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Saturday, May 22, 1999

Sacred Falls tragedy need not have happened

I must take strong exception to the view that there has been no research or knowledge regarding the fatal landslide at Sacred Falls.

More than 20 years ago, I did my UH doctoral dissertation on "Detection and Analysis of Slope Instability, Southeast Oahu, Hawaii." I naively assumed that all one needed was good information, sound theory and an apolitical approach, and the work would be put to good use.

Since I had hopes that my dissertation could be the basis for engineering, planning and development, I hand-carried a final copy of it to the mayor's office, City Council, state Department of Land and Natural Resources, etc.

Instead, I was politely dismissed. My research was ignored.

After 20-plus years of silence, I was advised to "go public" by a former mentor and dissertation committee member at UH about my "excellent research using standard statistical techniques rarely applied to my subject matter of landslides."

This seminal research was intended to spur interest and funding for further work on landslides with practical (not academic) applications.

If only someone had listened, steps could have been taken to prevent these tragic losses.

Moanikeala Jellinger

State is hypocritical about Hawaiian culture

While my condolences and sympathy go out to the victims of the Sacred Falls tragedy, we must question the sincerity of state officials when it comes to native Hawaiian issues.

This state tramples on Hawaiian culture whenever it is in conflict with the economy, perverts Hawaiian culture for economic gains, tells the Hawaiian people they cannot rebuild their heiau because it is a historical site, tells them they can rebuild their fishponds only after going through a ton of red tape, snickers at their legends and beliefs as old wives tales, tells the Hawaiian people they are good enough to advise the Hawaii Tourism Authority but not good enough to be a full member, etc.

But whenever there is a groundbreaking or a tragedy that may be related to Hawaiian traditions, it's time to haul out na kupuna to do ho'oponopono rituals. This is like asking Sitting Bull to bless the Little Big Horn after Custer's Last Stand.

Hank Alau
Via the Internet

Tongue-in-check concern about islands

I am planning a vacation to Hawaii and need additional information, especially after reading Dr. and Mrs. David Nahrstedt's May 19 letter. They wrote that they will no longer vacation in your state because, in addition to high prices, "Hawaii has an out-of-control socialist government and congressional delegation."

Are these government officials and congressional members attacking tourists on the street? Harassing people in restaurants? Kicking sand in the face of sunbathers on the beach? What?

Also according to the Nahrstedts, there are racist comments and homosexual behavior displayed "everywhere" in Hawaii. Are these racist comments posted in churches, schools, swanky hotels, buses, taxis, airports, etc.? Are people having sex in public view? Is it just homosexuals, or are heterosexuals doing it, too?

If all this sex stuff is true, is there any fee to watch? I'm working on my vacation budget and need to plan ahead.

Eric Edberg
Menasha, Wis.
Via the Internet

State should save Legends in Concert

I was very upset to read that Waikiki may be losing a major tourist attraction, Legends in Concert.

Three former employees sued the show and won $550,000 that the company is unable to pay. One hundred twenty people are unemployed.

If the state can help "Baywatch," maybe it can help Legends. Waikiki needs this show to help support tourism. Please don't let this professional show close down for good.

M. Douglas

Harris should listen to Hannemann

It saddens me to hear former City Council Chairman Mufi Hannemann being wrongly criticized. His demeanor, candor and honesty are morally correct for the people.

The city's financial crisis justifies Hannemann's tough questions. The administration is obligated to answer these questions and work with the Council.

M. Imada

Solution to shootings is simple: Ban guns

I am troubled to learn how easy it is to get access to firearms these days. Just look at the incident in Colorado. The shooters were only teens, yet they had shotguns and automatic weapons.

Government should make private gun possession illegal. Only armed forces like military personnel and police officers should be allowed to wield them.

Everyone likes to blame movies and music for violence when they should be blaming guns. Also to blame are the gun manufacturers and sales people. They make weapons too accessible.

Kalima Bowman
Kamuela, Hawaii

Spiritual leaders must lead the way

Here we go again: A tragic school shooting. The cry goes out, "How could this happen?" Nightly news anchors, talk-show hosts and various commentators spend hours asking questions but rarely have the answers.

The "experts" quoted are almost always educators, psychologists, social workers and lawyers, but rarely does this group include a pastor, priest or rabbi. It's as if the possibility of a spiritual void in our society is never thought of.

Those who recognize the importance of moral guidance must stand up and be heard. It is amazing that, while we know these conditions exist, our pulpits are mostly silent; we say nothing for fear of offending someone.

We are a far cry from those individuals decades ago who had the courage to pray and stand up to the secular humanistic teachings that makes man "God" and that so control our schools today.

