to the Editor

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Sunday, July 21, 2002

'God' a fighting word
Pauahi's will be done?

Ford Island should be preserved

The article "Isle group pressures to get WWII tugboat" (Star-Bulletin, July 15) presented the ongoing battle between the Tugboat Hoga Preservation Society and the U.S. Navy. The Hoga group wants to berth the tug -- now in San Francisco -- at Halawa Landing in Pearl Harbor, but opposition from the Navy may scuttle the project. Ford Island, the site of the attack that brought America into World War II, is now going to become a commercial development to help pay for personnel housing.

How are we to show our children and future generations the human costs of American vulnerability if we continue to tear down those very things that symbolize the determination that brought this country together in 1941?

With the Oklahoma City federal building and World Trade Center towers demolished, there are no visual reminders of what damage our enemies, foreign and domestic, can do to the way of life that we love.

Let's preserve Ford Island the way it should be: as a memorial to those who lost their lives fighting a fierce enemy, so that present and future generations can see what happens when America lets down its guard.

Susanne Dykeman

Integrity matters more than race in politics

I've been following the campaign for lieutenant governor and noticed more than one reference to the race factor; namely, that the Hawaiian vote is crucial in this election and a Hawaiian candidate would help a particular ticket.

As a part-Hawaiian, it matters more to me what's in a person's heart, not the color of his skin. I value principles and ideas more than bloodlines.

This is the reason I am supporting Dalton Tanonaka for lieutenant governor. His integrity and plans for Hawaii's future won my vote the moment I heard him speak. He wants what's best for all of us, and that goes far beyond ethnicity in my book.

Guy Aiu
Hawaii Kai

Don't privatize harbors -- change leadership

We believe that with proper planning and implementation, state government can accomplish the goals considered necessary for creating a first-class harbor facility, which is what the people need for the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor and other harbors in Hawaii ("Citizens provide input in privatized harbor," Star-Bulletin, July 13).

We consider all harbors of the state to be assets of the people. When you consider the fact that we are surrounded by water, this fact creates our lifestyles, our water sports and fishing, all of which are dependent on our harbor facilities.

If the Board of Land and Natural Resources, which is in charge of harbors, has failed to do a satisfactory job in operations, we need to change leadership, not privatize in order to get away from the responsibility and increase the cost to the users of these facilities.

Professionals can be hired to accomplish any job for the government, as long as they are paid adequately for the work they do. Let's replace questionably qualified government officials and hire professionals who will properly care for our public assets.

Competent direction is needed, not the privatizing of public assets with profits paid to investors.

George Downing
Save Our Surf



'God' is a fighting word

It means different things to each of us

The words "love of God" should remain in the McKinley High School Code of Honor. The word God only means belief in a spiritual being, all things you believe in or a inner feeling. I don't believe that it is necessarily a religious statement.

My "belief" is what protects me and my country. So when someone wants to remove the word "God" from public statements, they are simply saying "remove my beliefs."

Lindo Kinney Jr.

ACLU has had plenty to protest since 9/11

Doesn't the American Civil Liberties Union have anything better to do than file lawsuits over references to God? I suppose it's claiming victory in the recent court ruling that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are unconstitutional, and now it wants to disturb McKinley High School's Code of Honor.

But where was the ACLU after 9/11 when everyone was praying? Why didn't it complain about the entire nation praying publicly for the victims of the World Trade Center collapse? Thousands of public schools must have said a prayer for them. Why didn't the ACLU protest when President Bush called for a day of prayer? Why didn't it defend us from the repeated singing of "God Bless America" on government time?

Hypocrites! The ACLU is only brave when it thinks it has public support. It knew it would be bad publicity for if it filed such protests right after Sept. 11.

And to the McKinley student who felt uncomfortable about the word God: First, you better deal with your sensitivity if something that simple bothers you. Second, don't you ever use the word God when you're swearing at someone? That would make you as hypocritical as the ACLU.

Fletcher Young

Contradictory opinions on references to God

Your July 18 editorial asserted that "rote references to God," such as "love for God" expressed in the McKinley High School honor code, do not "proselytize to schoolchildren."

Yet your May 14 editorial strongly supported a Department of Education ruling that "the Scout Oath, citing 'duty to God,' shall not be printed, circulated, or used in school."

Schools Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto and Attorney General Earl Anzai are also prone to such contradictions. In a letter concerning use of the code at graduation ceremonies, Hamamoto wrote that "the word God was left out so students who held different beliefs would be honored and respected." In a subsequent letter, however, citing the AG's opinion, she stated that "the word God does not have a religious purpose." The contradictions are undeniable.

Mitchell Kahle



Pauahi's will be done?

'Legal glitch' denies Pauahi's wishes

I vigorously disagree with the Star-Bulletin's July 16 editorial that the decision of the Kamehameha Schools' trustees was a "correct one." Was it correct to Pauahi's will? Or barely correct via a legal glitch?

