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Saturday, March 11, 2000

State knew about threat of rock slide

On Monday, March 6, boulders perched above Kamehameha Highway adjacent to Waimea Bay came crashing down. Suddenly, life on the North Shore was transformed.

Residents who commuted Kamehameha Highway now face a drive that has increased by up to 400 percent. Shopping for the essentials of food, medication and other products has become next to impossible.

The ability to obtain health care is virtually cut off. Businesses on the North Shore will flirt with bankruptcy.

State officials have known about the ominous danger that the cliffs of Waimea Bay posed for decades but chose to do nothing. Now the people of the North Shore must suffer for the stupidity and neglect of government officials.

Todd R. Okazaki, D.D.S.

Stop signs are safer than roundabout

Mayor Harris' creation, the roundabout at Keeaumoku and Heulu streets in Makiki, is laughable for the following reasons:

Bullet Its purpose is to slow down drivers. However, you don't really have to slow at all because the curb is not that high off the ground. The drivers who left their tire marks on the surface of the roundabout would agree with me.

Bullet It was constructed to protect the preschool that sits at the corner. But now, when you circle the roundabout, you must actually point the front of your car directly at the corners, which you never did before. Therefore, the odds are higher now that, if your car were to lose control, you could possibly careen into the preschool's front yard.

Bullet Cars encountering the circle decelerate just enough to tear around it and then pick up speed. This means they're going full throttle on reaching one of four pedestrian crosswalks.

As I sit at my computer and look out at the roundabout now, a car encompassing it has just sounded off with squealing tires -- paying homage to an eyesore and earsore that could have easily been avoided with four simple octagonal signs that said, "Stop."

Braddoc DeCaires

Roundabouts work; it's drivers who don't

As a European by birth, I'm somewhat amused by the negative letters about the introduction of roundabouts in our horrendous traffic system. They work rather well in practically every major city in Europe, especially London, Paris and Rome.

It's hard to change bad habits on our free-for-all highways and byways, whose drivers seem to show little regard for man or beast, pedestrian or cyclist. The introduction of the roundabout is money well spent.

When you consider mammoth roundabouts a la London's Hyde Park Corner or Trafalgar Square -- with the convergence of six major thoroughfares handling more traffic in an hour than we have in a week -- with ne'er a fender bender -- one realizes they work simply because drivers know what they are doing.

If you're a tourist, yes, it can be a nightmare. If you're caught between a semi-truck, bus, taxi cab and six mini-coopers, all vying for position to get out at the outlet of their choice, it can be a nightmare. But amazingly, it functions rather well -- when drivers are educated and respect other users of the road.

John L. Werrill

Drivers don't respect pedestrian's right of way

I hear a lot these days about road rage. Just once, I'd like to hear something about "sidewalk rage." This describes the emotion of pedestrians when cars that outweigh them by 10-20 times come close to squashing them.

My pet peeve is drivers who turn right on red without slowing down when I have a walk signal. These "safe drivers" uniformly look to the left, to make sure nobody's about to squash THEM like a bug, yet it never occurs to them to look where they're going.

Previously, my reaction was limited to yelling at the culprits. Since I'm not very articulate when my life is threatened, I usually said something like, "Hey!" Or even the dramatic, "That's a RED light!" But most drivers didn't seem to notice.

Recently, I've resorted to a tactic from when I lived in Boston: I kick or slap the side of a car, hard. This is especially easy to time if it's the second one to run through a walk signal.

In Boston, this would make people stop, if only to see if their cars were damaged or to check if they had to remove bits of a grandmother from their tire treads. In Mililani these days, this tactic doesn't even faze drivers, although it does cause them to look in their rear-view mirrors at me as they speed away.

Mike Morton

OHA logo

OHA trustees could run for re-election

Mililani Trask and her feeble calls for civil disobedience summarize the confusion and dysfunction of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Her actions also shed clarity on both the turmoil of this organization and the lack of leadership within the Hawaiian community.

Now the entire state gets to sit back and watch the grandstanding of this group of impotent individuals, desperately attempting to cling to jobs they have already lost. The trustees view the recent developments within the Supreme Court as yet another diabolical attempt by "outsiders" to meddle in Hawaiian affairs.

All are pointing fingers and crying foul. Yet no one, to my knowledge, has given any solution option. They appear more concerned about crusading and protecting their own egos than actually doing the important tasks they were elected to do.

The lack of any significant outcry from the larger Hawaiian community and the public at large should be proof enough to OHA that it is in need of an overhaul. There is nothing stopping the ousted trustees from running in the next election. If their track records are admirable, they have little to worry about.

T. Robinson

State Senate is dysfunctional, too

I wonder how serious our governor is about civil service reform. After making a big deal of it, Governor Cayetano then proceeded to direct attention away from it by introducing volatile issues that competed for legislative and public attention, such as fluoridation. Then he tops that off by giving the OHA pot a great big stir.

