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Wednesday, May 16, 2001



Hawaii Kai heiau may disappear for good

I am writing out of concern for an old heiau in Hawaii Kai. It is near the post office in a vacant lot mauka of Hawaii Kai Drive. In this location there are remnants of an old village. During the construction of the Kalele Kai condominiums, this once great heiau was descreated. Today only a piece of it and parts of a village still stand, covered by heavy kiawe brush.

I noticed that construction is slated for this area again. Coincidently, this is the same spot that the Verizon telephone lines were accidentally severed by the contractor setting up dust screens for construction. Records in the library tell of this heiau reaching from the post office to the edge of the waterfront. Today all that remains is a little section, maybe 45 feet. It is under old discarded construction materials.

I am Hawaiian and live in this area. It pains me to see that nothing is or was ever done to protect this heiau. The purpose in writing this is to inform people who can make a difference and protect this ancient site so that our history and culture are preserved. I fear that no one is aware that this heiau is there.

John DeLima
Hawaii Kai


[Quotables]

"All you have to do is throw strikes and let the defense work."
Kamaile Santos,
Kailua Surfriders pitcher, who struck out 11 batters and led his team to 9-3 victory over the Moanalua Menehunes Monday, clinching the Oahu Interscholastic Association baseball championship.


"Social norms have changed. The neighbors don't whisper behind your back as often."
Dorian Solot,
Co-founder of the Alternatives to Marriage Project, on 2000 Census data that show the number of unmarried couples soared by 71 percent during the last decade, far outpacing the 7 percent increase in marriages.


Change in law means strikes are more likely

I agree with Robert Bunn ("State should get rid of 'baseball arbitration,'" Star-Bulletin, May 4). He asserted that public employee strikes can be avoided by using an arbitrator with the power to award an affordable compromise that both parties must live with.

Such authority has existed since 1995 to deal with the Hawaii Government Employees Association's 24,000 members. In the three contracts negotiated since, the dispute went to arbitration twice.

The first time was for the 1995-97 contract, for which the arbitrator ruled HGEA's seven bargaining units would receive annual across-the-board raises ranging from 2 to 3.5 percent.

The second and final time was for the 1999-2003 contract. The arbitrator split the award down the middle. He awarded zero for the first two years because he agreed that the employers could not afford a raise. But forecasting the economy would improve, the arbitrator awarded annual raises of 4 and 5 percent in the last two years.

Unfortunately, this fair and reasonable process will no longer be available to HGEA. Ignoring Bunn's advice, lawmakers this year ordered the right to strike on HGEA members against their wishes. No longer will they have the right to settle disputes through final and binding arbitration.

In their own twisted logic, legislators believe that forcing HGEA's members onto the picket line is better for public employees, the state and the economy, never mind that services from lifeguards to 911 operators, from construction permit processing to food, water and air-quality inspections, will cease. This is not a change to make things better.

Randy Kusaka
Public Information Officer
HGEA/AFSCME Local 152 AFL-CIO

Law allows personal data to be distributed

Readers might like to know that their personal information, including Social Security number and records of Internet usage, is now for sale by banks and other lending institutions.

Under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, signed into law last year by Bill Clinton, companies are now free to sell to each other a person's credit bureau reports, records of Internet usage, account balances, payment history and credit card usage. The only way a person can prevent this is through an "opt-out" clause in the law, by which one must contact the financial or lending institution and request that one's personal information not be shared.

This law allows for a totally outrageous infringement upon personal privacy and our Washington delegation should lead the charge to repeal it.

Gregory Shepherd

Please don't call it health-care reform

I was disappointed to see your May 1 coverage on the Legislature's and governor's mean-spirited efforts to cut public employees' health-care coverage. You termed this "civil service reform" and your editorial called it "health-care reform."

These take-aways have nothing to do with needed reforms. They do not improve civil service or improve health care. In fact, they undermine both. Cuts and take-aways in benefits will make it much harder to recruit and retain needed public employees in important job categories. Reducing benefits and making employees pay more for less (they already do more for less) will also not improve public health or advance Hawaii's peoples' standard of living. Very much the opposite will happen.

You also have praised the privatization bill that passed. Privatization, which is almost always de-unionization, will deteriorate public services more and allow more graft and corruption. It is amazing that the Star-Bulletin, kept alive with much union and community support, could keep preaching such anti-union nonsense.

