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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Letters to the Editor

SHAMEFUL

SERIES OF ARTICLES ON TRIPLER DISTORTED

I cannot remember when I read a more one-sided, and distorted, view of reality, just for the sake of selling a few more newspapers. You and your editorial staff should be ashamed of the way you went after Tripler Army Medical Center.

The accidents that you report on, while tragic and heart-wrenching for those affected, most likely take place at every hospital in this country. And if you compare the number of incidents with the hundreds of thousands of military personnel receiving care at the hospital over the years, the number would be negligible.

The only bit of information from the three entire pages of ridicule you published in the Feb. 5 paper was a simple quote from a lawyer in town who said that the public won't hear about these types of cases at private hospitals because the hospitals make sure that they settle out of court and that they include a stipulation that prevents the families from talking about their case to the media or public.

This one quote kind of tells it all, doesn't it? You can't get access to the records of these cases, so you bash the facility where you obtained a bit of incomplete data.

Don Rochon
Honolulu

MR. MAC

CASTLE ARTS PROGRAM MUST BE SALVAGED

It is unfortunate that the fall-out of the new budget system based on school enrollment is eliminating a program that is shared across multiple schools.

Why would larger schools want to pay more dollars for a performing arts program when they receive the same amount of Mr. Richard MacPherson's time as smaller schools? This requires some creative administration and cooperation among the schools when it's certainly easier to just cut the Gifted and Talented Program and allocate these funds to tutoring.

The proposed solution is to have teachers provide performing arts within their classroom. How can that possibly provide the same life experience as giving children an opportunity to perform on-stage in front of packed auditoriums filled with aunties, uncles and siblings who also have had the opportunity to learn from Mr. Mac over the years?

As a performing arts specialist, Mr. Mac creates children's plays that stimulate learning while giving children the chance to bring learning to life. What classroom teacher has the time to create "Hamlet the Circus" so children learn to love Shakespeare, "Number the Stars" about the Holocaust, or "The Last Flower," a lesson in war?

This is a unique, quality program that has been a tradition in the Castle District. If the administration would apply the same creativity in finding solutions to this budget challenge as Mr. Mac has taught his students over the years, perhaps future generations would continue to benefit from his expertise.

Anne Marie "Mrs. Mac" MacPherson
Kailua

PEDESTRIANS

BICYCLISTS SHOULD BE CAREFUL ON SIDEWALKS

Linda Jackson's Feb. 5 letter cites a difficult problem for bicycles and pedestrians. Unfortunately, there is not enough room for bicycles and pedestrians on the sidewalk and not enough protection in the streets for the two-wheelers.

Mass times velocity equals force; that means a bicycle traveling three or four times the speed of a pedestrian carries three or four times the kinetic energy as the other. A dangerous formula all around, one that calls for a change in lifestyle for some, and I don't think it is legally the responsibility of the walker.

Patrick Stanley
Honolulu

EFFECTIVE PROGRAM

SURPLUS COULD HELP HOMELESS YOUTHS

I agree with Alan Curtis' recent recommendation that "instead of the tax breaks, providing a one-time influx of a relatively small amount of funds to a working family," our state surplus should instead be used on solutions to help the most needy in our community.

We recently had to stop providing an effective program that gave free monthly bus passes and gift certificates to homeless youths in Waikiki. Sixteen youths participated in this program, which assisted them in learning how to set and reach goals. Almost half of the youths in the program (44 percent) attained goals that they made for themselves, including two former foster youths, one of whom found a home and the other a full-time job.

It is a sad commentary about our society when we lack the measly $600 a month ($5,000 a year) needed to keep this promising program for homeless youths going.

Lorenn Walker
Waialua

NO INFERIORITY

DRESSING MAINLAND STYLE ISN'T SURPRISING

In a Feb. 4 letter, A. Edward Fyffe Jr. was complaining about local kids dressing like Mainlanders. He said it's because of an "inferiority complex." Well, if a non-Asian practices aikido or eats chow fun, does that mean those non-Asians have an "inferiority complex"? When white Mainlanders play reggae and ska music, does that mean they feel "inferior" to Jamaicans?

If the kids want to dress like Mainlanders, there's nothing wrong with that.

After all, a kid from Kalihi or Palolo shares some similarities to those of Mainland ghettoes similarities they don't share with kids from Waialua. And a kid from Kahala or Hawai'i Kai shares some similarities to those living in Beverly Hills, similarities they don't share with kids from Hana, Maui. That's why some locals "dress like Mainlanders." This shouldn't surprise anyone.

Pablo Wegesend
Honolulu

PINEAPPLE

DEL MONTE CLOSURE A SAD END TO AN ERA

The Del Monte plantation closure brought sadness to O'ahu residents and financial and social problems to the workers. I enjoyed eating pineapple and admired Kunia's terra-cotta-colored pineapple farm on drives to Central O'ahu. I will surely miss the beautiful pineapple plantation when the operation ends.

