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Sunday, June 27, 2004




Prosecutor handled Aiwohi case justly

Kudos to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Glenn Kim for his logical, straightforward approach in handling the Tayshea Aiwohi case ("Mom accused in son's death to plead no contest in deal," June 18). He accomplished his stated goals and also, as he pointed out, set up a deterrent for others who may be faced with similar problems. He did not impede future mothers-to-be from seeking the help they need; at the same time, he made the point that this behavior cannot be excused, and it is up to the individual to get help.

Props to Judge Michael Towne on his acceptance of the plea and good luck to Aiwohi and her family.

Kerry D. Lewis
Aiea

Tern articles bring back memories

A former shipmate of mine sent me the series of articles on June 3 by Susan Scott titled "Tern Island: Noah's Ark of the Hawaiian Isles." Scott certainly caught the flavor and excitement of Tern Island and brought back a flood of memories of the uniquely friendly wildlife -- well, mostly friendly anyway -- and thoughts about the role the island played in the early days of the space race with the Russians.

In the early 1960s, our Liberty ship paid a series of visits to Tern, placing what was essentially a mini-listening post at one end of the island's runway. The resident Coast Guard contingent played host to a small Navy detachment manning the post.

The Coasties were an eccentric lot. The Navy used a truck to haul scientific equipment from the watercraft landing on the west end of the island to the listening post on the east end, a distance of some 4,000 feet. Shortly after the Navy arrived, a sign was posted on the runway stating that the speed limit was 5 mph.

The speed limit was broken immediately and a citation was issued by the Coast Guard commanding officer. I understand that it took some high-level discussions to resolve that issue. Matters weren't improved by the decision of the commander to run the island on San Francisco time because that was where his family lived. Eventually, everything worked out and the mission was accomplished, uh, harmoniously.

I've often wondered how and why the island group was named French Frigate Shoals. Here is a guess: One safe anchorage for large vessels is near a large structure (island) to the south of Tern Island. The structure is covered with white guano shading to grey and is called on charts "La Perouse Pinnacle." At dawn, with haze on the water, La Perouse Pinnacle is a French Frigate. It is so real one expects to hear cannon fire.

Harris R. Renninger
McLean, Va.

Varied, caring group help kids learn to read

This is a heartfelt thank you to a great bunch of people. I am an AmericaCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America, which is the domestic sister organization to the Peace Corps) serving in Jefferson Elementary School as coordinator and trainer of volunteer reading tutors. These tutors meet twice a week for about an hour to tutor students in grades K-3 who are having trouble on their road to independent reading.

We have a varied group of people who range from a home-schooled senior, a Kaimuki High senior, university students, folks from other lands, retired folks who live part-time or year-round in Hawaii, and so on. They bring a great deal of enthusiasm and dedication to the students. They form a special bond with the kids and are highly regarded by the kids' teachers. Some of them have tutored at Jefferson before. They've also been mentors to me as I put my first program together.

Mahalo, my friends. Please know how much you mean to the kids, the school and me, and that your efforts are having a lasting effect on your community.

See you in the fall!

Toni Todino
Honolulu

Let's put our trash on a slow boat to wherever

Fred Gartley (Letters, June 17) doesn't seem to know a great idea when he sees one. Shipping our trash to the mainland is one of the best ideas I've heard in a while.

We on Oahu have very little open space, and we certainly don't want to spoil any more land for another landfill. Just ask the people around here or in Waianae what they think of keeping our trash close to home.

City Councilman Mike Gabbard should be commended for paying his way to visit landfills on the mainland and doing the necessary research to come up with a proposal that seems to be both economically feasible and environmentally sound.

I for one hope we send our trash on its merry way as soon as possible. Alaska sends its trash to the huge landfill in the desert of Eastern Washington. If the landfill there has more room and it's environmentally safe, why not send our trash there?

Paul Dunlap
Kailua

CPS needs reforms, not more workers

Nora Nomura, the field service officer of Hawaii Government Employees Association, says in her June 14 letter that Child Protective Service workers are overloaded with work, and more workers are needed.

