Letters to the Editor
DEL MONTE COVERAGE
GORDON PANG'S WRITING CONNECTS WITH PEOPLE
Gordon Pang writes features that both stimulate the brain and tug at the heartstrings. His story Nov. 18 on the impact of the Del Monte closing on the people who work there was another great one. He connects with everyday people and makes their lives and their stories part of the news. He helps us see how public events affect folks just like us.
His feature on the impact of the potential sale of Kukui Gardens was another fine piece. He took the abstract issue of the loss of affordable housing and made it real, in the impact on the folks at risk of becoming homeless —people just like our own parents and grandparents. Good work, Mr. Pang.Buck Bagot
San Francisco, CA
B &BS NEED TO BE PROPERLY REGULATED
I read with interest Angie Larson's commentary on her support for B&Bs in Kailua (Island Voices, Nov. 21). She asks, "Where is Kailua headed?" Simply drive across the Pali to Waikiki and see all those "glorious" hotels and throngs of tourists and you will find your answer.
Do we want to be the next Waikiki? The only people who really are supportive of the B&Bs are individuals with a vested interest. It is not "a small minority of seemingly wealthy individuals" who are the primary opponents to the B&Bs.
The overwhelming majority of people I have discussed this issue with have opposed B&Bs because of the effects on their neighborhood and community.
If they were properly regulated, that would be a different story. Sustainable tourism is fine, but when you have a free-for-all, per the current situation, problems arise.Shasha Fesharaki
KEEP IT KAILUA TRYING TO GUARD ENVIRONMENT
Angie Larson certainly got a lot off her chest in her commentary on Kailua B&Bs (Nov. 21).
Apparently, in her view, if one stands opposed to unbridled, unregulated proliferation of B&Bs in small residential communities, one is then also opposed to apple pie, coffee and motherhood.
It's true that people who have lived in these areas for decades are protective of their environment, but that is so it may be preserved for all, not destroyed by a few who want to "get a little piece of the action."
I for one, am grateful to Keep It Kailua for shining a light in corners where there should be light.Elizabeth Connors
ILLEGAL UNITS ARE ALSO NORTH SHORE PROBLEM
In support of Keep It Kailua's concerns about illegal vacation rentals, it is not just Kailua that has had to grapple with this issue.
The North Shore has had its share of problems with illegal units.
Owners of illegal units use the terms B&B and transient vacation rental units (TVUs) interchangeably to confuse the issue and make it seem that the B&Bs are small rooms or a back cottage let out to the odd vacationer who comes across their path.
Most of these so-called B&Bs are really TVUs and are not run by stay-at-home moms and retirees. Many of the owners are from the Mainland, are wealthy, want a second home in Hawai'i and see an opportunity to make some extra cash while they are not using it.
Those who run illegal vacation rentals talk about giving vacationers a choice and how vacationers want to immerse themselves in communities and have a real Hawai'i experience. To hear them talk, it is all hearts and flowers, and the rest of us live in the Dark Ages. The only thing these illegal operators care about is the money, and to heck with the rest of us and our quality of life.Kathleen M. Pahinui
STATE'S CHARTER SCHOOLS MUST BE FAIRLY FUNDED
Beverly Creamer's article on Hawai'i's charter schools (Nov. 19) said it all. Charter schools are doing a better job educating Hawai'i's students, even in areas where traditional public schools have faltered. You did not have to read between the lines of Creamer's article to realize that those in control of the DOE/BOE status quo have been underfunding and obstructing the progress of charter schools.
There are many additional hidden benefits to charter schools. In the charter school system, parents have not been disenfranchised from the educational process. Parents are actively involved. Teachers have more control of the classrooms. Principals perform and are held accountable. Charter schools are the ultimate decentralization. These schools get the job done, educate our kids, and are a win for the taxpayers.
Hopefully, my colleagues in the Legislature will assist the DOE/ BOE in seeing the wisdom to fairly fund charter schools and create the opportunity for more conversion of traditional schools to charter. Charter schools are proof that the public school system can do more with less by strong, decentralized management.State Sen. Fred Hemmings
(Kailua, Waimanalo, Hawai'i Kai)
WINTER BASEBALL HAD A TERRIFIC RETURN SEASON
Mahalo to the Hawai'i Winter Baseball organizers, sponsors, players and supporters for a terrific return season!
The scene of the Honu players rushing the pitcher's mound following their 5-1 playoff win at Les Murakami stadium on Wed-nesday night perfectly captured a proper ending to a wonderful season! Already, I can't wait 'til next year.Dennis Palmer
TOUGHER ENFORCEMENT NEEDED ON TRAFFIC RULES
I find it funny that the Honolulu Police Department is receiving so much praise for its recent decision to get tough on speeders.
Isn't this what police are supposed to be doing on a daily basis?
Just trying to get people to slow down isn't enough. Police need to get tough on those who tailgate, fail to yield the right of way, don't turn on their headlights during hours of darkness, violate the HOV lane, and fail to signal for turns and lane changes. Maybe it's time for Hawai'i to initiate a highway patrol whose sole responsibility is traffic enforcement and leave HPD to prevent and solve crimes.Larry M. Fryer
KAWAMOTO SHOULD TAKE HIS IDEA A STEP FURTHER
It is commendable that Genshiro Kawamoto is going to share his good fortune by providing low-rent housing for needy Hawaiian families. He should consider taking his proposal one step further and form a nonprofit, hire an administrator and an outreach person, and pick a board of directors consisting of retirees with no agenda of their own who represent a wide area of expertise in providing housing and other support services for the tenants and their children.
He should fund the nonprofit with the deed to these homes and enough cash to maintain the properties. After that, nobody can question his motives and his legacy of wanting to help the Hawaiians will continue far into the future.Jackie Ralya
KAMEHAMEHA DOES SERVE WAIÇANAE COAST RESIDENTS
Like Suzanne Green of Kailua (Letter, Nov. 18), we at Kamehameha Schools applaud Michelle Wie for her generous contribution to the students on the Wai'anae Coast. However, Ms. Green's inaccurate assertion that the Hawaiian children on the Wai'anae Coast are not being served by the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop cannot go unanswered.
Kamehameha Schools spends a significant amount of resources — about $50 million a year — on outreach-based programs and services for learners and their families. Our 10-year Education Strategic Plan, approved in 2005, set an ambitious goal of increasing the numbers served in our campus and community programs by 150 percent in 10 years. We are on target to meet that goal: In the 2005-2006 school year, the number of children and families served in our campus and community programs increased by 26 percent — from 22,000 to 28,000 students. Kamehameha Schools served an additional 15,000 learners with one-time programs.
Base education spending in 2005-06 totaled $221 million, with more than $57 million spent on outreach programs in our community. Included in that amount is nearly $4 million that went to DOE charter schools, several of which are on the Leeward coast serving Hawaiian and other children, and nearly $15 million in preschool and post-high school scholarships for student from all over the Islands.
Since August 2006, we have been in discussions with the state relating to the homeless effort on the Leeward Coast and have committed to finding solutions supporting the educational needs of the Hawaiian children. We are eager to participate and embrace the opportunity to be involved in this important collaborative effort along with many other organizations and individuals, like Michelle Wie.
We encourage Ms. Green to visit Kamehameha Schools' website at www.ksbe.edu to learn more about our Education Strategic Plan and the communities we serve.