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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, June 20, 2005

Letters to the Editor

'Windwalkers' were there one last time

Our daughter's school, Kailua Elementary, recently held its annual Ho'ike festival, and the children did a great job, as did the teachers.

We wanted to point out another successful job, however — that of the Marine Corps volunteers who have helped with this and several other events in the past held at the school.

The children had a great time with these 10 young Marines, who were in charge of the water activities later that morning. When we asked them about their participation, they told us they had an equally good time. The smiles on their faces during the games proved it.

These Marines were part of the Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron 301, known as the "Windwalkers." As it turns out, the squadron was scheduled to decommission the following Friday (after 39 years of service), and so this was their last time to volunteer at Kailua Elementary School as a group.

On behalf of the children of the school and other parents, we would like to thank the Windwalkers for their kindness and generosity, and to congratulate them on another mission accomplished.

Robert Eldridge
Scholar-in-residence, Marine Forces Pacific

Emiko Eldridge

Sunset on Beach has not outlived its goal

In response to Michelle Spalding Matson's June 15 letter "Brunch, Sunset on Beach events have outlived goal":

As the community coordinator of two successful "Sunset" projects, one at Kailua Beach Park and another at Kailua District Park, I feel obligated to clarify a few details about these community events. Sure, Hono-lulu has a lot to offer, but the truth is, so do the Caribbean, Aruba, Guam, Palau and Mexico.

This is why Honolulu has to be creative in building a desirable city for people to visit and live in. The Harris administration clearly understood the need for an enhanced visitor experience and tried to address this with events such as the Brunches and the Sunsets. Studies have shown that contemporary travelers want to do things with the "locals" and not just be sold packaged tours.

With outdoor movies, local businesses are able to promote and sell their wares.

Creating a free, public, family-friendly event is always a good thing. In fact, Honolulu should be providing more. The social investment far exceeds any inconvenience made to people. Community groups participate to make it happen, they work side by side with law enforcement and other city workers, and people bring their families out away from the TV and video games and bond with their neighbors.

It's a good thing that Mayor Hannemann is trying to find creative ways to keep the sunset projects going by recruiting private support. This is what having great vision for a great city is all about.

Pohai Ryan
Former executive director, Kailua Chamber of Commerce; community coordinator, 2002 Kailua Sunset in the Parks

Natives must unite against establishment

Kevin R. Walsh's case ("City hiring policy faces challenge," June 10) reflects a Franz Kafka nightmare. In 1975, the state policy, under Gov. George Ariyoshi, enforced this on me.

I am a Native Hawaiian, born and raised in Hawai'i except for the college years. Being Native Hawaiian had no relevance. I had to show that I was a "Hawai'i citizen" by having paid taxes and having voted the previous two years. It was then, and is now, a political power grab. But everyone knows that college teachers, as I am, from the Mainland are excused regularly, presumably by the attorney general's office, as a sub-policy.

A similar kind of "definition" can be seen in a recent 'Olelo documentary on the Inupiat and Gwich'in (two native groups) of Alaska: The federal government defined who are "natives" of Arctic Village, eligible for land. It stipulated that they must have been born before 1937. Only those dying are natives eligible to claim the land. For the post-1937 natives, only about 90 million out of hundreds of millions of acres are left; but 70 percent of these acres' revenues virtually belong to the federal government's entities, while 30 percent are subject to state of Alaska taxation, according to Native Alaskan representatives.

Kafka's nightmare, where all human beings are animals, the eaten and the eating, is real life in Alaska and Hawai'i. Outsourcing and globalization — greed — regardless of the political party in power — are alive and well. Natives of the culture must unite.

Leialoha Apo Perkins

A lifetime of work is now in jeopardy

I am not a fireman. I am not a policeman. But I worked the better part of my life keeping people safe — safe to fly to every corner of the world. I was an A&P mechanic, better known as a machinist, an aircraft technician, a ground engineer.

