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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 1, 2006

Letters to the Editor

RISK-TAKERS

A LEGAL GRAFFITI WALL WON'T SOLVE PROBLEM

A recent published suggestion of providing a wall for legal graffiti expression got my family talking about why kids and others use this form of communication in the first place.

We concluded that this solution won't satisfy the multiple impressions required by "grass-root" marketers intent on establishing an underground brand by posting logos wherever motorists pause or look for directions, nor would it be an effective tool or appropriate venue for a political rally cry for support.

It's also way too uncool, and it doesn't provide the buzz of risking the illegal and sometimes dangerous acts required to deface public property that street kids or gang members use to mark their turf.

It could, however, provide that much-needed public canvas for frustrated artists (of all ages).

Why don't we consult the experts and ask The Outdoor Circle for its ideas and to get involved?

Doug Harris
Honolulu

ACCIDENTS

HIGHWAY CLOSINGS BY POLICE ENDANGER US

When did we give police the right to close down highways, endangering the welfare of literally thousands of people, in order to "thoroughly" investigate a traffic accident?

Most often, the excuse for these closures, as cited in the press, is that the police need to thoroughly investigate the accident to ensure that the city's liability is kept to a minimum at later court proceedings.

Liability? What will happen when one of these all-too-frequent closures results in the death or deaths of one or more people trapped by the police in the resulting chaos? What will happen when lawsuits are filed on behalf of those who died as a direct result of a police closure?

Their deaths and the amount of money awarded to their families will leave us all wondering how we allowed this situation to go unchecked as long as it has.

At some point, the police began to assume that they do not have to take into account the welfare of the many, as long as their actions to protect the city are deemed necessary by those in charge.

I don't remember voting to give HPD that kind of power.

John Williams
Kailua

BRIAN SCHATZ

WILLING TO RISK IT ALL

Of all the candidates running for the 2nd Congressional District's U.S. House seat, Brian Schatz is the only one who's risking his current position in politics to represent Hawai'i in Washington. I respect a man whose commitment to public service outweighs any desire for personal political power. I'm supporting Schatz.

Buffy Cushman
Honolulu

ALA WAI SPILL

CONSPIRACY THEORY: PADDLERS ARE LEFT ADRIFT

For a long time, the state has been trying to get the paddling clubs out of the Ala Wai Canal so that tour boats could be used for tourist activities. This is not the first time that sewage spills have happened in the canal.

The canal has a constant supply of fresh water flowing down the canal from Manoa Stream. Paddlers have been paddling in the canal for years and years and have not had many problems with infections, etc. Most paddlers do not swim in the canal and just step into the canoe from the side of the docks. And we have all been taught that when we are finished with our practice, rinse off with water, then go home and take a good shower.

All areas have been given the all-clear as far as entering the water for activities with one exception: the Ala Wai Canal by the baseball field and those areas where canoe paddling takes place. What's up with that?

I think that my first observations are true. The state does not want the paddling clubs to return ever.

Adrienne Wilson-Yamasaki
Wahiawa

'MR. MAC'

ACT 51 IS TAKING THE LIFE OUT OF SCHOOL CREATIVITY

Prior to Act 51, my son and his former classmates, many being bright but with learning disabilities or lacking self-esteem, had the good fortune to experience a wonderfully creative approach, at the elementary level. As a result, horizons were expanded and the students later had confidence to try risks at higher levels.

Enter Act 51 program cut.

Richard MacPherson probably had more positive effect on my child and many others than any other school experience. He gave them encouragement, academics and global awareness. An unusually dedicated Arts in the Schools performing arts teacher, he rotates among schools, creating fun productions about serious world issues with fourth graders. He introduces cultural, environmental and moral issues, even Shakespeare, through hands-on performing, set construction, etc.

Rather than cut this proven project, expand it.

Regular school staff members are not capable of duplicating this experience. "Mr. Mac," a drama and teaching professional, uses his crafts to open young eyes to the larger world and offers opportunities to inexperienced youths who lack confidence. My son, once reluctant to try for chorus, went on to participate in all phases of Castle High's drama program and now studies filmmaking and bioethics at a competitive college.

As I understand it, Act 51 allocates funds per child, with decisions about use made per school. Principals have to justify basic needs and struggle for student success on standardized tests. Define "basic" to a parent who's seen her child struggling and then encouraged to bloom.

Cheryl Chung
Kane'ohe

WAR ISSUE

TRUTH NEEDS TO BE RETURNED TO THE PUBLIC

In the May 28 Advertiser article "Democrats urged to 'get back to our values,' " Derrick DePledge wrote, "Democrats are attempting to channel the public's anger with the direction of the war as an issue against Republicans across the country."