The princess' use of the word "preference" had no hidden meaning and should be applied directly as it is stated. When making an admission decision the choice should be given to the individual whose veins carry the blood of his Hawaiian ancestors. As long as there is an applicant who has that, no matter what the academic indicators show, then that child should be admitted. It is immaterial that her will does not contain the word "exclude" non-Hawaiians or that the Schools' Strategic Plan does not include similar verbiage.

Pauahi's private trust is not a free-for-all. It is only the IRS tax loophole, along with misapplied but correctable admissions criteria, that have made it possible for this tragedy to occur. Shame on those who are taking advantage of this unfortunate circumstance! They are the ones deflecting from Pauahi's true intentions.

Monica K. Bacon
Kamehameha Schools Class of 1983

Former trustees did a better job

The Hawaiians are getting burned again. The decision by the current rulers of the Kamehameha dynasty is not that surprising, though I thought it would be a little while longer before they made a decision like that. Ahhh, how we miss Henry Peters now!

Peters and gang (not including Lokelani Lindsay), while appearing too political at times, always had the courage to vehemently defend the will and wishes of our beloved Pauahi. These intellectuals who are in the chicken coop now want to be politically correct; they want to be kinder. They thought it was a way of thanking the IRS for not cutting off Kamehameha Schools.

Former trustees Peters and Dickie Wong were on the track to fight those bloodsuckers. They might have been on the way to losing the tax exemption afforded by the U.S. government, but with an estate as large and potent as the Kamehameha Schools, why not be a for-profit entity?

Maybe it is time to give Henry and Dickie their due. Oh yeah, while there were some sour deals on their watch, that almost half-a-billion dollar windfall for for the schools tipped it into the plus side. Politics can be distasteful at times, but political correctness makes you sick all the time.

Alana Kauwe
Kamehameha Schools
Class of '73

Stender once defended admissions policy

Former Kamehameha Schools' trustee Oswald Stender is wrong for publicly criticizing the decision to allow a non-Hawaiian student to attend the Maui campus.

I attended many meetings, including a meeting at Tokai University, where Stender himself stated that his role as a trustee was to protect the trust in perpetuity. He even went so far as to defend the admissions policy, stating that it was not the role of the school to educate all Hawaiians. The current admissions policy is the same that existed when Stender was a trustee.

So, Mr. Stender, if you "disagreed with the policy of taking the brightest" students, why didn't you do something about it when you were in a position to make changes?

Debra Mahi

If it saves millions, let non-Hawaiian attend

If taking in a non-Hawaiian student will save Kamehameha Schools' tax-exempt status, thereby saving Princess Pauahi's estate millions of dollars that can be used to educate more Hawaiian children, then by all means please allow that child to enter our school.

It does not take a rocket scientist to see that we need those millions of dollars to help more Hawaiian children.

What is all of the screaming and yelling about? Is it because this was decided by the trustees without everyone's blessing? Or are some of us Hawaiians just not happy if we are not making waves or noise with someone about something?

This is exactly the reason I do not get involved with the sovereignty issue -- because we Hawaiians are never on the same page about anything in this world. It is really, really sad. I just don't get it.

If we lose any of the existing trustees because of this, it will be a sad, sad day for the estate.

Our princess left her legacy for the education of our Hawaiian children. Bottom line is we need to carry on this legacy for as long as we possibly can. By giving the money to the IRS, we diminish her vision, and for what reason? Because we wouldn't allow one non-Hawaiian child into our schools? We just can't let this happen.

K. Farias

KS should build more schools for Hawaiians

As a member of the multi-ethnic community of Hawaii and a beneficiary of Ke Ali'i Pauahi's trust, I am grateful for the opportunities and privileges afforded me through the princess' will. While attending Kamehameha, I was offered a first-rate education with the best facilities and faculty devoted to producing industrious men and women.

My only regret is that more deserving children were not given the same. Each year I hear stories from hopeful parents and applicants who anticipate partaking in Pauahi's legacy, and it's always the same: The ones who get in become the chosen elite, and the ones who don't feel rejected. Poodles vs. poi dogs.

Why is Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate always at the center of so much division in the community? Free money. I'm not against non-Hawaiians entering the schools, I just don't think the current needs of the designated beneficiaries are being met yet. Previously, testing restrictions were most likely placed on applicants to keep the overwhelming numbers manageable.

But now that the estate is financially able, more schools should be built in areas with higher concentrations of Hawaiians (such as Waimanalo, which currently has no high school of its own), and entry should not be exclusive to students who test higher than average. There are multiple forms of excellence other than high scholastic scoring. Only then should non-Hawaiians be considered.

