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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 9, 2006

Letters to the Editor

LIBERALS

BLAME THE JUDGES FOR THREE-STRIKES LAW NEED

This new version of the three-violent-strikes law is just another ploy by the Democrats to pretend they are addressing the crime epidemic they have caused.

Years of appointing the most liberal judges in the country have created the revolving door that is our court system. Now they want to pretend to have a three-violent-strikes law, but want to omit robbery and child rape as a violent offense?

And this paper supports getting rid of the mandatory sentencing and letting the same soft-on-crime judges determine the sentence. Their decisions are what got us to this point in the first place.

Most citizens of this state have lost faith in our criminal justice system, yet they keep voting more Democrats into power.

Don't be fooled by this watered-down version of the bill. Pass it as it was written, and let's get the career criminals off of our streets and out of our homes and vehicles.

Erich Wida
Kane'ohe

STUDENTS

EMOTIONAL NEEDS ARE NOT BEING ADDRESSED

The Primary School Adjustment Project targets low-risk students who would otherwise receive no specialized services. PSAP nurtures the emotional and social needs of the child with mild issues that are typically overlooked and prevents the need for more specialized and intensive services these children might need without the preventive efforts.

One consequence of Act 51, with its new student weighted formula, is that programs like PSAP have either been eliminated or reduced in staff. This is shortsighted because this program focuses on prevention of long-term problems.

Schools are now pushed to show good performance in grades and test scores, therefore there is less emphasis being put on the social and emotional needs of the child, which are necessary for learning to occur. As a result, schools are forced to eliminate programs that could help the children grow into emotionally healthy adults and not just "good test takers."

Our Legislature pushed for the PSAP program for every school in the state, originally to satisfy requirements of the Felix Consent Decree. The program has now been in place for a number of years and we have years of data to show that it has helped a lot of students with mild social, emotional and behavioral problems. Without the help of PSAP, the problems of these students could easily have grown into more serious problems later in life, with accompanying long-term consequences for our state.

Robin Naope
PSAP child aide, Haha'ione Elementary School

Annie Gino
PSAP home school liaison, Kamiloiki Elementary School

ALA WAI

CANAL, HARBOR NEED TO BE FLUSHED OUT

Fortunately the Ala Wai Canal had just been dredged. Otherwise, think of all the contaminated material that would need to be removed.

The Ala Wai and all connecting canals and streams and the harbor need to be flushed out.

At the end of the Ala Wai, clean ocean water needs to be pumped in by the zillions of gallons. While this is happening, the bottom of the canal needs to be "sprayed" to loosen up all material so it can be flushed out. This also needs to be done to the entire harbor.

Of course, the material being flushed needs to be channeled far out to sea, which would require a retaining device, a channel created with flexible material extending far out to sea to keep it herded away from the surrounding coastline.

Mike Brown
Honolulu

CONTAMINATION

IS IT REALLY SAFE TO GO BACK IN WATER?

As a Hawai'i resident, I was disappointed and embarrassed when our city and state failed to promptly warn beachgoers that the water was contaminated by recent sewer spills. I felt as if I was watching the idiot bureaucrats in the movie "Jaws."

I now wonder if it is safe to venture back into the surf. Authorities claim it is, but has anyone tested the sand and rocks? Contaminants may have settled, leaving the water "clean" but the beach still contaminated.

Many people cut themselves while surfing, walking along the beach and playing in the sand. I hope someone trustworthy will check into this. Let's protect the tourists and the kama'aina.

Mike Uyehara
Honolulu

THE OTHER SIDE

HOMELESS CHILDREN NEVER CHOSE SITUATION

Bradley Fan brought up some good points regarding the problem with our homeless citizens (Letters, March 31). However, I have to ask, what does he think about the children involved in all this? Does he really think these children "choose" to be homeless? What about them?

The homeless have my sympathy, even if they don't have Mr. Fan's. I, for one, am not too naive to think that all homeless people are crack addicts, alcoholics or deviants. I am also all too familiar with financial difficulties and diminished physical and mental health all of which can, along with many other factors, contribute to becoming homeless.

Bad choices aside, nobody every really "chooses" to be homeless. That homeless person you see walking with his shopping cart full of all his worldly possessions is someone's child, someone's spouse, someone's parent. It is all too easy to forget that because all you see is this seemingly odd person walking aimlessly around town.

Yes, we have a problem, but it is foolish to think our homeless population will disappear once we turn our backs on them. Money, red tape and just general technical difficulties are part of the problem. Treatment programs, shelters, halfway houses we have the resources; unfortunately, there are just not enough to go around.

There are two sides to every story, Mr. Fan; it would be wise to remember that.

Hazel J. Anzai
Pearl City

RENTALS

ENFORCING ZONING LAWS WOULD BE WELCOME

Over the last few months I have seen columns and articles by Lee Cataluna and others that decry the keen competition for the few long-term rentals that are available to the point where dozens compete to rent a walk-in closet as their residence.

If you wanted to take the next logical step, it could be said that the increase in illegal vacation rentals has driven the cost of owning a home beyond the reach of the majority of kama'aina.

People have financed homes beyond their means with the promise of income from illegal vacation rentals, knowing perfectly well it is in violation of zoning laws. But they have willingly taken the risk because they know there has been little or no enforcement in the past.

It is nice to hear that the reality of enforcement may be changing for the better.

Jo Ann Best
Kane'ohe

RESPONSIBILITY

EDITORIAL OFF BASE ON CORPORATION BILL

Considering The Advertiser's past support of "economic reform," I find your dismissive reaction to House Bill 3118, the paradigm-bending Responsible Business Corporation Act, astonishingly shortsighted.

Do your editors truly believe your statement that "it's the duty of government, not corporations, to serve the public interest?"

The biggest failure is the failure of government to fully appreciate and support sustainable and socially responsible business movements.

To enact real reform, government must have at its command both the carrot and the stick, and HB3118 for the first time providesimportant incentives for businesses to act in the public interest by adding to their boards members not constrained by rules demanding that shareholder profit be the only guiding principle.

It would be ideal if standards of corporate governance could be raised across the board to require stakeholder and worker participation in all levels of decision-making (similar to Germany's successful "works councils"), but until the realities of our political economy change, voluntary participation represents a major reform to business as usual.

We should thank author Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu and the bill's co-sponsors for their interest in promoting a better economic paradigm.

Richard Weigel
Pearl City