Friday, November 3, 2000
Donating to campaigns raises suspicionNext time somebody like sell me one political fund-raiser ticket, I goin' say, "Wat! An' have my check on top da front page of da Star-Bulletin like on Oct. 31? A'ole (no)!"
I was shock dat persons so far away from da political pulse like Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate trustees might know some-ting about da politicians havin' more aloha for one guy den one nudda. You suppose dat Morgado and Harris both wen' get money cuz da trustees wanted for cover their okoles?
My jaw still stay drop from what da Deputy Attorney General Kurt Spohn said: "There is at least the appearance that the elected official is indebted to the organization that helped elect him or her." Wow, brah. Deep. You tink anyone in Washington ever t'ought of dat?
No waste time telling us dat KS/BE officials, like alla us, did what is perfecly legal. How come you neva' say how da hell we goin' change da rules?
Bishop Estate Archive
Transit system would worsen trafficHas the city thought about the impact in Waikiki if it implements the Bus Rapid Transit system or BRT? People with cars live in this area and there are several one-way streets. A BRT or light-rail system going through Kuhio Avenue would result in big problems and raise money questions.
Would it be dangerous for pedestrians to cross electric rails on Kuhio? What about traffic lights filling Waikiki and the downtown area? Are bus trains going to stop for a red light? If not, how will traffic at several crossroads be managed?
Traffic is bad enough on Kapiolani Boulevard and the H-1 Freeway, which most of us travel to get to and from work, without taking out more lanes just to get a bus rider to his or her destination a few minutes earlier. Imagine how much longer it would take for the rush-hour traffic jams to lighten up if we took more lanes away.
Legislators are trying to pull a fast oneThe University of Hawaii is treating the public to advertisements promoting the so-called autonomy amendment. We are told that autonomy for UH will be a good thing. I absolutely agree.
But these ads don't tell you that this constitutional amendment isn't really about autonomy and never even mentions the word. Worse, it provides circumstances in which the Legislature can give itself exclusive authority over decisions relating to the university.
Faculty senates, student organizations and the faculty union oppose the amendment, not the concept of autonomy. A "yes" vote on this will upset the traditional balance of powers between the branches of government, eliminating judicial review on "laws of statewide concern."
Legislative committee reports showed this is exactly what lawmakers had in mind when they framed the amendment's wording.
Autonomy amendment is needed, despite flawsI urge a "yes" vote on the constitutional amendment on UH autonomy. I agree that the amendment as written is far from perfect. But, as James Madison observed, if the world were perfect, we wouldn't need politics.
The opposition says the amendment gives too much power to the Legislature to control the university. The Legislature already has the power. This puts the spotlight on it, so that power is exercised more prudently.
There remain two major safeguards: the accrediting commission, which will step in (as it has in the past) if the Legislature or government is too intrusive, and, of course, the Legislature itself.
I have faith that the people will hold the Legislature accountable should it interfere with the development of the university, the most vital institution affecting the future of our state.
Richard H. Kosaki
Emeritus Chancellor and Professor
University of Hawaii at Manoa
State would spoil open spacesIn her Oct. 20 letter, Daylyn Kawamata hit on an insidious problem in Hawaii, especially on Oahu. Similar to the years following statehood, when building in Waikiki got out of control, we've turned a blind eye while so many profited.
Now our local government sees potential sources of income to supplement sagging tax revenues by developing commercial tourist attractions in locations that have been held sacrosanct for their environmental or cultural value.
The irony is that tourists come to Hawaii primarily to see our "unspoiled" islands, not state-of-the-art visitor centers. We've all heard the common tourist complaint that Hawaii is overcommercialized.
City and state leaders want to buy and/or develop areas for long-term, continuous income streams such as Waimea Bay park, Paradise Park, the Ala Wai Golf Course, the Ka Iwi Coast, and the upper coastal rim of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.
Unless we say otherwise, we should expect similar multimillion-dollar, admission-fee "visitor education centers" at these other places, similar to what is being planned for Hanauma. These centers would include snack bars, restaurants, gift shops and administrative offices under the guise of education of the people.
Diane D. Ackerson
Cayetano ignores water needs of Ocean ViewIn your Oct. 27 issue, Governor Cayetano said about openness in government, "Common sense dictates we do what is relevant to the safety of the community."
He should exercise some common sense himself by releasing funds for an exploratory well for Ocean View. This community in Ka'u on the Big Island has no water source and has been suffering from drought for years.
