Letters to the Editor
FINALLY, BOXERS GIVEN OPPORTUNITY TO BOX
I would like to give a big mahalo to Ralph Martin for putting on the Junior Olympic Boxing Event on April 8 at Palolo Boxing Gym. This event gave the boxers the opportunity to compete in the sport in which they train hard and love.
Imagine a basketball player who practices every day but never competes. This is exactly what is happening to boxing. With PAL only a memory and boxing events being stopped in their tracks, there are no other opportunities for the boxers to compete.
It's really sad that the U.S. Olympic sport of boxing has all these personal conflicts in Hawai'i.
What about the kids who wanted to be the next Brian Viloria or Jesus Salud? Their opportunities are fading in Hawai'i.
The real losers are the kids. Settle the personal conflicts outside the boxing ring and let the competition go on.
Thank you, Ralph Martin, for your support of boxing.Jody Okawaki
NO WIN FOR ISLES
LEGALIZED GAMBLING WOULD BE HORRIBLE
Peter Boylan's front-page article of April 10 on the rise of illegal gambling on O'ahu unfortunately may leave the impression that since gambling is now featured so repetitively on TV, gambling is an acceptable activity and should perhaps be legalized. It reminds me of the persistent campaign by the tobacco industry years ago to glamorize smoking by emphasizing that "Hey, everybody is doing it, so it's OK."
We need to keep a few things in mind when we think about legalizing gambling in Hawai'i:
Let's not shrug our shoulders and say we can't buck the inevitable. We've so far successfully stopped the Mainland gambling industry from setting up shop in the Islands, to drain off huge profits for their investors, while damaging our own locally owned businesses. Let's continue to protect Hawai'i from this plague of mass gambling.Judy A. Rantala
President, Hawai'i Coalition Against Legalized Gambling
THANKS TO ALL
CRATER FESTIVAL WAS UNQUALIFIED SUCCESS
I was given two tickets to last week's Diamond Head Crater Festival and went expecting to sink knee-deep in mud — I didn't. I expected to be the oldest person there — I wasn't. I thought I might not really enjoy the music — I did and had my hands in the air after every performance.
Tremendous kudos to all involved, to those who put down the plywood walkways, set up the stage, worked the concessions, drove the buses to and from our assigned parking areas with great dispatch, and finally, to the entire production department. Mahalo and a hui hou!Marian Benham
'BAND-AID' REMEDIES ARE ALWAYS RISKY
My condolences to Oliver Johnson's mom, Friederike Boszko from Boca Raton, Fla., siblings, father, family and friends. In The Advertiser, Oliver is described by his many island friends ('ohana) as being a "friendly and outgoing guy" who had a passion for bringing strangers, soon to be friends, together at one table.
Now it is up to Mr. Jim Leavitt and his legal team to get to the bottom of why repairs on the broken 42-inch sewer main on Kai'olu Street that were targeted in 1998 were not started. Mr. Leavitt, it is time to subpoena the city's past and current administration and other defendants to the courtroom bench to seek the truth.
People, please do not blame the "heavy rains" as the main factor of the sewer main breakage because the city could have fixed the problem during the drought years. But no, eight years later, 48 million gallons of raw sewage were pumped into the Ala Wai Canal.
The mayor's decision to divert the raw sewage into the Ala Wai Canal for the entire duration of the sewer main repairs was a poor decision for many reasons: the loss of Oliver Johnson's life (until proven otherwise), the negative impact on the environment, the state's tourism industry, the state's global reputation and the inconvenience to the canoe paddlers.
When will our political leaders stop ignoring the city and state infrastructure needs? Don't they know by now that "Band-Aid" remedies under any circumstances are risky?Johnnie-Mae L. Perry
WHY IS STATE FUNDING ADVERTISING OF ISLES?
Roughly $30 million to $60 million per year of our tax dollars are being used on efforts to advertise around the globe for its residents to come to Hawai'i and vacation. Why is no one questioning the advertising expense scheme by the state that primarily benefits the airline and hotel industries?
Hotels and airlines do pay for their own advertising, but should the state also be marketing the same cause and effect for them?
Certainly, for the consumers around the world who do not know where Hawai'i is, they most likely do not have the resources to travel, and if they did have the means, they may rather spend it on a destination where they can gamble. Educating potential vacationers that we are a paradise in the Pacific and have airline seats and hotel beds available is not a core government function, in my opinion.
