Letters to the Editor
TAKE A LOOK
HOMELESS POPULATION EXPLODED ON WEST SIDE
Where is Mr. Michael Ullman getting his version of the "truth" about the non-growth of the homeless population along the Leeward Coast? It's obvious he hasn't been here recently.
We've lived across the street from Ma'ili Beach Park since 1993. Along the coast there are hundreds of makeshift shelters housing more than 2,000 people.
The dramatic increase in the homeless population at Ma'ili has been in the last six months. That's just those you can see from the road. There are others living mauka in cars and buses as well as caves.
Many are good people who have found themselves houseless due to the loss of a job or an illness. There are single people, friends, families and grandparents with their grandchildren. Many have jobs but don't earn enough to pay for shelter, utilities, food and clothing, so they live where they can.
Mr. Ullman, take off your blinders, take a ride west, then tell us what you see. But do it regularly so you can track the changes you say haven't happened. Then you'll have data before you make blanket statements you cannot support.Pat Tompkins
GOV. LINGLE WORKED HARD FOR AKAKA BILL
We'd like to set the record straight in reference to a June 16 letter regarding the Akaka bill and efforts by Gov. Linda Lingle.
Gov. Lingle has been a tireless supporter of this bill. She has flown to Washington, D.C. several times on state of Hawai'i business and lobbied for a vote on the Senate floor. She spoke with members of the Bush administration and has knocked on doors of key Republican senators to explain the bill and dispel misinformation. She testified before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, after which Sen. John McCain released the bill out of committee. She has sent state Attorney General Mark Bennett to negotiate with the Departments of Justice and Defense, along with Hawai'i Senate staff, to draft wording that would be acceptable to the Republican administration. She has consistently worked with Democrats and Republicans for the good of the state of Hawai'i.
Although we are disappointed with the result, we know the failure of the Akaka bill was not due to Gov. Lingle. The governor and our four congressional representatives — Sens. Akaka and Inouye, and Reps. Abercrombie and Case — have worked hard to shepherd this bill through Congress. In the end, it was pure Senate politics that kept the bill from being heard.
Justice for Hawaiians is a bipartisan issue and we hope it remains so.
'Onipa'a. Stand firm. If we stand together, we will succeed.Haunani Apoliona
Chairwoman, Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Donald B. Cataluna
OHA trustee (Kaua'i, Ni'ihau)
AKAKA BILL CRITIC IGNORES D.C. REALITIES
What is Martin Rice talking about when he writes that the demise of the Akaka Bill should be blamed on the governor?
Obviously, Mr. Rice missed the support of the 13 Republicans that surprised even Sen. Akaka.
It is clear that Mr. Rice has no idea what it takes to move any kind of legislation on Capitol Hill. The endless meetings and negotiations, the compromising and explaining, the countless long hours invested by so many who, regardless of party affiliation, worked in concert on behalf of Native Hawaiians to bring the measure to a vote.
How easy it is to surmise and generalize that something as complex as national recognition legislation should be as easy as Gov. Lingle making a few phone calls and conducting a few meetings.
Maybe Mr. Rice should get off his little island sometime and participate in the process at a national level — then he would know.
The Democratic Party should be ashamed to allow someone with such narrow and limited views lead its up-and-coming. People like Mr. Rice are responsible for the slow death of the once-proud Democratic force in Hawai'i.Wendy Sefo
A CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE IN ISLE TRANSIT OFFICIALS
The state spent some $40 million per mile and over two years to complete the new 1.5-mile lane on the H-1 in Pearl City. Truly amazing!
If Mufi and Co. really want to make rail a reality, they need to take lessons from CalTrans or some transit authority that knows how to finish a project under budget and on deadline.
With incompetence rampant, there is no way any transit project here can be done on time or within the projected budget.John Wilson
WATADA'S CRITICISM OF PRESIDENT OFF BASE
1st Lt. Ehren K. Watada was wrong in criticizing publicly the president's decision for going to war.
Above all, the assertion by an active-duty person that the president is dishonest and misleading cannot be tolerated.
Voting during elections is the place to express oneself as an American citizen on active duty. I'd recommend that General of the Army Douglas MacArthur's last farewell speech at West Point to the Corps of Cadets on May 12, 1962, be read, especially by those who serve or are contemplating serving in the noble profession of arms: "Others will debate the controversial issues ... you stand as the nation's war guardians."
Some have called Watada a coward. I think this assertion is dead wrong. Watada, or anyone, must live with his conscience. I'm confident I'd go to Iraq if I were on active duty. Why? I'd be too scared not to: inevitable court-martial, dishonorable discharge, loss of pay and pension, ruined future, peer and societal pressure, etc. Patriotism would not be high on the list.
I hope his case is brought up and discussed openly in environments such as Officer Candidate School, military academies, junior and senior Reserve Officer Candidate Corps programs, professional military schools, etc. There are lessons to be learned.
