Letters to the Editor
INSULTED BY ARMY'S DENIAL OF SITE ACCESS
Will Hoover did an excellent article covering the Army's latest attempt at restricting access to cultural and religious sites in Makua Valley (Page One, July 22).
The reference to "lineal descendants" requires more clarification. In all of the federal laws that the Army refers to in justifying denial of access, only one, the Native American Graves Protection Act (NAGPRA), defines lineal descendant. It defines a lineal descendant as a person who can identify the individual buried in a grave and can trace direct decendancy from that person.
To date, no one has come forward to identify a specific person buried in either of the four sites, nor has anyone filed a claim under NAGPRA.
We continue to question the Army's recognition of the un-named "lineal descendants."
We continue to question the Army's assertion that access to these sites is unsafe because they recently spent a considerable amount of effort on subsurface clearance of these cultural sites.
In addition, we have never requested unlimited or unrestricted access to the sites, thus nullifying their third reason to restrict access.
We are unaware of and have never been notified of any damage to any of the sites that we have accessed in Makua Valley. On the contrary, we have instilled a higher level of protection for the sites under our own cultural protocol. One important reason for seeking continued access is to fulfill our role as cultural protectors and monitor these sites for damage done by military training, fires, and erosion. .
I'm tired and insulted by the Army telling us that they have to protect these sites from us, in order to protect the sites for us.
Stop lying and manipulating the laws. Let us be Hawaiians and carry out our kuleana.William Aila Jr.
OIL PALM PLANTATIONS ARE ECOLOGICAL DISASTERS
I write in response to Robert Griffin's July 17 letter dismissing groups opposed to Hawaiian Electric Co.'s plan to use palm oil for fuel.
Call me a "so-called" environmentalist, but the "booming demand for palm oil" is exactly what concerns us. Yes, when land is cleared for palm oil the natural forest is quickly replaced by plantations, but at what cost?
Logging and conversion of forests for oil palm plantations are the factors that have led to the loss of 72 percent of Indonesia's ancient forests. This affects us all because when forests burn or are logged and left to decay, the carbon they absorbed from the atmosphere is released, adding to global carbon emissions.
Oil palm plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo are ecological disasters contributing to rainforest destruction, soil erosion, water pollution and social injustice. Thousands of land-clearing fires set each year by large oil palm plantations kill and endanger forest plants and animals, including the Sumatran tiger, Asian elephant, Sumatran rhinoceros and orangutans.
Hawai'i recently took the positive step of passing the Global Warming Solutions Bill. Let us now proceed carefully in the development of sustainable fuels for our community and not contribute to the widespread destruction of indigenous cultures and endangered wildlife.
As a first world nation, let our sustainable resources be ethical as well as renewable.Irene Bowie
Executive director, Maui Tomorrow Foundation
GOP PLAN WOULD HAVE SAVED THE STATE MONEY
In a letter on July 17, Rep. Kirk Caldwell said, "We will not, however, negotiate with the governor through the media."
This statement is ridiculous. The media does not seem to give equal coverage to the Republican Party at all: and the Democrats did not pass any of the amendments offered by the Republican minority to resolve flawed bills.
While the House overrode the governor's veto on the Pedestrian Safety Bill, that achievement was shortsighted and jeopardizes the possibility for $12 million in matching federal funds. Had Democrats passed floor amendments offered by Republicans to change the funding source from the highway fund to the general fund, Hawai'i taxpayers would have saved money.
When the state's highway funds are used for constructing roads, the federal government provides a 4-to-1 match. When roads are constructed in rural areas, this match can be as much as 9-to-1.
This means that when highway funds are used for purposes other than road construction or improvements, Hawai'i loses at least five times the cost.Richard Hough
AKANA HAS DEDICATED LIFE TO HELPING OTHERS
I'm so tired of reading letters from people who cannot find it in their hearts to acknowledge that Momi Akana and Keiki O Ka 'Aina Family Learning Centers were deserving of a new house and community center.
Extreme Makeover senior producer Diane Korman and co-executive producer Conrad Ricketts are proud of their choice of Momi, who has dedicated her life to helping others.
My husband was honored to work on this project, and my family helped plant native plants around the center.
She is my role model for ha'awi manawale'a (giving gladly).Jeannine Johnson
SHOW APPRECIATION TO ALL MILITARY RESERVISTS
All of our military reservists who have been on long-term assignments should be applauded.
They gave an oath to be ready at a moment's notice. This often means pulling up roots and changing family and civilian job priorities, then offering their talents in the defense of freedom.
When you see them, offer your extra-firm handshake and sincere gratitude for their service. They dared to accept the most challenging assignments, which truly put them in harm's way.
They are a part of the world's best and most respected military — the United States military.John Burns
MAJORITY OF POPULATION DOESN'T BACK MEASURE
Rep. Mazie Hirono was wrong when she stated in her press release on July 13 that the majority of the population in Hawai'i supports the Akaka bill.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs paid for a survey, in which OHA helped write the questions, which concluded just the opposite: "In the non-Hawaiian population, however, no consensus exists relative to Hawaiian-only programs, entitlements and a future Hawaiian government. Clearly, non-Hawaiians are not prepared to accept the creation of a Hawaiian nation in the near future." The survey was done by a reputable polling firm, Ward Research.
Non-Hawaiians are, of course, a substantial majority of the state's population.
If Akaka bill supporters were really as confident of majority approval as they say they are, they would not continue to oppose putting the matter to a popular vote.Tom Macdonald
CITY COUNCILMAN TAM WASTING CITY ALLOTMENT
My congratulations to City Councilman Rod Tam for spending nearly all of the $12,000 allotted to him.
I feel a lot better knowing that our taxes are being spent well. As Councilman Tam stated, "Basically, it's taxpayer money, and the taxpayers are eating their own money."
You outdid yourself this time, Mr. Tam. Seven years ago, you tried to pass a bill allowing naps for our state workers, now this outrageous statement?
Stop wasting our time and money and wake up from your deep sleep.
Does Lanakila Meals on Wheels ring a bell in your head? Spend some money on them.Matt Hee
SIGNS PLACED WHERE OTHER NOTICES POSTED
I would like to clarify some things in response to Bob Loy's letter of July 19 ("Ron Paul campaign signs disrespect Isles").
I support the effort of the Outdoor Circle regarding the limitation of unsightly billboards, etc. from spoiling the landscape in and around Hawai'i.
The Ron Paul signs in question were not tacky "junk" signs; they were created by numerous Ron Paul Hawaii supporters using professional sign-making materials. The end results were professional-quality signs.
Before the signs were made, we looked up the state and county statutes regarding the posting of political signs. The Honolulu County Ordinance reads: "There are no regulations at present prohibiting the use of political campaign signs fixed to the ground or to a structure."
There is no mention about what type of structure or where on the ground they can be. If Mr. Loy can please point me to a specific statute that states political (or other) signs cannot be affixed to "public" structures, then I will concede the point to him.
We placed our signs in the same places you typically see signs for garage sales, birthday parties, graduations, etc. We also planned to take the signs down by July 6. Obviously, some people missed a few, and for that we apologize.
We wanted people on O'ahu to know they have more choices for presidential nominees than the mainstream media is telling them about.Patrick Price
Ron Paul Hawai'i campaign