Friday, May 5, 2000
Hawaii's Legislature strikes out againThe headline in your May 3 issue said it all, "Legislators wrap up with no home runs."
This is a body that plays according to its own rules and is not interested in serving all of the people of Hawaii. If it means remaining in office, they cave in to the union power plays.
A bit of control over the excessive use of fireworks, a few crumbs to education, and some scattered singles. No hustle and determination to win the ball game decisively. Real bush leaguers!
Judging from this and past performances, we can expect more mediocre seasons. So Hawaii, are you happy with the prospect of staying in last place because of a status quo Legislature?
Lawmakers should try living on minimum wageI hope that, someday, members of the state Legislature will have to find real jobs and live on the crummy minimum wage that they refused to increase this past session. Unfortunately, they probably won't have to do so, because they have their dirty hands in enough pockets to keep them rich, arrogant and selfish to the end.
Hawaii residents get what they deserveSome folks might say that we, the people of Hawaii, continue to get taken for a ride by the powers-that-be, that we're all suckers and deserve to be conned.
Chevron Oil writes us up as willing patsies. Bishop Estate's former trustees -- and the people who put them there -- made monkeys of us.
Each session the Legislature fails to find the guts to tackle all the meaningful issues. We let two or three bosses of less than 10,000 union members run our government. Worst of all, we let one political party dominate our existence!
Are we really that dumb? So weak? Or is it apathy?
Another outrageous fed-ordered assaultI am outraged and disgusted by the massive display of military force mobilized by the U.S. against the people of Vieques. The residents of this island are waging a principled, disciplined, nonviolent campaign for peace. The U.S. seems intent on using violence to suppress their movement.
Might does not make right. The use of force against the protesters will only exacerbate the conflict in Vieques and harden anti-U.S. sentiment in Puerto Rico and elsewhere. In short, it could be a political disaster for America.
Since President Clinton has the power to resolve this situation in a just and peaceful way, he should immediately cancel the military maneuvers and order a permanent end to the bombing of Vieques.
There's no such thing as 'safe' cigaretteDespite all of the unsubstantiated claims of lower smoking risk, RJR's supposedly "safer" Eclipse cigarette does only one thing for sure -- eclipse the truth about the harmful effects of tobacco.
Touted as the "next best thing" to quitting, this newest concoction -- by RJR's own admission -- does nothing to protect smokers from cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Each year, more than 400,000 people die from smoking, and the largest portion of these deaths were cardiovascular-related.
Only the tobacco industry, it seems, would boast about the lower risks of a product that has the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of people.
Smoking one of RJR's new Eclipse cigarettes is like playing a "safer" game of Russian Roulette, with one difference. With the Eclipse cigarette, all the chambers are loaded with bullets.
Elizabeth Tam, M.D.
John A. Burns School of Medicine
Board Member, American Heart Association of Hawaii
Latecomers spoil symphony concertSunday's Bach B minor Mass was another landmark in the Honolulu Symphony's string of successes. Maestro Bach himself would have been impressed at how far-reaching this composition has become, as it covers the globe and includes great musicians worldwide.
What wasn't so great was the number of disturbances occurring throughout the performance by members of the audience. In over 40 years of attending Honolulu symphonies, this was a first for me.
Perchance could the ushers have prepared for the possibility of latecomers and set aside a section for them -- for example, in the largely empty balcony? Instead, attendees were brought in late into the program, causing interruptions so annoying that I finally tried closing my eyes to focus on the music.
This letter is a plea to symphony management and the attending public that this should never happen again. It spoils the atmosphere of respect we have thus far enjoyed at the symphony hall.
Esther N. Temple
Don't force Scouts to associate with gaysAs a former Boy Scout, I think the Scouts should accept homosexuals as youth members and adult leaders. My own experiences at work and elsewhere have proven to me that homosexuals are no different than we heterosexuals, except in their sexual preference.
They should be welcomed and invited to participate in scouting activities. That would be the morally straight thing for Boy Scouts to do.
At the same time, though, I hope the Boy Scouts prevail in the case now before the U.S. Supreme Court, which may force them to accept homosexuals in their ranks. If the Boy Scouts lose, we will have lost our freedom to associate with whomever we choose.
As repugnant as the results may seem, the rights of private organizations and individuals to gather with only those they choose to be with is a bedrock of American rights.
"You think we can afford
to live outside (Varona)? Can you
pray for us, please?" Lucena Tapaoan
WHOSE FAMILY HAS LIVED FOR 33 YEARS
IN A VARONA VILLAGE HOUSE
IN EWA VILLAGES Worried about a nonprofit organization's plan to
revitalize a six-acre section of Varona, despite residents'
claims that the city had previously agreed
to let them buy their homes
"I'm grateful to the
Fullard-Leo family. I know how
difficult it is for them to give
up their heritage." Robert Smith
PACIFIC MANAGER FOR THE
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE After the Fullard-Leos of Oahu agreed to sell their
privately owned Palmyra Atoll to the Nature Conservancy
for an estimated $30 million. Palmyra is one of the most
important unprotected marine wildernesses
left in the U.S. tropics
Stender's contributions mustn't be forgottenA year has passed since the removal of the Bishop Estate trustees. Much has changed for the better on the Kamehameha campus; as a faculty, we are grateful for the wide support our school has received.
