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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 6, 2006

Letters to the Editor

POLITICS, MONEY

GUIDE POINTS THE WAY FOR VOTING RESPONSIBLY

For those of you who are looking for a concise yet powerful tool to help you vote with your wallet in the upcoming elections, I would like to recommend a recently released guide called the "The Blue Pages."

As the introduction states, "By summarizing the political contributions and business practices of over 1,000 companies and over 4,000 brands, this directory allows you to see exactly what your cash supports."

Although many voters would like to vote more responsibly, the task of researching to make intelligent decisions is daunting. The crew at the recently established publishing company, PoliPointPress, have spent long and expensive hours to render much of this information easily accessible and readily usable. They have placed their integrity on the line to help our confused electorate to wake up and vote accordingly.

As the saying goes, "Money is the mother's milk of politics." Instead of milking the system for all it is worth, try voting responsibly and channel corporate political funding to where your conscience can rest easily.

James Miner
Ha'iku, Maui

EDUCATION BILL

DOWN SYNDROME KIDS NEED HELP IN SCHOOL

The Individuals with Disabilities Act was reauthorized on Dec. 3, 2004, a.k.a. IDEA 2004, and mandates the Hawai'i Department of Education, as lead educational agency, to provide a free appropriate public education to children who are eligible for special education beginning at age 3.

The Felix Consent Decree created a system to support the mental and behavioral needs of children within the context of a classroom.

Hawai'i now has another area of significance to address: young children who are developmentally delayed due to a biological factor, such as Down syndrome, with unique learning characteristics that do not follow any best practice for a typically developing child, but rather a best practice for a typically developing child with Down syndrome.

On March 31, we submitted a proposed amendment to Senate Bill 2724 to Chairman Dwight Takamine of the House Finance Committee and to Director of Health Chiyome Fukino to address Rep. Dennis Arakaki's concerns, as reported in the article "Moms find it's tough to change a law" (Advertiser, March 12).

Rather than offering early intervention to all kids at once, Arakaki thinks it would be more prudent to phase it in as resources, such as funding and staff, become available.

The amendment proposes an appropriation be made to the Department of Health for early intervention services for children with Down syndrome (with the option to include children with very low birth weight) beginning at age 3 until ready for kindergarten through an individualized family service plan.

But the measure will die this legislative session if the House Finance Committee chairman does not allow the bill to move forward.

Linda and Wendell Elento
Kane'ohe

SEWAGE

OUST CITY OFFICIALS FOR ALA WAI FIASCO

I think the mayor and most of our city officials should be shown the door.

The Ala Wai sewage-dumping choice was criminal. How many large tankers are on this island? Why did they not line them up on Ala Wai Boulevard, fill them up and route the sewage directly to the treatment facility?

I hope the EPA really nails our current administration over this. Maybe we should all just refuse to pay any more taxes until they are spent responsibly.

Wayne Blackburn
Honolulu

BETTER OPTIONS

CITY WAS DERELICT IN MASSIVE SEWAGE FLOW

Where is the leadership on O'ahu? Tourism is vital to Hawai'i's economy, and Waikiki's the lifeblood.

Therefore, when a sewer main breaks in Waikiki, you would expect an immediate response with a "failure is not an option" attitude. Yet the sewage continued to flow (actually was pumped) into the Ala Wai Canal for almost a week.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann said, "We really have no other alternative."

Did anyone consider pumping the sewage downstream to the next functioning manhole? This is what's done on the Mainland. If the pumps, hoses, etc. are not available to handle this type of emergency, first fire the person in charge of emergency pipe breaks and then get the needed equipment here ASAP.

In the meantime, round up every available tanker truck, pump the sewage into the trucks and drive them to the next functional manhole downstream for off-loading. If necessary, close some streets and set up a tanker truck convoy.

Somebody take charge, please.

David Richardson
Kailua

PRESCRIPTIONS

PSYCHIATRISTS WON'T DISCUSS BRIDGING GAP

You published a letter March 31 opposing prescriptive authority for psychologists in which the author urged both psychologists and psychiatrists to work together to solve the problem.

Psychologists have been attempting to do just this with psychiatrists for more than 25 years, but psychiatry refuses again and again to even discuss or even meet with us.

This year alone, Sen. Roz Baker and Rep. Josh Green organized a committee of psychiatrists and psychologists, only to have the psychiatrists dig their heels in and refuse to consider the possibility.

Later, during the legislative session, Rep. Robert Herkes attempted to open a discussion between the two groups, but psychiatrists refused to even meet. This same pattern has repeated itself again and again. In the meantime, thousands of underserved people suffer unnecessarily.

We'd welcome a discussion with them even now.