Why is it that state auditor Marion Higa in her report stated that the CPS has inconsistent enforcement, poor decision-making, inadequate service plans and poor money management in certain areas?

Some CPS caseworkers' overload is self-induced. Many service plans are implemented even if the parents don't need it. Some caseworkers will produce false reports and allegations in court to justify their actions.

In 2003, Rep. Michael Kahikina conducted a statewide study of CPS. There was countless testimony by parents whose rights were violated by CPS. It reminds me of the Gestapo tactics. Department of Human Services director Lillian Koller spoke against the bill for more funding. She even said CPS was wrong in certain areas. CPS officials need to admit they were wrong. CPS doesn't need more workers, it needs to clean up its act.

Harold Hong
Waianae

Trees' infestation threatens weaving art

I found your June 22 article "Bugs attack hala trees on Maui" to be most informative and of great interest to those of us who practice the art of lauhala weaving.

Weaving has enjoyed a resurgence of sorts in recent years due to the efforts of master lauhala weavers such as Aunty Gladys Grace of Honolulu and Aunty Elizabeth Lee of Kona. Devastation of our lauhala trees would deliver a blow to these and other kumu who unselfishly share their knowledge and passion for lauhala with younger generations. It is through their efforts that this once-dying Hawaiian cultural art is enjoying its renaissance.

The hala tree also plays an important role in mele and hula. Its loss would felt in many levels of our culture.

It is our hope that funds to research the problem and find answers will be found.

Joanne Takatsugi
President
Ulana Me Ka Lokomaika'i

Why do we trash those who come to help us?

The people of Hawaii refuse to admit when they're in a rut and stuck on the wrong path. Fired University of Hawaii president Evan Dobelle is the second school official to be victimized by the limited foresight and unwillingness to change that our state institutions suffer from.

Do we all remember the school superintendent who was railroaded out of a job under allegations of developing an attraction to someone who worked in the same field? There was no evidence of any wrongdoing; it was just an excuse to oust another mainlander trying to get us to see the error of our current approach.

We fail to recognize the scope of change that is needed, and when someone with vision comes along and tries to create change at the level needed for real results, we destroy him. I relish the thought of Dobelle taking the regents to court, but I doubt that the people of Hawaii will pay attention when he is vindicated.

I am a single parent and student of the university with children in public school. I am tired of being told by school officials that if I don't like their system to send my kids to private school. I come from Missouri where our public schools are just as good as our private schools. If you don't believe me, ask the new UH president, who comes from St. Joseph, Mo.

Schooling is important in that part of the country, as it should be here. It is too bad that more people don't see it this way.

Rodney Evans
Honolulu

Dobelle gives women respect they deserve

Regarding Shirley Hasenyager's June 23 letter referring to Evan Dobelle's alleged "prejudices toward women generally and especially toward minority women": Dobelle showed me no prejudice. When I wrote him about the University of Hawaii logo, his response was immediate and informative. When I approached him at a gala UH function, he was most cordial, pleasant and accommodating.

Renovating the president's College Hill residence and raising $150 million for a new medical school are team efforts. All you grumps do is sit back, do nothing and grumble.

Jane Watanabe
Pearl City

Licensing proposal sounds very fishy

The stated reason to require fishing licenses for the general population is so that the National Marine Fisheries Service can collect data on what's being caught. My recollection of having a fishing license on the mainland doesn't include my ever having to report what I caught to anyone.

If conservation is the goal, then we can do that through size and catch limits. We also can make certain areas out of bounds in odd and even years.

My sense is that the NMFS is trying to limit the number of people who fish. It will surely discourage some who don't want to go through the hassle. And, depending upon the number of children in a family, this rule could make it to expensive for dad to take his kids fishing.

And I'm confused about how a landlocked state on the mainland that has a fishing license requirement contributes to the NMFS's management of our fisheries. Those states keep the money; they don't hand it over to the feds. Yet NMFS points to those states as having a license requirement, and therefore are OK. Something stinks here, and it isn't spoiled fish.

