Letters to the Editor
STILL MORE CLEANUP NEEDED AT ALA WAI
I would like to commend Director Peter Young and the Department of Land and Natural Resources for contracting for the recent cleanup of the trash trap and locations within the Ala Wai Boat Harbor. Their action was one of the positive steps taken to alleviate the water quality problems caused by the sewage spill.
On Sunday morning, the trap was nearly empty and the water was clear enough to see the bottom. In the clear water, I could see a large pile of debris along the seawall inside the trap, so I believe another cleanup is necessary.
The recreational boaters, paddlers and swimmers deserve our best efforts to make the Ala Wai water safe.Rep. Anne V. Stevens
House District 23 (Ala Moana, Kaka'ako, Waikiki)
LIFE OF RILEY
NO BILLS, FREE SERVICES FOR O'AHU'S HOMELESS
When my I and my family moved from Colorado back to O'ahu after I served in the military, my outlook was positive in coming home. We purchased a beautiful home in Wai'anae in a quiet neighborhood and enjoy the scenic route taken from town every day in commuting to work in order to pay our taxes, bills, mortgage and utilities as responsible taxpayers.
I have been observing many people living on the public beach parks and using public services at the expense of each responsible taxpayer on O'ahu. These public park residents are proudly enjoying the use of public beach properties and services without paying any property taxes, insurance and mortgages.
The city provides these public beachfront residents with free utilities, including sewer and water services from the restrooms. They also provide free landscaping and lawn work by employing public servants to trim the trees and cut the grass for them.
The Honolulu Police Department provides excellent security by patrolling the public beach sites every day and night to ensure all is well with the public beachfront residents.
I would like to commend the city, the HPD and the state of Hawai'i for providing these free services and properties on public beachfront locations without the homeless having to pay any taxes. I want to get a piece of beachfront property at no cost also. Where can I sign up for these services?
Yes, this is sarcasm, as a taxpaying resident sees the fleecing of the taxpayers.Dean Mark Sr.
HO'OPONOPONO IS ALSO RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
I want to commend you for printing the April 20 commentary by Lorenn Walker on restorative justice. She indicates that "we've done plenty of restorative justice research here in Hawai'i for the last 10 years and we know it works."
I would like to suggest that ho'oponopono, the Hawaiian analog to restorative justice, has been studied and used here for much longer than that, and Hawaiians know that it works.Richard Stancliff
ELECTED OFFICIALS HAVE MESSED IT UP ENOUGH
Perhaps at a different time and with better circumstances I would agree to using a surplus of money to fix the schools. But because of history with Hawai'i's elected officials, I can no longer trust that they will spend the money wisely or as the people wish.
Even hoping the surplus could be left with them to be used for school upgrades is in itself a feel-good idea.
I would instead like my money returned so I can pay for the exorbitant price of gas, fix my car from any damage caused by pot holes, escape from my neighborhood with the not-quite-legal vacation rental providing extra traffic, but not to the beach where the water or sand may cause illness, sending me to the doctor for more expenses. And don't forget the increased property tax needs to be paid along with the private school tuition.
I think elected officials have done quite enough to Hawai'i — now I need any money back to help pay for all of it.Marie Housel
GROUP SHOULD BE IN FAVOR OF LOWER TAXES
At first I was delighted to read the April 21 commentary by Marsha Joyner, a member of the self-proclaimed "Democrats for Property Tax Fairness." After all, it isn't often that a Hawai'i Democrat supports lower taxes.
Unfortunately, it seems the Democrats for Property Tax Fairness is not in favor of lower taxes (which may explain why it doesn't call itself "Democrats for Lower Taxes").
According to Ms. Joyner, "Until we look at raising the transient accommodations tax to the level of other major tourist destinations and earmark the increase for the counties to relieve some of the burden of the property tax payer, taxing will not be fair."
Rather than advocating a shift in the tax burden (i.e. let's raise taxes over there so we don't have to raise them over here), Joyner's group should be pushing for lower taxes overall.
I want to keep more of the money I earn, and most Hawai'i residents feel the same way. If Ms. Joyner renames her group "Kama'aina for Lower Taxes," I would be happy to join.Nolan Kido
NORTH SHORE ALREADY AT MAXIMUM CAPACITY
Help! O'ahu is in danger of sinking! Not because of global warming, but because of development gone wild.
We live on an island, for goodness sake. When will our politicians wake up and stop selling out to the developers?
The proposed five hotels and 1,000 condo units at Turtle Bay represent rampant greed by the developer and denial by the City Council and others who have the power to stop it. The North Shore is already at maximum capacity, as anyone who has driven out here on a weekend, and now even weekdays, can attest to.
Tourists are flocking here by the thousands, but at what cost? Traffic is horrendous, beaches and surf spots are becoming overcrowded, runoff is already a huge problem, and turtles and monk seals are continually harassed.
