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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Letters to the Editor

HOMELESS

WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO ENJOY OUR PARKS

I agree with your editorial urging the Legislature to pass a comprehensive housing bill this session. We need to take appropriate action to help those who need a helping hand to get back on their feet.

Since it does little to solve the homeless problem, your editorial advocates the repeal of the law making it a criminal offense to be caught sleeping in public parks. However, I like to think that law is designed for the majority of the public who expect our parks to be inviting places to enjoy by oneself, with family or friends.

While we need to provide appropriate solutions for the homeless, we need to balance it against the expectation that the public should be able to enjoy our parks without feeling intimated. So having the law prohibiting sleeping in the park is necessary to ensure that controlled use of our parks.

Yes, sometimes laws are designed to protect the rights of the majority.

Gary Y. Fujitani
Honolulu

SCARY

WAI'ANAE NEEDS HELP WITH ITS HOMELESS

Recently I had to travel along the Wai'anae Coast at night to help someone get home. It had been almost 20 years since I had been there. Nora Mitchell in her letter about the WC becoming a W.C. hit the mark.

I have great compassion for the homeless, having had a son homeless at one time, but I am very aware of the problems they bring with them to any site. I was fearful to drive through the area. It appeared to be very active with people wandering around or grouped together with alcohol and the appearance of drug use.

The people of Wai'anae need help and now. Recovery is hard, and that is an entire community in jeopardy.

You have my prayers, Nora.

Janet B. Takishita
Kailua

PRO-DEVELOPMENT

BLAME GOV. LINGLE FOR LAND SPECULATION

Hawai'i's social and environmental contract is fragmenting. As the chief executive of the state of Hawai'i, Gov. Lingle has a lot to account for.

This is an election year. Does Gov. Lingle really expect the voters to overlook her pro-development alliances and policies? Where is her vision? Leaders must lead with coherent reflections and public conversations on our limits, our infrastructure.

Gov. Lingle makes financial life easy for those absentee landlords who gobble up million-dollar condos and exacerbate a speculation-driven housing crisis for our own people. That is why she favors the destructive commercial private development on the Kaka'ako Waterfront envisioned by the HCDA and Alexander & Baldwin.

Why doesn't the governor appear as an ally at the frequent "people's rallies" to save agricultural land from "gentlemen farmers"? Where is she at the gatherings of homeless citizens whose plight is caused by the pro-development policies she and her administration advocate? Where is her anti-real-estate speculation law mandating owner-occupancy (or higher taxes) for buyers of pricey condos?

Gov. Lingle can dodge, but she cannot hide from her obligations to the grass-roots public. That previous injudicious politicians and policies have contributed to our current crisis does not absolve the governor from admitting what we all know: Hawai'i has reached it's social and environmental carrying capacity. The buck stops with her for facilitating the wholesale giveaway of our treasured "Old Hawaii."

Nancie Caraway
Honolulu

ENVIRONMENT

MAYOR IS SPEAKING OUT OF BOTH SIDES OF MOUTH

Wait! Wait! Have I totally lost my mind or was that Mufi Hannemann on a TV commercial last night talking about all of us helping to save the environment?

Surely this can't be the same Mufi of the Ala Wai raw sewage dump and halt of curbside recycling for "further study"?

I must have been been seeing things or is he (and his PR advisers) taking a page from the national playbook that says that if you say it's so, it must be true (i.e., we're winning in Iraq).

Kaui Philpotts
Nu'uanu

INDIGENOUS

THE 'O'OPU SHOULD BE DESIGNATED STATE FISH

Besides having a cute name, the humuhumunukunukuapua'a has no significant cultural value other than the song its name appears in. The fish is not indigenous to Hawai'i. Naming it the state fish would be a disservice to yet again another aspect of the kanaka maoli culture.

The 'o'opu, often referred to as gobies, are a far more appropriate symbol of our culture. Four out of five species of the 'o'opu are found nowhere else in the world but Hawai'i.

Their life cycle represents the connection of mauka and makai. They are far more culturally representative than the humuhumu, and there are many wonderful stories and much lore involving the 'o'opu.

Gov. Lingle, please don't allow people to sell out yet again when it comes to our culture.

Manu Josiah
Makakilo

TURTLE BAY

COMMUNITY UNITED AGAINST DEVELOPMENT

I live in this community, I've been to the Sunset Beach Community Association meetings, the Neighborhood Board meetings, the rallies as well as the legislative and City Council hearings, so I'm a little disturbed about what Rep. Michael Magaoay wrote in his April 9 commentary that this issue is dividing our community.