Rather, it is responsible to remember that it was Republican President George W. Bush who declared war based on false pretenses of weapons of mass destruction for the benefit of his rich oil friends.

This is the history that needs to be repeated again and again. Truth is the value that needs to be returned to the American public.

Carolyn Martinez Golojuch
Makakilo

NARCONON

HARD SCIENCE UNDERLIES DRUG EDUCATION PROGRAM

Thank you for the May 23 article praising Kelly Preston for her work with Narconon to bring more effective drug education to parents and children in Hawai'i.

Narconon drug education is based on years of analyzing surveys of hundreds of thousands of youth who have received our presentations. We have learned from what works, what gets through to youth and what they say really gets them to think on the subject. Our student survey after delivery to Kamehameha students last year showed that nearly 90 percent stated that they had decided not to do drugs or felt much more strongly against them.

Hard science underlies the key facts we communicate to students. As Lt. Col. Dr. James Staudenmeier, addiction specialist, wrote in a letter after reviewing our drug education program in Hawai'i, "I am very impressed that the Narconon Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention efforts are well received by students and educators alike. I found my review of the actual student essays to be highly informative for their content value. I would welcome a program of drug and alcohol education such as Narconon. In fact, my family and I watched the Narconon DVDs and found them positive and helpful."

As Narconon educators continue to speak to children across the nation 14,000 last year in Hawai'i, 29,000 in California, over 400,000 worldwide our only goal is to save lives. Every child we can reach may think twice about drugs and alcohol and decide to hold off, not to fool with them. We hope many parents will call or e-mail us for our new free Parent Kit to get this life-saving information for their families (www.drug-free-kids.org).

Myron Thompson
Chairman, Narconon Hawai'i board of directors

AKAKA BILL

KEEP THE PROMISE TO HAWAIIANS

It was my privilege and honor to serve as governor of Hawai'i when Congress admitted and apologized for an injustice committed against Native Hawaiians. As a Hawaiian and an American, I found this act by Congress reinforcing my faith in the democratic process, and renewed our efforts to revitalize a culture that was almost lost.

The Apology Resolution in 1993 came 100 years after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. It called for a process to restore our Native Hawaiian sovereign heritage and preserve and perpetuate the cultural traditions of the people who lived in Hawai'i before Western contact.

A first step in this process is federal recognition for Native Hawaiians, the same status provided other native peoples American Indians and Alaskan natives.

The long-delayed Akaka bill in the U.S. Senate provides a process of federal recognition. The bill simply formalizes the political relationship between the U.S. government and Native Hawaiians. It conveys nothing beyond this status there is no land, no resources, no territorial sovereignty.

Opponents have created extreme scenarios, raising fears that homes and private property would be taken away, a "Hawaiians only" government would force non-Hawaiians to leave the Islands, and American citizenship would be lost.

They claim the people in Hawai'i would vote against the Akaka bill if a vote were taken today.

In 1978, the people of Hawai'i did vote. They amended the state Constitution to assure that the federal policy of the rights of America's native people to self-determination and self-governance would be extended to Native Hawaiians.

They also voted to make Hawaiian the official language of the state, mandate public education on Hawaiian subjects, protect traditional and customary Hawaiian rights, and increase funding for the Hawaiian Homes program.

The people of Hawai'i voted in 1978 to support Native Hawaiians, and more than a quarter century later, public opinion polls continue to show significant majorities of all ethnic groups support federal recognition for Native Hawaiians.

Support for Native Hawaiians is broad and widespread. Political leaders from both parties, and our state Legislature, have called for passage of the Akaka bill. Three former governors all Democrats, including myself are joined by Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, who has personally lobbied President Bush. Dozens of community, civic, union and business groups have also endorsed the bill. Every civil rights organization representing hundreds of thousands of ethnic groups has sent letters of support. Most recently, the American Bar Association sent dozens of its representatives to meet with members of the Senate to ask for their support.

Native Hawaiians are not asking for special treatment. We are asking Congress to treat us fairly and keep its promise. With federal recognition, we can begin a process to form a governing entity that would negotiate with the federal and state governments to identify resources that can be dedicated for Native Hawaiians.

This is an open and democratic process that includes everyone in our state, not just Hawaiians.

Our state has a unique and diverse community because early Hawaiians welcomed everyone to the Islands with respect and dignity, honoring the cultural traditions of newcomers and sharing their knowledge of the Islands. We are enriched by their legacy, and we shall not retreat from our determination to correct a historic injustice.

John Waihee
Hawai'i governor, 1986 to 1994