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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 14, 2006

Letters to the Editor

BISHOP MUSEUM

DECISION MARKS TIME FOR PARTIES TO MOVE ON

I am happy to hear that a settlement has been reached in the dispute between Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei and Bishop Museum. Now that all of the original 14 claimants will be going back to the negotiation table, I sincerely hope that all parties will be able to resolve their repatriation issues in a timely and coherent manner.

For the sake of the entire Hawaiian community, every effort needs to be made by all parties to bring this thing to a final resolution, based on a majority rule. Whatever the final decision, I hope that any disgruntled parties will not dispute the decision. Pau already. Let's all move on.

Nanette Napoleon
Kailua

DRUG TESTING

UNION'S OPPOSITION EXPOSES TRUE PRIORITIES

The Hawaii State Teachers Association functions as both a union and a professional organization. In opposing drug testing of its members, HSTA has revealed that it is more interested in the union practice of protecting its most incompetent members than in advancing the profession of teaching.

John Kawamoto
Honolulu

LET'S PUT NEW MANDATE FOR TEACHERS TO A VOTE

Because public schoolteachers are in a critical position (similar to our law enforcement and firefighters) and paid with public funds (tax dollars), they should be subject to drug testing as a requirement for civil service employment. I suggest that this requirement for drug-testing of teachers be put to public vote.

I personally would want public schoolteachers, who are role models and public servants, to be subject to mandatory drug testing to ensure the highest standards are maintained to protect all children in the public school system.

Thomas H. Yagi
Kailua

MOTORCYCLE SAFETY

STAGGERED RIDING SAFER THAN RIDING IN TANDEM

I am a motorcyclist and was very sorry to hear about HPD Officer Steve Favela's fatal accident. I hope that the Honolulu Police Department reviews its riding formation and makes changes.

The HPD rides tandem: parallel, two bikes side by side in one lane. Perhaps they should consider riding in a staggered formation so that there isn't another bike on either side of them. If they need to swerve around debris or another vehicle, they have the entire lane width to do so.

Tandem is a very tight formation, while staggered gives each officer room and time to react without worrying about hitting a fellow officer.

The American Motorcycle Association and Gold Wing Road Riders Association have done safety studies and have found statistically that there are fewer fatal accidents when riding in a staggered formation.

Gary Kahn
Honolulu

PARKING

FREE CUSTOMER SPACES KEY TO GOOD BUSINESS

The newly remodeled Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Beach Walk, Waikiki Shopping Plaza and some Waikiki hotels are actively competing for market share and local residents. The answer is an easy one: free parking to customers only, no other restrictions. If the shopping centers are smart enough to figure out how to control employee parking, other folks should be as smart. What would paid or restricted parking do to the sales at Ala Moana Center?

The first center with the courage to swap its parking revenue for shoppers will get them, in droves.

Even millionaires object to parking fees, but they do like service and convenience. So if a good, speedy valet service were a part of the deal, the tips would flow.

Ron Martin
Honolulu

ANIMAL RIGHTS

DOG OWNER SHOULDN'T GET A SECOND CHANCE

Who in their right mind could leave 17 dogs to die? ("Dog owner cited with 20 counts of animal cruelty," Dec. 8). Steve A. Cummings should get 20 years in prison for his cruelty. Animals need more rights in Hawai'i. They aren't something we enjoy and later throw away when we don't want them anymore.

Gov. Lingle, pass a law that gives animals more rights. Cummings has no right to get his dogs back. He abandoned them to die. Why should we let his dogs be tortured a second time?

J. Gradener
Honolulu

SMOKING

SMOKERS AREN'T THE ONLY ONES TO BLAME

Several weeks ago, you printed several letters from people who are praising the anti-smoking bill as causing cleaner air to breathe. Hogwash!

You want clean air to breathe? First figure out a way to cap Kilauea volcano, as the gases and particles that come from there can be life-threatening. Then ban all vehicles that burn petroleum. Vehicle exhaust ranks second for damage to the air quality. The H-1 Freeway must be awful in rush hour bumper-to-bumper traffic, lots of pollution.

Secondhand smoke is really minor compared to these other things. Former smokers are the worst when it comes to complaining about other people who smoke. If you want clean air, stop driving cars and trucks. Of course, this is not practical. So let's blame the smokers a really small minority.