Bill Nelson
Haleiwa

Oceans are important to Hawaiian culture

If you understand island life you will realize the importance the ocean and its resources play in the survival of many island residents. Unfortunately, that is more than I can say for transient and commercial fishers.

Many of our residents depend on the ocean for food. The goal of the plan -- to protect our fishing resources -- is commendable, but asking people to pay for the use of God's natural creation is absurd.

It's not the island people who are destructive. We are taught from an early age to respect the land and ocean, not to take more than what we need, to give back and nurture so that these resources will continue to take care of us and our generations to come. Cruise ships and other vessels that dump waste and garbage play an equal part in the survival of our ocean.

I come from a family of fishermen, opihi pickers and ocean lovers and someday I will be back to the islands. Until then I will continue to support the island and voice my concerns.

Sheilaann Puaala Wood
Las Vegas
Former Hawaii resident

State should ban wild animal acts

With much fanfare the 50th State Fair this year announced an exciting act with white tigers.The show began with a narrative by the trainer boasting of the value of their white tiger breeding program. The trainer also related that he uses only positive reinforcement to get his animals to perform.

Don't be fooled! Breeding white tigers serves no conservation purpose. White tigers do occur in the wild; however, it is rare, and they are at great risk of starving because without camouflage they have a difficult time hunting. Captive white tigers are inbred, which has led to serious congenital defects including cataracts, club feet, crossed eyes and hip dysplasia.

During the half-hour show the trainer repeatedly used a whip to threaten the tigers into performing. After each trick he gave the animals a small piece of meat, but clearly the incentive for the animals to perform was the pain of the whip, not the treat afterward.

Please express your concern to the Hawaii State Board of Agriculture by asking them to stop allowing traveling animal acts into Hawaii. The reason these acts exist is based solely on profit, and for no other reason.

Linda Vannatta
Honolulu

Homeless voters may make difference

I want to thank the Star-Bulletin for its front-page article about Partners in Care registering the homeless for the upcoming election ("Nonprofit registers homeless to vote," June 7). It is timely because some $5.4 million previously earmarked for the homeless has been diverted by the City Council to other nonprofits and a relocation of plantation worker retirees who were threatened with eviction earlier this year.

I would like to make one correction: This is not the first attempt to register the homeless for the elections. In the early 1980s, the homeless advocates of the "Peanut Butter Ministry" registered the homeless of the Institute for Human Services. The 500-some voters registered had an impact on the City Council seat and Senate/House seats representing that district.

This month's endeavor will be islandwide, and the voting by absentee ballot by these new voters can make a difference in a close race, such as in the Waianae Coast. I wish such an effort could be widespread on the neighbor islands as well. In this election, where candidates for five Council seats and the mayor's office are on the ballot, the margin of victory or defeat could be determined by these dispossessed and marginalized. Mahalo for your coverage and thanks to voter registrar Cecile Smith!

Arvid T. Youngquist
Formerly homeless

'Sally Forth' artist deserves more credit

Your colorful comics page always makes me smile, and sometimes laugh out loud. May I request one small improvement? The clever "Sally Forth" strip is the first one I read, as it is drawn by an incredibly talented classmate, Craig Macintosh, who graduated from Radford High School in 1962. But his name appears only as "MAC." How about giving Craig some credit along with the gentleman who writes the copy? We Rad Grads would be grateful. His name is listed alongside that of the writer in some mainland papers I checked.

Sometimes Craig slips in references to his alma mater, as he did in the June 26 strip, where Ted is wearing a Radford shirt while washing his car.

Mahalo for keeping your readers smiling.

Cynthia Bond
Honolulu

Cheney-Halliburton link seems unsavory

Halliburton has wasted more than $1 billion from nonbid contracts fast-tracked by former CEO and now vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney.

E-mails between the Department of Defense and the vice president's office show they "coordinated" a multibillion dollar, nonbid government contract for Halliburton. Last Sept. 14, Cheney said on Meet the Press "I have absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts ..."