How will 5,000 more visitors and cars affect our community and our environment? I can promise you it won't be good.
The coastline between Kawela Bay and Kahuku is one of the few natural coastlines left on O'ahu. Monk seals and turtles rest here in peace. It must be preserved.
I just don't understand why we have to fight our government to preserve the natural beauty of our land. It seems backward, doesn't it?Sara Ackerman
Islands had better diversify to ensure a viable future
I think the Christie Wilson article on Hawai'i losing residents in the April 24 paper could be a data point that shows that the Hawai'i business climate is unsustainable.
I'm not an expert, but I can guess at some reasons for this outflow. The expense of housing is certainly a problem. A job market that mostly provides lower-paying jobs is another.
It may be time for lawmakers to seriously consider the amount of state and county money that goes into tourism promotion. With the high price of petroleum, tourism starts to look like a bad deal. You can't get to Hawai'i without getting on a plane or a ship. The cost of that transportation will always depend on the cost of petroleum.
As a comparison, technology industries, such as software development, could succeed in Hawai'i without a large, ongoing investment in a transportation infrastructure. These kinds of industries can also take advantage of telecommuting, possibly taking some of the pressure off clogged Hawai'i roads.
I can also guess at an effect of continued focus on tourism. The constant drumbeat of tourism is surely a factor in real-estate prices. I think some of the large numbers of baby boomers who travel to Hawai'i are likely to buy retirement homes in Hawai'i. Being at the peak of their earning years, they can afford to pay a hefty premium for real estate.
Young families working and raising children in Hawai'i can't compete with the retiring baby boomers. My bet is that the outflow of residents is probably made up of Hawai'i's young working families.
I believe this will lead to the state of Hawai'i having a large retirement community with an inadequate workforce to support them. Lawmakers should consider if this is the kind of situation they would like to have — and if tourism is the right answer to the problem.Robert "Bruce" Carleton
PRINCESS ABIGAIL ANGEL TO PALACE
Thank you to The Advertiser for the recognition you gave Princess Abigail Kawananakoa in your story regarding 'Iolani Palace's "financial straits."
For reasons I still cannot fathom, this is the first public acknowledgement given to the Friends of 'Iolani Palace founder, Lili'uokalani Kawananakoa Morris, or her successor and daughter, Abigail, who served as president of the Friends from her mother's death in 1969 until 1998.
The tours of 'Iolani Palace are replete with details of the life of King David Kalakaua and his wife, Abigail's great aunt, Queen Kapi'olani, but nowhere in the palace is the founder of the society mentioned. Even the docents do not know or relate how the Friends of 'Iolani Palace began when Princess Lili'uokalani Kawananakoa Morris was given the blessings by Gov. John Burns to form this group, which began the work of transforming the palace from the offices of the state Legislature and filming location of "Hawai'i Five-O" into the regal home of the monarchy that we have today.
It was with great sadness and disappointment that Princess Kawananakoa relinquished her seat at the helm of the Friends in 1998 after the much-publicized incident regarding the photography shoot at the palace. As one of only a handful who were present when she posed briefly on the throne at the request of celebrity photographer Harry Benson, I can tell you that this was completely blown out of proportion by Jim Bartels, the managing director at the time. His report to the board of directors was a misrepresentation of what really occurred.
The "clinical" report made by Bishop Museum staff member Betty Tartar was another farce. The thrones had been restored years earlier, and Ms. Tartar's diagnosis that "a few threads were disturbed" served as the board's rationale for passing a resolution that would forever prevent Princess Kawananakoa from serving as the president of the Friends again, giving her a position on the board as a director only.
The fact that the thrones had not been inspected for years was not mentioned, nor was it revealed that it was only through the efforts of the former president that the thrones had even been restored at all. Princess Kawananakoa secured donations totaling into the millions of dollars, as well as bringing the palace into the international spotlight when live video from the palace was broadcast all over the world as contestants of the Miss Universe contest walked through its glittering halls.
Besides donating her time, she also gifted the palace with numerous financial donations, as well as many royal objects that had been rescued by her grandmother, Princess David Kawananakoa (Abigail Campbell Kawananakoa), when most of the objects of the monarchy were auctioned off by the territorial government.
So, it was not surprising that she, along with several other key people at the palace, resigned in 1998 and she removed her royal belongings from the Kana'ina building, which were on loan to the palace.
Among countless gifts to the palace, Princess Kawananakoa donated the Royal Order of Nevsky, presented to King David Kalakaua by Czar Nicholas of Russia. This presentation was featured in a film by the History Channel. There were only two of these priceless orders known to be in existence. At least 25 percent of items donated to the palace can be attributed to the Kawananakoa family.
It's sad that the Friends won't acknowledge her generosity or even thank her for her recent monetary donations that paid past-due salaries and utilities.Veronica Gail Worth
Private secretary to Princess Abigail K.K. Kawananakoa