Pastor Dave Mitchell
Waipio Grace Brethren Church

The answer is spending more time with kids

Adults and drugs. Adults and guns. Adults and home-made bombs. Adults and alcohol. Adults and cigarettes.

What is the connection? It's the adults, so let's get rid of them, right? Maybe, if you follow the line of thinking of Vernon Okamura's May 3 letter, "Guns don't kill people; there are too many kids!"

Why do so many adults shy away from the problems of kids? Instead of doing just a little to help them with their problems, only complaints abound.

Adults like me are a big part of this dilemma. If only we stayed home more and tried to understand our kids and answer their questions, we might have better kids.

Simpson Tsang


"(Lingle) needs to storm in.
If she loses or her win is close,
that won't be a good
signal for her."

Howard Chong
On how former gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle needs to
decimate her opponent, James Kuroiwa Jr., in an election
to lead the state's Republican Party

"They are starving the
School of Public Health. We're
running out of time."

Mark Diel
On a planned hunger strike to show support for the University
of Hawaii School of Public Health and to protest UH President
Kenneth Mortimer's lack of support for it

Public restrooms vary around the world

An American grantee at the East-West Center frequently complained to me about the dirty footprints left by Asian grantees on the toilet seats in a UH-Manoa dormitory. Asians didn't realize that they were supposed to sit, not squat, on the toilets.

Instruction on bathroom customs around the world should be mandatory for anyone contemplating a trip abroad.

Long ago, as an English teacher in Thailand, I couldn't get accustomed to squatting over a hong-nam (toilet) and washing my bottom with water from a polluted klong (canal). It was difficult balancing over a hole in the ground wearing high heels and panty hose, which got wet from an errant dribble.

Western-style bathrooms in Bangkok homes weren't better. The shower and toilet often were installed next to each other without a partition, so that when one showered, the toilet seat got wet. Water from the shower flowed into a drain in the middle of the room.

After Thailand, I literally kissed the ground in London and whispered, "Civilization at last." To my horror, I discovered that the toilet paper in an English public restroom was waxed on one side and thinly papered on the other. A chain linking the water tank to the toilet below had to be yanked, and the roar of a toilet being flushed could be heard miles away.

But nothing prepared me for the public restrooms in Paris. Women hired by the city sat at a table collecting money from patrons who used the toilets.

Observing the exchange of money, I decided not to relieve myself, but simply glanced at the mirror and walked out. Immediately, one of the women followed me and screamed, "Mademoiselle, la money, la money!" My French being inadequate, I fled, vowing never to enter such a place again no matter how urgent my need.

Years later, I live in beautiful Hawaii, where swimmers relieve themselves in the crowded ocean. When nature calls, people either follow tradition or use common sense.

Glenda Chung Hinchey
Via the Internet

Express buses should run only at rush hour

I want to "congratulate" our city fathers for finding new ways to spend taxpayer money. I'm referring to the express buses to the University of Hawaii.

All one has to do to see how "successful" they are is to stand at the intersection across from the Hawaii State Library and watch the empty express buses go by all day.

Why don't they run the buses only at peak hours, like during the morning and evening rush hour, instead of having them run empty at other times? Please, won't somebody explain?

Stanley Perry
Via the Internet

Senate president may lose his job, too

We have a lot of work to do and a lot of changes to endure. Judge Chang's order temporarily removing the Bishop Estate trustees is but step one. Is the Senate "leadership" next?

Douglas A. Akin
Via the Internet

Freshman senators have lame excuses

Your May 17 articles on our five freshmen senators, whom I call the Jive Five, showed just how clubby they are.

Sen. Colleen Hanabusa told a TV reporter that she voted against Attorney General Margery Bronster because election officials were "flippant" to her during the Senate hearings. Since when is flippancy considered grounds for removal of a public official?

But the real hoot was Sen. David Matsuura's reason for voting against Bronster's reconfirmation: She had indicted a sitting fellow senator, so Matsuura felt that all senators had to stand together against such an intrusion on senatorial privilege.

Huh? Since when is a senator immune from indictment when there is evidence that he or she may have violated the law?

Are The Jive Five playing dumb? Do they think that we're dumb? Or are they really that dumb?

Bob Norton

Trustees must do what's best for estate

Will the KS/BE trustees show their true colors? They say they have the trust's best interest at heart. Let them prove it.

The IRS is demanding the permanent resignations of all five trustees or KS/BE will lose its tax-exempt status and face millions of dollars in taxes.

If the trustees fail to step down now, permanently, they prove that they only have personal interests at heart.

Kalani Chock
Via the Internet

Bishop Estate Archive


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