I say this because having been to all of these meetings, I noticed that nobody spoke in favor of the Turtle Bay development except paid advocates for the developer and the five members of the Kahuku Community Association who have direct ties to the development.

The community does not want five new hotels or 3,500 condos in the country. "Keep the Country, Country."

Joan Gagen
Hale'iwa

THREE STRIKES

THROW THE KEYS AWAY FOR HABITUAL CRIMINALS

This is in response to your editorial about the "three strikes law." You state in the piece that taking the sentencing decision out of judges' hands "tends to erode confidence in the justice system."

I'll tell you what erodes public confidence in the justice system: when I read about someone being arrested for a serious crime and discovering that the individual has a rap sheet that would fill a phone book; when the police admit that they likely know the people who are stealing cars, that 80 percent of car thefts in this state are committed by the same people who are usually repeat offenders. It seems to me the very purpose of this law is to take the sentencing decision away from the judges.

I realize that with this law in place, someone could be sent away for life for a relatively small crime such as happened in one case when a thief got life for stealing a video tape. But think about it for a moment. This individual knew he had two strikes against him. He knew what would happen if he were caught a third time. Yet he went ahead and deliberately stole the video anyway.

To my way of thinking, this individual has proven himself to be a habitual criminal and should be removed from society.

Peter H. Barrett
Kane'ohe

1970S LEVY

WHERE HAVE ALL THOSE SEWER FEES GONE TO?

Back in the mid '70s, the city warned us about aging sewers and the need to replace them. To that end, a separate sewer charge was instituted in 1977 (prior to that, the sewer costs were covered from general funds).

Since February 1977, I have paid $16,029.49 in sewer fees (a lot of it for water that actually goes on my lawn and not down the sewer). Where has that money gone to?

Bob Gould
Kane'ohe

SEWAGE CRISIS

ADVERTISER SHOULD ACCEPT SOME BLAME

The April 9 editorial "Sewage crisis spotlights a lapse in public duty" blames the voters for not choosing the right leaders to get the job done. The editorial doesn't come right out and say it, but the implication is clear: If you voted for Jeremy Harris, you are partly to blame for the mess we're in. This is true.

The problem is that The Honolulu Advertiser endorsed Harris in every single election: 1994, 1996 and 2000.

Will The Advertiser accept any of the blame here?

John Pritchett
Honolulu

TOURISTS

KAMA'AINA-ONLY DAY NEEDED AT HANAUMA

My wife and I went to Hanauma Bay yesterday and once again were turned away because of crowding. Meanwhile, large tour buses, trolleys and mini-van after mini-van rolled in one right after the other.

It's a sad commentary on our priorities when kama'aina have to go to Waikiki to catch a tourist bus to be assured of access to Hanauma Bay.

Auwe to authorities who enable such inequities.

Why not set aside one day a month, say the first Saturday of each month, as a kama'aina-only day so we who live here can enjoy the beauty of our island as much as the tourists do?

Bill Carlile
Kailua

MAKUA

MILITARY TRAINING CRITIC SHOULD FOCUS ON SACRIFICE

In an April 10 commentary, Mr. Poka Laenui expressed his extreme opposition to the Makua military training. Apparently, "the U.S. military has no right to train for combat on Hawaiian soil." That couldn't be further from the truth.

Perhaps Mr. Laenui, an attorney, needs to brush up on his legal facts. After all, Hawai'i has been a U.S. state since 1959. As a U.S. state, it constitutionally falls under the auspices of the federal government. And, indeed, it is the federal government that has the power to conduct such military training, any act of state law notwithstanding.

I understand Mr. Laenui's legitimate concerns about cultural and environmental degradation brought about by military training. Certainly those concerns should be examined and addressed.

But that hardly means that any training at all is unjustified. Besides, that training could be useful in endowing our soldiers with the skills they need to survive Iraq.

And Mr. Laenui certainly crosses the line by calling our service members "young and poor fools." While one may disagree with this nation's policy and reasons for going to war, each American should at least show a decent respect for the sacrifices of the service members involved.

Perhaps Mr. Laenui feels I should leave Hawai'i since I am not of Native Hawaiian descent. By that logic, all of the 297 million Americans who aren't of Native American descent should leave the Mainland as well.

I hope Mr. Laenui realizes how foolish all of this sounds. Like it or not, we are all stuck together on these small Islands on this small planet. He should be grateful for the chance to live in a country where he can express his unorthodox feelings so freely.

We all have a voice and a legitimate right to be heard, but we owe a debt of gratitude to those who are ensuring, through their sacrifice, that those rights endure.

Joseph Melchi
Honolulu