to the Editor

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Some 'school supplies' should be No. 1 priority

I thoroughly appreciated Kahuku High student Sam Braden's column on public school bathrooms in Hawaii, depressing as it was ("Student Union," Star-Bulletin, Feb. 5). His central point brought me back to 1988, when we first moved to Hawaii from the mainland.

Much of the talk then was of the poor state of the schools, maintenance-related, and I particularly remember reading about the lack of toilet paper in many schools' restrooms. What astounded me that year was that, due to a "surplus" in the state budget, each taxpayer got a $125 rebate because the state was mandated to give back any surplus. All well and good, except that the surplus was actually caused by not funding such things as school maintenance! Apparently we never learn.

Let's hope the newest generation coming of age in Hawaii insists on a different prioritization of needs when committing taxpayer dollars.

Kate McIntyre

Are not isle 'Kahunas' equally offensive?

I recently saw a story on one of the television news stations that aired complaints from some Hawaiian organizations that were outraged about Dodge naming its new vehicle the "Kahuna." They said naming a vehicle this is an insult to the Hawaiian ways or to the "spiritual" meaning of the word. With that, Dodge scrapped the idea.

So I decided to thumb thru the phone book to see if any Hawaiian companies were using the "Kahuna" name in the commercial arena. I found Big Kahuna Aviation, Big Kahuna Fabrics, Big Kahuna Pizza and finally Kahuna Distributors. So to keep things in "spiritual" perspective, am I to surmise that our traditional kahunas of old were pilots, wore garments ordered by Kahuna Fabrics, were pizza lovers and spread their teachings through a distribution company?

I'm not making fun of Hawaiian history or tradition, but if anyone is going to scream because Dodge wanted to use "Kahuna" for marketing purposes, why haven't our Hawaiian organizations been consistent in their conviction?

Bob Ruiz

Watada earns respect for exposing abuse

I want to thank Robert Watada, executive director of the state Campaign Spending Commission, for the work he does in exposing wrongdoing by those who make our laws. I want to thank him for continuing to be aggressive and committed, even in the face of strong opposition from those who abuse the power that "we the people" have given to them.

As a young Democrat, I am ashamed and disappointed in the state leadership I once looked up to. It is curious that there are members of the Legislature who do not support honest government, specifically as it relates to campaign finance. That any lawmaker would refuse even to hear a bill calling for honesty in government is not only suspect, but offensive. As a citizen, I am outraged; as a voter, I am unsatisfied; and most important, as a student, I have lost faith in the leadership of this state.

I am a Hawaiian, a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and was born and raised in Kaimuki. I am a senior honors candidate, president of two professional student organizations and the treasurer for a governing body at the University of Hawaii. I am building my experiences and education with the hope of serving this state and my people. However, if the current leadership is to be my model, forget it.

Please know that there are many of us who support you, Mr. Watada, and the important work that you do. There are still some of us would-be public servants who want to keep it clean, and serve with integrity and the true spirit of aloha.

Ian Kealii Custino

Kingdom was better at keeping up roads

Driving, while trying to avoid potholes, I cannot help but think how road and highway improvements were handled here in Hawaii more than 100 years ago. It was quite efficient and community based. Shouldn't policies and societies improve with time?

The minister of the interior would appoint a road supervisor in each district of the Hawaiian kingdom. There were 25 districts across the islands. In each district, the road supervisor directed "the public labor on roads, bridges, and all public highways" (Civil Code Title II, Article IV).

If it was believed that a road supervisor was in breach of his duties as defined by law, a written complaint signed by a minimum of 12 district residents could be presented to the minister of the interior for a hearing. Road supervisors proven to be in breach of the law would be dismissed.

Kingdom law provided, upon request of at least 50 district taxpayers, "that a new road, highway, or street be opened" or old ones be "shut, widened, or altered." A judge would select 24 names among the district's legal voters. Of this group, a jury of six would be chosen "to decide on the propriety of the measure proposed." A majority decision would be certified immediately and acted upon by the minister of the interior.

Surely, more than a century later, we should be able to repair roads more efficiently, build new access roads in needed areas such as Waianae, and hold someone or some governmental department accountable for the inability to serve the public good.

Derek Kauanoe

Accused Maui car thief belonged in custody

Live and learn. The recent police shooting of a suspected car thief on Maui is a good example. It was thought that Oahu had a monopoly on joke judges, but now we find that the disease has spread to the neighbor islands. The deceased suspect, age 27, had double-digit felony and misdemeanor arrests and five convictions, but was still free on probation.

Sympathy must also go to the officers involved, who must live with the death no matter how justified under the circumstances.

Frank D. Slocum




Can you design a quarter that represents Hawaii??

Some states have issued collectible quarters that commemorate their entry into the union. The front of the coin looks the same but the eagle on the back has been replaced by something that represents that state. For example, Georgia's quarter has a peach on it. If you could design Hawaii's quarter, what would it look like?

Send your ideas and solutions by Feb. 17 to:

Or mail them to:
c/o Nancy Christenson
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

c/o Nancy Christenson


How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

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