to the Editor

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Why is trust a big deal to non-Hawaiians?

After reading "Judge orders Kamehameha to allow non-Hawaiian student" (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 21), I am saddened and disappointed that we are not respecting the wishes of our queen. I understand that there are certain people who feel that this seems discriminatory, but please understand that we Hawaiian people must become educated, and a trust was put aside by the queen to make sure her people do so. Without our people getting the right education, we are doomed. Why do people of other ethnic backgrounds feel so threatened that Hawaiian people have the Kamehameha Schools to themselves? Why is it such a big deal? Funny how no one argues when the Bishop Estate contributes money to other causes, but when it comes to our children's education it's a big deal.

I am a mother and I know that even though I am half-Hawaiian ancestry, I will have a hard time getting all of my children in the Kamehameha Schools because of situations like this.

Kamehameha Schools should be for only Hawaiian children. We must respect the wishes of the trust. How would you like it if someone disregarded your will and testament and made your decisions for you just because they thought it was a disservice to themselves?

Noelani Agcaoili
Ewa Beach

Improving public ed would resolve problem

Regarding Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy: The problem is an economic one created by the failure of the state and federal governments to supply ample, above-average education for all our youth.

The short supply of a strong public education and the high cost of private education increases the demand for admissions to Kamehameha. This inflated demand gives the impression that the policy is biased. But no discrimination exists when the supply and demand are at normal levels. A prime example is found in Kamehameha Schools' preschool system. In areas where the supply of Kamehameha preschool spaces meets the demand, preference is given to native children, but has not been limited to them. Kamehameha also works with the Department of Education and the charter schools to provide aid mostly to part-Hawaiian children, but again not exclusively.

It is an economic issue, not a racial one. Punishing Kamehameha for trying to support Hawaii's education system is destructive. Hawaii needs to focus on improving the state's education system and stop making Kamehameha Schools a scapegoat for the shortcomings of our state and federal governments. Judge Ezra's ruling stated that greater harm would be done to the individual than to Kamehameha. But he failed to recognize that Kamehameha represents thousands of individual beneficiaries. The loss from his ruling is a loss to thousands and far greater than to any one individual.

Theresa Reelitz

Student body includes many ethnicities

The whole situation with the non-Hawaiian student suing Kamehameha Schools is ridiculous. The Hawaiians-only admissions policy is not racist. To attend Kamehameha Schools, yes, you must be of some Hawaiian blood, but you don't have to be pure Hawaiian. Most students are a mixture of Hawaiian and some other ethnicity. Kamehameha Schools does not turn down students with other ethnicities and therefore it is not racist.

Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop envisioned a school where the children of Hawaii could learn, and that is what the Hawaiians-only admissions policy is ensuring.

Sarah Griffin
Aiea High School student

Will includes all the children of Hawaii

I would like to point out to those who oppose one race or another getting a good education that the will in question refers to the "children of Hawaii," not "Hawaiian blood children." If Bernice Pauahi Bishop were alive today, do you think she would agree with this divisive and racist society we have in the islands today? I think she would tell some of the people that she is ashamed of the way they are treating this boy and his mother.

Did they forget the concept of hanai? Is this boy not hanai? Why not elevate all children of Hawaii as the will intends? Not divisions between the haves and the have-nots. Whether it be white against black or Hawaiian against haole, it is still racism and it should stop in this generation.

Rodney Evans

Drivers' pay demands are still too high

My understanding from listening to some of the interviews of bus drivers is that they just want to keep what they've gained over the years and that the strike is, in most part, in reaction to a threat of letting some 40 drivers go. Now I read that they have cut their demands for wage increases to 40-60 cents an hour and benefit increases to 50 cents an hour per year for three years. Is that just holding your own, especially considering their starting point is higher than police officers and firemen make? I think during these poor economic times that is a lot more than "holding your own."

Stan Morketter

Van cameras slowed traffic, saved lives

We keep losing our family members, friends and neighbors to fatal traffic collisions. The news media mentions them for a day or so and gives us the updated running toll and we go on with business as usual, as if this cycle of death and destruction is acceptable or we think we are powerless to stop it.

Some months ago the state started the van-camera system and, before the Legislature cancelled it, the general consensus was that traffic actually slowed down. That result is important because just recently one of our news stations announced that speed was a factor in 85 percent of this year's fatalities. But when the tickets were issued the complaining started, and true to form our lawmakers did not have the courage to do the right thing so they cancelled the program.

I wonder aloud every time another person takes a number in our traffic death toll: Is it possible that we could have saved one life if we kept the van-camera program?

Kenneth L. Barker


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