We need water for fire fighting, health and public safety. Also, we need it for a school for hundreds of school-age children who must now be bused over 60 miles a day.
The state Health Department says catchment water is unsafe for drinking and cooking. The state-funded Ka'u Economic Development Plan says Ocean View needs water for economic development. Everyone else, including the County of Hawaii and the state Legislature, recognizes the need. How about some common sense, Governor?
Ocean View, Hawaii
"Since I was a girl, I was fascinated
by cheerleaders. My goal was to be on top
of the pyramid, but as soon as I started
growing, I knew that wasn't
going to happen." Jennifer Carey
WAHINE SOPHOMORE SETTER ON THE
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII VOLLEYBALL TEAM
On how her 6-foot-tall frame led her to
become a player instead of a cheerleader
"I'm going to vote my conscience,
what is best for the children." Keith Sakata
BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBER
Before casting the swing vote on a controversial
harassment policy approved last night on Kauai
Voters split on Kanno campaign
Senator is champion of working classJoe Gardewin's Oct. 31 letter criticized Sen. Brian Kanno's support from labor unions. Hawaii's unions are made up of thousands of working people in diverse occupations. What they all have in common is that they don't own their own businesses, and rely upon their labor to pay their bills.
Only through unions can working families have a voice in America's political arena. And their voice competes with the insurance lobby and other big businesses.
Kanno's Republican challenger, Hank Makini, received half his contributions greater than $100 from insurance companies and business owners who want to cut workers' compensation benefits for injured workers.
At a candidate forum in Kapolei, Makini was asked how he'd safeguard employee-friendly laws such as workers' comp and increasing the minimum wage. Makini said, "We need to take a hard look at workers' fraud...and raising the minimum wage is not the answer. All workers have a right to open their own business."
Makini is clearly out of touch with his district and, apparently, too close to insurance companies donating to his campaign. Kanno enjoys support from unions because he stands up for working families.
Raymond A. Camacho
Kanno blocked workers' compensation reformI've just received a letter from Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono declaring Sen. Brian Kanno to be the man who saved workers' compensation.
The fact remains that, after a long struggle by many business groups, the Legislature did manage to reduce workers compensation insurance rates several years ago. Unfortunately, it did not make changes to the system; it only cut the medical fee schedule, forcing medical providers to bear the cost reductions.
Real, lasting and equitable reform continues to escape us, despite continued efforts from the business community.
When Hawaii had its best chance at workers' comp reform, Kanno strongly opposed any real progress. Despite numerous attempts by business groups to talk with him about his concerns, Kanno refused to meet or discuss the issues.
With this kind of opposition to true workers' comp reform, the Legislature settled on a compromise that cut costs at the expense of doctors and other medical professionals, but did not address the system's structural problems.
The workers' comp system does not adequately control abuses and excessive awards. The system needs change, not ill-informed obstruction disguised as help. For that, we can thank Senator Kanno, who has single-handedly stopped any meaningful reform.
Ewa Beach is ready for a changeIn response to Edlynn Taira's Oct. 28 letter, I am proud to be a Republican candidate for the 41st District. If party affiliation means so much to Taira -- who, by the way, works for Willie Espero as a legislative clerk -- she should know that, up to the day he was appointed a representative, Espero was also a Republican.
It's hard to hide my party affiliation, since I appeared in the primary as a Republican. For Taira to say that Ewa Beach residents are so unsophisticated as to vote for a political party and not the best person shows disrespect for the intellect of those who live in the district.
I am not beholden to any special interests or union leaders; my campaign has been financed and supported by the people I hope to represent. One need only look around at our neglected schools, overloaded traffic system and crystal meth drug epidemic to see why Ewa Beach is ready for a change in leadership.
Hank Makini and I have formed a team to bring strong representation to this district. The team of Rep. Willie Espero and Sen. Brian Kanno already has shown us what they can do.
Pam Lee Smith
Election-time cleaning is pure rubbishIt's that once-every-four-years season again, when big, black trash bags sit like rotting Halloween pumpkins along all the major thoroughfares in the 20th Senate District, grinning with their "Kanno" bumper stickers.
When I enter the voting booth on Tuesday, I'll think, "Kanno = rubbish," and vote accordingly.
As one who watched in awe the development of a beautiful, talented and compassionate young girl like Dana Ambrose, it is with a heavy heart that I plead for the cooperation of everyone involved in the case of her unnecessary death. Justice must be realized -- for her grieving family, her devastated friends and for the future of society.