For 36 years, I worked on repairing engineering defects and aircraft failures; I inspected and replaced aircraft parts, and dispatched thousands of flights. I've worked on over 20 models of aircraft, from the B-47 in the Air Force and the DC-3 to the 747 for the airlines. I worked on over 13 airlines' equipment.

Yes, we have caused many delays, but for good reasons. A sick bird should not fly.

I retired from the airline in early 1990 at the age of 63. And now my final reward is depicted on the top of the page of "Letters and Commentary" in The Advertiser on May 20. Now that I am 78 years old, my medical coverage and pension are in jeopardy. My life insurance has been canceled.

That is my final reward.

Clarence Markham

Kalaheo Avenue should be repaired

As a longtime resident of Kailua, I was happy to see that after years of sewer work that has closed Kalaheo Avenue, it has been reopened after working hours. What I do not understand is the lack of restoration of the roadway.

Some areas have been repaved while many others have not. The damage to the road surface is apparent to anyone who drives on it and is obviously from the construction work. It is beyond me why the contractor is not required to resurface the entire stretch from Kailua Road to Mokapu Boulevard.

After the years of closures, this would seem to be the least that could be done. Hope someone in our city administration reads this and remembers that a large part of the platform that got Mufi Hannemann elected mayor was the condition of the roads and his promise to repair them. Let's do the job right the first time for once.

Jeffrey Durham

Hawai'i kids suffer 'heat waves' all time

I read a story recently about a school district in Connecticut that shut down because heat and humidity had left students sweltering and unable to concentrate. The district considered linking school closings to three consecutive over-90-degree days, which the National Weather Service defines as a heat wave.

I have taught at several public schools here and I can tell you that in many of our classrooms, 90 degrees with high humidity is the norm, not just for short periods but for weeks at a time.

What are we doing about it? Many of our newest schools have air conditioning, but those in older schools just have to suffer. When Wai'anae was asked to consider all-year school, I remembered a promise of AC for all classrooms to make the summer heat bearable. Did it happen? Yeah, right! Now all schools will be required to go all year.

There are many other factors that keep our students from excelling but the question is, why are we putting obstacles in the way of our students? If Danbury thinks that 90 degrees is too much for their students, how hot is too hot for our students in Hawai'i?

Norman Chock

Dark-green, leafy vegetables healthier

I wasn't surprised when the state health director, Dr. Chiyome Leinaala Fukino, commented that "milk as a food product is economical, it's a readily available source of protein, one of the best sources of calcium and other nutrients" in "The Skinny on Milk" in Island Life on June 9. After all, with the powerful USDA and government-subsidized school lunch programs that require the serving of milk, what would one expect?

The USDA and the Dairy Board want the public to believe that milk can be effective in preventing osteoporosis; so why is it that countries with high dairy consumption like the U.S. also have higher rates of osteoporosis than those with low dairy consumption like Japan and China, where many people are lactose intolerant?

Mom was right when she said to eat our vegetables. Getting calcium from dark-green, leafy vegetables is a healthier alternative to consuming large quantities of animal protein that causes the bone-density loss of osteoporosis. It's only natural for us to find a new source of nutrients once we are out of infanthood; after all, humans are the only known animals who drink milk into their adulthood.

Cherie Motobu

Get someone else to register to vote

We need to get more people registered for the elections next year and 2008. One way is to encourage the ones who voted in the last election to work on at least one other person to send in the filled-out registration forms to the city clerk.

In 2006, the governor's race will be on the ballot, and that should get people excited enough to come out in numbers. For 2008, the all-important presidential election will be up for grabs, and whom we elect will make a difference in our domestic and international policies.

So, you children, get your parents to vote and get them as excited as when you voted, at your schools, in the last election.

To the ones who turned 18, register early, today if possible. To the people who are registered but did not vote in the last election, do so this time around. To you who voted in 2004, get another person involved by registering him or her now. Let's not waste this privilege to live in the U.S.A.

