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Sunday, August 24, 2003

Santos was wrong to manipulate system

Is there no shame any more? Kalena Santos of Kauai misrepresented her ancestry when she submitted her son's application for admission to Kamehameha Schools and later acknowledged that she was adopted ("Judge allows non-Hawaiian to attend Kamehameha," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 20).

Was she embarrassed? No, she sued the school. If she can't get her son in the front door like every other student, she'll try the back door.

Did she ever consider the consequences of her actions? Submitting a false document is serious.

Attorney John Goemans' remark about "the racial identity police at Kamehameha Schools" (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 19) was uncalled for and a cheap shot.

Hawaiians ... Imua!

L. Victor

Lawyers should visit Kamehameha Schools

Judge David Ezra says his decision will not set a precedent. I think it already has.

His ruling opens the door a little wider for opponents of the admissions policy of Kamehameha Schools. The schools will have a hard row to hoe in future litigation regarding its admissions policy and the cries of ignorant haoles who refer to the policy as being "racist."

I have always been amazed how lawyers are able to take a perfectly legal and correct document such as the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop and construe it to be one that encourages "racist" practices. Why can't they see it as a declaration of a Hawaiian princess who cared for her people and whose foresight has been beneficial to thousands of Hawaiian children? That was the sole purpose of her bequeathment. Her ideals live today in the Hawaiian children who have benefited from her foresight. I don't believe that even she had any idea how important her gift would become and how many would be served.

The princess did not create a legacy that deserves the slights or glib remarks of lawyers trying to make their reputations. If these lawyers would visit one of the Kamehameha Schools they would see for themselves, in the faces of the keiki, just how wrong they are.

Gerald Sylvester
Wailuku, Maui

Race discrimination was and still is wrong

Because of a judge's order, a boy entered a school to receive an education. The head of the school fought his admission because he does not meet the school's ancestry requirement.

The students and alumni of the school protested his entrance. People debated whether he should be admitted because he did not meet ancestry requirements. They said there were other, separate but equal schools for him to attend. But like it or not, the boy of colored ancestry entered a previously all-white school -- in 1957 in Little Rock, Ark.

If discrimination was wrong in Arkansas then, it is wrong in Hawaii now.

Does fulfilling the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop require discrimination? The will gives trustees full power to make all such rules -- to regulate the admission of pupils. The will clearly states that the school should help orphans and others in indigent circumstances, but states only a preference for Hawaiians. The trustees previously allowed non-Hawaiian students to enroll and allowed non-Protestant teachers, in spite of the will's instructions.

The current policy of exclusion is based upon the will of the trustees, not the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop.

Joel Kaslofsky


A Kamehameha mother’s
heart aches for her child

To my beloved child as you enter the seventh grade at Kamehameha:

I have come to look upon you as you sleep, when darkness hides the tears that silently roll down my cheeks. I stroke the soft hairs that curl along your temple and gently smooth the tiny furrow between your brows. Sleep my child, sleep, for tomorrow I will have to let you go. What I really want is to hold you close and protect you from the bullies you will encounter this week.

The bullies of your day differ from mine. The ones you will meet often dress in business suits and lurk in state and federal courtrooms. Lately they have been observed hiding behind the skirts of a mother or two and their children. These bullies have become masters of word manipulation and use the American court system to forcibly take what does not belong to them. They will knock you over the head with their briefcases stuffed with lawsuit documents, then sue you because they slipped on the blood pouring from your precious head.

They are not interested in your lunch money, my beautiful, sweet child, nor your hard earned allowance. They want to strip you, slowly but surely, greedy fingers raking over your bruised skin, and covertly shred the garments that empower you and our people. They will not attempt to steal only your protective clothing of education, land, trust money and health, but also your cultural identity. They will use your own culture against you and misinterpret concepts and words because they lack the knowledge that comes with respect. My heart aches for you because they will put a spin on your history, and then say you discriminated against them.