M. Kaleiali'i Ka'opio
Kamehameha Schools Class of '90

Get involved in helping young Hawaiians

I am a proud graduate of Kamehameha Schools. I do concede that the trustees have erred. It seems that the opening of the Maui school should have been preceded by intense efforts to educate the Hawaiian children of Maui, thereby creating a qualified pool of students to pull into the system once it opened. At the same time there are so many programs already in place. Do we really need one-on-one intervention with every Hawaiian family?

Why cry now? Act! Educate! Make sure this will never happen again. Instead of angry words filled with contempt, take a few children aside and make a book club, or be a mentor. We must work to ensure that Hawaiian children meet the higher standards, which others propose that we lower.

Why lower the standards? Are you saying that Hawaiians are incapable of competing with the "haves" of society? I am proud of my "have-not" beginnings and my current "have-not" existence. But please, never say that I can't hold my own when it comes to scholastic aptitude and intelligence.

I would rather have a school that upholds the high standards that we are all proud of. As far as the comments from the Hawaiian community about colonization and its effects on the Hawaiian people, at this point, with all the social and educational programs in place, if you still can't read to your child or instill a need for education, then wallow and dance in the ghetto.

Bernice Pauahi Bishop was a princess of the indigenous Hawaiian people; her will provides for her people. Do you complain when some random rich person dies and you don't reap benefits? We, the children of Hawaii, especially those of Hawaiian ancestry, were named. We were chosen. Funny how all of this didn't matter when the trust was land rich but cash poor.

Bruce Kaimi Watson
Kamehameha Schools Class of '92

Maybe the school simply goofed

Did it ever occur to anyone that there is another possible explanation for Kamehameha Schools' acceptance of a non-Hawaiian to its Maui campus: that it was simply a mistake, a strictly human error?

Kamehameha Schools does not verify Hawaiian ancestry until after a child is accepted. The last page of the application does ask about an applicant's Hawaiian genealogy, but I think it never crossed the minds of the admissions officials that a non-Hawaiian would even apply. I don't think the school realized that they had accepted a non-Hawaiian until after the fact, at which point they had a crisis.

Whatever the reason, the trustees have apologized. They did take the time to come down and meet with the community. They did stick around after the meeting to personally talk to every single person who wanted to talk to them.

Let's learn from our mistakes and move on. You can't cry over split milk forever.

Samuel Yong Jr.
Class of '57

Pauahi did not exclude non-Hawaiians

The uproar about the admittance of a non-Hawaiian into Kamehameha Schools is interesting. The writer of the will didn't prohibit non-Hawaiians at the school. Do these people think they are better than the princess? Are they even alii?

Not only does the admittance follow the will's guidelines, it preserves Kamehameha's tax-exempt status. Those protesting the trustees' latest move need to ask themselves if the princess would agree with them (obviously not, since she wrote the will). The school will never be overrun by non-Hawaiians. And anything Oswald Stender says is a lame attempt to become a trustee again.

Charles W. Santiago Jr.

Kamehameha should admit neediest

This newspaper agrees that the admittance of Kalani Rosell, a non-Hawaiian, to Kamehameha Schools is in keeping with the technical call that the trust has made to "give preference to Hawaiian children," however, no qualified Hawaiian student could be found who met the current standards of acceptance.

I find great fault with these standards. Anyone can take a part-Hawaiian (or any race) who has familial support, good grades, excellent verbal skills and the other needed criteria to get past the judges, and be successful.

The population of Kamehameha does not mirror the demographics of the Hawaiian population that it should be caring for. Let's rewrite the standards of acceptance to mirror the population that is of Hawaiian ancestry, and you'll not ever lack for candidates. If 20 percent of our Hawaiian children are from families on welfare, then 20 percent of the Kamehameha population should be children whose families are on welfare. Educate, break the cycle, and let's see how the situation of Hawaiians has changed in 10 years.

The trustees should not measure success by a line up of grade-A alumni, but by how many lives they've improved and how we all see the Hawaiian situation and demographics change.

Kalani, I understand you are exceptional and gifted, and, with the gifts you have, no doubt you will be successful. This debate has naught to do with you, my dear. It's a war that has been fought for generations; we all agree on one thing, we wish you only the best.

We have lost this battle, but not the war. Coming up is a new generation of Hawaiians who were not schooled at Kamehameha who will work toward the betterment of the people. Ugh, I need a shower; Kamehameha, shame-shame.

Nannette Cummings


KS should educate all Hawaiian children

Kamehameha Schools' decision to admit a non-Hawaiian student is far from the spirit of the trust that created the school. How can the school achieve Pauahi's vision when so many Hawaiian children are not able to avail themselves of the excellent education provided at Kamehameha Schools?

Only when all native children have the opportunity to receive such an education, should the school begin to expand its scope to non-Hawaiians. To do otherwise dilutes the vision of the trust and undermines Pauahi's legacy.

Ramon Arjona IV
Orting, Wash.

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