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Monday, March 20, 2000

Tapa


Census confirms major brain drain from Hawaii

Your readers who regularly follow immigration-related developments should note the recently released Census Bureau population data from the 1999 Current Population Survey. It confirms the continuing trend of large-scale immigrant settlement in Honolulu, accompanied by the large-scale departure of local residents.

Since 1990, Honolulu has had a net addition to its population from immigration of over 42,000 persons. During this period, the area has had a net out-migration of more than 112,000 residents. In just the last two years, the net outflow has been over 31,000.

While some may welcome the population increase effects of the immigrant settlement in the area, local planners and politicians should be asking themselves what conditions are leading to the net exodus of local residents.

Dan Stein
Executive Director
Federation for American
Immigration Reform (FAIR)
Washington, D.C.

Lei may be hazardous to marine life

Tossing a lei into the ocean to honor the dead and comfort the living is a practice we've all enjoyed. It's one of our special local traditions. But surely the Hawaiians of the past must have used more biodegradable "strings" fashioned from plant material.

Our fish and turtles and other ocean inhabitants can get entangled in string. They ingest the twine along with the flowers, most likely resulting in terrible consequences.

It would be so easy to pull off the flowers from the string when the final floral offering is made. Can we make that small concession, not only for the dead but for our living ocean dwellers as well?

Rosemarie Tucker

Volunteers could monitor elderly

There has been recent publicity about the tragic death of a resident at an adult residential care home. The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, under the Executive Office on Aging, is in dire need of assistance in tracking activities and complaints at local nursing and care home facilities.

There is only one state ombudsman and one assistant for 46 nursing homes and about 600 adult residential care homes covering six islands, representing a case load of about 7,000 individuals.

During the last Legislature, an important bill was "held" by the Senate Ways and Means Committee that only needs to be released for passage. Volunteers would be trained as friendly visitors to the elderly in care homes; visitors could also be the "eyes and ears" of the ombudsman.

This bill only requires money for a paid volunteer coordinator and minor expenses to direct a cadre of volunteers. Phone calls to Sen. Carol Fukunaga, Sen. Andrew Levin and other legislators are needed to ensure quality of care for these residents.

Ruth E. Dias
American Association of Retired Persons
State Legislative Committee


Quotables

Tapa

"The matter is over, because our
intentions to go to court were purely
to find justice, not to
seek damages."

Simon Thirsk
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII SWIM TEAM CAPTAIN

On the dropping of a lawsuit against the NCAA after
UH was denied berths in the national
swim championships

Tapa

"I know the community
is up in arms, but these are our kids.
It's a sad situation when I have to
send a child (sex offender)
out of state."

Bode Uale
FAMILY COURT JUDGE

Applauding the state for trying to develop
a juvenile sex-offender treatment
facility in Pearl City


Open voting is vital to legislative process

Closed doors. Backroom deals. Last-minute decisions. They used to be the hallmarks of the state Legislature, where public confidence was dwindling and everyday citizens were disenchanted. Thanks to the hard work of organizations such as Common Cause and the League of Women Voters, and the efforts of elected officials such as Sen. Les Ihara, we have improved the legislative process.

Since being elected in 1998, I have been impressed by the public hearing and decision-making process. It is difficult but not impossible for a group of elected officials to make an unwise decision in the face of contrary testimony and evidence.

But the process retains a flaw. Imagine being a citizen who has worked countless hours on a priority bill for your community, only to find it rendered useless in a backroom meeting. This has a debilitating effect on our democracy.

The Legislature has come a long way in restoring open and participatory democracy. But conference committee votes are still not public. Open, rational and fair discussion can give way to "old politics."

We must change this. In the wake of the state attorney general's recent opinion, the House and Senate still have time to implement open committee voting in the 2000 session.

Rep. Brian Schatz

Marijuana makes chemotherapy bearable

I am saddened by your March 9 editorial stance against the use of marijuana for medical purposes. I went through cancer chemotherapy last year and was given state-of-the-art, anti-emetic medications. It stopped the vomiting, but didn't work as well on the nausea.

A friend who saw how I was suffering offered me a joint. I scoffed, remembering high school fumblings with a drug that did nothing more than make me giggly. To my amazement, it worked. After smoking it, I ate my first solid food in two weeks. I was a happy criminal for the rest of my treatment.

If, God forbid, my cancer comes back, I hope to have access to marijuana again. I will not go through chemotherapy again without it.

I don't wish cancer on anyone, but opponents of the medical use of marijuana need to walk a mile in a chemotherapy patient's shoes before condemning his or her decision to smoke marijuana.

Catharine Honeyman
Midway Island

Vicious cycle of abuse must stop

Who are our most needy infants and children? Those who are or could be the victims of abuse, neglect or domestic violence.

Some of them are dead. Some are missing. Others have been orphaned. Many have been adopted. Many more have become homeless. But all have been abused, brutalized and dehumanized.

How can we help these needy infants and children? How can we stop the cycles of abuse, neglect and domestic violence?

We can stop it where it starts -- in infancy and childhood. Each of us can halt these destructive cycles by not abusing ourselves and others, especially infants and children. Otherwise, we will just end up with many more dead, missing, orphaned and homeless infants, children and adults.

There is no excuse for abuse.

David A. Lane



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