You have been given an incredible gift, the privilege to attend Kamehameha. This opportunity does not make you any better or less than anyone else. You have been given the chance to play the game of life on a level playing field, thanks to our beloved Ke Ali'i Pauahi. Play with excellence, my beautiful child. Play for your brothers, sisters, cousins and friends who, despite wanting to attend Kamehameha, were unable to. Play for the hundreds of children across Hawaii and the mainland who are on the waiting list. But especially, play with all your heart for the thousands of Hawaiian children who may never get a chance because of the self-seeking actions of a few.

The bullies are coming to your school, my beloved child. They are throwing their weight around and aligning themselves with misguided individuals who put their selfish wants and desires above the legitimate needs of thousands of children. When will our people be able to play once again on a level playing field?

I love you forever, Mommy

Submitted by
Malia Evans-Mason
Waialua, Hawaii


What about those who were turned away?

What happens to all of the children of Hawaiian ancestry who applied to Kamehameha Schools for years and were not accepted or were put on waiting lists? Should they sue, too?

Or does it even matter to anyone that there are thousands of children of Hawaiian ancestry who applied to Kamehameha and were not accepted for one reason or another?

Brayden Mohica-Cummings' mother new he was not of Hawaiian blood. Perhaps he is "Hawaiian at heart," but he is not of Hawaiian blood. She tried to dupe the system and applied anyway. And she succeeded.

How unfair for the Hawaiian children who were not able to utilize this opportunity. There are many! My personal feeling is that the admission line starts behind them.

Veronica Hipa Pratt

Non-Hawaiians can help promote the culture

Clearly Kamehameha Schools was established to educate students with Hawaiian ancestry. Does its admissions policy violate the law? Does the United States illegally occupy the Kingdom of Hawaii? Regardless of what you think the answers are, the issues are intertwined.

Brayden Mohica-Cummings is not responsible for this controversy. His mother, Kalena Santos, is. She falsified his application. She knew the difference between biological and adoptive proof of ancestry. Let's not blame Brayden for his mother's misdeed.

However, considering the excellent reputation of Kamehameha Schools, why wouldn't you want your child to attend? And as far as the admissions policy is concerned, what better way to perpetuate the culture of the Hawaiians than to allow non-Hawaiians to attend, therefore creating more non-Hawaiian advocates for the Hawaiian cause?

Because Brayden has been processed this far by Kamehameha Schools, he should be allowed to attend. The admissions department should have been more diligent in its duties, rather than rejecting Brayden's application at the last moment. However, Kalena needs to realize that a child of Hawaiian ancestry will be denied the quality education he or she had a right to because his mother falsified the application.

Mel McKeague
Kamehameha Schools Class of 1973

Tax-exempt status should be revoked

If Kamehameha Schools wants to behave like Little Rock Central High in 1957 or like the "old" Bob Jones University, fine, but it should not expect to keep its tax-exempt status.

The words and actions of many in this community have been appalling in recent days.

Jonathan Hollister
Kamuela, Hawaii

Decision violates Princess Pauahi's will

I was privileged to attend Kamehameha Schools for 13 years, and it changed my life. I am extremely proud of the strong sense of tradition that flows throughout the school.

The whole foundation of Kamehameha is based on the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop; she wanted to leave something that would benefit the children of Hawaiian ancestry.

A lot has been changing since I graduated, but one thing that I just can't comprehend is the admittance of non-Hawaiian children. One, now two, why stop there? Why not just forget Bernice Pauahi and her will that she left for the children of Hawaii?

The non-Hawaiian child who was allowed to go to the Maui campus last year didn't have to come from Maui; there are a lot of "cream of the crop" Hawaiian students waiting in line here on Oahu. I am in disbelief of the way Bernice Pauahi's wishes are being fulfilled.

Brayden Mohica-Cummings is not to blame at all for this, his mother is. She knew her son had no Hawaiian blood even though it was a requirement for admission to the school. I feel sorry for the boy to have a mother who would put her own child through all this.

Sheena-Marie Kamino'akamailani Shimose
Kamehameha Schools Class of 2000
Ewa Beach

Private school isn't free to make own rules?

How can a federal judge order a private school to accept a student who does not qualify and who has not paid one penny in tuition?

Does this mean we can all send our children to private, air-conditioned schools without paying for their education?