I do wish Watada and his family well. Refusing to go to Iraq based on his conscience is one thing; denouncing in public the president is another. I'd think that he will be punished, and hope that his superiors will act fairly and prudently.Lawrence M.O. Chun
LT. WATADA IS A CHIP OFF HIS FATHER'S BLOCK
It is heartening to read an increasing number of letters in support of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada. Such letters were outnumbered earlier by letters that referred to Lt. Watada as cowardly, whiney and childish, among other things. One such letter made the point "like father, like son" because of his father Bob's opposition to the Vietnam War.
Actually, I agree that the senior Watada and his son seem to be very much alike. Bob Watada served as the director of the state Campaign Spending Commission with guts and integrity. He was unafraid to bring down anyone who violated the laws governing campaign spending, including some of the most powerful political insiders in Hawai'i.
Likewise, his son's actions demonstrate the same type of principled courage that refuses to "go with the flow" when illegalities and deception are used by those in power.Milly Tanabe
MID-BLOCK CROSSWALK WOULD COURT DANGER
In response to Ted Swanson's June 9 letter, the Department of Transportation Services (DTS) previously conducted an evaluation of Kaheka Street fronting Sts. Peter and Paul Church, which included a review of the accident history, and found that a mid-block crosswalk would not be appropriate according to current guidelines.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, mid-block crossings place pedestrians on a portion of the roadway where they are not normally expected by motorists. Therefore, mid-block crossings have the potential of experiencing a higher accident rate than at intersection crosswalks.
While DTS recognizes that it may inconvenience a few members of the community, based on public safety considerations, it is recommended that pedestrians use the marked crosswalks at the signalized intersections of Kaheka Street at Kanunu and Makaloa streets.Melvin N. Kaku
Director, Department of Transportation Services
PAY TEACHERS LIVABLE WAGE AND THEY'LL STAY
Good, qualified teachers are leaving our "Land of Aloha." The reason? The pay is not sufficient to survive.
Many teachers are forced to cohabitate or live in substandard conditions because the real estate market and its owners seem to take it upon themselves to charge high rents because living in "paradise" costs.
Well, paradise costs nothing, in my opinion. After all, when we first discovered this beautiful, lush land, it was not desolate. It came with the amenities of beauty, rich soil and a fantastic view. Why subject your people to pay for something you didn't create?
Let's get real. Pay your teachers a living wage — comparable to the cost of living here in Hawai'i. Then they'll stay.Tom Delgado
O'AHU IS MAXED OUT
Since HECO won't be able to supply electricity for the up-and-coming demand, and the sewer system is already overtaxed and so many water mains are breaking, this must be the handwriting on the wall: O'ahu has reached its capacity for any more construction and a larger population.H. Tsukayama
NINA BOYD MAXWELL
A HAWAIIAN LAMENT FOR MY TÜTÜ
At the peak of Hawaiian language newspapers in Hawai'i, it was common to see printings of kanikau or laments for those who lost loved ones or great leaders who have passed. It is in this tradition that I submit my kanikau for a woman who committed her life to teach others one aspect of such a beautiful culture, and a woman who was the glue that held our family together, my tutu, Nina Boyd Maxwell.
'Auhea ka pilali o ke kumu kukui?
'Auhea 'oe e ku'u hulu ali'i?
'O Nina Boyd Maxwell kou inoa hanohano.
Aue no ka'u kumakena e!
Ua hala akula, ua hala 'oia.
He kanikau aloha ia 'oe e ku'u Tutu!
He hiwa lani a Kalanikini.
Aue, Aue, Aue no!
He kama hanai o ka 'aina o na wai 'eha.
Ho'olokuloku ka ua, ka waimaka.
Lu'u ka ua koko i kou 'aina hanau!
'Aue e ku'u wahi ho'omalu, ku'u malu halau loa!
'O 'oe ka mea ho'okahua,
A ua lilo 'oe i ke kahua o makou.
'Aue e ku'u Tutu aloha, 'aue!
Ua lawe ku'u Tutu ia Niolopua.
'O Punalani e liuliu ka moena
I ka moe loa i ka puaaneane.
E moe, e moe, e moe e!
Kaumaha loa i ku'u pu'uwai.
E ha'o nui ana au ia 'oe e Tutu.
E hele 'oe i ke ala ho'i 'ole mai!
E hui pu 'oe me kou mau hulu ali'i i ke kau ana o ka La!
Nau kama lani, ka mo'opuna mua.
Where is the pilali of the kukui tree?
Where are you my royal feathers?
Nina Boyd Maxwell is your stately name.
There is grief for my lament!
Gone, she is gone.
This is my lament for you, my Tutu!
Favored child of Kalanikini.
Oh the grief, sadness, absolute grief!
A child reared in the lands of the four waters.
The rains pour.
The heavy rains drench the land of your birth.
Oh no, my place of shelter, my branches for shade!
You have built our foundation,
And now you have become the shoulders on which we stand.
Oh no, my beloved Tutu, woe betides us!
Niolopua has taken my Tutu.
Punalani is there to prepare a place for you
To rest 'til time shall no more.
Lie down, sleep, and indeed rest!
My heart is heavy.
I will miss you, Tutu.
You must go now on the path of no return!
Join your ancestors in the setting of the sun!
Your kama lani, the mo'opuna mua.