to the Editor

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Sunday, July 7, 2002

No one 'owns' King Kamehameha's story

Thank you for publishing the informative article concerning the planned movie about King Kamehameha ("Hawaiian Studies head fears Hollywood motives," Star-Bulletin, July 4).

It was so delightful on Independence Day to see that the great and good Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii has seen fit to dictate which history is permissible, that which is not and who can propagate said history.

I understand that the victors and survivors of the massive, near-genocidal but clearly fratricidal slaughter of thousands of good Hawaiians by the winner of a military battle -- Kamehameha, by name -- are going to insist, according to Center for Hawaiian Studies director Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa, that she be allowed to write this history.

Winston Churchill said that victors write history, and that he was going to write it.

Let's examine the Center for Hawaiian Studies, its charter, and if that charter also awards Kame'eleihiwa a totalitarian's veto over what will be accepted as history.

At the end of World War II, were the Germans permitted to write the history of that period, or was it written by dozens or hundreds of historians in the nations that lived through that period?

It would be most interesting to learn what great concern these self-entitled historians at the center have over others writing and researching the history of the great warrior king, Kamehameha.

Are they worried that their hero might be portrayed as a mass killer who waged aggression against his brothers only to gain power?

I smell the putrid odor of "victor's history."

For Kame'eleihiwa to order the screenwriter to cease and desist the making of a historical film is an outrage to free speech, but what is worse is that it's an insult to the arena of ideas that is what a university should be.

Clearly, Kame'eleihiwa needs to take a class on civil rights and citizenship as an American. Her way of thinking is nauseating to freedom-loving people everywhere.

She should be terminated immediately from playing any role whatsoever in any educational activity. Her methods are more attune to a ministry of propaganda in a totalitarian regime, not a university.

Richard F. Tompkins
Part-time Hawaii resident

Hawaii must plan for voucher compliance

The Hawaii Department of Education does not yet have a contingency plan to allow for students to use voucher monies to escape the failing schools under President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" policy ("Voucher ruling has no isle effect," Star-Bulletin, June 28).

The Board of Education has until the 2002 school year to create a policy addressing the issue of voucher monies for school choice, public or private, to bring the state into compliance with federal law. The policy must remove any and all barriers so children can have access to quality public, special or private education.

The BOE must instruct the DOE to set aside approximately $20 million in Title I federal funding to bring it into compliance with laws requiring use of federal resources for education excellence. If these concerns outlined cannot be met in a reasonable time frame, then parents will have no alternative but to litigate at the federal level to ensure compliance with the June 27 Supreme Court decision regarding monies for school choice.

If litigated, the state undoubtedly would lose and, by federal mandate, would be required to fund school choice more than the amount currently allocated.

Joseph DeShane

Private colleges get public money

The Supreme Court decision on school vouchers has been getting a lot of flack in the media because, as the New York Times says, "It takes another brick from the wall between church and state."

When my older brother got out of the Marines, he went to a Catholic university. Who paid for most of his education? The government via the G.I. Bill. I also went to a private college courtesy of the G.I. Bill.

My four kids all got college Pell grants; where did that money come from? Again, the government. Two went to private colleges, one went to a public college and one went to a Catholic college. So that wall is coming down quicker than the Berlin Wall.

My son put my grandson in a Catholic school in New York -- which costs $300 per month -- because the teacher couldn't handle disruptive children. He won't get reimbursed because the state forbids public money to go to religious schools. Unless the lawmakers do something to help schools enforce discipline, there will be many more parents who will join the voucher bandwagon.

Fred Cavaiuolo

Isle residents should clean up their act

Corky's Hawaii cartoon in the July 1 Star-Bulletin, which showed volunteers from the mainland cleaning up an isle marshland, was absolutely hilarious, if a little sad. I wonder if there could be a study of who trashes the island environment the most, with abandoned vehicles, grocery carts, plate lunches, used diapers, tires, condoms, soda cans, bottles, cigarette butts ... you name it, it's there.

Who's putting it there, tourists or locals? I'm inclined to think it's the latter, since we take it for granted. I doubt the average tourist, who pays to come to this so-called paradise, is alarmed at how trashy our habits are.

John L. Werrill

Gay pride comes from making 'lemonade'

On June 29, the Star-Bulletin published a column by the Rev. Vaughn F. Beckman, who suggested that the phrase "gay pride" is perhaps not appropriate (because God abhors pride), and that "gay dignity" might be better.