Rico Leffanta

Boy's education must not be that important

I am an alumnus of the Kamehameha Schools' Kapalama campus and am truly disturbed at the ruling on behalf of the seventh-grader's enrollment. I find it hard to believe that a judge would make it so that the Kamehameha Schools has to take this boy whose mother had brought forth false doctrine on behalf of her Hawaiian ancestry. This boy's mother was dishonest about her adoptive father being her biological father. I believe that she tried to slide her son in knowing very well that the Kamehameha Schools is for children of Hawaiian descent.

How much more should we as Hawaiians suffer on the hands of non-Hawaiians who want the last bits of what we have? I know that the Kamehameha Schools had given him a preliminary approval of his admittance, but then had revoked him on behalf of false doctrine.

As of right now, the boy has a lot of schooling in Kauai, but if it was something that was of importance to his parents that he get an education they would have enrolled him anyways because public schools allow enrollment after school starts. But it is obvious that they want something else, perhaps a better education, and something that is not open for them to have. It's been three weeks since school started; he could have been in school already if education was really important.

Raelen Self
Los Angeles, Calif.

Isle residents voted to honor native rights

Judge Ezra's ruling to allow a non-Hawaiian to attend Kamehameha Schools signals a new low.

I am a non-Hawaiian born and raised on the mainland. I moved here without much political awareness but a basic sense of fairness. To me, these California and Texas lawyers coming over to file cases to take what little Hawaiians have left after 150 years of thievery have no sense of morality or history. They are abusing the law and fraying Hawaii's social fabric. We live here together and know what is right.

Just over 20 years ago, Hawaii's citizens came together and voted to support Hawaiian rights and enshrine them in our state Constitution. It is time now for all of us again to defend the native culture that gives these islands life.

J. Stanchion

Palolo Valley

Hawaiians-only policy could be made legal

Although I see what the Kamehameha Schools admissions policy is trying to accomplish, it is ill-conceived and implemented. A nonprofit, tax-exempt institute basing admission on one's ethnic back- ground is illegal. The policy and process of qualifying applicants must be changed.

One way to address the issue is to change the tax status to a for-profit organization. A private, for-profit organization can base admission on race.

Another way to deal with the admissions problem is to charge a fee of, for example, $12,000 a year and award scholarships based on percentage of Hawaiian blood and economic need. This would allow anyone who wishes to attend and pay their own tuition if they are not Hawaiian.

Roger Thoren

Fire drivers and let others have their jobs

The last time public workers went on strike, back in 1994, a select number of state employees were designated as "essential," which meant they weren't allowed to strike.

Bus drivers ought to be designated the same, as they are essential to this island's public transportation system.

On the other hand, perhaps the mayor ought to follow President Ronald Reagan's lead when he fired the air traffic controllers when they went on strike in 1981. I'm sure hundreds of people out there would like to make more money than police officers, as we have learned of the drivers' generous pay scale.

James Ko

Plenty of bus blame to go around

TheBus strike looms, yet as I observe the finger pointing I see no proposals for real solutions. As a bus rider and voter, I do see an abundance of blame to go around.

>> The mayor and his administration. TheBus is an essential public service, not a convenience for a handful of people. You managed to fund numerous feel-good projects -- beach movies, outrageous signs -- yet where was your "vision" about the importance of TheBus to our economy?

>> The City Council. Why do you ignore the positive impact of TheBus in your districts? Why didn't you scrutinize the budget to make certain that adequate funding for TheBus was a priority? Would we even be in this mess if you put aside petty infighting to safeguard public needs?

>> TheBus management. Do you ride TheBus regularly and listen to riders? The complaint I hear most often about TheBus is inconvenience (it arrives late or early, or is not scheduled often enough). Do you care that ridership declines because of dissatisfied riders? If you want more riders, thus more income, it's really quite simple -- make TheBus convenient!

>> The Teamsters. President Mel Kahele's intent seems to be to strike to disrupt the economy, not work to improve conditions for drivers. He plans to prey on the most vulnerable in our society -- young, old, handicapped -- by depriving them of mobility. During a strike, those who can do so will go back to driving. If, after the strike, they opt not to ride TheBus again, the need for buses and drivers declines, ridership declines, income declines, and drivers will be laid off regardless of what Kahele says.

