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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 21, 2006

Letters to the Editor

IMMIGRATION

NATIONAL DATABASE ON EACH NEW HIRE NEEDED

In your May 16 immigration editorial, you say, "Biometric identification cards would curb the problem of fraudulent documents; this would make it easier to hold employers accountable."

The only way to hold employers like me accountable is to give us the tools to check prospective hires definitively.

The law must mandate that we access a national database on each new hire and get an approval number just as we do when a person makes a purchase using a charge card.

Ron Thomson
Los Angeles

RIGHTS

KEEP PERSPECTIVE ON WAR ON TERRORISM

Concerning the war on terrorism and this administration's need to know whom each of us talks to on the phone and how often: The number of Americans killed by gun-owning fellow citizens is far more than are killed by international terrorists.

And both of these numbers are dwarfed by the premature deaths caused by the U.S. tobacco industry, which continues its marketing after paying off many state governments, including our own.

Before we start to allow our constitutional rights to be eroded for the sake of our president's war on terrorism, we do need to try to keep some perspective on relative threats.

Bill Cunningham
Kane'ohe

NORTH SHORE

TURTLE BAY EXPANSION IS OUT OF CHARACTER

As a longtime North Shore resident, I remember well when Buddy Ako and his group of 50 or 60 pushed through the approvals for expansion of Turtle Bay in the mid-1980s. It was not clear then that his group and its dream represented the majority of North Shore residents. Today, it is clear that they do not.

The North Shore stretches roughly from Kahuku to Mokule'ia and encompasses a diverse population. But the heart of it is the surf and ocean recreation-oriented population that stretches from Hale'iwa to Sunset Beach. These are the people who will be most impacted by the negative side effects of a large resort expansion increased traffic, rising housing costs, etc. And these are the people who have a very different dream for the future of the North Shore than Mr. Ako.

At every public forum on the issue, the overwhelming opposition to the massive resort expansion has been clear. It is not about keeping people out, it is about sustaining a character and lifestyle that draw visitors from around the world and attracted most of the current residents to live here.

Mr. Ako needs to listen to the broader community and accept the political process, even though that means rejection of his dream.

Jim Richardson
North Shore

KOKO CRATER

NEW ARCHERY RANGE SHOULD BE ABOLISHED

Regarding Suzanne Roig's April 17 article "Small dream gets bit bigger": I met with her after I spoke at the Hawai'i Kai Neighborhood Board meeting a few weeks ago, having protested with great passion against the location of this archery range at an outrageously high taxpayer cost, over half a million dollars gouged out of the slope of Koko Crater at the most majestic viewpoint on the coastal drive from Haunama Bay to Sandy Beach.

It is about location, location, location a tragically misplaced location by the previous city Parks and Recreation director. But it was pushed along and enlarged to grotesque proportions by a very small group of people.

It is tragic that city officials did not stop this travesty of taxpayer funds and that the state of Hawai'i has not stepped in to protect this pristine natural beauty. This coastal drive belongs to all of the people of our state, not a small little group of folks who think that gouging out a splendid crater like Koko Crater for an archery range can be called a vision or a dream.

This is a visionless nightmare gone berserk. The new fencing all around this ugly scar is enough to make anyone who loves this 'aina sob. I am sure that if Koko Crater could, she too would sob.

Perhaps our state officials might hear the plea of a large group of us and declare this coastal drive a state park and have the city remove the development that has taken place and let the crater be restored to her majestic pristine beauty. It belongs to all of us, not just a few of us, as does Hanauma Bay so too the coastal crater cliffs drive.

Mele Welte
Preserve the Crater, Friends of Koko Crater

GAYS

SHAM MARRIAGE STORY ILLUSTRATES INEQUITY

On May 19, The Advertiser ran a story about a gay U.S. citizen who was forced to arrange a sham "straight" marriage for his partner to remain in the U.S. The parties got caught, and the feds are doing their bit to humiliate and incarcerate those involved.

The story failed to address the continued inequity of marriage laws for gay people. While straight international lovers can gain quicker citizenship in the U.S. via marriage, the lovers of gay people, as usual, get nothing. The "fix" for gay partners is to break the law.

As we all go and see the latest X-Men movie and rail against government's attempts to "fix" or eliminate outcasts, please remember to take your indignation at oppression and your tolerance of societal outcasts outside the theater and into the real world.

Jon Anderson
Diamond Head

CONSERVE

WE MUST MAKE GAS STATIONS COMPETE

The gas cap was a learning experience for us all. But most of all, the gas stations learned that Hawai'i consumers are willing to pay over $3 a gallon and not make an effort to conserve.

What we consumers need to do is show the gas companies we are not willing to be gouged like this. We need to catch the bus, ride a bike, ride a scooter anything to cut down on how much gasoline we use.

We must be willing to switch gas stations because it's one-cent cheaper than the one down the road. We must make these gas stations compete for our business. Only that way will the prices come down naturally.

Fletcher Young
Honolulu

LANAKILA VIERRA

OUT OF A TRAGEDY COMES MOTHER'S POIGNANT MESSAGE

I don't know if I am the best person to be writing this letter, as I am not one of the close friends of the Vierra family on the North Shore that so tragically lost its son, Lanakila, along with his friend, Shane Bachiller, in a traffic accident.

However, as the mother of two kids who currently attend Waialua High and Intermediate school, I feel compelled to write and express my appreciation for the love and generosity given by the Vierra family.

Just two and a half days after the accident, Waialua High School had a meeting where Gwen Vierra, the mother of Lanakila, was able to talk to the students. She had a few messages to share. One was to drive carefully and not take foolish risks. The other messages were of forgiveness and doing the right thing. She stressed that it is not good to harbor ill will toward anyone involved in the accident. She stressed that getting mad and getting even is not the way to handle tragedy.

She told the students of their decision to donate Lanakila's organs so that Lanakila, as he had done in the past, could continue to help others. She also gave the students hugs, lifted their spirits and managed to bring smiles to the faces of some very, very sad students.

In this world where people are so quick to say "poor me" and spend their energy being the victim, Gwen instead chose to spend her energy consoling and helping Lanakila's friends. In a world where people are quick to lay blame and seek legal action, the Vierra family is handling this tragedy with grace, class and compassion.

Of the many lessons the youth of Waialua have learned during this horribly sad last few days, I hope the lessons of kindness and forgiveness set by this wonderful family stays with them forever. I know they will forever stay with me.

Dee Montgomery-Brock
Mililani