Letters to the Editor
PLEASE SEND ALOHA TO GRIEVING FAMILY
Recently, Jennifer White, a 32-year-old mother of three children, drowned while trying to save her sons. Aaron, age 8, survived, but his 9-year-old brother, Tyler, has not yet been found. They also have a 4-year-old girl, Kiley. Jennifer White's memorial services were held on Mother's Day in Gunnison, Colo.
On behalf of all the mothers of Hawai'i, I expressed our heartfelt sympathy and aloha to the husband, Chris White. He wanted me to tell the people of Hawai'i how much he appreciates the help they received from the Coast Guard, the searchers and all the people who cared.
Chris had built a large hope chest for his wife before they were married. He has turned this into a memorial for her, holding some of her things and the sympathy cards that they receive. Their church has set up a memorial fund to help this young family.
Please take a moment to send your expressions of sympathy and aloha to:
Mr. Chris White
c/o New Song Church
P.O. Box 356
Gunnison, CO 81230
You can go to their church's Web site to see their photo: www.newsongchurch.us. Let's show this family that the people of Hawai'i truly care.Sally Lee (Mrs. Abe lee)
Hawai'i State Mother of the Year
MICHELLE WIE EARNINGS ARE WELL DESERVED
In response to Gary Lum's recent lament that something is amiss when a 16-year-old earns more hitting a little white ball around on weekends than experienced teachers, police and firemen do, I come to the defense of Michelle Wie (not that she really needs it).
I would remind Mr. Lum that the market decides the worth of various occupations.
While it can seem unfair that some entertainers, including professional athletes, actors and politicians, receive compensation well in excess of their apparent contributions to society, Michelle Wie since October has donated more than $800,000 to various charities. If one were to take her $10 million and fund 200 more teachers, police and firefighters, expected charitable donations would be about $311,000, according to projections made using Department of Taxation statistics. Society as a whole gains almost $500,000 because Michelle Wie is "overpaid."
In addition, thousands here in Hawai'i and around the world have been immeasurably inspired by this incredibly positive role model, in distinct contrast to so many other well-known personalities. Does this not have real, tangible value?Barney Wilson
UH MUST NOT BE PART OF STATE MILITARIZATION
Thank you to Ikaika Hussey for his eloquent letter of May 12 to UH President David McClain requesting that he reject the proposed UARC contract between UH and the Navy. The goals of a university and the military are diametrically opposed.
Through its adventures abroad, as witnessed in Vietnam, Colombia or in Iraq today, the U.S. military has caused more environmental destruction and has killed more innocent civilians than all terrorist groups pooled together. But coming from the most powerful country in the world, we cannot call these actions for what they are.
UH should not be an accomplice to these activities, nor to the increased militarization of our state.Hector Valenzuela
DON'T BLAME CASE FOR FEDERAL DEFICIT
The gauntlet hurled by Sen. Daniel Akaka (Advertiser, May 12) should be a clear reminder to the residents of Hawai'i why we so desperately need Ed Case to represent us in Congress.
U.S. Rep. Case supported the recently passed $70 billion tax-cut bill, which Sen. Akaka opposed. Akaka's opposition stems from his belief that tax cuts are greatly responsible for our federal budget deficit.
The Congressional Budget Office has recently released figures that in just the past year, individual federal tax receipts have increased by $55 billion and corporate receipts by $40 billion. The current administration's lower tax policy has been in place for several years, and our booming economy is an obvious result.
The fact is, lower taxes increase tax revenues because employers have more money to hire more workers. This is clearly evidenced by the record low unemployment rates in Hawai'i and the rest of the nation.
Akaka claims that he opposed this tax-reducing bill because his priorities are "ensuring the quality of life for all Hawai'i families." He would have us believe that higher taxes and less take-home pay will enhance our quality of life. I think not.
Sen. Akaka, the runaway federal deficit is a direct result of Congress' inability to halt its profligate spending. Your constituents are very tired of paying for it. I think Mr. Case has a better perspective.Peter Osborne
TOURIST DRIVERS SHOULD GET NOTICE
As a daily walker from Waikiki to Ala Moana via Kalakaua Avenue and Kapi'olani Boulevard, I see dozens of vehicles not stopping for pedestrians already in crosswalks.
Having been a near fatality numerous times, I have a suggestion: Have the state provide a form for all rental car companies giving the basic Hawai'i traffic laws — i.e., crosswalks, seatbelts, speed limits, etc. The form would state that it shows only some of the traffic laws and that the vehicle renter should familiarize himself with all of Hawai'i's traffic laws. Then the person driving must sign the form stating that he has read it and understands that ignorance of the law is no excuse.
I understand that most people would sign it without reading it, but it sure beats the "I didn't know, no one told me" stuff.
We also need to bring the vehicle rental agencies into the loop of responsibility and send the taxi/limousine drivers back to traffic school.Cobi Eernisse
CITY'S POLICE OFFICERS DESERVE OUR SUPPORT
I want to say thank you to all of our brave law enforcement men and women, especially all the HPD officers. These brave officers work long hours, including days off spent on court appearances and training.
