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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Letters to the Editor

ZONING

PLANNING DIRECTOR DIDN'T ALTER HIS STANCE

In response to Ms. Evangeline Yacuk's May 27 letter, "Planning director altered his stance": I need to set the record straight.

I did not change my mind on each and every planning and zoning proposal before the city Charter Commission. The basis for my position on all of the planning and zoning questions, including the ones she is critical of, was fully disclosed both in written testimony and public discussion at the commission's May 10 hearing.

As director, I talk to many people with diverse and divergent points of view, all of which are given due consideration. They help me to formulate a position. These points of view, plus a more detailed analysis of the potential impacts of proposed charter amendments, led to the development of my positions.

In particular, the questions related to the urban growth boundary are not needed in the charter because such features already exist in the Development Plans, which are the more appropriate venues for their consideration. In the Development Plans, urban growth boundaries have not been challenged and are not in jeopardy of removal.

Henry Eng
Director, Department of Planning and Permitting

UNDERPLAYED

OBITUARIES SHOULD GET BETTER PROMINENCE

Regarding John Griffin's May 28 column, "A skillfully crafted obituary can have its own charm":

For decades, editors have known that the "obits" had more readers than many of their main newspaper stories, yet they assigned to that section either the old, broken-down reporter or the cub reporter who only knows where to get the coffee for the old-timers.

Why they, mostly with so little knowledge of the people of Hawai'i, were allowed to write the obits in the first place was not explained. How obits were assigned meant that friends and family had to buy space in the newspaper, at the cost of hundreds of dollars, to tell the actual capsulated life story of the friends or family who had passed on.

Without obits, any newspaper's circulation would drop drastically. And it is now, with the deceased family paying for it, a great moneymaker for the paper. The information normally published in many ways is worthless and just reflects the lack of interest and knowledge by the writer.

A prime example of what I mean is the case of Bob Lang. His obit was a few inches long, and yet this man was basically responsible for the multimillion-dollar Hawaiian recording industry even existing. He was the sound engineer for well over a couple hundred different albums by every major recording artist in Hawai'i.

He was also the sound engineer for a major part of the life span of the world-famous "Hawai'i Calls" show that was broadcast every week on over 600 radio stations and the armed forces radio around the world.

Griffin is right: "It's time for all of us (including newspapers) to give obituaries more attention and a higher place in our lives."

Don McDiarmid Jr.
Kailua

SAFETY RISK

LET'S HAVE CAMPAIGN ON STOPLIGHT RUNNERS

Am I the only one who finds the whole seat-belt campaign a bit ironic? Why people need to be threatened with a fine to wear a seat belt for their own safety is still beyond me, but hey, human nature continues to baffle.

How about a campaign to stop people from running red lights? Sounds a bit ridiculous, I know. After all, didn't we all play "Red Light, Green Light" when we were little and didn't we all know that we are supposed to stop on red?

Somewhere along the way, some people forgot what the colors mean, because every time I am on the road, I see at least one person race to beat a red light, and oftentimes, the light in the opposite direction has already turned green and that one person is still racing through the intersection, probably without a seat belt.

I don't understand why we have to threaten people with fines to get them to wear seat belts for their own safety, yet no one seems to be bothered by those who jeopardize other drivers and pedestrians on the road by blatantly disregarding traffic safety tools as basic as the stoplight. Can someone please enlighten me?

Rhea Moss
Honolulu

PROFITS

REP. OSHIRO WRONG ABOUT CORPORATE LAW

Rep. Marcus Oshiro has done the community a disservice by erroneously asserting that "current corporate laws demand maximization of profit for shareholders over other equally important business concerns like worker safety, consumer protection, market sustainability and the environment."

I practiced corporate law in Hawai'i for 25 years, and Mr. Oshiro is wrong, very wrong. There is no law that demands corporations maximize profits over worker safety, consumer protection, market sustainability and the environment.

Corporations (limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships, etc.) are composed of people who live, work, play and raise their children in our communities. Corporations are directed by a board of directors made up of those same people and are managed by officers who are also members of our community.

Corporations regularly invest in and promote worker safety, consumer protection, market sustainability and the environment. Corporations and their stockholders, directors, officers and employees regularly make contributions in both time and money to a number of charitable causes, including United Way, the Food Bank, the Salvation Army, Big Brothers, The Nature Conservancy, etc., even though such actions do not maximize profits.

You would think the House majority leader would know better.

Darryl Johnston
Honolulu

USS ARIZONA

RELOCATING VISITOR'S CENTER A GREAT IDEA

We applaud the U.S. Navy planners for coming up with a brilliant and simple idea relocating the USS Arizona Visitor's Center to Ford Island. Since there is now a bridge to Ford Island, this possibility did not exist when the visitor's center was first envisioned.

The advantages are several:

  • It centralizes all visitor activities for the USS Arizona, USS Missouri and the new flight museum.

  • Much shorter boat trips to the memorial will result in higher visitor flow-through.

  • There's a possibility for significantly larger parking facilities.

  • There will be no disruption of current visitor center activities due to construction.

    We fully support this great idea. Kudos to the Navy.