My suggestion would be for the state to take a one-year hiatus from advertising Hawai'i and then check the airline and hotel occupancy rates the next year to see if all the additional taxpayer-funded advertising really makes a difference on our economy. The attempt to save up to $60 million for one year may be worth the trial.
Reality is, our Islands can continue to get exceptional media coverage for just being who and what we are.Tom Berg
SCHOOLS MUST HAVE A CORE CURRICULUM
The Honolulu Advertiser is to be heartily commended by the parents of public school children and by the community at large for urging that Senate Bill 3059 be modified to establish a mandatory — not voluntary — common core curriculum for every grade level and in every subject taught.
Until a common core curriculum is established, chaos will continue to prevail as each teacher tries to determine for himself or herself how to spend the school year.
The really sad part of this story is what an impediment to educating children the Department of Education has become in its steadfast refusal to do its job establishing a common core curriculum. Equally sad is the utterly useless BOE, which, as usual, has nothing whatsoever to say by way of policy in this vital area.
That this critically important task has fallen to the state Legislature, urged on by the Hawai'i Automobile Dealers Association, shows why Hawai'i consistently finds itself bringing up the rear in matters of public education compared with "real" school districts across the nation.Thomas E. Stuart
Public school teacher, Kapa'au, Hawai'i
BLAME IT ON BUSH?
When I read that President Bush had authorized leaks, I thought at first that he was being held responsible for the Ala Wai Canal disaster. And why not? He's been blamed for just about everything else that goes wrong in the world.Jim Mazure
PRIORITIES NOT MISPLACED IN HELPING STUDENT GOLFERS
I would like to offer my perspective on Dave O'Neal's March 31 letter concerning "misplaced priorities." Any student-athlete involved with interscholastic athletics learns the value of sportsmanship, dedication, commitment, loyalty, time management and fair play.
These lessons help to make them better prepared to become productive and contributing members in their communities. Because of academic eligibility requirements, they also learn to value education. As a side note, all 17 members of the Waiakea High girl's golf team have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.
People will donate to a cause that is worthy. What can be more worthy than to invest in the youth of Hawai'i? When our generation is ready to pass the torch, they will be the ones to receive it. If we can impart in them sound values such as caring and generosity, we are helping to secure a bright future for our state.
It was unfortunate that we could not hide all 13 golf bags from view, nor have all of the bags covered by homeowner's insurance. But thanks to the caring nature of the people of Hawai'i, our team members will always remember the generosity extended to them and understand the importance of giving. We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest appreciation and gratitude to all who have offered assistance.
Finally, Hawai'i is a very generous community. Many people donate yearly to their church, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Aloha United Way and countless other charities. A good amount of these donations go to help the homeless.
Mr. O'Neal, please do not judge our society so harshly just because they extended that generosity to help a high school golf team during a time of need.Ken Yamase
Athletic director, Waiakea High School
AN 'OFFICER'S OFFICER'
CHIEF NAKAMURA HAD DEEP IMPACT
Very few times in life do we have the opportunity to cross paths with people who impact our lives. Chief Michael Nakamura ranks as one of those special individuals.
During his watch, he launched the Citizens Police Academy, and over the years since 1995, hundreds have graduated and taken their training to understand the important roles of our men and women in blue and to get involved in helping their communities with neighborhood policing, cleaning up graffiti and other means of working to safeguard their homes for a better quality of life.
As with the DARE program, Chief Nakamura also supported additional funding to get the No Hope In Dope program to be part of the overall HPD fight against drug abuse and its negative impact on our community.
For those of us who benefited from the privilege to be a part of these ventures and interact with Chief Nakamura, it was a wonderful and very rewarding experience to be with a man who is considered "an officer's officer" who persevered, had passion and was professional in every sense of his duty.
As chief, he reached beyond the rank and file, and his sincerity and friendly smile were always a welcome sight when he approached us while we went through the 13 weeks of training. On numerous occasions, he remembered HPD workers on their birthdays with personal gestures of kindness; he did the same by sending notes of appreciation when those of us sent notes of appreciation of the officers and the work of the HPD. We may have made his day, but in return he made our day much more with his personal cards of thanks.
I have seen many chiefs of police during my lifetime, and Chief Nakamura stands out because of his special personality to deal with not only the men and women under him but also with how he embraced the community he was sworn to protect.
It was during his tenure and with the input of all levels of the complex HPD family that the motto of "Integrity, Respect, Fairness" was developed as the theme for the HPD family. It came from within the heart and soul of the HPD family and Chief Nakamura, who embraced this to the fullest.
All we can say is farewell to a great person who had so much kindness and "a job well done."Tom Sugita