Letters to the Editor
REAL HAWAI'I IS OFTEN KEPT FROM TOURISTS
Many Japanese people visit Hawai'i every year, especially in the summer. Hawai'i is one of the most popular vacation destinations for Japanese people. There are many attractive places. People enjoy marine sports, shopping and sightseeing.
Do people who visit Hawai'i really know about Hawai'i? They might know only a few things. There are many guidebooks for tourists about Hawai'i, so people can get information about tourist resorts easily. But people do not have enough opportunity to know about real Hawai'i life and history. If people know about them before they visit Hawai'i, their trip could become more meaningful.
Before I came to Hawai'i, I read a guidebook and a concise Hawaiian history book. But I could not get information fully. One thing that surprised me after I came here is that there are many homeless people in Hawai'i. Most people who come to Hawai'i do not notice that many people are without shelter.Rumiko Nakamoto
HIGH-RISES WILL HELP EASE HOUSING CRUNCH
I've been a real estate broker for more than 20 years. Today's housing market is perhaps the most discouraging for our local folks.
There will never be sufficient housing in Hawai'i. Providing affordable rentals is the most viable way to effectively ease today's pent-up housing needs. Cities like Singapore have successfully developed efficient high-rises to meet their populous needs. These rentals are not dream homes but they provide shelter, comfort and safety at an affordable price.
High-rises are efficient use of limited space in our small island. Singapore's flats (condominium buildings) also designate ground-floor spaces to be used for a community center or childcare center. Classes, social services or activities for the young and older can also be conveniently offered in such settings. It is a mini-village.
These flats can be situated in quads to help promote a sense of community. The compound can designate space for gardening, children's play and even a pool. Urban planners can improve this concept a hundredfold.
Public sentiment and land ordinances prevent these high-rises from sprouting all over this island. We most definitely must preserve the ambience, beauty and quality of life in this island. But we can thoughtfully designate some space for such high-rise developments. It will help ease the housing crunch we are having today.Choon James
Realtor, North Shore
HOSPITAL WORKERS SHOULD CHANGE AT JOB
I see people who work in hospitals who go to work wearing their hospital uniforms. I wonder whether they bring viruses and microbes from the bus and elsewhere to the hospital.
If the hospitals have laundry facilities, it would be better for the workers to change into their uniforms at the hospitals.
Somebody must take responsibility for this. I have traveled most of the world and I have never seen this hospital policy.Ramin Moradi Asl
HPU student from Sweden
KEEP KAMILONUI VALLEY OPEN AND UNDEVELOPED
Kamilonui Valley is the last remaining undeveloped valley in East Honolulu. An agricultural heiau called Pahua remains at the base of Kamilonui Valley. This heiau could be a symbol for what the valley can become again.
Why does Kamehameha Schools not explore the possibility of keeping the valley in agricultural use by making the land available for interested Hawaiians who want to farm? Farmers played an important role in Hawaiian culture. The valley could be used for traditional Hawaiian dry land crops such as sweet potatoes, which this area was known for in the old days, or other viable agricultural ventures and programs.
Kamehameha Schools says the Kamilonui farms aren't meeting the five mandates of the trust's land-holdings. Perhaps with planning and investment, the valley could meet these criteria once the leases expire or the current farmers decide they don't wish to stay. Everyone could learn by observing and practicing traditional Hawaiian land use, which offers advanced methods of conservation and preservation.
Keeping the valley open and undeveloped, but at the same time productive, would help keep this community balanced. Provide Hawaiians with land to work. Once the land is gone, no amount of money will get it back.Kimo Franklin
DON'T NEED IT
PEOPLE WON'T USE RAIL
Who will ride the O'ahu rail transit? No one! The buses did not get overloaded when the price of gas went over $3 a gallon. Isn't than enough proof that a rail transit system is not needed?C. Walther
BOB REES UNDERSTOOD REAL FAMILY VALUES
Bob Rees is missed already. Mr. Rees understood the travesty of discrimination and the value of human rights. He was a very special person. Few will measure up to take his place or walk in his shoes.
The world is a sadder place without the warm, welcoming smile of Mr. Rees. It's hard to imagine anyone ready and willing to keep free speech alive as he did. He always researched his subject before he wrote or interviewed a person for one of his shows or articles. Then, he wrote and worked with a strong ethical standard uncommon in today's world. His journalistic integrity is a model for all aspiring reporters.
PLFAG-Oahu misses Mr. Rees. We send our condolences to his wife and his family. He understood real family values and treated PFLAG members with respect and dignity. We will always remember him and his family with love.Carolyn Martinez Golojuch
STADIUM AUTHORITY SHOULD ENFORCE LAWS
The Aloha Stadium Authority's decision to ban alcohol consumption outside the stadium before, during and after regular-season college football games is wrong. The whole thing is about money, period; if not, then why not ban alcohol completely?