As we now move forward into a hopeful future, we wish to recognize the special contribution made by a former trustee, Oswald K. Stender, and the members of his family. He has continued to be unswerving in his respect for Pauahi's vision of educating Hawaiian youth, and is motivated by selfless loyalty to the schools.
In these days of relative safety and openness, it is too easy to forget the fear, abuse and intimidation our campus suffered for years under the old regime of Lokelani Lindsey, Richard Wong and Henry Peters. Their arrogance and heavy-handedness are well documented.
With enormous emotional and financial sacrifice, Stender served as a beacon of light to the Kamehameha ohana throughout our strife. His contribution must not be forgotten.
Therefore, we find it perplexing that the attorney general's office is now going after the one person who had attempted to get it to discharge its fiduciary responsibility to the trust as parens patriae long before August 1997. If justice is to be served, the AG must separate Stender from those whose motives and actions he has fought against so long.
Kamehameha Schools Faculty Association
David Kawika Eyre
Na Kumu o Kamehameha
Bishop Estate Archive
Great Aloha Run participants are too noisyDue to business, family and church responsibilities, President's Day is one of the few chances we can sleep in after the sun has risen. But, again this year, it was the same old story.
While we support the Great Aloha Run, why can't it coexist with the residential community?
On the morning of the run, we were awakened by GIs yelling and counting cadence. At that point they were still mauka of King Street on Punchbowl but, in the predawn hours, sound really carries.
Then there are the marching bands beating drums and playing horns. They do this all the way up to the starting line past Aloha Tower.
Why can't the race start an hour later or the participants quit being so gung ho? Good heavens, they have more than eight miles to march, chant and play. Can't they wait until the starting line to begin this?
Kedric and Suzie Hasha
City knows how to treat wheelchair-boundI was in Honolulu recently -- 87 years old, in a wheelchair and expecting to be confined in the hotel. No way! At the "Yes" show, we had VIP seating. We went to see Don Ho and the Society of Seven, and to movie theaters, too. All made my view from a wheelchair a pleasure.
Now I can't wait to come back. Honolulu is the finest "wheelchair" city I've ever visited. Congratulations.
Tiki is far from being Hawaiian iconThe flap about the tiki at Waianae High School is laughable. "Tiki" is not even a Hawaiian word. Hawaiian dictionaries don't have words with the letter "t" in them.
I had to refer to good old Webster's to find out that the word is of Maori and Marquesas origin and has two meanings:
1) In Polynesian mythology, it is the first man on Earth (our Adam).
2) It is a carved representation of an ancestor commonly worn around the neck in some Polynesian cultures.
So what does all this mean? It means that the carving made by the Waianae High kids was grossly misnamed. It is not a tiki at all -- just a plain old statue, Hawaiian style, in honor of a famous person.
The good pastor and others complaining about its display in front of the school are pointing their fingers at nothing.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Education has faced a "threat" to the Constitution by falling on its okole.
People on both sides of this controversy should wipe the egg from their faces.
Mob rule shouldn't prevail in Elian caseI hope whoever handled Richard Garver's rabid May 1 letter about your April 24 Elian Gonzalez editorial wore protective gloves. It must have been covered with froth.
While I don't always agree with your editorial positions, I do agree that our government shouldn't be intimidated or paralyzed by mob rule in Little Havana or anywhere else.
Immigrants flee their countries for better livesThe snatching of Elian Gonzalez, at gun point by federal agents, was clearly inappropriate. I cannot believe that Janet Reno ordered such a cruel and evil action to occur.
Thousands of people flee to America for a better and a more prosperous life. This is what Elian's mother wanted him to have.
My parents immigrated to this country almost 20 years ago. If they had not, I'd still be living in a Third World country and suffering from poverty.
Today, I attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa and am pursuing my goals. I would never have had this chance if my parents had been sent back to their homeland.
Forget about Elian; help kids in AmericaI am appalled that U.S. citizens are causing an uproar over the "rights" of Elian Gonzalez. This child is an illegal alien who needs to be returned to his father and his home country of Cuba at once.
These very same people fighting to keep this child in America haven't given a second thought to the millions of children starving or neglected on this country's streets.
Wake up! We have welfare children, latchkey children, children with single parents, abused children, battered children, homeless children, runaways, parentless children, and the list goes on. Who is fighting for them?
Teachers deserve raises more than city officialsI understand that the proposed salary hikes for some of our city officials, if not rejected or amended within 60 days, will automatically go into effect. This comes just a few days after Governor Cayetano said he doesn't feel there's enough money to provide raises for our public school teachers.
How can we keep giving raises to public officials but not to those responsible for educating our children? These officials already making more than our teachers -- some make at least double or triple what our teachers earn.
With some effort, I am sure we can find a way to give teachers the pay increase they deserve and need just to survive here financially.
Hawaii Revised Statutes
Write aWant to write a letter to the editor? Let all Star-Bulletin readers know what you think. Please keep your letter to about 200 words. You can send it by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can fill in the online form for a faster response. Or print it and mail it to: Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802. Or fax it to: 523-8509. Always be sure to include your daytime phone number.
Letter to the Editor