Leave agricultural lands intact
The Sierra Club's victory over Castle & Cooke's proposed Koa Ridge housing development in Central Oahu is a victory for the future of our island. We should all be offended by the complete lack of respect that many developers have for our environmental laws.
Does Castle & Cooke believe it is above the law? History tell us C&C does. Thankfully, this attitude and the environmental damage it often causes were stopped by the Sierra Club.
All of us need to imagine the Hawaii we want to live in, the Hawaii we want for our children. To me, it is important to eat locally grown crops, to have a place to escape to from the hustle and bustle of downtown. The local farming lifestyle keeps the country country. We must keep our prime agricultural lands for Oahu's farming families. Once developed, they are lost forever.
Why reclassify this land for housing when thousands of acres have already been slated for growth in Central Oahu? If we must, develop the land already zoned residential.
Laura Hokunani Edmunds
Koa Ridge will pave over paradise
The proposed Castle & Cooke Koa Ridge development in Central Oahu is just another case of paving over paradise. When you look to the right as you drive along the H-1, those beautiful rolling hills of green cascading down from the Koolau Mountains range is where Castle & Cooke wants to build houses, thus connecting Waiawa and Mililani.
Are we going to continue to stand by and watch while greedy developers cover over the last bits of precious island (we only have so much) for a short-term profit when this prime agriculture land could be available for future generations in valuable food production?
If you think we need more housing, think again. More than 12,000 units have already been approved in the region. Now are state and county officials going to approve 3,200 more that will be built over the aquifer, while we spend millions in tax dollars building a desalinization plant? I hope not.
Reef Check Hawaii
Bobby Pfeiffer was the heart of A&B
This is a very sad time for the state of Hawaii -- perhaps for the country. Bobby Pfeiffer is dead. I wonder how many knew Pfeiffer or even of him.
Just a few years back, he was the most powerful man in the state. His salary was the highest of any other and he sat on all the most prestigious boards. It is said that corporations have no heart, but Bobby Pfeiffer, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer, was the heart of Alexander & Baldwin.
At the same time, I would like to mention another man, Harry Bridges. One of the most honest men in the country, Harry, who was head of the ILWU, never took more in pay than the highest-paid union member. If you've read any history you would have learned that Harry saved the American Flag Ships, but in truth, it was Harry and Bobby, working together, who accomplished this feat. They sat across the negotiating table for years and all of us in the country benefit from their reasonable good sense.
An odd pair -- Bobby, urbane, dapper; Harry, a gangly scarecrow of a man who looked as though he owned one suit and wore it to bed -- the two became the best of friends. In fact, Harry's 80th birthday party was held at Bobby's home in Orinda, Calif.
The story of that party belongs in the history books.
Today, in a nation ruled and riddled with lies, malice, greed and rapacious self-importance, the loss of men like these is beyond measure. I mourn their passing. So should everyone.
Liberated women must be to blame
As one who has pondered long and hard to ascertain the reasons for the 9/11 attacks, I was pleased to see the letters from Thomas Stuart and Eric Ryan in the Sept. 23 Star-Bulletin. Stuart clearly blames today's liberated women for the attack, while Ryan faults Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
Now I know. The two offending Democrats are gone, but the women are still here. Heaven help us.
Parking problem endangers daughter
On Namahana Street in Waikiki live several hundred residents. Not tourists, but taxpaying residents, and there are only three spaces for parking on the street.
Calling the mayor's office did little good. All the people there could suggest was to use the public lot on Lewers Street at $1 an hour. That would cost about $720 a month.
No one can live in Waikiki anymore unless you can afford a $250,000 apartment with one parking space.
Since the city "beautified" Namahana, my teenage daughter has had to park on the other side of the Ala Wai until she can move out of her apartment. Until then, she must walk the distance at around midnight when she returns home from work.
There are a lot of criminals around the area, and I fear for her. I will blame the mayor if anything should happen.
Mountain View, Hawaii
Leong should resign from commission
The criminal complaint against Honolulu Police Commission member Leonard Leong for allegedly making contributions to Mayor Harris' campaign under a false name should result in more than just a footnote in the papers.
As a commission member, he is responsible for the its formation of policy affecting all of HPD's responsibilities and has a direct effect on the safety of our community.
With the ice epidemic finally gaining the public's interest, this is no time for the work of the commission to be hindered by Leong's presence. A person of integrity would immediately remove himself from all commission activities and decision- making until the allegation is resolved.