Now I've learned that Halliburton has billed our government 36 percent more meals than it actually served and its executives live in five-star hotels in Kuwait while the troops live in tents in the desert! How dishonest are these people that run our country?

Joseph A. Niezgodzki
Kapaa, Kauai

Cheney simply isn't presidential material

Most citizens have heard about Vice President Dick Cheney telling Sen. Patrick Leahy to go "f---" himself, after Leahy's criticism of Halliburton, an oil services company now profiting from the Iraq war. Halliburton, once headed by Cheney, won nonbid contracts in Iraq. The Leahy incident might seem amusing to many folks, but we need to look down the road.

Let's say Bush and Cheney are victorious in November, but Bush becomes incapacitated -- more than he is now -- and Cheney has to take over the duties of president. Imagine Cheney, who has no problem telling a U.S. senator to copulate with himself for asking legitimate questions, involved in negotiations with leaders around the world. After a disagreement with, say, the leader of China, what's to stop Cheney from telling him to "f---" himself?

If you think we have problems resulting from U.S. involvement in Iraq, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Smoky Guerrero
Mililani


Despite implementation delay, Hawaii's
gasoline cap law already curbing prices

There has been some criticism about the Legislature's decision to delay the implementation of the gas price cap law (Act 77). As members of a consumer group composed of community leaders and former oil company executives who strongly supported the gas price cap law, we find the criticism unwarranted, inaccurate and misleading. Clearly, the critics have not read the bill, studied documents from the antitrust case, or followed the testimony during the 2004 legislative session.

The proposal to delay the implementation date until 2005 did not originate in the Legislature, but was made at the request of the Public Utilities Commission and Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, the agencies responsible for the implementation of Act 77. The delay was needed to give the agencies time to get up to speed and hire the staff necessary to administer a complex and far-reaching law.

To be accurate, DBEDT, which had the responsibility to implement Act 77 next week, was derelict in its responsibility and never made any preparations to implement Act 77. The PUC is now the primary agency that will implement Act 77.

Even though the implementation date was delayed, the gas price cap law will still take effect on Thursday, and the process of ramping up for the implementation of the law can begin immediately. Significantly, in the amendments to Act 77, the Legislature included provisions to the bill to exempt key agencies from cumbersome rulemaking to speed up the process of implementation, and also to remove the possibility of more agency-initiated delays. To say the Legislature put off the gas price cap law for more study is ridiculous and simply not true.

The current amendments to Act 77 will allow the PUC to make appropriate adjustments to alleviate any unintended consequences, enable the state to withstand any potential legal challenges by the oil companies, jobbers and retailers, and establish fair and reasonable gas prices for the consumers of Hawaii. Sen. Ron Menor, Rep. Ken Hiraki, Rep. Hermina Morita and their colleagues should be commended for their reasonable approach in addressing a problem of corporate greed within the most complex industry in the world, and living up to their pledge to provide relief to consumers.

Finally, it should be noted that with Act 77 looming over the heads of the oil companies since 2002, Oahu gas prices have been lower than gas prices on the West Coast for more than 16 months since the inception of the gas price cap law in 2002. This is something that has never happened in Hawaii for such a long period of time before the passage of Act 77.

Frank Young,
Dick Miller,
Jim Wheeler,
Doug Luna,
Scott Foster,
Wayne Cahill

Citizens Against Gasoline Price Gouging


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art

[ BRAINSTORM! ]

The city owns a large, underground facility at Fort Barrette in Kapolei that is sitting empty. What could it be used for? Some sort of archive? A place to stash gigantic holiday decorations? A temporary storage site for Evan Dobelle’s ego?

Send your ideas -- include your name, address and phone number -- by July 16 to:

brainstorm@starbulletin.com

Or by mail:
Brainstorm!
c/o Nancy Christenson
Star-Bulletin
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Or by fax:
Brainstorm!
c/o Nancy Christenson
529-4750


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