Governor, if "dysfunctional" behavior is reason enough for replacing an elected body with your appointments, have you given any thought to our state Senate?

Nobu Nakamoto



"This project is risky. (But) we're
going to get the job done, so in 30 years
you won't talk about us."

Kazu Hayashida

Promising action during a public meeting at Sunset Beach
Elementary School to hundreds of North Shore residents
frustrated by the closure of Kamehameha Highway at
Waimea since a rock slide earlier this week


"Why spend all this money on
planning before you do your research on
Sand Island? Sand Island
was a dump."

Ivan Hoe

Objecting to Governor Cayetano's plan to replace popular
Ala Wai Golf Course with a park and to turn Sand Island
into an alternate municipal golf course

Care homes need unannounced inspections

We are concerned about comments made by Maria Etrata of Primary Caregivers of Hawaii in your March 6 issue. She makes it seem as if services provided in the majority of care homes are up to par and well-regulated.

As social work students at Hawaii Pacific University and the University of Hawaii, we know the realities of what can and does occur in numerous care homes.

This is not to say care homes are awful places. Yet, realistically, they are loosely regulated compared to other establishments evaluated by the state. There don't appear to be enough personnel to do periodic checks on the licensed care homes, not to mention the unlicensed ones.

Do you really believe that all care home residents are able to voice their concerns? Many suffer from chronic ailments preventing them from using the phone; family members are not always aware of problems due to their inconsistent visits; and many residents fear retaliation if they do report problems.

Unannounced state visits are necessary to see what a typical day in a care home is like. Residential care operators who oppose unannounced visits make us wonder what it is they have to hide.

Heather Kelley, Germaine Okino and Stacy Terashita

Kurt Nelson was a giant in community theater

News of Kurt Nelson's passing leaves me in shock (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 18). In the 1970s we spent long days and nights together, pounding nails at HPAC's Manoa Valley Theater. A more kind, gentle, tolerant, patient man I've never met.

He was a true gentleman. I never saw Kurt lose his temper, except at me -- once, slightly. There are few people in theater one could make that statement about.

Oddly, the last time I saw Kurt was in a dream a couple of weeks ago. We met on the trail in Katmandu. In real life, he often spoke of the peace he felt there in the mountains. "I charge up after this," he used to say, waving his hand at the pre-show chaos backstage.

Those who recall his sets, particularly for George Bernard Shaw plays, will remember designs that created an unsurpassed reality, just like he did with all those he touched. We will miss this gentle giant.

Rex Sinclair
FerNdale, Calif.

Vintage DC-3 made charitable event soar

We wish to publicly thank Harry Clark, owner of GENAVCO, who graciously donated time in his DC-3 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for its second annual Great Hawaiian Air Race.

Harry operates a 1942 vintage DC-3 on a daily morning cargo run from Honolulu to Molokai, Maui and Lanai. Our beloved DC-3, the grand dame of our Hawaiian skies and commanded by Captain Russ Francis, did not win the race. But she won the hearts of her pilots, passengers and the people of Hana, who turned out to inspect her.

Like myself, many pilots dream of the opportunity to be at the controls of this classic aircraft. Just as our donations to Make-A-Wish for passage on the DC-3 will help make children's wishes come true, Harry Clark's generosity allowed us to fulfill our pilot's dreams.

William H. Noyes III
DC-3 Co-Pilot
Great Hawaiian Air Race


More civility is needed in business world

On the occasion of Alexander & Baldwin leader Robert J. Pfeiffer's 80th birthday this week (March 7), I'd like to reflect on the topic of civility among our top business leaders.

It's impressive how many of our past and present business leaders (but not their lower level executives) extend the courtesy of answering their own phones, regardless how busy they were. None of this heady stuff of secretaries screening calls and asking, "May I tell him who's calling?" or "What is this about?"

I remember Henry Walker, former chairman of Amfac, always answering "Waaakkkerrr" in his sonorous, powerful voice. Same with Hawaiian Electric Industries Chairman Robert Clarke. After the third ring, he was right there.

The same is true with Pfeiffer, chairman emeritus of A&B. Hearing him answer his own phone was most reassuring.

I had the honor and pleasure of walking with him once through his beautiful A&B building. He greeted every employee by name, from the parking attendant to the office workers to the department heads. He even added a few friendly personal words.

In his office -- no big, awe-inspiring desk. He led me to a comfortable coffee table and listened to my presentation. He even returned my sales brochures "so they can be used again."

Now here is a top exec who understands business and treats people right. I hope this level of civility or aloha spirit at the top will be maintained by the younger generation.

Gerhard C. Hamm


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