Mayor Harris can demonstrate his integrity by immediately removing Leong from the commission to avoid the appearance that he is more interested in helping his campaign supporters than he is in having the police department operate in an ethical and professional manner. Doing nothing is not an option when public safety is at stake.
Indigent Hawaiians do get financial aid
Jim Henshaw's letter to the editor published Sept. 8 erroneously assumes that because Kamehameha Schools uses academic ability as one of its criteria for screening applicants, there is no preference for indigent Hawaiians.
Ke Alii Bernice Pauahi's will is clear; she directs her trustees "to devote a portion of each year's income to the support and education of orphans, and others in indigent circumstances, giving preference to Hawaiians of pure or part aboriginal blood."
Kamehameha Schools always has and continues to set aside spaces for orphan and indigent children. To be considered for these spaces, one or both biological parents of an applicant must be deceased, or the applicant's family must receive assistance from the Hawaii Department of Human Services.
But even beyond admissions preference for orphans and indigents, Kamehameha Schools subsidizes more than 90 percent of the actual costs for all students and provides financial aid to many Kamehameha families that do not receive DHS services.
On average, over 65 percent of our families qualify for additional financial assistance beyond the tuition subsidy all families receive. In the 2002-03 school year, out of more than 4,400 students at Kamehameha's three campuses, a total of 2,996 students qualified for and received financial aid -- 2,549 received full assistance and 447 received partial aid to cover tuition, fees and meal costs. Full financial assistance ranges from $1,300 for a kindergarten student to $3,350 for a high school boarding student.
Executive director Admissions and Financial Aid
Put ice users in prison to end their addiction
One of the few voices of reason about Hawaii's crystal methamphetamine problem came from Richard O. Rowland in his Aug. 28 column, "'Ice' use is a decision, not a curable disease." He correctly stated that the use of ice, not ice itself, is the problem. Ice is not a deadly disease that can be treated by antibiotics or other drugs.
Reducing the flow of ice into the state, although helpful, will not cure the problem. To stop ice use, one must address two areas -- prevention of first-time use and break from continued use.
Liberals argue that social programs and community support will prevent someone from first-time ice use. I do not disagree. They also argue that people with lower incomes and broken families are more likely to use ice. Statistically, that may be correct.
However, how does this explain all those stories of children from loving families and good schools who get hooked on ice? In every one of those stories the user gets hooked on ice because a "friend" turned them onto it. Some friend! People get hooked on ice because they make the stupid decision to let a drug user stay in their sphere of influence.
Once hooked on ice, which apparently happens after the first-time use, there is only one effective way to break from continued use -- total abstinence. Ice, it appears, is so addictive that only physical separation or restraint can prevent continued use. Yes, mandatory jail time needs to be instituted in every single case. I don't care if the prisons are over-crowded. Stack them three high, put them in tents, and have them hot-rack the cots for sleep time.
Parents need to hold their children accountable for who they hang out with. Society needs to hold drug users accountable for the destruction they cause to the community. Love and kindness are nice and make you feel good, but only a firm hand and toughness can counter the evil of ice use.
Bradford P. Morriseau
Interisland travelers are gouged by airlines
Hawaii's economy has been held hostage by two airlines for far too long. I recalled hearing a couple weeks ago about a promotional interisland fare by Aloha Airlines of $56 so I checked Aloha's Web site. It doesn't list the fares showing the cheapest flight. You have to pick a time and then they give you the fare. I called them on the telephone and asked about it. I was told that it was no longer available and that the cheapest interisland fare was $72.
I went back to the Web site and found promotional fares from Burbank to Las Vegas (288 miles) and Orange County to Phoenix (379 miles) for $29 and regular fares from Honolulu to Los Angles (2,551 miles) for $253 and Honolulu to San Francisco (2,387 miles) for $241. Clearly, interisland travelers in Hawaii where there is no competition are being required to subsidize cheap air fares on and to the mainland, where there is competition.
It is really odd that Aloha and Hawaiian airlines are both losing money while overcharging interisland travelers this much. If another airline like Southwest Airlines came into this market, it ought to be able to make a lot of money charging much less. A ferry would help as well, but only if reasonably priced. I noticed that the ferry in New Zealand charges $185 U.S. for a car and five passengers on a two-hour trip.