    Paul Sheffield
    Kailua

    Ernest Shih
    Kailua

    WORKERS

    CAMPBELL CO. SHOULD DONATE HOUSING LAND

    The recent plight of Kahuku has stirred up some fear among people of Kahuku Plantation Camp. Many of these people have worked for the Kahuku Sugar Co., and despite their hard work and loyalty, the James Campbell Co. wants to kick them all out of their houses.

    That's pretty much unfair to the people who live there.

    The James Campbell Co. wants to sell the land and get more money for its $2.3 billion company. It seems weird because usually you reward the people who work for you, not kick them out of their houses. (This, by the way, won't help Hawai'i's homeless problem.)

    We should think what James Campbell and his wife, Abigail Kuaihelani Maipinepine, would do. I think that James Campbell Co. should donate the land to the people. I think that's what James Campbell and his wife would have wanted and done.

    Maybe they could even have a little memorial of him to keep his memory alive and to remind everyone that he was a nice guy. It would be even cooler if they had a little museum that was all about him and the company now. The museum would be even sweeter if they handed out free ice cream. Nah, I'm just kidding about the ice cream part. But I'm super-serious about the James Campbell Co. donating the land.

    Tiffany James
    Kahuku High and Intermediate, Grade 8

    NO FAVORITISM

    ULUWEHI PROJECT WORTHY OF HELP

    The Hawai'i Coalition of Christian Churches was disturbed to read the May 22 Advertiser editorial "Legislature shouldn't pork-barrel grants," criticizing the Legislature's grant in aid to help the Uluwehi Project as "pork" and implying that Rep. Michael Kahikina's support for the project is favoritism.

    These unworthy comments undercut the serious needs of the Wai'anae community and our desire and ability to provide much-needed shelter for our homeless and very-low-income families.

    Your editorial implies that our Christian organization is not worthy of receiving this funding, contrary to statements made in your editorial on Oct. 14, 2005, "Church-built housing project makes sense." The fact that Rep. Kahikina shares our commitment to helping the homeless in Wai'anae is not "pork-barrel politics," but rather he is doing his job for which the community elected him to office.

    Our organization stepped in to develop the Uluwehi Project at a time when no other private developer showed any interest.

    The Uluwehi Project in Wai'anae will provide 40 emergency dormitory beds for singles, 16 emergency family shelter units, 32 transitional housing units and 24 affordable rental units for homeless and low-income families.

    In addition to the housing, we will have a resource building that will help us to provide a range of services to its residents and the community, including case management, medical care, childcare, substance abuse help, a literacy program, career and job placement, and spiritual guidance.

    Emergency, transitional housing and low-income rental housing must be government-subsidized because such housing units generate insufficient rental income to pay for the development, construction and maintenance of the housing units.

    We need $15 million to complete the Uluwehi Project. We expect to raise these funds through government sources and private donations.

    The project was approved by the Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawai'i through a competitive process. We submitted the grant-in-aid application with no promise of funding from Rep. Kahikina.

    We are very pleased that our project was found worthy of funding. It has been and still is challenging to make Uluwehi a reality and to break ground in January 2007.

    We have appreciated The Advertiser's support of the project in the past and hope for that support to continue. Surely Rep. Kahikina's support and the Legislature's decision to award a grant in aid to our project are consistent with all of our objectives to provide shelter and services to disadvantaged citizens.

    Harry Simons
    Vice president, Hawai'i Coalition of Christian Churches

    PARADES, TORCH LIGHTS

    STOP CRACKING DOWN ON THE WAIKIKI GOINGS-ON

    Why are some of our leaders working so hard to make Waikiki less attractive to visitors and at the same time trying to limit the participation of local people in the daily events of Waikiki? These obvious attempts are counterproductive to the uniqueness of this worldwide vacation destination.

    During the Harris administration, we saw an improved landscaping with waterfalls, pools of water and more attractive sidewalks. We saw torch lights added all the way to the outer point near the zoo. We saw Sunday brunch,movie on the beach, more parades, etc. Street performers provided unique and free entertainment to those strolling along the walks as they browsed local businesses.

    All added to why I chose to move into the area and created an atmosphere that visitors looked forward to retuning to.

    Now we see more homeless people lying around, including in the reseeded areas the park workers work so hard to keep nice, not to mention the constant trashing of the restrooms. The torch lights no longer light the length of the beach. Parades that involve the local people in so many diverse ways into melding culturally with the visitor population for all to enjoy are being considered a nuisance.

    Now we have a lack of support by the City Council for Sunday brunch, movie on the beach, etc. all of which local people as well as visitors thronged to enjoy the excuses being cost savings or loss to business.

    Give me a break! If we don't support Waikiki, we will lose far more in tax dollars than this support costs.

    The people who are complaining about too much going on in Waikiki do not understand the "why" or the "what" that makes this a repeat for so many visitors, local and tourists alike. Those who complain seem to be those who complain about everything maybe they should move out of the area to a less "touristy" spot.

    I love all the goings-on. Let's spend our time on improving Waikiki, like cleaning up the sand and ocean far greater challenges than turning off the torch lights or limiting parades.

    Robert J. Herberger
    Honolulu