Lee Cataluna's Feb. 3 column was touching. It described how pineapple is produced and emphasized the value of labor, its dignity and honor of workers and families' life-time struggles. Rep. Michael Y. Magaoay's Feb. 4 Island Voices commentary highlighted the beginning, changes and end of the Del Monte era, a big loss to the agricultural industry. My sincere thanks for the writers' concerns and efforts.

Government and other agencies must help ease the workers' plight through jobs and housing opportunities.

Ritzy A. Rafer
Kapolei

OLYMPICS

MICHELLE KWAN HAS HAD REMARKABLE CAREER

Michelle Kwan recently pulled out of the Winter Olympics in Turin because she reactivated a groin injury she sustained before the World Championships. Thinking she might be ready before the Olympics, she was given a medical bye because the United States Olympic Committee thought she was one of the top three competitors the United States had to offer.

Michelle Kwan is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, but society and the media always talk about her never winning a gold medal in the Olympics. Is it not enough to be one of the most recognized figure skaters? She has many accomplishments in her life, and winning an Olympic gold medal should not take anything away from her.

Because of Michelle Kwan, there have been many new and rising stars wanting to be in the Olympics. I would consider that her most important accomplishment, to have people look up to you and want to compete in the Olympics because they saw you on television having fun while representing your country.

Michelle Kwan will always have a smile on her face, and she knows that winning isn't everything.

Troy Takahashi
Colorado Springs

PASS LEGISLATION

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT CRUCIAL FOR OUR FISHERIES

A big mahalo to Rep. Dwight Takamine for introducing a bill that protects the island tradition of fishing and assures us that there will be fish for us to catch.

For the first time, legislation acknowledges that there are many factors influencing the balance of our fisheries. It ends the Department of Land and Natural Resources' outdated and ineffective policy of simply closing off an area and hoping for the best.

Resource management requires a hands-on approach using science and the cooperation of all user groups. This bill understands that fisheries decline due to siltation, chemical and light pollution, invasive and alien species, coastal development and a host of other factors, including overfishing. It understands that an area closure would be ineffective in most of these instances and that a study of the problem using measurable criteria with identifiable goals is crucial to any program's success.

If any program is to be successful, the user groups must be involved. Fishermen have been asking for additional conservation measures for years. Changes in minimum sizing, closed seasons and bag limits combined with a more serious attempt at effective enforcement of the current regulations are paramount.

The use of peer-reviewed scientific analysis will bring credibility to any proposed measure and the DLNR itself. It is this need for credibility in a system gone awry that will once again unite the government and its citizens.

Hawai'i's fisheries can be a sustainable resource. According to 2001 data from the American Sportfishing Association, recreational fishing contributed $184 million to Hawai'i's economy. It is woven into the fabric of our culture, our identities and our souls. It is part of what makes us uniquely Hawaiian. This bill needs your support for our environment, our livelihood and our keiki.

Brian Kimata
Honolulu

MISMANAGEMENT

DOE A MESS, MUST BE INVESTIGATED

  • Years of complaints and concerns by parents, teachers and students about the hellish heat and lack of air conditioning in Hawai'i's older schools as well as the appalling lack of repair and maintenance in those schools.

  • A third-grade student at Fern Elementary being told (in front of classmates and students) that because of an $11 outstanding lunch bill owed by her parents, her lunch meal choice would be bread and milk or bread and water.

  • Highly credentialed teachers from the Mainland, including returning locals (Letters, Jan. 23), being denied positions at every turn by a Department of Education that routinely bellyaches about a shortage of teachers.

  • Parents placing their children on waiting lists for private schools in order to assure them of a quality education, but only if they have the financial resources.

    These problems are but a sampling of the woes that are symptomatic of the mismanagement of the Department of Education.

    Despite the obfuscations and the slick bureaucratic double talk by DOE Superintendent Pat Hamamoto, the "troops" on the front lines and in the classrooms are not happy. They struggle daily against unresponsive Miller Street officials whose only concern seems to be preserving the very unacceptable status quo.

    But there are solutions, some might say radical but necessary, to remedy this disgraceful mess that are readily apparent.

    First, putting aside her sizable ego and career/political ambitions and for the good of our state's students, Superintendent Hamamoto should tender her immediate resignation.

    Also, Gov. Linda Lingle needs to launch a nonpartisan independent investigation into the fiduciary, personnel and education standards management at DOE. No rock should be left unturned, no job or position un-examined and certainly no "sacred union cows" should be exempt from scrutiny.

    Only then can we start restoring our ailing education system and return it to its core mission: a first-class education for all.

    If we thought that the Felix Consent Decree was an embarrassment to the state of Hawai'i, how would we explain to our young students that they are not the ones failing; rather, it is the education system and its entrenched officials who deserve an "F."

    Steve Doyle
    Hale'iwa