Unfortunately, our congressional delegation has done whatever it can to prevent other airlines from coming in to this market and competing with Hawaiian and Aloha. I won't be surprised if the ferry runs into regulatory obstacles as well.
Walter R. Schoettle
Check credentials when hiring contractor
I just ended a two-month nightmare with renovations on my home that was supposed to take only two weeks.
The contractor was very nice and caring when being offered the job, but once he began, he showed a lack of respect, was uncommunicative, and worst of all, rude and unprofessional in manner when I questioned him about his work. After this ordeal, I decided to file a complaint with the Consumer Resource Center of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
Consumers should check with the center before hiring a contractor to see if there have been previous complaints. Anyone who has had problems with contractors also should file a complaint. This way, we may be able to prevent them from taking advantage of consumers. Consumers should stick together.
Failure didn't reflect on firm's integrity
For more than 30 years, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. has been part of the Kauai business community. Hawaii is home to nearly 200 Pioneer employees, and we all treasure the flora and fauna of this island. As good neighbors, we want to provide answers to your questions about the research we conduct in this state.
In April 2003, Pioneer failed to report preliminary test results to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency within a set time frame and, as a result, we were fined. Pioneer recognized the error, accepted responsibility and paid accordingly. But we want to be clear about why we were fined.
It was not for disturbing the environment or violating regulations around isolation distances, nor was it because of test results. In fact, the test results proved Pioneer successfully contained the experimental plant material within the research nursery. Our fine resulted solely from a failure to report preliminary test results within a set time frame. We are using this recent experience to further improve our administrative procedures in working with regulatory agencies.
Unfortunately, our paperwork error gave people reason to question our integrity and the safety of our research. I can say with assurance that the environment and the food supply were never at risk. We take every precaution to contain regulated research materials for several reasons -- mainly for proprietary business reasons and because it's the law.
Hawaii provides ideal growing conditions for our crop research and production activities. And the seed industry makes a positive impact on the Hawaiian economy.
On behalf of all our Hawaii-based Pioneer employees, let me say we celebrate our three decades of responsible membership in the Kauai business community and look forward to continuing this important relationship well into the future.
Waimea Research Center
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Article focused too much on American difficulties in Iraq
I am writing to express both my appreciation for your having covered my presentation to the National Speakers Conference and my genuine disappointment that the Sept. 20 article ("Shinseki criticizes U.S. fight in Mideast") did not cover the broader context of my remarks.
The National Speakers Conference is comprised of the speakers of all our state legislatures and was presided over by Hawaii's own very capable speaker, Calvin Say. It represented a good opportunity to share with them issues and initiatives affecting soldiers and all others in uniform and their families. Servicemen and servicewomen have contributed significantly to our nation's status as global leader, the world's strongest economy, and the most respected military force in the world.
I asked the speakers to continue encouraging young Americans in their states to devote a few years of their lives to serving in uniform. The country needs them, and they need what they learn best in the services -- leadership. These are skills they can employ whatever they choose to do in their lives. Service in uniform remains a noble calling.
Additionally, I highlighted three recent initiatives spearheaded by the Army for all the services: the Secondary Education Transition Study, which facilitates the integration of high school students of service families as they move between assignments; in-state college tuition for military families, and finally, portable employment opportunities for talented, well-educated, widely traveled and experienced military spouses, who number 239,000 in the Army alone. With encouragement to serve, with the opportunity to better educate their families, and by fulfilling the expectations of talented spouses, it is felt that we will be able to keep talented young leaders in uniform.
In closing my remarks, I observed -- in seven or eight sentences lasting 60 seconds -- that we were in a tough fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, that it didn't have to be this difficult, that we were better than this, but that we are where we are and need strong leadership to see things through. I expressed confidence that we would prevail primarily because of troops who have traditionally delivered our nation out of crisis.
I regret that the article focused nearly entirely on these few sentences, which were delivered in the closing seconds of a roughly 25-minute presentation. I am equally disappointed that the article saw fit only to mention soldiers, when I acknowledged soldiers and all the other fine Americans who wear the uniforms of our nation.
I, along with all other Americans, have tremendous pride in and appreciation for the young people who have chosen to serve in our armed forces. I would appreciate your allowing that pride and appreciation to be reflected in your publication's coverage of comments attributed to me.
(Editor's note: Eric K. Shinseki retired in July as U.S. Army chief of staff.)