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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, April 17, 2006

Letters to the Editor

HOMELESS

WAI'ANAE COAST MUST NOT BE DUMPING GROUND

A W.C. is a toilet in England, and that is what we here on the Wai'anae Coast (WC) have become a toilet and dumping ground for the homeless.

I don't want to be chided by Rep. Michael Kahikina for not being "compassionate" (as he did another in these letters to the editor), but I applaud the return of Ala Moana Beach Park to us taxpaying citizens and can only hope that we here on the WC can someday look forward to the return of our beautiful beaches to us and not think of our beaches as a W.C.

Nora Mitchell
Wai'anae

TRAFFIC

WE ARE REACHING LEVELS OF SATURATION

I have lived in the Islands for over 50 years. What a change in the attitude of residents!

The objections I hear are all based on a "me, me" attitude and yet have no basis in fact. It is the same irresponsible or selfish attitude of those who now complain of gas prices and continue to buy the big gas guzzlers, when in the past we drove Volkswagens to commute as gas here has always been more expensive than on the Mainland.

Take traffic. We have a state with tourism now as its main economic force and a governor and umpteen business people charging off to China for more tourists when we already have topped 7 million annually. Now there is a real reason to complain about more traffic.

The total number of tourists creates more traffic no matter where they stay on this island, plus the cars they rent and events they attend all over the island. This is on top of the normal Hawai'i resident population increases.

Then we have those people from out of state who are buying and building second homes here, after their tourist exposure to our wonderful Islands.

Ruth Dias Willenborg
Kailua

HOUSING

DEDICATE FUNDING FOR LAND CONSERVATION

Thank you for the April 9 Focus section and the detailed pro and con arguments regarding amendments to the City Charter and land-use proposals.

Over two dozen nonprofit organization members of the Conservation and Affordable Housing Alliance that submitted Proposal 91 were particularly pleased to see that although Mr. Isaac Moriwake and Mr. David Callies could agree on little else, both lauded the model that we have proposed as effective and successful.

Proposal 91 would follow the lead of both Maui and Kaua'i counties, which have amended their charters with the overwhelming support of their voters to create dedicated funds for land conservation.

Such an amendment is the cornerstone of the "fair" public-private partnerships that Mr. Callies endorsed in his commentary. Because sustainability is more than just about the environment, however, I also believe that affordable housing is critical to the sustainability of our local society and culture.

Creating a dedicated land and housing fund would help keep our natural lands protected and our citizens housed through leveraged federal and state funds and partnerships that all sides agree are effective and fair.

The Conservation and Affordable Housing Alliance hopes our Charter Commission will agree that Proposal 91 deserves a spot on the November ballot and that voters in turn will approve a more sustainable future for O'ahu.

Josh Stanbro
The Trust for Public Land Conservation and Affordable Housing Alliance

EPIDEMIC

BLAME POOR CHARACTER RATHER THAN 'ICE' USE

I see unending discussions on the evil of "ice." Ice has to be ingested into humans to be harmful. The problem is people individuals who choose to ingest ice.

Let's be clear on this: The problem is not ice, it is lack of personal discipline and character.

To clarify: One does not walk down the street, minding his own business, only to have ice jump from a doorway and attack him. Instead, he decides to ingest it. He might have lots of "friends" egging him on, but he decides.

To make it even clearer, the "treatment" of an ice over-user is centered on how to say and do "No." That is character building, and it is damn difficult.

Consequently, we do not have an ice epidemic. Instead, we have an epidemic of poor character.

That is more personal and uncomfortable than blaming ice, but it is the unvarnished truth.

Here is some discomfort: If Hawai'i leads the nation in use of ice, Hawai'i has more bad character than the rest of the nation. We must face the truth before we face the problem. Otherwise, our focus is off, and the problem, unclear, persists while money and resources go down lots of drains.

Ice cannot be reformed, but individuals can be helped to develop into productive participants in a civil society.

Until we properly define the problem, we roll the dice on so-called "ice" difficulties.

Richard O. Rowland
President, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

What gain?

STOP GIVING MONEY TO THE SUPERFERRY

The bill to reduce giving more money to the Superferry should be approved. The Department of Transportation already gave $40 million to the private Superferry company that should have been used to help relieve traffic conditions on our highways, not to transport passengers to the outer islands.

We were never asked to vote on having ferry service. We are not impressed with arguments that it will bring us economic gain. Our unemployment rate is 2.5 percent with "help wanted" signs everywhere. And we don't want tourists coming with cars to add to our already gridlocked traffic.

A three-hour $62 one-way ride over one of the 10 most turbulent channels can hardly compare with a 25-minute smooth ride costing only $39 by air. In addition, we must insist on the most stringent security checks of both passengers and vehicles for weapons, drugs, plants and animals.

At best the ferry could be used to move people from one part of O'ahu to another. For a low fare it might help relieve some freeway congestion.