Guy B. Shepard
Pahoa, Hawai'i

KAMEHAMEHA RULING

SEGREGATION NOT THE ANSWER TO INJUSTICE

The recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of keeping Kamehameha School students segregated amounts to the issuance of appeasement, not worthy of either the plaintiff or the defendant.

While I commend the court for its adherence and application of the law, let's not forget that it was once against the law for certain persons to sit in the front of the bus. Law and justice are not the same thing.

I doubt that anyone really knows what Bernice Pauahi Bishop was considering when she envisioned the Kamehameha Schools, though I'd submit segregation was not an issue.

Whatever the rationale, segregation is still the most unfortunate condition that can be imposed upon any group of people and invariably results in grief, if not horror. for everyone.

If in this case the court was truly concerned with a fair verdict, the only acceptable ruling would have been to order the restoration of the Nation of Hawai'i. Perhaps we could then realize the real injustice in taking over other peoples' countries.

Kelly Greenwell
Kailua, Kona, Hawai'i

STUDENT BODY MADE UP OF DIVERSE ETHNIC MIX

I take offense to Shawn Lathrop's letter wherein she writes that the message sent is that "unless your skin is white, you have the right to be prejudiced and have schools that accept only your kind."

If she took any time at all to visit the school, I believe she would be surprised by the races represented there. A student only needs to have the tiniest drop of Hawaiian blood. The rest is made up of Caucasian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Samoan, Hispanic the list goes on. Kamehameha Schools truly represents an entire spectrum of races. I wonder why some people are so offended by a school that supports students who are part Hawaiian and part of nearly every other race one can think of.

By the way, if there were Samoan-only or Tongan-only schools (as she writes), I would support that wholeheartedly.

Linda O'Reilly
Kapolei

TRANSIT

KEY LOCATIONS, TRUE COST POSE RAIL CONCERNS

As Neighborhood Board No. 16 recently found, not one of the city's proposed transit alternatives used a guideline of decreasing automobiles or traffic. Each and every alternative the public was allowed to get a glimpse of projected vast increases in automobiles and thus the traffic they create. None of the alternatives increase any roadways except the managed lanes, which would take buses out of the street traffic. The final last-minute draft of rail indicates not only 25 terminals, but 25 parking lots as well.

What is drastically missing is the connection of key locations that millions of residents and travelers will have as a destination point: places such as Aloha Tower Market Place, the Convention Center, Blaisdell Center complex and, of course, Waikiki. The nearly 7 million visitors and 35,000 residents there will not get any of the potential benefits of rail.

Our neighborhood board made a recommendation to save hundreds of millions of dollars and prevent the destruction of our surface streets and businesses by having one of the routes go down Nimitz Highway rather than Dillingham or Dole, as proposed. Nimitz is almost totally city- or state-owned and would allow for the building of terminals without the horrendous construction on the other streets.

O'ahu residents, 90 percent of them, already want more buses and extension of hours of service so they can use a bus rather than the currently inconvenient bus system. Not for 20 to 30 years will the bus system be focused on this issue.

Last but not least is the cost. Using the $4.6 billion estimate and comparing it to The Advertiser's recent article, "Cost to fix median strip" (Dec. 3), we should all understand that this debacle could cost up to $20 billion in today's dollars. Only the city planners and politicians who vote for this will appreciate their decision Honolulu's Christmas gift for years to come.

William E. Woods-Bateman
Chair, Kalihi Valley Neighborhood Board

SYMPHONY

CITY SUPPORT SHOULD GO TOWARD LOCAL ARTISTS

The decision by the City and County of Honolulu to throw the Honolulu Symphony out of the Blaisdell Concert Hall for more than half of its 2007 season seems unbelievably shortsighted.

Sure, a Mainland group can pay more rent for four months to bring in a travelling show. But what then? The Lion King might hire a few locals but most of the money will leave the Island. The Honolulu Symphony supports almost 100 full- and part-time musicians. These are Honolulu residents who pay rent, buy groceries, send their kids to school and pay lots of taxes. They also provide a base of musicians for many other groups and give lessons and inspiration to thousands of kids.

Most cities blessed with world-class symphonies go out of their way to encourage and support them. We seem to be going out of our way to do the opposite.

Shame on you, Mayor Hannemann.

James Poorbaugh
Honolulu