Roy E. Shigemura

Yasu Arakaki stood tall in his fights for workers

I learned a lot about history and organizing from Yasu Arakaki over the years and I will be forever grateful for his solidarity in the work of justice and peace. Yasu was a labor leader who fought for the rights and dignity of working people in Hawai'i and around the world.

Yasu was also one of the earliest supporters of Malu 'Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action in Kurtistown, founded in 1980. He helped walk the land and give advice when it was covered in old cane. He would stop by regularly to give encouragement in the early days of planting and building a peace farm, always bringing something as a ho'okupu that could be put to good use — bamboo shoots, lemon grass, chairs, a grill/smoker, etc.

And he would always have stories of union organizing and the sugar strikes, stories that continue to inspire us in our work today for justice and peace. He was an organizer par excellence with a passion for justice for the common person.

Yasu was a supporter of Hawai'i County's historic Nuclear-Free Zone ordinance, the first nuclear-free law passed in U.S. jurisdiction in 1981. He stood in support of me in 1984 when I was sentenced to three years in federal prison for a swimming protest of a nuclear warship in Hilo Bay. Even in his 70s and 80s, Yasu joined protests against nuclear arms, U.S. policies in Central America, in support of striking workers, against the building of more prisons and the current U.S. war in Iraq.

As someone who stood up personally against the powers that be during the anti-union witch-hunt days of the anti-communism/un-American activities committees, Yasu had a keen eye for standing in solidarity with others taking similar unpopular stands for justice and peace.

Hawai'i is a better place because of Yasu Arakaki. I feel blessed to have known him, walked picket lines with him, worked with him and called him a friend. Mahalo, Yasu. You have taught us the genuine meaning of "Solidarity Forever!" We will plant a tree at Malu 'Aina in your honor. May it grow and bear fruit for future generations of justice seeker and peacemaker activists like you.

Jim Albertini
President, Malu 'Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action, 'Ola'a, Hawai'i

When will we leave nature alone?

"If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it." (Lyndon B. Johnson)

This came to mind when I read the June 12 front-page article "State may ban tours of coastal Wai'anae."

When it comes to having dolphins and turtles play with tourists, I can only wonder if this can be called "progress."

This reminded me of the Glofish sold in pet stores, a common tropical aquarium fish that has been genetically engineered to glow in the dark.

Have we become so preoccupied with the gratification of our desires and obsessed with figuring out new ways to make life even more convenient, more comfortable and more interesting as if that has become the be all and end all of human experience and reason for existence?

Isn't it the world's world, or does it exist solely to serve our purposes by stimulating our curiosity, satiating our appetites, satisfying our ambitions, saving us from our stupidity, or speeding up its pace to fulfill our unrealistic expectations (e.g., growth)?

What will it take to rid humans of their anthropocentrism?

In our quest for "progress," has our curiosity, appetites, ambitions, stupidity and impatience blinded us to the reality that it is nature that can easily do without us rather than vice-versa?

Is there not even a little self-denial for the sake of nature, the environment or even for the future?

Shouldn't we begin to study societies that hold nature in reverence because they see themselves as stewards (rather than as exploiters) of their respective environments?

Will it require a full-blown catastrophe to wake us up to the fact that we disregard the laws of nature at our own peril?

Why am I now recalling Hitchcock's movie "The Birds," where masses of birds turn against humans, suggesting that their threshold of outrage had been reached over human indifference to their existence?

Or are horrors of an altogether different sort awaiting us if we allow conditions to descend to a "Pitcairn Island" meets "Lord of the Flies" meets "Easter Island" scenario where our last moments on Earth find us cursing ourselves for having created glow-in-the-dark fish instead of glow-in-the-dark mosquitos?

"History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives." (Abba Eban)

"The worst education which teaches self-denial, is better than the best which teaches everything else, and not that." (John Sterling)

C. Ikehara