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Sunday, September 19, 2004




New TV show is demeaning and costly to Hawaii

As I now live in New York City, I had been looking forward to the premiere of "Hawaii," a new cop drama on NBC, as a weekly dose of Oahu, a place I miss dearly.

Regrettably, the show presents a stereotyped, demeaning portrayal of Hawaii reminiscent of the "Blue Hawaii" version of yesteryear. Locals are portrayed as superstitious, clannish, incompetent and incapable of speaking English. Aside from the police chief, and a few side characters, the face of the Honolulu Police Department is haole and African-American, hardly a reflection of its true diversity.

The "bad guys" are predominantly Asian and local. Worse, one of the main characters, a haole cop, refers to locals as "these people," and drops words such as "bachi" as evidence of his "deep" knowledge of the mysterious and superstitious ways of the implicitly backward residents of Hawaii.

The show was so offensive that I never plan on watching it again. As one who is, for now at least, not a resident of Hawaii, not watching is what I feel I can do as a form of protest. But those of you lucky enough to call Hawaii home can do more. You can complain to the governor and your state legislators. "Hawaii" and other new TV dramas have been lured to the islands by new state tax incentives in the form of a 4 percent rebate on anything spent producing in the state, a huge amount given that one single episode can cost upwards of $2 million. Governor Lingle had proposed even larger tax-incentives of 15 percent.

Taxpayers should demand that the state stop giving away huge sums of their money to support shows which degrade, demean and stereotype the people and culture of Hawaii.

Brent White
Acting Assistant Professor
New York University School of Law
Former legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii


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Hawaiian marchers seek only justice

I am intrigued by Ken Conklin's description of the red-shirted marchers down Kalakaua Avenue on Labor Day ("Waikiki march promotes racial separatism," Star-Bulletin, Sept. 10). We seem to have been watching different events, or perhaps our perceptions differ.

We moved quite leisurely; we waved; we smiled; we were respectful and, to our knowledge, did not stomp on anyone or anything. We were certainly a large and cohesive group, but we were not the mob of Conklin's imagination. We did not walk to espouse racial privilege; our red shirts spoke to our plea for justice. We strolled through Waikiki, the playground of our particular youth and that of generations before us, long before perverse tides deposited Conklin upon our shores. He should not pretend to exclude us from this venue; these are our streets. We welcome him to share them.

I support Kamehameha Schools unequivocally. The faces of her students are the "rainbow society" that Conklin seeks. We see rainbow; he sees racism.

Conklin seeks to eliminate the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Hawaiian Homes Land; we seek to repeal Chapter 38. He seeks Hawaiian money and land; we seek justice.

We did not march to generate "apathy." Apathy has been our historical enemy. We seek to awaken, to excite and to energize. If Conklin didn't hear the voice of the silent majority, he wasn't listening. They strolled by him.

Conklin's letter does not describe the march; it describes his fears of Hawaiian unity.

Davis K. Ho
Honolulu

People should unite for Hawaiian rights

I was struck by a tourist's comment about the recent gathering of kanaka maoli in Waikiki. He said that he did not even know there were people in Hawaii who did not think they were part of the United States and who wanted their land back.

Are all of you readers out there content to sit on the perimeter of the circle and watch Hawaiians struggle to keep their entitlements, private trusts and right to leasehold income, to protect sacred lands from military machines, to press for political recognition and assert unambiguous claims to stolen lands?

Let's unite to move forward. Let us support them. Let's speak to our children and friends about Hawaiian ideals, about land and culture and real justice for our hosts whose ancestors nurtured this beautiful land we live on today.

Pupukahi i holomua -- unite to move forward.

R. Kinslow
Honolulu

Time to treat drug use as we do alcohol

It's tragic that former Miss Hawaii USA Tiffini Hercules allegedly chose drugs as a means of employment, if she actually is guilty ("Ice bust nets 1998 pageant winner," Star-Bulletin, Sept. 15). While I am against illegal drug dealers making their living while avoiding taxes that the rest of us pay, the government has no right to tell us what we can put in our bodies.

We need to eliminate the violent crime associated with illegal trafficking and treat drug users the same as we treat alcohol users. There are responsible drug users just as there are responsible alcohol users. Unfortunately, there are also irresponsible users of both. These people need to be locked up if, and only if, their behavior endangers others.

Let's regulate and tax drugs and stop overcrowding our prisons with simple users. Abusers need treatment, not jail, unless they violate someone else's rights.