Death of Dana Ambrose
brings questions for HPD
The death of a child and a loved one filled with so much goodness and promise leaves a hole so deep that it can never be filled. But it should not be in vain.
A productive young life was cut short while the Honolulu Police Department offered the driver, off-duty police officer Clyde S. Arakawa, "courtesies" at the scene of the crime (Star-Bulletin, Oct. 10 and Oct. 14).
These "courtesies" included an officer at the scene contacting an attorney on behalf of Arakawa; officers allowing him to roam the accident scene where his victim lay dying; no official Traffic Division recording of the incident; and a delayed DUI test.
Why? Because Arakawa is one of their own? The citizens of Honolulu should be outraged.
One of the most blatant abuses in this case appears to be relative to Hawaii State Law (Motor Vehicles) 286-163 A and B, which says that the police "shall request that a sample of blood or urine be recovered from the driver or any other person suspected of committing a violation of sections 707" and that "nothing in this part shall be construed to prevent the police from obtaining a sample of breath, blood or urine as evidence of intoxication or influence of drugs from the driver of any vehicle involved in a collision resulting in the injury or death of any person."
According to all media accounts, there was NO such timely test administered to Arakawa. Why not?
Two issues are painfully troubling about such a case.
What does this kind of special treatment do to the integrity of the accident investigation? I daresay it has quite an impact on whether justice will be served in such a case.
What kind of message does this send to the citizens of Hawaii who put their trust in their local police department to uphold the laws of the land? To me, it says: If you want to drink and drive and cause a fatality, be sure to become a police officer first. That way you'll be protected from the established policies that would put an average citizen behind bars.
I fervently hope that both of these issues will be considered by the authorities and by the public.
Never again should there be any "courtesies" extended in a case of suspected drunken driving, not in Hawaii, not in California, not anywhere.
Nancy B. Dooley
Friend of the Ambrose family
Lake Forest, Calif.
Hawaii Revised Statutes
OHA board is doing what governor wantsWe are amazed how quickly the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has changed for the worse since Governor Cayetano appointed the interim trustees.
First, OHA follows Cayetano's lead in denying funds to rebuild the Kalapana fishing villagers' (Kikala-Keokea) homes that were lost to fire. Eight years ago, the state Legislature allocated housing funds to these devastated homes, on the condition that OHA match the funds.
Last year, when OHA finally agreed to match the funds, the governor vetoed the measure. Now, this Cayetano-friendly OHA board is reversing its support and cooperating with the governor to kill the rebuilding project.
Second, OHA is steamrolling ahead by building a controversial shopping center in Hana. This project began as a community-based, sustainable economic project for Hana residents to sell their crafts and produce. Development negotiations stalled when local residents became divided over the selling of alcohol.
Though community members themselves were still working out this key issue, Charles Ota -- the only non-native OHA trustee and a well-known Maui developer -- is pushing to "finish the shopping center first and then resolve the liquor issue."
This is why OHA's board must remain Hawaiian; the concerns of native beneficiaries must come before profits. Native trustees on OHA's board will protect the trust and care for its beneficiaries. We endorse Mililani Trask for trustee-at-large.
Eiko Kosasa, Ida Yoshinaga
Local Japanese Women for Justice
Gore will follow through on campaign goalsI urge Hawaii voters to choose Al Gore. He has the experience and strength to make his campaign promises come true.
I was so excited in 1996, my first chance to vote. I saw re-electing the Clinton/Gore team as an honor. I was participating in electing not only a great president but a great vice president.
I haven't been around very long, but I know that influential vice presidents are hard to come by. Just tonight, I watched a program on the Fox channel, a very conservative network, about how Gore expanded the role of the vice president.
He is a born leader -- one who is needed for this fast-paced economy. Most people agree that the Clinton/Gore era has been the best that post-war America has ever had. Why would anyone ask for George W. Bush's "new era"?
I urge young voters to vote. We are the deciding factor.
Ann Maile Yamasaki
Vice president lacks qualities to be good leaderI recently heard Al Gore saying that it's not a handsome face or a likable personality that qualifies a man for the presidency. That is true -- but honesty and integrity are essential for a good president and Gore lacks both.
He keeps giving the Democrats credit for the strong national economy, whereas the record shows that the Republican majority in the House had to fight Clinton to get tax laws and other fiscal bills in place, which make possible the country's present prosperity. Are Americans dumb enough to believe Gore?
Samuel M. Smith
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