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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 23, 2006

Letters to the Editor

SOLUTIONS

FIXED RAIL JUST PART OF TRANSPORTATION SETUP

Mass transit via fixed rail is not the one solution to our transportation needs. It is one of many solutions that contribute to relieve traffic congestion.

The fixed-rail portion is to be used as another major line of people-moving, just as the freeways are. The branches to these two major lines are the surface streets for cars and smaller circular routes through the neighborhoods to the fixed-rail stops.

It might look like fish bones, where the spine is the fixed rail and freeway.

Yes, people should voice what they think about the current routes, but let the professionals come up with a comprehensive plan rather than have the public come up with a plan within their own communities that only takes away from the effectiveness of this fixed-rail project.

Ryan Umemoto
Honolulu

ELECTIONS

DON'T PUT FAITH IN TELEPHONE SURVEY

Can you pronounce "margin of error"?

Whoever hired the Mainland research firm to conduct a telephone survey over the past few days in Hawai'i might want to ask for their money back because the results might be compromised by incompetence.

I was questioned by a young man for more than 10 minutes about both the Hawai'i congressional and gubernatorial elections. He mispronounced almost all of the names on his list of questions, including Akaka, Ma-

tsunaga, Hanabusa, Hirono, Djou and even Carlisle. He could barely get the names out of his mouth; I had to prompt him.

The only names he didn't stumble over were Ed Case and Linda Lingle.

I asked him who was conducting the survey, and he told me the Tarrance Group. I Googled them; they're a national Republican polling firm. He also told me he was calling from Utah.

John Wythe White
Hale'iwa

AN HONOR

MILITARY RESEARCH CENTER AT UH EXCITING

I applaud interim President David McClain for wanting UH to become a research center for the U.S. Navy. The honor that comes with the research center is boundless.

One must think of the world-famous universities throughout America that have accepted the honor of being a research center for the various branches of the Department of Defense: MIT, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Texas, USC, Penn State, Duke and on and on. World-class names. Now, hopefully, UH will become part of that list.

I visualize new developments in underwater passive research that would enhance keeping track of all underwater vehicles, whether friendly or not. Think of the day when sonar would become obsolete and just passive observations would be the rule of the day during undersea warfare. I visualize new developments in surface vehicle research for the Navy that could result in quieter and faster transportation.

The research is unlimited, and with UH surrounded by water, what better place to have a Navy research center? Think of the increase of students in the engineering department and the increase of specialized scientists. It quite possibly might not be all warfare-related research. Let's give it a try. It will make us proud one day to say we have a Navy research center at UH.

Stewart Burley
Lawa'i, Kaua'i

HOKULI'A

GLOBAL SOLUTION IS NEEDED ON AG LANDS

Regarding your Feb. 19 editorial lambasting the Legislature for dealing with the Hokuli'a mess: Yes, the article is right, the bills look like a Hokuli'a bailout bill.They are simply too narrow in scope and deal with only a part of the problem.

Hence we need a comprehensive solution that covers these areas; we need to stop developers from banking land into the agriculture district, rural zoning needs to be made better use of, appropriate uses of land in ag districts need to be clarified, and finally, ag subdivisions entitled after 1976 need to be grandfathered in, to avoid possible costly litigation.

Hokuli'a has been made out to be the bad guy here, allegedly breaking all these laws, but what about the 140 ag subdivisions entitled previously statewide? What about the rights being denied to the 150 lot owners at Hokuli'a?

We cannot wait seven to 10 years for the Hawai'i Supreme Court to render a decision and make things right.

Aaron Stene
Kailua, Kona, Hawai'i

HAWAIIAN

RELIGIOUS DESECRATION MUST BE INVESTIGATED

Our organization is deeply concerned at the apparent lack of interest or reaction from state and federal officials over the two acts of religious desecration against Hawaiian religious structures over the past two weeks.

When churches were burned in the Southern United States, the federal Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms activated a National Response Team. Hawaiian religious structures deserve the same level of protection and attention.

Hawaiians who are culturally aware have reconciled their formal religion with Hawaiian culture, such as in the practice of hula, canoe paddling and other arts. Unlike European and American religions, Hawaiian religion is integrated into and inseparable from the culture. There is no such thing as Sunday church, then six days of ignoring religion. Hawaiian gatherings of any kind usually start with a pule, be it addressing the Christian God or some other. Most non-church American gatherings do not do that.

The persons who destroyed the ahu at Mauna Ke'a and 'Iolani Palace are guilty of anti-religious terrorism. Those acts are in defiance of the American Constitution's First Amendment.

We call on the federal, county and state governments to treat these incidents with the same seriousness with which they viewed the church burnings in Alabama. Religious terrorism must not be tolerated simply because Hawaiian religious structures don't have steeples and "accepted" appearance. Nor is religious tolerance a one-way street for the majority.

Keawe Vredenburg
President, Hui Kako'o

LIBRARIANS

2004 EDUCATION ACT HARMFUL TO EDUCATION

Did the legislators who voted for the Reinventing Education Act of 2004 know what they were doing? If so, then why didn't they tell the public that reinventing education would mean schools without librarians?

Librarians are among the greatest assets of our public schools. Hopefully legislators are realizing that the Reinventing Education Act of 2004 is leading public education in the wrong direction.

Leonard Wilson
Kailua

CITIZEN SAFETY

SITUATION ON ARREST WARRANTS DEPLORABLE

What you describe in your articles on arrest warrants is a criminal justice system that is completely out of control. How could this be? It is not only unbelievable but also totally unacceptable.

What is most unacceptable is that we have to learn about it from The Advertiser. Isn't one of the main functions of government the safety of its citizens? Why have we been so let down by our city and state elected and appointed officials? At least they could identify this problem to the public even if they cannot react immediately.

