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Monday, July 26, 1999

Tapa


Courts are wrong about flag-burning issue

On June 24, by a vote of 305-124, the U.S. House passed a constitutional amendment that reads, "Congress shall have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." As a military veteran, I fully support this amendment.

The flag amendment does not change the Constitution, but merely restores it to the way it treated the flag for over 200 years. It takes control away from judges (who have ruled that desecration of the flag is "free speech") and returns it to the people, who can protect it if they choose.

Flag burning is not speech -- it is conduct and has nothing to do with the First Amendment. The courts have taken the word "speech" and distorted it beyond recognition.

If flying the flag is a form of free speech, why isn't burning the flag an assault on speech and on all the freedoms that it represents?

Melvin Partido Sr.

Fond memories of Makee Island

During the latter 1800s and early 1900s, a lagoon in Kapiolani Park contained many islands and islets. The largest was called Makee Island or "Makee Ailana," which started near the corner of Waikiki Road and Makee Road. (Later, Waikiki Road was renamed Kalakaua Avenue and a portion of Makee Road joined Kapahulu Road to become Kapahulu Avenue.)

The island, shaped like a long rectange, was over 700 feet long and 100 feet wide. On it was the first Kapiolani Park bandstand, a wooden gazebo-like structure.

The Royal Hawaiian Band performed there on Sunday afternoons and occasionally had night concerts.

To get to the island, several crude wooden bridges were built. Picnickers, strollers and people with romance on their minds took advantage of those bridges. Trees such as ironwoods, date palms, coconut palms and kiawe were planted on Makee.

Back then, life moved at a much slower pace. People took the time to smell the flowers and enjoy the scenery. Makee Island was a very popular spot.

The next time you pass by the area near the Honolulu Zoo and its parking lot, try to picture Makee Island, made famous by song.

Roy E. Shigemura


Quotables

Tapa

"I think we're bringing integrity into the neo-swing thing."

Matt Catingub
Musician, singer, recording artist and principal pops conductor of the Honolulu symphony
On presiding over the rebirth of swing in Waikiki with his 13-piece band, Big Kahuna & The Copa Cat Pack


"Throughout his all too short life, John Jr. taught us how to weather the tragedies and triumphs with enormous grace and dignity. He led an exemplary life that any parent would have been proud of."

Gov. Ben Cayetano
Part of his letter of condolence sent to the Kennedy family in honor of the late John F. Kennedy Jr.


Cayetano's veto hurts Hawaiian claims

Your June 18 editorial on Governor Cayetano's veto of a bill extending the Hawaiian claims process assumes he is correct in saying the panel "misapplied" established claims criteria.

Have your editorial writers read the statute creating the claims process? If they had, they'd know it is very broad, with little guidance on what is a valid claim or how to calculate damages.

The panel developed principles for meritorious claims and damages based on the statute's plain language, legislative intent and applicable trust law.

Cayetano disagreed with the panel and has tried to dismantle the claims process at every turn. The court found one attempt unconstitutional and the Legislature did not adopt the governor's proposed formula and criteria eliminating 60 percent of all claims.

Your editorial missed the point: The panel was created as an independent body to review claims against the state and to make recommendations to the Legislature. The governor's veto is an attempt to gut the process when he doesn't like the outcome.

He speaks of creating another process that will be "fairer" to beneficiaries. Doesn't Cayetano really mean a process in which the state controls the outcome?

Peter Liholiho Trask

Chairman, Hawaiian Home Lands Trust Individual Claims Panel

Birth control is a serious subject

I was surprised at how the subject of birth control was spoken of so flippantly in your June 24 article, "Family Planning Centers' clinics change with times." For example, Barry Ruff, the centers' new executive director and the only male on the staff, described working at the clinic as "a challenge and it's fun." I've always thought that birth control, and giving advice about it, was a serious subject.

Meanwhile, lead nurse practitioner Diane Baker said, "We're doing a service in the community that nobody else wants to do...People mess up. Birth control is not perfect." What a choice of words. Is she promoting a quick fix for the mess-up?

The Family Planning Centers of Hawaii should be renamed and, this time, it should leave out the word "family." If it truly cared about the family and community, it would teach what teens and others need to know: Abstinence and a good sense of self are the best forms of birth control.

Charlene Ikeda
Waipahu

Convention center could become a casino

On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I was astounded by the number of local people filling Nevada's coffers. Why couldn't we do the same for our state?

We could begin with turning over the Hawaii Convention Center to Hawaiians so they could establish a casino. Or do we still have the old "Big Five" mentality of blocking new business for real economic growth and jobs?

For those who say crime would increase if casinos were established here, one must compare the crime rates of the two communities. But aren't most things in life a gamble, anyway?

Let's have casinos now, because later may be too late.

Bill Carlstrom
Pearl City

Kakaako park should be new war memorial

Here's a simple, inexpensive, instant solution to the Waikiki War Memorial and Natatorium controversy:

Take the Kakaako Waterfront Park -- which sits on a beautiful spot on the ocean, is already completed and in use, has parking and is not named for any individual or cause -- and rename it the Kakaako War Memorial Park.

Then demolish the crumbling Natatorium. The area could be restored as a swimming beach and be renamed Veterans' Beach.

Sylvia L. Shon

Tapa

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