Friday, January 5, 2001
City seems to kowtow to Duty Free's whimsOn an otherwise quiet New Year's morning, I was abruptly awakened by the Taiko drummers performing in front of the Waikiki Duty Free Shoppers building. The drumming also awakened questions I've had concerning DFS's Waikiki developments:
Why weren't the coconut trees on Lewers and Royal Hawaiian Avenue -- that were removed when the DFS building was erected -- ever replaced? Will the coconut trees on Kalakaua and Royal Hawaiian that were removed during the DFS renovation of the former Woolworth's be replaced? What's the use of the city numbering and tagging Waikiki coconut trees if they can be removed with impunity, destroying Waikiki's famous motif?
How can DFS take away side streets formerly used by the public in the course of building or remodeling? One side street joining Lewers and Royal Hawaiian was built over and became a private busway. Another between DFS and Woolworth's appears to be permanently blocked. Congested Waikiki traffic is all the worse for these usurpations.
How can DFS be allowed a long, shallow standing bus bay, all of 5 feet deep, on Royal Hawaiian Avenue where huge buses, shuttles and trolleys block part of one of two lanes and cause much air and noise pollution all day and evening long?
It appears that DFS is not only duty free, but free from regulation.
Richard Y. Will
Hasn't Hirono learned from Hannemann loss?There's little doubt Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono wants to be our next governor. What's puzzling though, is why she wastes time battlng Ben Cayetano, and schmoozing with the United Public Workers union.
Has she learned nothing from the significant loss of union-backed Mufi Hannemann in the last mayoral race?
Hirono has assumed the role of Hawaii's economic recovery czar. If, after two more years of her efforts, we see a sustainable expansion of our economy, and an increase in high-paying, high-quality jobs, citizens will be flooding across party lines to vote for her.
The biggest mistake she could make is point to the fragile improvement in certain economic sectors and say: "See how effective I am? That's why I deserve to be your governor."
She can't be that naive. Hirono knows what effects the shrinking economy on the mainland and Japan's ongoing hemorrhaging will have on Hawaii's future.
Hirono must marshal her minions and double her efforts to attract more permanent business to Hawaii, and make sure our universities pump out competent workers to keep them here. If our economy tanks again before the next election, her ambition to be governor will tank along with it.
"I don't think we're going to see
anything more threatening to our community
than this project. It's going to
HONOLULU CITY COUNCILMAN
On a massive shopping center, entertainment complex
and office facility planned for the
edge of Royal Kunia
"It was all red, all red,
coming in like waves.
I yelled, 'Tom! Tom! Fire!'"
59-YEAR-OLD AIEA RESIDENT
Recalling her and her husband Thomas' experience as
their four-bedroom home in Aiea Heights was set ablaze
after a 51-inch-long illegal skyrocket landed on their
roof on New Year's Eve. Damage to the home on
Iliee Street amounted to an estimated $200,000.
Smoke from fireworks makes it hard to breatheWhat can be done to further curtail the use of fireworks?
I am very concerned about this issue, as I have respiratory health problems. I am always adversely affected at New Year's, as are many others (I've heard there are an estimated 200,000 people in the state with similar respiratory ailments).
Can't fireworks be banned, except in professional displays, for the health and safety of our citizens? Please.
Banning fireworks won't workWhen will our power-hungry government be satisfied? They tell us that our neighbors are not responsible enough, not smart enough to control their own lives. Therefore, the all-knowing government must regulate every aspect of our being.
Unfortunately, government has failed to produce safety and prosperity every single time it has tried to prohibit something. The inevitable results of prohibition are higher prices, a criminal black market, less use of safe and benign products, and an increase in the use of dangerous products.
For example, the crackdown on marijuana led directly to the increase in the abuse of crystal methamphetamine or "ice." Prohibition of gambling allowed organized crime to take over the market. Excessive cigarette taxes encourage a black tobacco market.
Prohibition never produces the safety and prosperity that its advocates promise. But, this week, government is focusing on fireworks: Should we pass stricter laws or use more draconian measures to enforce prohibition laws that have failed us?
Strict government control increases sales of dangerous aerials while freedom leads to use of safer, smaller fireworks. We should be repealing last year's foolish prohibition -- not making problems worse by taking away more freedom to buy and sell fireworks.
Two thumbs up for Maui film festivalWe'd like to thank Barry Rivers, his wife Stella and all the folks who made the Maui Film Festival's FirstLight 2000 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center such a huge success.
The Maui community is truly blessed to have had access to 20 award-winning films at such an incredible venue, the best movie theater in Hawaii.
We all recognize that films are both escapism and entertainment, but even more so, as so amply demonstrated by Barry's varied and excellent selection.
Living in Hawaii's isolation, we can often feel out of touch with the global reality. Travel allows us to meet new people and partake of their lives and environments.
But a more accessible way to experience such new perspectives is through the magic of cinema -- and we can do this while remaining in the aloha of our beautiful Hawaiian Islands.
As the minister in "Chocolat" remarked, "The measure of a person's worth is in their ability to include, not exclude." The variety and range of these films demonstrated that very point.
First-rate films, stimulating conversation in an ambiance of terrific musical entertainment and delectable food, all under a canopy of stars, both stellar and human.
The good news is we can continue to enjoy the Maui Film Festival every Wednesday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center throughout the entire year.
Karen and Ken Stover
Cemetery plan will create even more trafficRegarding the proposed cemetery for Kamilonui Valley, the developer has not addressed the traffic concern realistically. The developer has used as a reference a 40-year-old cemetery which is completely filled. Therefore it no longer has funerals to generate traffic.
By contrast, the proposed project would have more than 44,000 plots. Allowing 40-50 years to fill, this would mean approximately 1,000 funerals per year, or three per day every day of the year.
Assuming 100 cars per funeral, this would mean 300 cars in and out daily, not counting those coming to visit established gravesites.
All vehicles would pass through the intersection of Lunalilo Home Road and Hawaii Kai Drive, affecting residents of Mariner's Valley and Kalama Valley in addition to Mariner's Cove.
The developer says the cemetery would be closed before sunrise and after sunset except for funerals. It seems that there would be funerals nearly every day and many would undoubtedly be in the evening.
The developer says the traffic issue has been addressed and there is no cause for concern. Common sense shows otherwise.
Use money from after-school program for pay raisesTeachers in Hawaii have one of the most important jobs in this state. Yet government claims it cannot fund pay raises requested by them, since most of the education funding is being used to comply with the Felix Consent Decree.
Here's a way to fund at least a part of the requested pay raises: Eliminate state subsidization of the A+ afterschool program.
Monthly, the program has approximately 22,747 students. The state subsidizes $15 for each full-paying student and more for those in free or reduced meal programs Therefore, in one month, the state is subsidizing over $970,767 based on current enrollment.
Throughout the nine-month school year, approximately $8.7 million goes to the program, with the possibility of up to $15 million.
Why can't we let parents pay for their own "babysitters" and use that $8-15 million to raise teacher salaries?
Then we would be rewarding our teachers, instead of part-time child-care providers.
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