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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 30, 2010

Parallel universes


Kudos to the spot-on observances of Joan Conrow in last Sunday's publication ("Parallel Universes," May 23).

It was a fine example of the result of small-island growth as seen through the eyes of both local and transplant residents. Having been a resident of Kaua'i for eight years, I consider myself a transplant and a newcomer. Since moving here I have witnessed both local and transplant comments and have been attempting to align them in my thinking and have found out that I can't. It is sad. Learning to adjust is an ongoing thing a process.

When, as Conrow observed, a transplant suggests a need for "a few more roads and a good French restaurant," I think how self-serving and patronizing that kind of talk is.

I also have witnessed types of local patronization followed by negative "asides" to local friends. Having talked to some old-timers born on Kaua'i, I can only guess that the perceived need for rapid growth has allowed both local and transplanted residents a playing field for greed, self interest and distrust ... on both sides.

Gregg Nickerson


When I read the opinion piece, "Parallel Universes," I felt sad for the writer.

"Who attracts this brand of negativity, hearing and remembering only venom?," I thought. "Maybe she is disgruntled with life and consciously aware of only the poison that she herself projects?" Then, I realized the writer's genius ploy

This one-dimensional snapshot, taken with a dirty lens, was an illusion. A fairy tale.

That was not Kaua'i I was reading about. I know Kaua'i's residents and visitors. I wala'au with them, I give them right of way while driving, lend them change when short in the checkout, talk to strangers no matter where they are from, embrace all citizens on this island. Kaua'i personifies warmth, with intoxicating people, dynamic intelligence, and unspoiled charm. Kaua'i is quite perfect.

I should thank the writer for weaving such an elaborate, fictitious tale. She paints this imaginary landscape in hopes to keep Kaua'i a secret garden to keep visitors and development at bay.

The Garden Isle cradles those of us who belong here and we are filled with the island spirit that we share generously.

Suzy Olson
Lāwai, Kaua'i


The story "Parallel universes" (May 23) was absolutely on target.

Even the dialogue is pretty authentic. After 65 happy years in Hawaii Nei, I still occasionally need to rely on my childhood pidgin to defuse confrontations or avoid violence.

John Corboy


Kaua'i reminds me of a dysfunctional family. After living on Kaua'i's north shore for the past 20 or so years, I have felt its many moods. The family elders, the true kamaāina, have witnessed the island grow and prosper from its humble beginnings. Now most parents and their offspring struggle to live on Kaua'i, because along with this growth it has become very expensive.

The new foster kids, or more accurately the malihini who come and visit or decide to live on Kaua'i, must remember that we are guests of this family, and as guests we must always try to mind our manners. Yet, these kids, like most kids, are sometimes quick to show their temper when they don't get their way.

This will sometimes cause them to rudely scream out for attention. And yes, sometimes like all misbehaving kids, they need to be scolded and reminded by their parents this is no way to act. Hopefully, these kids will heed their parents' wishes and learn to show the kamaāina love and respect.

Rich Demuth
Kīlauea, Kaua'i


Joan Conrow's article about complex relationships between the people of Kaua'i and their Mainland transplants is on target.

In fact, Kaua'i's relationship with its fellow islands is pretty grim also — witness the response to possible Superferry traffic between O'ahu and Kaua'i a couple of years ago.

You would have thought they were letting in the plague if they permitted docking of a ferry from another island.

My feeling is that they are totally lacking in aloha, and don't deserve the revenue that outsiders could bring in.

In fact, I don't think they deserve the disproportionate amount of tax revenue the state has to lavish on them to keep their island afloat.

Gordon Wolfe



Mainland advertising agencies, Washington, D.C., influence and negative messages showed how little the District 1 candidates understand the sensitivities to political advertising locally.

Ads placed by Mainland parties concerned over the number of seats their party controls in Congress with little concern over which candidate won were an insult to the intelligence of the voting public in Hawai'i.

Candidates who hired Mainland advertising agencies, employing their Mainland style negative approach, further demonstrated a lack of understanding of Hawai'i.

Our community doesn't react well to such strategies and there are plenty of examples from past elections to demonstrate the failure of such tactics in Hawai'i.

The talent to produce winning campaigns is available locally, as has been demonstrated time and time again. The local ads may not be as slick, but perhaps there is good reason for that.

As the fall elections approach, let us hope that candidates understand spending campaign money in Hawai'i is not only good for the local economy, but just might be the difference between winning and losing.

Jack Bates



The Advertiser editorial "Looking for some more heft from Aiona," (May 23) unfairly overlooks many of Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona's honorable accomplishments and outstanding service to the people of Hawai'i. As someone who knows him personally, I am proud of his record, which, among other things, includes:

• Founding the Hawai'i Drug Control Plan, which aggressively combats illicit drug and alcohol use, resulting in the lowest reported alcohol and drug use among teens in more than a decade.

• Spearheading job creation initiatives, including one that has led to more than 1,200 summer jobs for youth this year.

• Enhancing after-school programs such as the Uniting Peer Learning, Integrating New Knowledge program.

• Promoting adoption awareness and reducing the number of children in foster care.

• Leading the Healthy Hawai'i Initiative, which made Hawai'i one of the healthiest states in the country.

Hawai'i has been battered by the effects of the global economic crisis, but there has been no better man steering the ship of state in this storm than Duke Aiona.

History will record that though this administration had its challenges, it ran the race, it kept the faith and kept us free.

Danny De Gracia Ii