Alan R. Wehmer
Hauula


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Admit united China to United Nations

Should the United Nations accept Taiwan as a member and a nation to be called Republic of China or Republic of Taiwan or Republic of Formosa ("Taiwan longs for -- and deserves -- full U.N. membership," Taiwan Journal column by Raymond Wang, Sept. 12)?

Should the U.N. accept war between the governments of Taiwan and mainland China?

Historically, China's political/military regimes, whether the People's Republic of China (mainland China) or the Republic of China (present Taiwan), have not hesitated to sacrifice millions of Chinese for objectives that those regimes' elites considered as justifiable.

Let's hope that the Taiwan government to achieve independence can maintain a peaceful co-existence with China without engaging in war that will only cause the sacrifice of unimaginable numbers of human lives, waste needed valuable resources for economic and democratic developments and result in regressive and oppressive policies for the Chinese people -- overseas, Taiwan (23 million) and mainland China (1.3 billion).

China longs to be reunited, and a peaceful and united China deserves U.N. membership.

Phillip Kwok Pun Lam
Honolulu

U.S. quagmire in Iraq can't be justified

My response to Theodore Taba's Sept. 17 letter is shock and wonder.

His description of this administration as "steady, religious, visionary, admired by all," sounds like an episode from the "Twilight Zone," not reality.

U.S. casualties in Iraq continue to mount, the cost for this quagmire escalates, Iraq is perhaps weeks away from total civil war and U.S. troops kill 50 Iraqi "insurgents" every other day.

Entering its second year, this war -- "Iraqi Freedom" -- has not uncovered any weapons of mass destruction, which, the president told us, was the basis for going to war in the first place. The connection between Iraq and 9/11? ZERO!

So, the two Bush presidents, father and son, didn't like Saddam. Who cares about their personal vendettas?

Paul D'Argent
Kihei, Maui

President must have respect of military

How can Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry seek to become commander in chief when he blasphemed the U.S. military by testifying against the Vietnam War before Congress and then throwing away his medals? He defamed military personnel, many of whom were killed, maimed, or wounded mentally and emotionally.

As long as a military member earned an honorable discharge for his service 30 years ago, his military service is irrelevant as to whether he should be the next president.

America deserves a commander in chief who is unhesitatingly confident and proficient to lead the country and the military. He must have the respect of the American people and particularly the military.

My primary concern is the current and future security and welfare of America for our children and their children.

Maile Nicholas
Honolulu

Pollution will get worse thanks to Bush policy

It is interesting that reports are now coming out about diminished lung capacity in teenagers from breathing polluted air in the cities where they have grown up.

Without the oxygen levels they need, these kids' bodies and brains are not going to be working at maximum capability now or in the future.

Yet President Bush is proposing a Clear Air Act, to be distinguished from the Clean Air Act currently in place, which would allow higher pollutant levels.

I guess Bush wants to make it easier for big companies to avoid spending the money it would take to reduce the amount of chemicals their plants produce and which we all breathe.

Suze Salm
Kailua

Purple Heart isn't proof enough anymore

Thanks for that great front page photo and story on Army Sgt. Aaron Carvalho in the Sept. 1 Star-Bulletin. Carvalho was wounded in Iraq, is recuperating now at Tripler and has received his Purple Heart.

Remind Carvalho to keep that photo and story. If he ever runs for public office in the future, some other Army guy he may have offended in some way will claim Carvalho was never wounded and was never even in harm's way.

If Carvalho doesn't believe you, tell him to contact John Kerry for verification.

Thanks again for that well deserved tribute to one of our Army reservists.

Elias Matthews
Honolulu



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art

[ BRAINSTORM! ]

Planting an idea


The first and last thing visitors see as they encounter Hawaii -- other than security personnel instructing them to take off their shoes -- is the elevated freeway by Honolulu's airport. Accordingly, when it was built, it was designed to be attractive, including a meandering garden running down the center of the lower level, and, up top, set between the elevated concourses, large planter boxes. The idea was to plant wonderful hanging gardens that would delight visitor and resident alike, and for a while, they did.

But the state Department of Transportation is focused these days on potholes, not on making the roads look pretty. The elevated gardens have become choked with weeds and debris.

So fire up those brain cells. What other use could these midair garden plots be used for? Thematic displays? Lei stands? Minimum-security prisons? Foosball diamonds? Storage for giant downtown Christmas ornaments? Headquarters for our newly reduced National Guard? A place for all the dirt from Castle Junction? Instead of offshore gambling, elevated gambling?

Send us your ideas about what should be done with these highly visible, weed-racked lots.

E-mail your ideas and solutions -- please include your name and address -- by Oct. 20 to: brainstorm@starbulletin.com

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

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

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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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