To this well-intentioned suggestion we take mild exception. Simply being gay or lesbian is no more a source of pride than is being left- or right-handed. We are not proud of our hair color, nor are we proud of having lived beyond the biblical measure of three-score and ten. These are simply givens in our lives.

However, we are proud, greatly proud, of what we have done with our lives as gay men.

We are now 46 years together. We met during the Eisenhower years.

The perception of homosexuality at that time was entirely negative, criminous, immoral, scorned and despised -- in short, we found that in the game of life we had been dealt lemons.

From those lemons we made a pitcher of lemonade that was intoxicating, thrilling in our youth. A pitcher of lemonade that kept us happy and content through the long summer of our lives and that now, as winter approaches, still yields astonishing moments of sweetness as crusts of sugar are dislodged from the bottom.

Of this we are proud indeed!

Ward Stewart George Vye

G'bye Cushmans, hello longer wait for HPD

I am appalled at the lack of public concern over Honolulu Police Department's decision to remove Cushman vehicles from service. As a business owner in Waikiki and downtown, I know first-hand what a great tool these little vehicles are for our community. They allow officers to zip in and out of traffic and get to cases sooner. As in my case, four officers driving Cushmans arrived in time to catch the suspects who were robbing my store. The officers driving the regular police cars arrived in time for the Cushman officers to put the suspect in the back of a patrol car.

Complaints that they are too expensive and crash a lot are hogwash. How many regular police cars had accidents? Is HPD going to get rid of them, too? All vehicles are dangerous. HPD is just trying to justify its $30 million radio system -- the one that doesn't work -- by saving money from other areas.

Now Waikiki only has two Cushmans, as opposed to 12. A couple of weeks ago, at about 7 a.m., I was opening my store and I noticed some property damage. When I called 911, the dispatcher actually told me it would be a while because the officers who were coming on duty had to wait for the officers going off duty, to switch cars! My only thought was, who is watching the streets? I waited for 45 minutes.

HPD should bring back the Cushmans and admit it made a mistake. Stop lying to the public already. Safety is at stake.

Steve Sloan

Thanks for keeping ridge free of lines

I commend the Board of Land and Natural Resources for its decision to deny HECO's application to build a power line project over Waahila ridge. It was a courageous decision to protect the aina. I hope the electric company is taking the initiative to come up with a long-range plan to underground all power lines in the state. Congratulations to the land board who will leave a wonderful legacy to future generations.

Whitney Tamba

Columnist was unfair to hard-working Dods

Charles Memminger's Honolulu Lite column of June 24 ("Dods should give thumbs down to run for governor") bothered and disheartened me, not because of what he wrote, but how he wrote it. Having known Walter Dods since we were teenagers, I know he can take negative comments better than most.

So why do I bother with this? It's just that the one-dimensional diatribe manner with which Memminger went about negatively labeling a hard-working island boy by using terms like "Moneybags Dods" and saying that the "Democrats have seen the filthy rich and his name is Walter Dods" disturbed me. His discussion of Dods' participation and motivation behind the "Thumbs Up" campaign reveals a narrow view.

Pride in Hawaii and the possibilities for its people never constitutes a debacle. Rather, it is the cynicism of writers of the likes of Memminger who erode the possibilities for change. Any honest person who has devoted as much quality and unblemished time to community service as Dods has should be given the respect and encouragement he deserves.

Paul Mullin Ganley

Step into the past on historic trails

The delights and success of the Historic Lahaina Trail on Maui are wonderful. Thanks to George Kanahele, the same can be said of the Waikiki Historic Trail on Oahu, which is in two phases: the Queen's Tour, on and around Kalakaua Avenue, and the Kalia Tour, beginning at the Bishop Museum on the grounds of the Hilton Hawaiian Village and ending at Fort DeRussey.

Despite the density of buildings and the crowds of people, one can still be mesmerized by the storytelling of the historians, who show you the exact spot where the home of Princess Kaiulani's home stood; or describe the taro patches and duck ponds that were in the middle of Waikiki until 1920; or explain the excitement when Duke Kahanamoku took that mile-long surf ride on his long board.

You can feel the enchantment of the kapaemahu or "healing stones" left behind by the three Tahitian kahuna. Learn how ingeniously the Hawaiian fisherman configured large acres of fishponds. Modern agriculturalists marvel at the gates designed to let specific-sized fishes into designated areas.

And finally a historian might end the tour with a Hawaiian love song of a particular alii. Come and enjoy this non-commercial (free to the public) outdoor museum. Go to a time when Hawaiians of yesteryear lived. Much can be said for Waikiki and how she has sustained the many changes.

Cha Thompson
Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association

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