to the Editor

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Sunday, August 3, 2003

Investing in terror would be bad gamble

Every time I think George Dubya and his cronies have demonstrated the zenith of stupidity they prove me wrong. Is there a well of the stuff that just naturally bubbles to the surface under the White House or have they secretly invested millions of good tax dollars to synthesize it?

If the Pentagon's "terrorism futures" program had existed just a couple of years ago, al-Qaida could have become financially independent if Osama Bin Laden had made a nominal investment in the destruction of World Trade Center futures!

Al Rabold
Kula, Maui

Bush the manipulator should be impeached

I appreciate Molly Ivins' columns every Tuesday. They are frank and to the point in referring to the ineptness of the FBI, CIA and Pentagon in protecting the American people before 9/11 and the manipulations that followed.

Last week's column quoted former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland: "What you've seen here is the manipulation of intelligence for political ends."

Impeachment is the only answer, for the buck does stop at President Bush and his administration.

Pat Blair

Akaka bill would impose apartheid

Congressman Neil Abercrombie probably is right about the "commitment of Hawaii people of all races to justice for native Hawaiians" if he is referring to the good will we all feel for our Hawaiian friends, aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews, calabash cousins, spouses and loved ones.

But if he means most people support the Akaka bill, or making Hawaiians wards of the Interior Department, as the bill would do, we respectfully disagree.

At the hearings on the bill in Hawaii, in the summer of 2000, opposition testimony far outnumbered favorable testimony.

On Feb. 9, a Ward Research poll asked, "Would you be willing to pay more taxes if you believe government has developed a good solution to" (various issues). Of the six topics, Hawaiian issues came in last, with 52 percent saying they were "willing to pay no more tax" to "address Native Hawaiian concerns."

The Akaka bill would impose apartheid upon Hawaii, the most beautifully assimilated, racially blended state in the nation. We want to remain one state, undivided, with the security, prosperity, liberty, equal justice and aloha for all that comes with being citizens of the United States.

Bill Burgess Sandra Puanani Burgess

Hawaiians should take their land, sovereignty

The consequences of the lawsuit against Kamehameha Schools described by Aubrey Kekiwi's July 28 letter to the editor are just the tip of the iceberg.

The schools' admissions policy was created when Hawaii was still a sovereign nation. The trustees have said "deprivations (were) suffered by Hawaiians both prior and subsequent to the involuntary loss of their right of self-governance in 1893." This statement is deceptive. Descendants of Hawaiian nationals still have the right to self-governance; we never lost it. Even Congress stated that "the indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty or over the national lands."

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and Kamehameha Schools expect to hold on to what was meant for people of a different nation -- Hawaiian nationals, not Americans.

Either choose to remain a citizen and abide by the laws and Constitution of the United States, or claim your rights as a descendent of Hawaiian nationals. All these years of having your cake and eating it too will be over soon. The only solution? Reinstate the nation.

Dominic Acain
Kekaha, Kauai

Volunteers make camp a favorite experience

Each year the Muscular Dystrophy Association holds a week-long summer camp. This year more than 50 campers and 60 volunteers joined together for "University of MDA -- Athletics" Summer Camp 2003. The volunteers cheerfully gave an entire week of their lives, giving up income, vacation time and sleep so participants could enjoy their summer camp. Volunteers were teamed one-to-one with campers and remained by their sides 24 hours a day throughout the week.

Laughter and smiles flourished, friendships blossomed and wonderful memories made. MDA wishes to thank our volunteers and all the support received from individuals and businesses in the community. They made this week possible.

Erika Dornan
Health Care Services Coordinator
Muscular Dystrophy Association

Kuakini medical care overcomes problems

Serious questions have been raised about the patient care given at Kuakini Medical Center, with some suggesting that care is being compromised (Star-Bulletin, July 11). We, the medical staff of Kuakini, believe this is a misrepresentation of the medical center.

The specific issues that were raised -- understaffing, medication errors and nurse fatigue -- are not unique to Kuakini. These were brought to light last year during the nurses' strike at three major Honolulu hospitals. Further, the claim of more falls and greater infection rates is inaccurate and is not supported by the data. Our physicians feel that Kuakini has been able to maintain quality care despite these universal shortcomings.

We are aware that a recent survey has shown discontent among the medical staff toward the hospital management. However, this in no way reflected our sentiment regarding the care and service that are given at Kuakini.

Stuart Sugihara, M.D.
Chief of staff
Kuakini Medical Center

Thank you from Daniel's family

The family of Daniel C. Levey, deceased hiker found in Nuuanu, wishes to publicly thank the Honolulu Police Department, including Missing Persons team Phil Camero and Mary Aragones; the Honolulu Fire Department, including Kenison Tejada, Gerald Komine, Adam Enos and Allen Carvalho; all Search and Rescue personnel; Department of Land and Natural Resources personnel, including canines; Hawaii Trail and Mountain Club, including Mabel Kekina, and experienced hikers; and all the friends who aided in the search for our son and brother. Your support has helped us, and continues to help us during this grieving time.

We encourage the community to enjoy Daniel's vast photo collection at his Web site:

Joyce, Norm and Sara Levey
Daniel's family

Surfing belongs in high school sports

I am a surfer and so proud of the Hawaiian surfing heritage. In ancient times, when world civilizations saw peril in the surf, Hawaiians saw fun and developed the sport of surfing. Surfing is Hawaii's gift to the world of sports.

