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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Letters to the Editor



An event occurred last Saturday in Honolulu that forever gives the lie to the claim of liberal media bias. While every troop rotation deployment or return is witnessed by a phalanx of TV and print reporters, an anti-war march through Waikiki was reported on by no more than a couple of paragraphs in Sunday's Advertiser buried in an AP story on demonstrations around the world. I saw nothing on television balanced or not.

The march began with approximately 250 people heading 'ewa on Kuhio Avenue, met mostly with sympathy by onlookers with the exception of a few drunk, military-appearing young men, who were professionally restrained by police.

But a remarkable thing occurred when the march turned down Kalakaua Avenue. People, tourists mostly, began to join in; flashing peace signs and thumbs up and even walking with us. There were even a few surfers with their boards in tow. What began as 250 swelled to more than 500 by the time we returned to Kapi'olani Park.

This was the most graphic indication I've seen yet that indeed a "tipping point" of public opinion on this unjustified war has been reached.

Don Lichty



Bravo to The Advertiser for its bold position, "It's time to put lines underground" (editorial, March 16). We wholeheartedly agree with the editorial's conclusion that this is not just a task for Hawaiian Electric but one for all of us to figure out.

Toward that goal, the 2006 Legislature considered a bill that would have established an underground conversion fund for the sustained incremental conversion of overhead utilities.

In addition, the bill would have adopted a state policy favoring the undergrounding of utility lines. Sadly, this bill didn't get a second hearing and effectively is dead for the term.

There are numerous reasons why eliminating overhead utility lines is a good idea among them:

  • Disruptions such as the one that occurred on Farrington Highway.

  • Safety hazards for motorists (cars versus poles).

  • Most importantly to The Outdoor Circle, the visual blight created by what the editorial calls the "spiderweb" of wires that exists overhead throughout the Islands.

    The Outdoor Circle has long been a champion of placing utility lines underground. We believe liberating Hawai'i's world- class scenic environment from this ubiquitous eyesore will improve the quality of life for everyone and make the Islands an even more attractive destination for visitors.

    Of course it will be expensive and take decades to accomplish. So let's get started now.

    Mary Steiner
    CEO, The Outdoor Circle



    It was on March 20, 1979, that death claimed the life of Jean Charlot. His 81 years of life were so very productive. He drew, he painted, he sculpted, he wrote. He expressed his love of life and of family in so many ways, and in all, he expressed his love for Jesus and his mother, Mary.

    Charlot writer, artist, muralist, humanist died in 1979, but his work did not. We are among the fortunate who can see his work wherever we are in Hawai'i. Fortunate us.

    Stephen Murin



    I have been waiting for so long for this blue container in our yard to be used. And when it was used, only half of the container was emptied. I think that the operator didn't wait long enough for all of it to empty. It's not his fault; it was in there for two weeks.

    I know that we need to do this green-waste thing, but the blue container will not work for a yard the size of ours.

    I have decided that I will dump this green waste at our convenience center on my own. I will return my container to the city because it does not serve my purpose. I would like to know where I can take this container or if it can be picked up.

    If the city does not contact me, I will drop it off at City Hall in two weeks.

    Abraham K. Aiona



    Hawaiians knew it was unwise for man to fool with Mother Nature: It was ignored by Kamehameha III (1827), who depleted the sandalwood forests. Illness and early death decimated the population and the Kamehameha line.

    It's unwise to fool nature strikes back; the chant about Kuali'i, 16th-century ruler of Kaua'i and O'ahu, includes metaphors of bursting dams, pelting rain and landslides as threats to desecraters. Believers allowed menehune-built heiau, fishponds and other stonework to be pristine for centuries.

    The chant describes winter in a time of discontent: Pele becomes a wind, creating pelting rain and pouring waters, causing great fear to those on the lower lands driven to the deceitful sea.

    In contemporary terms, Nana Veary describes Hawaiians' feelings about naturalism and " 'aina" (land) in her book, "Change We Must."

    Those having environmental sensitivity should not be surprised by the outcome of modern-day overdevelopment. Apparently, elected officials who govern man's inhumanity to land don't share traditional Hawaiian feelings about 'aina.

    J. Arthur Rath
    Kamehameha Schools '49



    Lt. Gov. Aiona's March 16 reply proved correct The Advertiser's March 7 answer to the editorial question, "Whatever happened to the war on ice?" The answer: "Politics happened, that's what."

    Ever the politician, Aiona never once narrowly and specifically addressed the "war on ice." He failed to answer what action his administration was taking on the crystal methamphetamine epidemic.