I hear more drivers questioning the rush to a strike. They know they will lose pay, harm their own families as the economy falters, and ultimately still may lose their jobs by further degrading TheBus service. It's too bad that common sense can't prevail for all parties concerned.

Kerry A. Krenzke

Try a more creative bus-fare schedule

I am disturbed that the proposal to raise bus fares will apply only to the monthly passes and not to single fares. We need to keep the cost of multi-use passes as low as possible to encourage more use of mass transit to reduce traffic congestion and pollution caused by too many private vehicles.

How about this method of charging: $2.50 for a single ride, $5 for a 24-hour pass, $15 for a weekly pass and forget about differential charges for transfers and express routes. And how about offering discounts, like $10 for six single fares? This should appeal to the tourists. And if $25 for two years is too cheap for seniors, how about offering them an annual pass for $50? All single fares and multi-use passes would be purchased before boarding and could be available at convenience stores, banks, hotels and so on.

Bus drivers have enough responsibility looking after the safety of the road and passengers, and should not be distracted by the need to watch for exact change. And bus drivers never should be required to function as cashiers.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to buy an economical monthly pass so I don't have to look for exact change, and I hope this benefit will continue in the future for all citizens.

Mariea Vaughan
Ewa Beach

Bus drivers are pawns of union leaders

It is sad to monitor how desperate people are in trying to avoid a possible bus strike. The City and County of Honolulu is broke, it has no funds, raising fares is a hot potato, and selling ad space and fighting abuse of the system are laudable steps but eventually no more than Band-Aid solutions.

The real issue is: As long as the average bus driver makes $1,000/year more than the average teacher in Hawaii, the threat of a strike by the union bosses is like adding insult to injury. I have no trouble with the bus drivers making good wages, but they are like the society as a whole -- used and abused as pawns by the union bosses.

Hanni Hartmann

Roads will be safer if bus drivers strike

No education is required to be a bus driver. Yet they make more than school teachers, policemen and firemen. There's something wrong here.

Now, they want more. Let them strike! The streets are safer without buses; they are the major cause, directly and indirectly, of motor-vehicle accidents.

Walk out, bus drivers, and stay out.

Donald Allen

Segways could end up as dangerous as cars

Segway Experience of Honolulu publicist Jim Boersema's letter to the editor (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 20) raises more safety questions than it answers. First, the introduction of the Segway needs to be put in perspective. Legislation was introduced almost simultaneously in many state legislatures and in Congress, shepherded by Segway publicists, to get the device approved for sidewalk use before a safety record could be established.

Legislators were given free "photo-op" rides, and many states passed these bills into law before safety concerns could be strongly voiced. I'll have to admit I admire the effectiveness of the PR campaign. And sure, Segways can be fun to ride, but not necessarily on our sidewalks.

Keep in mind that when the automobile was introduced, there also were few accidents at first. Sooner or later, the reality of safe operation will overtake the Segway, as it has the automobile.

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors has banned it from sidewalks. President Bush took a famous spill. The legislation introduced into Congress met with objections from consumer organizations including Consumers Union, and never made it through the Senate.

Hawaii's state law should be amended to permit the counties to ban the Segway from sidewalks, should they find that it is a hazard. They could then choose to follow San Francisco's lead and protect Hawaii pedestrians from harm.

Larry Geller

Oahu can't support a big housing project

Did anybody stop to consider the impact on our community by opening up 2,000 rental units in Iroquois Point and Barbers Point ("$7 billion Army deal to benefit Hawaii firms," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 8)? Fort Weaver Road is used by 56,000 commuters daily. Traffic is already backed up by 5:30 a.m., and it can take an hour or more to make the 5-mile trip from North Road to the freeway entrance.

My guess is that no one involved in this project lives in Ewa Beach. I'm sure that if they had to deal with the traffic on a daily basis like we do, they would never support such a plan without dealing with the traffic situation first.

Gay Chang
Ewa Beach


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