Surfing is practiced on the coastlines of all the world's great nations, from such places as Japan, Australia, Indonesia, France, Africa, Brazil and Peru. It is indeed regrettable that certain Department of Education bureaucrats are creating reasons not to include surfing as a high school sport. If there is a sport that is safe and healthy for our young people, it is surfing.

I have often told parents that as long as their children are in the ocean surfing, then they aren't on the beach doing drugs or being exposed to other problems. Surfing is safe and healthy.

Ironically, it is a high school sport in California, but not in Hawaii. On Sept. 16, the department is scheduled to meet about this issue. I hope the decision-makers will see the wisdom in making our state's official sport a part of our high schools sports programs. It is long overdue.

Sen. Fred Hemmings

Perseverance will help isle gays get marriage

"Gays' Canadian nuptials split isles' legal opinion" (Star-Bulletin, July 24) was interesting reading. Unfortunately, only one quoted "expert," University of Hawaii law professor Jon Van Dyke, seemed to know anything about Hawaii law and gave a reasonable analysis of some possible legal action to move Hawaii toward equal laws and rights for its gay and lesbian citizens.

The article missed a key element of the legal battle, which was the two Hawaii state Supreme Court rulings in a same-sex marriage lawsuit that stated same-sex couples were declared equal in terms of rights and benefits of other couples. While that lawsuit was mooted because of a constitutional amendment holding back marriage licenses, the rulings as to equal rights and benefits is a legitimate basis for recourse by those who are not treated equally.

I for one am not sitting back and letting attorneys without vision and understanding of law determine my rights. I once contracted with an idealistic, honorable attorney to carry out a legal plan that no other attorney would take. With two state Supreme Court wins, it took an amendment to the Constitution to keep it from being fulfilled.

Canada has moved to the fore in the marriage issue and I recognize them for accomplishing what should have been Hawaii's legacy. In time, we will get marriage because civil rights is a process. In this case it is the global gay community that will take steps to help each area of the world achieve equality. I am glad that I was part of the ongoing vigil and effort.

William E. Woods
Executive director
Gay and Lesbian Education and Advocacy Foundation

Judiciary panel should move on nominee

We agree with your suggestion that further delay in filling the judicial vacancy in Hawaii's federal district court is unacceptable ("Rohlfing should withdraw or face torrid hearing," Editorial). Accordingly, we urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to move ahead promptly with a hearing on the nomination of Frederick W. Rohlfing III for district judge.

As you noted, Rohlfing has been rated "highly qualified" by the Hawaii State Bar Association. He has been endorsed by the Consumer Lawyers of Hawaii and the Hawaii Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association. Rohlfing also has received the highest rating for competence and ethics from the most widely consulted lawyer directory in the world, Martindale-Hubbell.

We believe that we who have had direct experience and contact with him are in a far better position to assess his ability and judicial temperament than mainland-based representatives of the American Bar Association who have no personal familiarity with his work.

The ABA Committee on the Federal Judiciary has not informed Rohlfing of its reasons for giving him a negative rating. Consequently, it is virtually impossible to prepare a response to the ABA's opposition to his confirmation. One thing that is clear is that the sooner a Judiciary Committee hearing is scheduled on Rohlfing's nomination, the better it will be for all concerned.

Law firm of King, Nakamura and Chun-Hoon

Editor's note: This letter was signed by Kevin Chee, Charles Ching, Rai Saint Chu, Lowell Chun-Hoon, Thomas E. Crowley III, Cynthia Farias, Adrienne King, Sam King Jr., Michael Nauyokas, Carl Osaki, Richard Turbin, Anthony Yusi and Jennifer Yusi.

Trash can help Oahu 'grow' more land

Oahu is running out of space to dispose of its ever-increasing amount of trash. Tokyo uses the surrounding ocean to dump its trash to create additional land for more housing and industrial/commercial complexes.

The same can be done here. The trash can be encased in plastic in manageable sizes, and then dumped in the ocean in an area where more land is desirable. Possible sites could be off Honolulu Harbor, off the Honolulu airport, or off Kalaeloa. The city can undertake this project and then claim the newly created land to generate revenues. If the city, state or Office of Hawaiian Affairs passes on this idea, they can grant permits to a private enterprise to create business opportunities.

Roy Tanouye

Charter schools shafted by DOE

The settlement of the lawsuit that Connections Public Charter School brought against the state (Star-Bulletin, July 14) makes public the struggles that charter schools have had with the Department of Education in receiving their fair share of funding. Connections was fortunate to have the Legal Aid Society's assistance; otherwise, legal expenses may well have precluded Connections from taking the case to court.

Other charter schools also have disagreed with the DOE on funding. Although lawsuits are distasteful, they may be the only realistic option for resolving such disputes. But in 2002 an amendment to the charter school law went into effect, prohibiting charter schools from bringing lawsuits against state agencies. The DOE now may arbitrarily decide the amounts that charter schools receive without any worry of being corrected.

Apparently, the DOE doesn't like charter schools. Maybe that's because the concept did not originate within the DOE, but was initiated by the Legislature. Or maybe charter schools are a threat because they reduce the power of the DOE. Charter schools do not answer to the DOE in most matters. Instead, each school has its own board of directors. All available indicators show that charter schools are educating students at least as well as the other public schools, and in certain instances much better.

The deputy attorney general, who represented the DOE in the court case, is quoted as saying that charter schools are going through "growing pains." What he doesn't say is that the DOE administration is the cause of many of these pains. With the proper administrative support, there is no limit to what charter schools can do to improve public education in Hawaii.

John Kawamoto




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