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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Neighborhood ills

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

School superintendent Pat Hamamoto recently retired after 34 years in the Hawaii public school system.

ANDREW SHIMABUKU | The Honolulu Advertiser

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WAIKK NOT WITHOUT RECURRING PROBLEMS

Why is it that whenever someone has a problem in their neighborhood, they feel compelled to say "This kind of activity would not be allowed in Waikk"? (James Bates letter, Dec. 30)

I live in Waikk. We have cars with loud mufflers and louder stereos. We have street performers who bang their drums till 4 in the morning. We have vandals who deface our park structures and public restrooms.

We have vagrants who sleep on our sidewalks, on our beaches, in our parks and on our bus-stop benches. We have prostitutes who walk our streets nightly. These types of activities are not "allowed" here any more than they are allowed in other neighborhoods, but they do happen here.

Now if you still think that these types of activities don't happen daily in Waikk then I encourage you to visit the Web site for the Waikk Neighborhood Board. You can read the monthly meeting minutes going back to January 2001 and see that, yes, these are recurring problems.

STEVE ABRAMS | Honolulu

FIREWORKS

HAZARD A RED FLAG TO THE ELECTED, VOTERS

I wholeheartedly agree with the letters I have been reading about banning fireworks. It seems as the years go by they are becoming more and more a public nuisance and hazard rather than a demonstration of a culture's celebration of New Year's.

What I want to know is, where are they coming from? In this age of homeland security and terror threat levels, how do containers of illegal fireworks come to our shores and get distributed to lawbreakers all over the island?

This year it seems that multiple houses in pretty much every area of the island have a supply of illegal fireworks that is so great they can set them off almost every night from Thanksgiving to Dec. 31 and maybe beyond.

This fact should be a red flag to the governor and those "in charge" that someone is not doing their job or is being paid not to do it.

Which in turn should be a bigger red flag to us, the law-abiding American citizens, that the people we are electing and paying to be "in charge" are not doing their jobs. We should hold them accountable.

HAROLD LESLIE | Honolulu

KILLJOYS' TANTRUMS UNBELIEVABLE

Once again, the media fuels the "Should we ban fireworks?" debate and of course the "bad, bad fireworks!" side gets center stage.

The Dec. 31 Letters & Commentary page printed nothing but letters from whiners moaning about the fireworks "nightmare," making their narrow-minded cases using every biased argument from claiming the booms terrify pets to the smoke sends people to emergency rooms, just to name a few. They demand the state crack down on those evil revelers and ban fireworks.

Our recurring vog is more noxious than one night's haze, yet I don't see any editorials demanding we outlaw volcanoes. Unbelievable — the lengths these killjoys will go to ensure no one has any fun.

The annual brisk fireworks sales prove the majority wants and enjoys fireworks. The adult crybabies who rant yearly with their "ban fireworks now!" temper tantrums should move to states where fireworks are already outlawed.

There they'll find the quiet, boring "safe celebrations" they pine for.

Thank you, my generous Plolo Valley neighbors, for the impressive, exciting fireworks displays each of you puts on every year. They must cost you a fortune. You rock!

BRIAN SCHAEFFER | Plolo

LIMBAUGH

SYSTEM IS FINE — IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY

It was both amusing and infuriating to read Limbaugh's statement, "There is nothing wrong with the American health care system," upon his release from The Queen's Medical Center after having chest pain.

True, there's not much wrong with the system, if you have enough money to access its upper reaches. Obviously, a great many Americans are making do with poor or no health care, and clearly Limbaugh thinks that this is their problem, not his.

It's hard to understand how anyone so admired by so many can be so lacking in compassion. Or perhaps the compassion is there, but getting his party back in power by playing on people's fears and biases overrides any sense of caring what happens to others.

KEN RUBENSTEIN | Haleiwa

SALUTE FROM PRIVATE SCHOOL COMMUNITY HAMAMOTO

The private school community salutes Superintendent Hamamoto for her 34 years of professional service, and for her career-long and steadfast dedication to enhancing teaching and learning for the children of Hawaii.

Pat's leadership has been all about social justice, and the courage to stand up and speak her truth about the prominence of education as a force for good in our community. She has been a role model for me, a hero many times over, and a thought partner on issues that had no easy answers; I am just one of many who will say exactly the same thing.

Her generosity to colleagues is legendary, but she does leave office with one secret: We may never know how she managed to accomplish so much. I believe it has been her boundless energy combined with her unwavering belief that the betterment of humankind is inherently possible.

Mahalo, Pat, for the goodness you have brought to our profession, the kindness you have shared with colleagues, and the momentum you have generated for creating the 21st-century public school system our children need and deserve.

ROBERT M. WITT | Executive director, Hawaii Association of Independent Schools