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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 18, 2006

Letters to the Editor

UARC DECISION

UH SHOULD SEEK FUTURE APART FROM MILITARY

The upcoming vote on the UARC by the University of Hawai'i Board of Regents will go down in history as a landmark decision.

The choice is between degenerating status quo and finding alternatives. It is either addiction to the military money or rehabilitation.

Ultimately, it is about slow death or reconstruction of the state of Hawai'i. Students and faculty of the UH system already expressed their commitment to the constructive future by opposing its dependency on unsustainable military economy.

President McClain, on the other hand, publicized his inability to envision alternatives. Now it is up to the Board of Regents.

M.T. Kato
Kane'ohe

UNION DISPUTES

TURTLE BAY EXPANSION WON'T BENEFIT WORKERS

Creating more jobs, or getting rid of longtime employees to save money?

Five more hotels on the North Shore? Many people don't realize that since Oak Tree bought the Turtle Bay, they have refused to sign a union contract with their employees.

This hotel has been with Local 5 union since it opened about 32 years ago. Turtle Bay has been trying to bust the union.

Turtle Bay is methodically getting rid of longtime employees. Some of these employees have worked there between 20 and 30 years. The labor board is being flooded with complaints about Turtle Bay's labor practices.

Are these the kind of jobs they are creating for our Hawai'i residents? The North Shore doesn't need this kind of employer.

Let's stop their disguise of "creating more jobs" and join together to save the pristine Kawela Bay.

Carmen Bruce
Mililani

TIME TO MOVE ON

MONEY NOW ISSUE FOR HONOLULU BOY CHOIR

As a former choir member, it pains me to say that it is time for the Honolulu Boy Choir to end.

The choir became a household name in Hawai'i within a few years of its founding.

That success was the result of the hard work of its founders, the Hallmans, as well as work by community volunteers and parents.

Their vision to build a successful choir without requiring dues was not easy to accomplish.

That vision could only be realized through hours of volunteer time and the generosity of outside organizations.

While I applaud those that carried on the choir's name, it is important to remember the founders' vision.

Money should not be an issue. They kept costs low because they never wanted to require extra work from already hard-working parents.

Reading that the choir has now paid employees and expenses over $100,000 per year made me realize that it would be best to honor the Hallmans by ending the organization.

The alternative of keeping alive a choir that cannot sustain itself without dues or intense fundraising will damage its name, one that has meant so much to its former members.

Keola Whittaker
Philadelphia

LAPSE IN RESOURCE REPORTS

FLOOD TRAGEDY SHOWS RISK OF FAILING TO KEEP GOOD DATA

In 2001 I was hired to do the annual report for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. There had been a lapse of nearly four years since the previous one had been done and the Cayetano administration, to make up for that gap, prudently wanted one done before it left office.

To my surprise I found that prior to 1994, the report had been done since territorial days for 100 consecutive years. In looking at the old reports, I saw that the work that had been done in those territorial and early statehood days had been performed with pride and a sense of mission.

Doing the report is a tedious process that requires the updating of information on everything from fire roads to the activities of the Commission on Water Resource Management, which oversees dams.

By doing this kind of work every year, it forces all the divisions and agencies within the department to update their numbers as well as their efforts.

In the old days, updated accurate data was considered important in the making of public policy and in keeping the public safe.

When the Lingle administration took office, they showed little interest in updating the report I had just completed. I wrote letters to Peter Young, the DLNR director, about redoing the annual reports, as well as an op-ed in the paper.

Even with the coming of the bird flu crisis no one showed much interest in the task of gathering and keeping accurate data.

Old data is published on their Web site. Much of the department's time seems to be consumed by public relations activities: press releases, Web site development, public functions, nature education in public schools, and so on.

Now the worst has happened. In a heavy flood, dams that were not inspected broke. People have died. The people of 100 years ago who set up these systems did it for a reason. Natural resources never stop. They need to be monitored and understood. This is the only protection we have.

Michael Markrich
Honolulu