Letters to the Editor
RULING UNDERSCORES ROLE OF KAMEHAMEHA
The Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association, Northern California Region, applauds the recent decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear Doe v. Kamehameha.
We're gratified that the court understood the significant and far-reaching implications of the lawsuit against our alma mater. It is not just about one teenager challenging the schools' admissions policy; at risk is the very fabric of what makes Kamehameha Schools so valuable an educational opportunity for Native Hawaiians.
As alumni, we appreciate and treasure Princess Pauahi's gift to us. Who we are today may not have been possible without the privilege of attending Kamehameha. We want and need future generations to have the chance to attend the schools and develop the talents and leadership that will help uplift the Native Hawaiian community.Laureen Kim
President, KSAA Northern California Region
LAND COURT SYSTEM PROTECTS HOMEOWNERS
I would like to comment on Derrick DePledge's article in the Feb. 19 Advertiser, "Land court poses obstacle: Backlog mounting at state's Bureau of Conveyances."
Land court lands come under the Torrens system, whose foundation lies in the Australian Land Title System developed by Sir Robert Richard Torrens. It was adopted in the state of Hawai'i by Act 56 of the 1903 Legislature for the purpose of providing an equitable system of recording land ownership.
The land court is a court of record that has exclusive original jurisdiction of all applications for the registration of title to land and easement or rights in land held and possessed in fee simple within the state of Hawai'i.
The land court system was designed so that the state of title could be readily determined at any time. In addition, adverse possession is generally unavailable against land registered in the land court. The system is not perfect and loopholes exist.
The current dissatisfaction with the Torrens system is not with the law or the system but with the process, the lack of manpower and the backlog in the Bureau of Conveyances. The current backlog threatens one of the major features of the Torrens system, that of the state guarantee of title.
As a homeowner of land registered in the land court system, I have the protection of the land court system. It provides me an unbroken chain of events of continuous registration. No expensive title insurance needs to be taken out. It also provides me with a form of security, control, management and, best of all, a form of insurance as to ownership, and for a prospective purchaser, it provides readily ascertainable data without the need for an expensive search of title. It affords me a guaranteed title.
The state of Hawai'i has never been sued since the system started in 1903, 103 years ago.K. Hanawahine
No surprise that the American Bar Association has come out in favor of the Akaka bill. After all, the Akaka bill amounts to a massive jobs program for lawyers. One only has to look at Mainland tribal governments. Most tribal governments have many more lawyers on staff than do the towns and counties in which they reside or are adjacent to.Stephen Aghjayan
CITY COUNCIL MUST DECIDE ON NEW LANDFILL
Anyone who has tried to ship a package to the Mainland should know that it is too expensive to do this with our trash. Let's stop wasting time and just agree that we have to deal with it on-island.
Expanded recycling and building another H-power plant are great ways to start. But we still need a new landfill.
Common sense says that the perfect conditions for a landfill are: an area with existing natural borders (like a crater, valley or quarry), sparse rainfall and favorable winds. Additional concerns are easy truck access and tourism impact. So pick a spot, already.
Everyone generates trash, and nobody wants to keep it in their own backyard. However, we cannot afford to ship it to someone else's backyard. For the good of our entire community, something's got to give. The concept is called "eminent domain," just as when you need to build an airport or a freeway.
There will never be a way to please everyone. It is time now for the City Council members to do the job they were hired for and make some tough decisions before the promised closure of Waimanalo Gulch.Michael D. Hartenstein
STATE COULD MAKE MONEY ON WARRANTS
Why is the state so worried about the timely issuing of warrants?
When lower-priced traffic tickets are not paid, they progress to more expensive warrants (more money for the state), and if the offenders are arrested during a routine traffic stop, they then have to pay for the warrant and also the bail (more money for the state). And if they do not pay the warrant before their auto registration is due, they will be forced to pay anyway as a condition of registration.
The state can add a fine for late payment of a warrant as the warrant should be due and payable within 30 days. That must be about $500 to the state for what was originally a $100 ticket.
Quit complaining already.James M. Lee
ONE MORE HONOR?
Maybe no one realizes or remembers these facts, but the late Patsy Mink had two very prominent distinctions. She was one of the the island's first Asian-American female lawyers and she was one of the authors of Title IX. If naming the Waipi'o Sports Complex after her is approved, that would be nice, but perhaps also naming the Kapolei Courthouse after her might be just as appropriate.Ryan Umemoto
LEGISLATURE MUST OK ELECTION REFORM BILL
I am writing in support of the Feb. 13 Advertiser editorial "Public election fund deserves another look" and John Higgins' Feb. 14 commentary.
I strongly supported last year's Hawai'i Clean Elections legislation and appreciate all the hard work by legislators to work the bill into a form that passed both House and Senate. However, I was very disappointed when it got bogged down in conference committee at the end of the session. It deserves to be reconsidered and approved by the committee.
It is hard for me to understand why anyone would oppose it. It is a voluntary program. Candidates who want to spend their time raising campaign funds can continue to do so.
Last year's Clean Elections bill and this year's Voter Owned Elections bills are not novel proposals. They are based on public funding options that have already been tried and accepted in Maine and Arizona for three election cycles.