Donald Kopf
Psychologist, Honolulu

NO CHILD FAILURE

STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR EDUCATION SCORES

Hey, what a shocker! Hawai'i's public school system failed yet another No Child Left Behind benchmark.

Even more shocking, the state DOE immediately jumped to defend the horrid test results by proudly announcing that "Ha- wai'i's test is one of the toughest in the country."

What? Just how stupid are we? We already have a historically shaky public educational system, so we administer the toughest test in the nation? To prove what? And to whom?

Last I heard, "strength of schedule" statistics only applied to college athletics.

Instead of attacking and dismissing all data that show we are failing, how about publishing some data that show actual progress? How about visiting one of those states that is passing and adopting its system?

How about, instead of constantly blaming, we simply acknowledge that, yes, we are having problems?

Our teachers work hard; the majority of our kids try hard. Nobody wants to be "second worst" at anything. DOE, you are on trial. But, while "winning" by continuing to play the "blame game" may save your paycheck, it ultimately condemns our children. Enough, already!

Richard Winslow
Kane'ohe

HOMELESS

DESPITE THE CRUELTY, THERE NOW APPEARS TO BE HOPE

Finally it appears a new day of hope has come for those who are homeless. I have been working with homeless for 20 years on this island, professionally and personally. The challenges have been too many most times. The resources and commitment have always been grave obstacles.

The recent sweeps of various known homeless locations have two sides. One side of it is cruel in the form of inhumanity, arrest, moving people who are already in the deepest hardship of their lives and no less in a time when the rains have taken lives and caused many to be very ill with flu and severe colds cruel in stopping programs from trying to bring food and supplies out to help.

On the other hand, it has caused a refreshing hope after these inhumane actions by officials. More people in our community are speaking out on these issues, and many are stepping forward and saying enough. Out of sight and out of mind is less a fact than it has been, which in my eyes equals genuine hope for a change in how we as a community deal with this problem.

To the people who are standing strong, speaking out, demanding change, bravo and mahalo! To the media that have allowed and encouraged these voices of hope to be heard at a new level of awareness, bravo and mahalo!

We are taking better steps and listening to all the possibilities of hope with some real action possibilities. All we need to do now is pair it all with accountability of the services to be provided and walk the talk.

We have always had the ability to make the changes, but not the resources and commitment to back them. Many solutions have been shared but ignored in the past or even met with consequences.

Maybe that is about to change. There is hope.

Sharon Black
Honolulu

ADD MICROORGANISMS

SEWAGE IMPACT CAN BE LESSENED

After hearing of the large sewage spill in Waikiki, The Surfrider Foundation O'ahu Chapter was alarmed and seriously concerned about the impact on South Shore surf spots and beaches.

We tracked the pollution and remained in contact with the Department of Health's Clean Water Branch, proposing posting of warning signs around the canal and along much of Waikiki. Not only were the beach areas dangerously polluted with high bacteria, but our world-famous surf sites such as Ala Moana, Kaiser Bowls, Threes and Pops were also polluted.

The City and County insists that this was the only course of action, otherwise homes and hotels would have had sewers backing up.

We would like to propose that although there probably wasn't any one solution that may have taken care of the entire spill, there are other partial remedies that might have served to lessen the impact. Simple, yet effective actions that might have been taken and can still be used to help the health of the Ala Wai and surrounding beaches and waters include:

  • Adding microorganisms to the canal waters to digest the sewage.

  • Adding atmospheric oxygen to the canal to enhance the microorganisms.

  • Adding surface areas to which the microorganisms can attach, such as plant rafts or artificial media (as was done with phytoremediation in the demonstration project at the far end of canal).

    This huge spill is a shame not only as a bad accident but because it was a preventable accident. If repairs and maintenance were conducted as they should have been, this spill may not have even occurred.

    It is highly unlikely that this will be the last time we hear about sewage spilling into our precious oceans and beaches. At the time this was written, there were so many spills around the island that the city was advising the public to avoid Kailua Beach, Bellows Beach, Waimanalo Bay State Recreation Area, Ka'elepulu Stream, Blaisdell Park in Pearl Harbor, Kalihi Stream, Ke'ehi Lagoon, the shoreline near Wailupe, the Ala Wai Canal and the waters from Honolulu Harbor to Fort DeRussy Beach. It's hard to keep up.

    Because of our leaky sewage system, we would also suggest that the City and County develop and begin using these simple techniques whenever there is a spill to avoid letting our raw sewage run into our ocean waters.

    Hopefully, this spill, which made the national news showing the world-famous beaches of Waikiki posted with sewage warning signs, will be a good wake-up call for our administration to act faster in making the needed improvements to seriously reduce the chance of future spills and to incorporate better spill procedures that will lessen their impact.

    Marvin Heskett and Scott Werney
    Honolulu