HPD officers are required to protect 24/7 and are held to a standard of conduct that few of us would meet. HPD police officers will throw themselves between a bullet and a victim, and yet they will be scorned when they arrest someone or hand out a ticket. They are often first on the scene of a disaster and last to leave.
HPD officers see the worst in human nature, but they manage to keep their spirits up enough to return to work, day after day. They counter the negative aspect of their jobs by volunteering their time for needy causes, giving even more back to the community.
An HPD officer's job is one of the highest in danger and stress, yet lowest in pay.
The next time you see a police officer standing in the cold rain for our safety or sitting down to his first meal in a 12-hour shift, walk up to him and say mahalo!Chris Correa
NORTH SHORE DEVELOPMENT
KEEP THE DISCUSSION ON CIVIL LEVEL
After the recent heavy rains, anyone on a peaceful walk up to the falls in Waimea Valley on O'ahu (no more of those ghastly buses) could witness a spectacular cascade of crystal-clear water into the pool below.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is taking title to most of this ancient ahupua'a, with more than a little irony since a Hawaiian entity is having to purchase land that Hawaiians lived on and cultivated for generations.
The most recent North Shore brouhaha over the expansion at Turtle Bay is generating some, though not all, of the usual divisions among residents: comments about the rich fighting the super-rich, local vs. haole transplant, jobs vs. lifestyle, etc. The North Shore "gentrification" that has occurred resulted from a community in decline, primarily due to the closure of the Kahuku Sugar Mill in 1971.
What replaced it and transformed this community is the surfing lifestyle industry. This industry and the people who promoted it have produced the major economic revitalization of the area, centered in Hale'iwa.
The recreational and later professional surfers who moved here were rarely rich, but decidedly middle class and usually from a more urban area. I would argue that most of the evident gentrification of the area was created through sweat equity and community involvement.
When the Ke Ala Pupukea bike path was built, the North Shore Outdoor Circle, with an entirely volunteer force, worked tirelessly to landscape the entire length, an ongoing effort. Arguably, urban transplants are more aware of the consequences of growth that outstrips infrastructure and the concomitant loss of quality of life.
The North Shore has become a must-visit part of the O'ahu tourist industry. Surf contests, Waimea Bay and turtle viewing have all had an exponential impact on the public infrastructure. Few public improvements have been funded in the last few decades.
The city is considering approvals for the Turtle Bay Resort that would immediately permit 4,500 condo and hotel units to be built just five minutes from Sunset Beach. Because of the significant changes to the infrastructure, state statutes require that a supplemental environmental impact statement be produced.
This would allow the community to fairly evaluate the proposal and contribute to the decision-making using current data and disclosures.
Here at the end of the Ko'olau Mountains, our keiki are growing up with trade winds that have largely managed to blow racism out to sea. Each generation is more interracial than the last. Kupuna or keiki, Kahuku or Kaunala, we all have a voice. Let's respect each other. Those who attempt to marginalize people using outdated prejudices of any ilk only discredit themselves.Ken Newfield
WAIVING THE RENT FOR UH FOOTBALL TEAM WISE MOVE
It is incomprehensible to me that there are people who have issues with the Stadium Authority waiving the rent for the UH football team.
Authority member Gilbert Kimura does have a valid concern regarding the Legislature's possibly balking at requests for funding of capital improvement projects when it's waived the rental fee for UH.
I believe, however, a strong argument can be made that the UH rent money is used for operating expenses, and since the authority has a surplus in its budget, the rent is not needed. UH should not be counted on to fund CIPs. That's a separate issue.
Member Alvin Narimatsu said it bothers him that the authority will be subsidizing UH athletics by waiving the rent. Does he also claim to be subsidizing all the high school athletic programs that use Aloha Stadium, too? I would think he should be more bothered that the high schools get to use the stadium for free while UH has to pay. Don't they both have to depend on state funding? Of course, I would not want to see high schools having to pay rent, but neither should UH.
T-shirt vendor David Chen says he just wants "fairness." He's going to be paying increased fees while UH gets free rent. I could be wrong, but isn't Mr. Chen a for-profit entity while UH is not? If he wants fairness, he should compete with the other T-shirt shops that pay high lease rents at the shopping malls. I believe he's got very reasonable rates for the amount of money he can potentially make.
Furthermore, don't some of our tax dollars go to UH, which then allocates some to the athletic department, which in turn uses some of that for the stadium rent?
The bottom line to all this is that the money UH saves in rent is more significant to it than it is to the Stadium Authority. It would help UH toward balancing its budget but would not dramatically hurt the Stadium Authority. This rental fee waiver should not significantly impact anyone else.
I believe the Stadium Authority made a very wise and reasonable decision. Now if only some people could just see the common sense in this and support its decision.Milton Miyasato