Kapaku

View from California: Hawai'i no ka 'oi

We moved to California last month, and now that we have settled in, I realize that Hawai'i is like no other.

I met a young girl who moved here with her grandma and flies back and forth to O'ahu. My husband recognized the Hawaiian words on her jacket. It was a name of a hula halau. I was so happy to see another local from back home. I craved for something Hawaiian ... ahhhh! L&L in Vallejo. Kind of pricey, but it was worth the lau lau and kalua pig with rice.

Hawaiian style and honu stickers on the vehicles. I have to admit, I had put one on my mini-van hoping that another person from back home sees that I am from Hawai'i.

It's cold here. Fog and haze greet me every morning. Fortunately, it clears and it's a new day in a different paradise.

I miss Hawai'i's weather, the beaches, the laughter of the keiki at my son's preschool on Kapahulu Avenue ... I do miss home. But, I know that we will be back.

Melody-Lynn Tolentino Bustos
Napa, Calif.

Retailers should redeem containers

I agree with Elena Zucker's Jan. 19 letter, "Fund-raiser great way to dispose of empties." In her letter, she wondered why she couldn't return her cans and bottles to Manoa Marketplace. The reason is Hawai'i is the only state of 11 with bottle laws that does not mandate retailers to take back containers (i.e., act as a redemption center).

It is interesting that Gov. Lingle had a meeting with retailers about the bottle bill. Could it be that the intent was to make sure that all retailers not act as redemption centers? The only exception I'm aware of is Daiei, and that is only for a one-month period. So if you're frustrated with the lack of redemption centers, you know who to blame.

Randy Ching

Homelessness, drug activity mar beaches

Some of Hawai'i's most beautiful beaches are on the west side of O'ahu. It is a shame to watch these beaches become a place of drug activity and a community for the homeless.

I contacted the police several times and informed them of the continued drug activity at Nanakuli Beach Park (which is located about one mile from Kahe Point), but nothing seems to deter the activities there. The homeless community is growing daily. Abandoned cars, rubbish and sick people continue to claim this land as their own. By turning our back on this situation, we are enabling this situation to grow.

The carjacking that took place on Monday is evidence of this. We should not only be concerned about our reputation as a community to tourists but also with our quality of life on the west side. Several projects have been completed to beautify the westside beaches. It seems as soon as they are finished, no one maintains the parks and the homeless move in.

These beaches belong to everyone, and those who are responsible to maintain the law and order should be held accountable.

Edward Cox

Singapore provides solution for traffic

Dale Brouker's Jan. 10 letter ("Solution isn't rail, but a cap on autos") is right on. Let's see how other island states such as Singapore solve their traffic problem.

O'ahu is an island, and we cannot expand more except right into the ocean. Singapore is almost the size of O'ahu with a population of over 3 million. Clean city, orderly population. How does it do it? Extreme situations need extreme solutions. Hit people in the pocket, and they will cease to continue bad habits.

One traffic solution would be a toll system. We do not have to have a toll system (it can be done electronically nowadays), but Australians have been doing it for quite some time. The more you travel, the more you pay, unless, of course, you take public transportation.

Why should I, a user of public transportation by choice, subsidize those who are sole drivers? It is only fair that the more you use public roads, the more you pay. The motto is "pay as you go."

Then start fining those who trash the street with bottles or wrappers or cigarette butts. Let's see how many times they will do it. You should see the trash at the bus stops, such as at Beretania and Bishop streets, in front of the Capitol, ones in Kapolei (right in front of the state buildings) and in Waipahu. It is disgusting and embarrassing!

Rosita Sipirok-Siregar

Dr. King stood for equal rights, not for separateness

In their recent coverage of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the local media devoted extensive coverage to certain Native Hawaiians' attempt to expropriate this holiday for their own selfish purposes. What the local media continue to ignore are the antithetical goals advocated by Dr. King and those seeking special entitlements and a separate government for Native Hawaiians.

The holiday named in Dr. King's honor recognizes the efforts to end slavery, discrimination in laws and in private contracts, segregation in education, housing and many other areas, bans on interracial marriage, lynchings and other physical brutality, and a host of other sickening practices and their lingering effects that were directed at blacks in our country for no other reason than their ancestry. It represents an effort to realize one of the highest ideals of our country — the belief that "all men [and women] are created equal."

To twist Dr. King's goal of "freedom and equality" for all as support for special rights for any race is shameful. Dr. King did not seek to create a "separate but equal" America for black Americans. In his "I Have a Dream" speech, Dr. King spoke of a united America where all children could walk hand in hand as "sisters and brothers" and have the same glorious opportunities granted by equality.

Dr. King and the civil rights movement he led sought to end racial barriers: "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." How is this dream reconcilable with prohibiting children from going to school with or living next to one another because of where their ancestors lived 229 years ago?

Finally, Dr. King distinguished himself because of the positive manner in which he advocated change: "... let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred ... (Instead, let us) transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."

Let us unite Hawai'i in the same manner — not through special rights, but through equal rights.

David Rosen

It costs too much money to redeem those containers

I have read many letters regarding the new container-recycling program, but none has addressed the dollars-and-cents cost to those trying to comply. Hence, let me make the following assumptions (readers may adjust as they see fit), which I think are very conservative:

• The minimum roundtrip drive will be about 4 miles. At 20 miles per gallon and $2.35 per gallon for gas, this costs you 47 cents.

• Assume the minimum cost for wear and tear of driving 4 miles is 5 cents.

• It will take at least 40 minutes to drive that 4-mile round trip, wait to hand in your empties and get your refund. At the Hawai'i minimum wage of $6.25 an hour, this costs you $4.17 for your time (and even for those who don't work or what have you, your time should be worth at least minimum wage).

Total unreimbursed cost for the above is thus $4.69. You would have to recycle 94 containers just to repay yourself for your time, gas, and wear and tear on your car. But we would still have $5.64 down the drain in total deposits on those 94 containers, which would require another 94 containers to recoup the refundable portion of the original 94.

And so on — one would never come out ahead, and if our basic costs are higher than I have assumed, it would be even worse.

Once again, the bureaucrats have demonstrated their absolute disdain for any value of a citizen's time and investment. Even if one were willing to go along with this charade, those of us who live in high-rises simply do not have the space to store empties until it would make even a modicum of sense to turn them in.

My guess is that most citizens will soon get enough of the hassle and simply go back to their prior habits; I know that I, for one, will be in that group.

R.W. Parkinson