I'm sure we will hear that more money is needed. Our officials did not seem shy when it came to money for mass transit or sewers or property tax or vehicle tax. So why is it that crime, even petty crime, takes a back seat?

If nothing else, your articles will give even more people confidence that they can break the law with no worries. I suppose the bright side to this is that if I ever get a traffic ticket, paying for it will not be a problem.

Paul Tyksinski
Kane'ohe

LEGAL VIEW

ABA SUPPORT FOR AKAKA BILL WELCOME

The American Bar Association's endorsement of the Akaka bill on Feb. 13 is significant in that it dispels arguments that Congress lacks constitutional authority to provide federal recognition and self-determination to Native Hawaiians or that such action was somehow erased by the overthrow of the Hawaiian government.

Moreover, the ABA position that Native Hawaiians be granted the same rights as American Indians and Native Alaskans underscored the following attributes shared by all three groups: (1) they were here long before any European explorer ever set foot on the North American continent or the Hawaiian archipelago, (2) they lived according to their own government structures on their homelands long before the United States' federal government was imposed upon them and (3) the United States historically acknowledged their existence as distinct nations.

As a nonpartisan and highly respected organization, the ABA is in a position to help Native Hawaiians to obtain the same constitutional authorities given to America's other native and indigenous peoples, i.e., to govern and to provide for the health, safety and welfare of their members.

William J. Fernandez
President, Native Hawaiian Legal Defense and Education Fund

WARRANTS

'VAN-CAM' REDUX?

Is it a coincidence that ACS Government Services Inc., the company that brought us the ill-conceived "van-cam" back in 2002, is the very same prime contractor for the new $13 million computer system that has a backlog of 61,000 arrest warrants?

Dennis Yamamoto
Honolulu

COME GET YOUR GIRLS OUT OF PRISONS IN KENTUCKY

On the front cover of the Feb. 19 Louisville Courier-Journal was an article on incarcerated women inmates in Eastern Kentucky from Hawai'i. The article was titled "Doing Time A Long Way From Home."

From what it reports, there are 119 (you got that?) Hawai'i women at a facility in the middle of nowhere Kentucky, some of whom haven't seen their kids in almost a decade, who are there because the state government in Hawai'i is opting to get "half off" for each inmate shipped to the Mainland.

Reports show that figures compare at $56 a day on the Mainland, as opposed to $110 a day in the Islands, to house an inmate. Now come on, are you kidding me, brah? You mean to tell me there aren't more clever ways for making up a funding deficit for inmates than shipping them to the Appalachian Mountains, somewhere so completely isolated from family, children, friends and anything remotely familiar? You can't make these women work or do something to cut costs where they are? Aren't we past the whole penal-colony thing (remember Moloka'i? Not quite the same, but hey)?

But for real, this is about respect for your people and especially your women. Where's the humanity? Many of these inmates have children whom they will never be able to watch grow up. At best, they're permitted video conferencing once a month, but from some of the accounts, this puts even more stress on the relationships with their kids.

And to top it all off, Kentucky is cold right now. I've lived in Hawai'i and can imagine how shocking the weather's got to be for the Hawai'i people, especially the women. And if the distance and isolation won't break them, the cold sure will.

We know these women are strong like ours, but it ain't right.

For now, Kentucky, a very spiritually connected place much like Hawai'i, will take care of these ladies, but only until they are returned to where they belong home with their family, their 'aina. Come get your girls, Hawai'i.

Fielding Carroll
Louisville, Ky.

QUALITY CARE

TRIPLER IS A WORLD-CLASS CENTER

I write this strictly as a private citizen and public health physician. I may be biased because Tripler Army Medical Center has provided me, like thousands of others, with top-quality healthcare. We are fortunate to have a world-class medical treatment facility like Tripler on O'ahu.

The recent articles by Mr. Rob Perez attempt to portray Tripler as a below-average facility wrought with incompetence and inefficiency, when in fact, it is one of the very best hospitals currently operating on our island.

You could have emphasized your reporter's and even the malpractice attorney's comments that, "Tripler compares favorably with other hospitals in Hawai'i," or "Mistakes at Tripler, however, have a greater chance of becoming public because of open-government regulations," or, "By and large, I think Tripler is a terrific public health institution." Instead, you chose to emphasize the rare tragedies that can occur in even the best healthcare facilities.

Many of the cases cited, all of which are extremely unfortunate, reflect a very small percentage of procedures and processes that are performed every day at Tripler and fail to highlight the many initiatives undertaken by Tripler to provide quality medical care and to remedy the human errors made by a caring staff.

For humans to provide compassionate and effective medical care, there will always be risk. Malpractice cases, even if you exclude active-duty beneficiaries, are typically filed at a rate significantly lower than for many civilian institutions in Hawai'i, but the reporter evidently didn't have the time necessary to go after such information.

There were multiple references (names included at least 10 times) to the openly admitted bad-outcome Izzy Peterson case in the series. The hospital has taken responsibility and has worked with authorities to prevent such cases anywhere. While clearly a tragedy, how many other instances can you refer to where a medical facility so readily admitted such an error?

That Tripler was covered as it was reminds me of the hackneyed joke about a police officer asking a drunk who is looking around for something under the light of a street lamp. The officer asks, "What are you looking for?" The reply, "I'm looking for my car keys." The officer asks, "Where is your car?" Reply, "A couple of blocks from here." The officer: "Then why are you looking here?" Answer: "The light is better here!"

Looking for what's easy makes "reporting" easy. The public would be better served to have reporters research the quality of care provided among all of the hospitals in the Islands, to "shine a light" and see which institutions are failing to provide top-quality care.

K.E. Hayashi, M.D.
Honolulu