This bill would have a beneficial impact on election campaigns in Hawai'i. Candidates would be able to spend more time communicating with voters rather than with financial backers. This means that special interests would lose influence and our representatives would get a better feel for what we, the public, really want.Robert M. Schacht
JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST THREAT TO JONES ACT
I'm a member of the Sailors Union of the Pacific. Our union is fighting to keep the Jones Act intact.
Over a hundred years ago, Congress passed the Jones Act to protect American jobs aboard American flag ships on the high seas. The Jones Act not only protects my job from foreign nationals but also protects the national security of the United States by ensuring the safety of cargo entering our country.
There's a new attempt by the Republican-held House to undermine American jobs. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young, R-Alaska, introduced a provision to House Bill H.R. 889 at the request of Maersk, an international shipping company, to undermine the Jones Act. Maersk is not an American-owned company, but Danish, to add insult to injury.
House Bill H.R. 889 would allow U.S. flag ship owners with vessels on international voyages to employ foreign nationals as maintenance and repair "riding gangs." This completely violates the spirit as well as the letter of the Jones Act.
As a holder of a U.S. Merchant Marine document, I have to go through all kinds of background and security checks, not to mention training. As far as I know, these "riding gangs" wouldn't have to go through any training or security checks and could come from any country.
Please help us fight for American jobs and our national security by speaking out against this congressional action.Wallace Rickard
HEAVY RAIL SYSTEM NOTHING NEW TO O'AHU
What goes around, comes around?
Way back, when cooler heads prevailed, there was a set of railroad tracks (yes, I said railroad tracks) that stretched from Iwilei to Kahuku via Ka'ena Point. After the closing of the Kahuku sugar mill, the route stopped at Hale'iwa.
The system was called the OR&L and it worked fine, serving the west coast of the island. Huzzah! The old train station is still there, by 'A'ala Park, and maybe the rails are stashed away in someone's attic.Warner King
GIVE US CHOICES IN OUR CANDIDATES
News and editorials on legislative bills on Voter Owned Elections have appeared recently. I'd like to add my two cents in support because it's an important change for our system of government. We need more of the right kind of choices of candidates when we vote.
Demagogues who want to scapegoat the complex problems of our state and people will not easily sway our good representatives in government. Informed legislators have the time, resources, intelligence and strength to oppose these demagogues, whereas the typical citizen may not.
If we don't trust our legislators, then we want to elect new ones who can better represent our needs and the common good, rather than the needs of their biggest donors. That's the kind of choice that we want as voters. That's the kind of choice that is best — as issues in these times get more complex and dangerous.Alvin Toda
FISHERY BILLS MUST BE APPROVED
I would like to respond to a statement by DLNR Chairman Peter Young in his Feb. 20 letter: "These (fishery) bills would drastically curtail and irrevocably harm DLNR's ability to manage marine resources and would favor a single special-interest group of ocean users, the fishermen, over all others and at the long-term expense of the resources."
This statement couldn't be further from the truth.
The fishermen want fair treatment for everyone, including the fishermen. These bills are merely reactionary — designed to counter the DLNR's continually oppressive policies against fishermen. It is the DLNR and its special-interest environmental groups who are trying to close grounds to fishermen — not the other way around.
I support these bills because fishermen truly want to protect the resources. I know the fishermen who authored House Bill 2881 and Senate Bill 3047 and understand that their only goal is to maintain a healthy, sustainable fishery.
These bills bridge the philosophical gap between the fishermen and the DLNR. They were created in the spirit of compromise. Fishermen have grown to distrust the DLNR since regulations to close areas to fishing have repeatedly favored scuba/snorkeling tours and other tourist operations. The DLNR simply took the resources from one user group (the fishermen) and gave it to another (its constituents) — actions done under the guise of "conservation."
If it truly wanted to conserve the resources, it would have created "no-use zones" rather than "no-take zones" — an unbiased and more sensible solution.
Fishermen oppose marine protected area (MPA) proposals because they haven't been proven to truly preserve the resource. They want the assurance that any recommended closures be reasonable, based on science and not some random decision made to serve some hidden agenda.
DLNR is being heavily swayed by environmental groups to ban fishing along as much of the Hawaiian shoreline as possible. As long as this continues, the fishermen will continue to fight. Allowing one MPA to be irresponsibly created will only open the floodgates. In the end, the DLNR will have closed off massive areas of shoreline, but will have failed miserably in sustaining a healthy fishery.
These bills make the DLNR's decision-making process more transparent, require them to include fishermen in policy-making and present a management plan based on all available science. It would restore trust in the DLNR and gain the fishermen's support in the process.
A DLNR biologist once told me that MPAs alone cannot protect the resources since different species of fish live in different areas. If a species of fish does not live in the MPA zone, it will not be protected. Therefore, other tools ultimately need to be considered to be effective. With so many other scientifically proven, sound conservation tools at its disposal, why is the DLNR exclusively choosing the least proven solution?
Passing these bills is a step in the right direction — they provide an opportunity to discuss and implement a proactive and fair conservation plan. Kill these bills and nothing will be done. Business as usual — everyone loses.Sterling Kaya
Fisherman and conservationist, Honolulu