    In true political rhetoric, he glitteringly generalizes, "The Lingle-Aiona administration continues to make controlling illegal drug use and underage drinking a top priority."

    Hawai'i's crystal methamphetamine problem needs to be handled with specific laws, education and rehabilitation narrowly tailored to this insidious poison, not lumped together with alcohol and pakalolo. These other "drugs" pose problems, but not like the far-reaching effects of "ice."

    The question was about "ice," Lt. Gov. Aiona. As far as I am concerned, the Lingle-Aiona administration has failed miserably in the "war on ice."

    Earl Arakaki
    'Ewa Beach



    WESPAC's proposal to periodically close bottom fishing along the main Hawaiian Islands from May until August drives home the point that Hawai'i's bottom fishes are diminishing, if not already depleted.

    Since 1998, the Division of Aquatic Resources of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources has created 19 Bottomfish Restricted Fishing Areas in state waters and is currently refining the location, size and their numbers. No doubt, now is the time to assure that we protect and rejuvenate Hawai'i's bottom fisheries. The more we know about these fish, their biology, movement patterns and their habits, the better we will be at managing their futures.

    At the University of Hawai'i School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology and its affiliate faculty member, Chris Kelley, are working with the state to study the juvenile habitats and larval development of bottom fish such as 'opakapaka, onaga and ehu. They have also raised adult animals and produced juvenile 'opakapaka from hatched eggs.

    Complementary work by the Oceanic Institute is monitoring the movement patterns of 'opakapaka off Kaho'olawe. Under a separate project, Oceanic Institute is also developing methods to mass culture copepods tiny krill-like animals that are the preferred food of bottom dwellers, so that large numbers of these fish can be raised in captivity.

    These are aquaculture research efforts designed to keep Hawai'i's bottom fish from disappearing forever.

    Those of us involved with Hawai'i's fisheries from the recreational to the commercial fisherman, from the research scientist to the environmentalist, from the home cook to the five-star chef acknowledge that accountability is necessary for the rejuvenation of Hawai'i's bottom-fish stocks.

    Cooperation among state agencies, commercial fisheries and research institutions can only result in a plentiful and healthy catch at the fish auction and at the dinner table.

    Bruce Anderson
    President, Oceanic Institute



    Why does it take a catastrophic incident that causes loss of life and destroys personal property for bureaucrats to take action?

    The Kaloko Reservoir Dam is privately owned and comes under the jurisdiction of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources. The responsibility for maintaining a safe dam rests with the owner(s); however, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources has a responsibility and accountability.

    The state Board of Land and Natural Resources has the authority and departmental powers for inspections of dams. Hawai'i laws are contained in Title 13, Subtitle 7, Water and Land Development Chapter 190, Dams and Reservoirs. Owners are required to provide for adequate and timely maintenance, operation and inspection of their dams and reservoirs and shall be responsible for any engineering and geologic investigations that may be required to ensure public safety. Owners are required to keep available and in good order records of original construction, all maintenance, operation modifications, engineering activities, including piezometric data collection and geologic investigations.

    The owner of a dam or reservoir is required to advise the Board of Land and Natural Resources of any sudden or unprecedented flood or unusual or alarming circumstances or occurrence existing or anticipated that may adversely affect the dam or reservoir.

    The board is required to perform inspections every five years (this should be changed) and may require the owner to compile information needed for the inspection and fee structure as stated in the rules. Operation and maintenance inspections are the responsibility of the owner, though the board can make inspections.

    Today, every state with the exception of one has dam safety regulatory programs. Almost all states have legislative authority to carry out a comprehensive dam safety program. Many states, such as Hawai'i, are lacking in specific areas. It is urgent that Hawai'i's laws be revised.

    State programs vary in authority; however, characteristically, program procedures include safety evaluations, review of plans and specifications, review and approval of emergency action plans, and periodic inspections of construction work and maintenance records on existing dams.

    Rule 13-190-2 defines hazard categories. The Kaloko Reservoir Dam should have been classified as "high hazard," which means failure would possibly result in the loss of lives and extensive property damage. Environmental damage should also be included. I would not consider this as hindsight.

    The chairman states that he has no idea when the Kaloko Reservoir was last inspected. Let's not put the entire fault on him but consider the significance of the former chairman's lack of accountability.

    On the other hand, it would be common sense that private owners of dams would hire a professional engineer, competent in the field of dam safety, who is registered within the state of Hawai'i to do periodic inspections.

    Bob A. Johnson
    International agribusiness/cattle consultant, Kapolei