Fred Wells
Kapa'a, Kaua'i

QUALIFICATIONS

STATE ADJUTANT GENERAL BILL IS BAD LEGISLATION

The 2006 state Legislature is about to pass House Bill 173 regarding the qualifications of the state adjutant general. The new addition to the qualifications is that one must serve in the Hawai'i National Guard at least five years as an active commissioned officer.

It is interesting to note that the present state adjutant general, Bob Lee, who formerly commanded the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry, would not qualify. House Bill 173 would grandfather Maj. Gen. Lee, but no other commissioned officer from the 100th/442nd would qualify to become state adjutant general in the future.

In the past 38 years, the 100th/442nd Infantry Battalion was mobilized twice for combat, in Vietnam and Iraq, as part of the Hawai'i National Guard's 29th Brigade.

We have had many great leaders come out of the 100th/442nd: Sens. Dan Inouye and Spark Matsunaga, Maj. Gen. Lee and 1st Lt. Nainoa Hoe, to name a few.

It disturbs me that men and women of the 100/442nd can serve as part of the 29th Brigade but would not have the opportunity to serve as the state adjutant general, who heads all units in the Hawai'i National Guard.

I know we must have some qualifications, but to disqualify soldiers who may be placing their lives on the line is disturbing.

Let us continue to give our future leaders the opportunity to serve. Call your legislator or the governor to express your unhappiness with House Bill 173.

George M. Waialeale
Honolulu

UBIQUITOUS POTHOLES

POTLUCK ON O'AHU MEANS A JARRING TIME JUST AHEAD

A pot is a container for storage of liquids or solids (such as gold). A pot is also a protruding tummy. A potlicker is a stray dog. A poor snake has no pot to hiss in. Pot is a substance we smoke or sniff if we make poor choices. A pothead is one addicted to pot.

Potlatch is a Northwest Indian social at which food is eaten, gifts exchanged and personal effects sometimes burned for good luck or show. Potlach is Gaelic for a strong drink that can make us potted. A potty is a toilet bowl, often portable (contents not potable). A potshot is a single, usually quickly or randomly aimed gunshot. Potluck is a friendly meal at which those invited aren't always sure what they'll be served other than what they bring themselves.

But potluck on O'ahu has assumed a second meaning. It has to do with potholes. A pothole is, of course, a hole in the road that can damage our car and cause injury or even death to its occupants or to others nearby. We have an epidemic of these poxy potholes.

So now potluck is also local for the skill with which we detect each one of the countless potholes in our roads early enough so that our car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle can avoid them. The luck is when we avoid all the potholes. The pot is when we hit one or more of them.

To be well and truly potted can mean to be really crocked, but on O'ahu, it has another meaning: to be a frequent victim of our epidemic of potholes. Some potholes are hidden. Beware, especially, of puddles in the road. A pothole filled with water is a standard camouflaged government trap.

A pothole that is filled with a temporary filler and therefore touted as no immediate threat is a government fraud. Potholed roads must be repaved or the holes soon reappear.

So let's pray that our leaders will get off the pot ASAP and actually repave our neglected and potholed roads. If they don't, they may be out among the potlickers after the next elections.

David W. Doyle
Hawai'i Kai

ENOUGH, ALREADY

JUST MAKE SURE NO MORE SPILLS

At the end of 2004, the Sierra Club Hawai'i Chapter, Hawai'i's Thousand Friends and Our Children's Earth filed a lawsuit against the city for over 1,000 violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The lawsuit focused on sewage spills from the city's sewer lines and collection system and violations of minimum pollutant standards at its wastewater treatment plants.

In 2004, our lawsuit did not generate much attention. But the recent Beachwalk force main break and the city's decision to dump 48 million gallons of raw sewage into the Ala Wai Canal have brought the issue to the fore, with The Advertiser and other media outlets focusing much-needed attention on this critical issue.

A lot of time has been devoted to laying blame on the Hannemann administration and past administrations. The Advertiser has done a good job of detailed reporting, poring over 2004-2005 reports and memos to determine who knew what and when and what could have been done to prevent it. This has caused the city to take a defensive posture.

But enough, already. The milk (or sewage) has been spilled. It is a tragedy. It is unacceptable. Our surfers, paddlers, children, the community, tourists who visit this island, our fragile environment and our tourism-based businesses certainly deserve better.

Instead of pointing fingers (which will simply waste time and get us no closer to clean water), community organizations like our own, the city, the state Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must work together and expeditiously decide on a responsible course of action to make sure this does not happen again.

Unfortunately, the city recently sought authority to pay one of the largest Mainland law firms in the nation over $2.5 million to fight our groups' Clean Water Act claims and to block community participation and intervention in matters relating to the sewer collection system. The city should not be wasting millions of dollars on expensive Mainland lawyers to deny responsibility.

It is critical that the city work cooperatively with the community, the Health Department and the EPA to fix this problem.

The milk has been spilled. Rather than crying about who is responsible for it, let's make sure it is not spilled again.

Jeff Mikulina | Executive director, Sierra Club Hawai'i Chapter
Donna Wong | Executive director, Hawai'i's Thousand Friends
Tiffany Schauer
Executive director, Our Children's Earth