There are laws on the books already to handle this type of behavior; what authority members need to do is enforce those laws. They can't seem to enforce the existing laws now, so what makes them think they will be able to enforce a new law?
If they could come up with a way to make money off the alcohol consumed in the parking lot, you would not hear a peep out of them about banning alcohol.Donald Patton
NEW PROJECT IS JUST BEGGING FOR GRAFFITI
Spray me! That's what that nice blank canvas is yelling.
I speak of the brand-new wall erected due to the construction of the new lane on the H-1 westbound in 'Aiea. Recently as I drove home, I saw that one person already decided to express his artistic emotions.
With the millions spent on the roadway itself, you would think they'd think of some sort of graffiti prevention such as lighting or landscaping.
If they grew vines or oleander bushes on or in front of the wall, I'm pretty sure that those artists would be a little less open about sharing their talent. I don't think I could see them carrying a set of pruning shears in their bag of paints.Keith Takeda
LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF BEING A TEACHER IN HAWAI'I
After teaching for 42 years, six of them on O'ahu, I am concerned over the commentary by Heather Harris in the Oct. 28 Advertiser ("Leeward Coast school conditions horrible: Many classrooms are hot, dirty, noisy and rundown").
When I arrived on O'ahu in the late '50s and was given a physical education placement out at Highlands Intermediate in Pearl City, I taught on a small sloping facsimile of a field where I ran the physical fitness tests and taught many sports. I also taught my girls (we were separated in those days) how to bowl using milk cartons and baseballs in the parking lot. Volleyball was played with two girls holding up a net tied to brooms, and no one ever complained. We even had to mop our own classrooms every afternoon.
My clothes and body were a permanent red color, but I never complained because I was given the opportunity to teach in Hawai'i and I was thankful for that. I left the Islands because my husband wanted more education, but vowed I would return, which we did.
Our daughter, born in Queens, always said she would return and did so five years ago as a teacher. She has taught four different grades in two different elementary schools and has never complained because she, too, is accepting the creative challenge.
While living on O'ahu, we made many local friends, and they have been our constant reminder to return. I just wish Heather and her husband could stay longer and get fully engulfed in the culture surrounding them because I feel they have not given it a chance. I wish them luck on the Mainland and hope that they will reflect many times about their teaching experiences in Hawai'i.
I also hope that the DOE will get its act together and make the island schools a more pleasant place to teach and, therefore, keep these migratory teachers from leaving.Nancy Null
NO TO LEASEHOLD CONDOS
SAVE THE KAKA'AKO MAKAI AREA
A $650 million monster is about to be built on the only available open shoreline area of Honolulu.
The Kaka'ako makai area is the last nearshore area available in Honolulu for open space and a park. Since the 1970s, the state has been planning to redevelop the site makai of Ala Moana Boulevard as a recreational and low-level commercial area. However, since last September, the Hawai'i Community Development Authority has been entertaining a proposal from Alexander & Baldwin to build a 900-unit high-rise leasehold condominium on this property, with adjacent businesses that will be 65 feet high and some green space.
The HCDA justifies the decision to build the high-rise residential commercial complex because a recent residential-use study, in conjunction with a final environmental assessment, pointed out that "residential use is not only appropriate from a development and market standpoint, but would be a cornerstone to HCDA's vision for Kaka'ako as "a place to live, work, learn and play."
This idea is OK for the whole Kaka'ako district (mauka and makai), but three high-rise buildings in the makai portion is not appropriate for an environmental asset that includes air, ocean, harbor, greenery and relatively expansive vistas.
Besides, the real concept behind the "a place to live, work, learn and play" criteria is to build a place where people can walk to work. These high-rise residences are not being planned for local people, that's for sure. Local people even with above-average income consider Honolulu leasehold property near the shore to be prohibitively expensive.
The process for HCDA to accept the A&B proposal is happening fast. Last September the formerly industrial-zoned "park" area was rezoned to allow residences and mixed use. And, by January, HCDA may sign a letter of intent with A&B to go ahead with the project to build this "star" development.
So, the state needs to take the business-development hat off and put on the community-and-cultural hat. The 30 or so acres of green and blue ocean space can be an environmental and cultural asset for generations.
Here is an idea to consider: Kaka'ako makai can be the green lawn for the Honolulu town square. All good cities have town squares. Make a world-class park for the local people with areas for halau to gather, and even a skateboard arena. Build modernly constructed structures that are stylized as pre-contact meeting places, not taller than a very tall coconut tree, that are open and easy to maintain. And imagine enjoying this open space with your local and visiting friends and family.Lainie Tamashiro