Ben Cayetano and his banker-crony Earl Anzai should be held responsible for these assaults on public workers' pay and benefits.

John Witeck

Cross symbolizes oppression for some

I am the person who filed the complaint with the city to have the cross at St. Jude's removed. As an openly gay man and former member, who was confirmed through St. Jude's parish, you want to know what that cross represents to me every time I have to pass it on my way to and from my home?

The cross is a reminder that the Catholic Church sees me and every other member of the gay community as a second-class citizen. So much so the bishop or one of his spokesmen fights to makes sure that the gay community does not receive the same rights as the straight community.They fight to make sure that we are not allowed to marry, keep our jobs, rent a place to live.

So when most Catholics look at a cross and see a sign of "compassion and self-sacrifice," they need to realize that when I and millions others look at a cross we see a sign of oppression, death and misery.

Michael J. Golojuch Jr.

Gross profit-taking is fundamentally unfair

The gas prices you see today may one day seem low. Why?

The refinery will still make cheap gas in Hawaii (more than we can use here, I'm happy to say) and it will continue to ship the refined products to the mainland for sale (including shipping!) at less than the prices they charge here.

What a world. We create an economy that relies on fossil fuels, then we allow the gas companies to reap huge profits (40 percent more profit than the previous year, as one company put it) when all other sectors of the economy are at 2 percent growth or less.

Douglas Schott

Mayor Harris has a better idea

Subsidizing multilateral monetary institutions like the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, International Monetary Fund or World Trade Organization, is not going to make Hawaii a Geneva of the Pacific as Governor Cayetano suggests. These institutions and regional agreements like NAFTA and FTAA will continue to be under ever-increasing scrutiny because at their core are beliefs, principles and policies that, no matter how much rhetoric and editorials ADB publishes, cannot be erased.

We can do better. Mayor Harris' recent environmental conference is one example of movement in the right direction -- locally planned and implemented with international reach.

South Africa is playing host to both this year's U.N. Conference on the Eradication of Racism and the 2002 U.N. Rio+10 Earth Summit on Sustainable Development -- why not Hawaii?

To become a Geneva versus a Qatar (next WTO meeting) of the Pacific we must take responsibility for our strategic location as the hub of the Pacific. Aloha must mean more than selling our island lifestyle and exploiting the host culture to the highest (lowest?)bidder.

A Geneva of the Pacific would develop the rule of law through promotion of human rights and responsible economic and environmental policies; not rule of law instituted by riot gear, tear gas, fear or economic extortion.

Ohana Foley

Transit plan may sink private businesses

Kudos to Richard Will on his May 6 letter to the editor concerning the displaced businesses in the Kapiolani Boulevard area.

My concerns are for all the businesses that will be affected, or even close, if the Ala Moana-Waikiki "leg" of the proposed rapid transit system is implemented. The lengthy construction period alone would be a devastating inconvenience to both our businesses and well-valued visitors. These local businesses, both large and small, cannot survive this great an impact. Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Hawaii, Hawaii's congressional delegates, are you listening?

Don't get me wrong; I am a wholehearted supporter of the BRT or any system that will enhance commuter time from our Leeward Coast to downtown Honolulu. I live in Pearl City and commute to Honolulu every single day.

But is it really a necessity to have this system extended to Waikiki? The federally subsidized city express buses with their superb drivers are either already fulfilling the needs of the community or should be adjusted to fit.

Are we completely forgetting about Leeward communities like Pacific Palisades and the Waianae Coast, which have been waiting patiently for years for alternate bypass roads? I know of many who share these concerns and agree that this is an absolute necessity. We need the improvements in these Leeward areas, not Waikiki.

Conrad Okuma
Pearl City

One-way road would be more dangerous

There is nothing wrong with Kaukonahua Road. It's been there for a long time, has a nice view of the mountains and I used to travel on it every day.

Some people suggest making it one-way toward town. They say that would discourage motorists from speeding. For some, maybe.

But when I traveled Kaukonahua Road, there were always some who couldn't stand following a slow car. They would overtake it. Making the road one-way would require widening, and then maybe you'd have more people speeding.

Blame drivers, not the road.

Milton K.F. Siu

Correction

In a May 13 letter to the editor, Hawaii State Public Defender Jack Tonaki com- mended Rep. Blake Oshiro for opposing a bill concerning sexual exploitation of minors. Oshiro was incorrectly identified due to an editing error. The Star-Bulletin regrets the error.






Letter guidelines

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.

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