Street performers are part of Waikiki life
Don't mess with the street performers
! First a little history. I was with the Navy at Barbers Point for almost three years in the mid-1960s and have loved Hawaii ever since. I have been back four times in the last 35 years. We were there during Christmas 2000, and one daughter got married on the beach in 2003. We stayed in Waikiki and soon discovered the performers. We looked forward to a walk down Kalakaua Avenue every evening to watch them -- and then, of course, that led to shopping. I don't think we would have made that walk every night if the performers weren't there, thus less shopping.
The performers are a part of Waikiki and I sure hope some sort of compromise can be reached so they can continue to do their thing. It would not be the same without them.
Please don't get rid of Waikiki performers
I have been to Hawaii eight times as a tourist and enjoy the street performers
every time I am there. Please don't limit or do away with them. They are part of tourism for the islands.
Also, the Lewers Street area has been ruined by the construction. It's no place for the average guy to come to anymore. You just lost an average tourist. It almost makes me cry.
South Bend, Ind.
Charter high school brings honor to Hawaii
Congratulations to charter high school West Hawaii Exploration Academy in Kona for recently receiving a distinguished award for its science achievements from Intel and Scholastic Schools of Distinction. WHEA was one of 10 schools across the nation -- and the only one from Hawaii -- to be chosen to receive this prestigious award. This is like the Academy Awards for schools.
Delegates from the school flew to Washington, D.C., to be presented with the award at a grand ceremony on Oct. 6. Hawaii's congressmen paid tribute to the delegates. But it seems strange that our own governor and the Board of Education have yet to send letters of congratulations to the school. I thought the governor supported charter schools.
Charter schools are doing a good job in spite of the fact that they don't get funding equal to the regular public schools. It seems apparent that our legislators and the BOE don't want them to succeed.
In-your-face Harbin just what Hawaii needs
As a resident of the downtown area, let me be the first to jump on the Bev Harbin bandwagon.
I met Bev at the Friends of Kewalo Basin Association's protest of the Kakaako waterfront project. In less then a minute of talking with her, she had won me over. When she spoke at the gathering she impressed me with her overall knowledge of the facts concerning the development and how it has been fast-tracked through the system. I believe her fiery, confrontational, in-your-face personality not only will do my district good, but also will shake up a political system that has led Hawaii to be last in the nation concerning voter turnout.
It's time for change. You got my vote in 2006; go get 'em, girl.
John J. Arnold
Task force editorial left out some details
Your Nov. 6 editorial
about my 1997 Economic Recovery Task Force is inaccurate. As University of Hawaii professor Chris Grande in his book "Hawaii Becalmed" observed, "Many of the (1997 ERTF) proposals were adopted in one form or another, including lower marginal income tax rates (cut from 10 percent to 8.25 percent), dedication of a portion of the transient accommodations tax ($60 million) to tourism promotion, creation of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, setting mandatory time frames for permit reviews, and establishing the principle of university autonomy."
When the 1997 ERTF proposal to raise the general excise tax to reduce the state income tax top margin from 10 percent to 7 percent was rejected by the Legislature, we worked out a compromise with Democratic legislators to reduce the state income tax from 10 percent to 8.25 percent over a six-year period. As the conservative and well-respected CATO Institute noted, this tax cut along with some of the other tax reduction measures that were passed in Hawaii amounted to the biggest reduction of state taxes in the nation at the time.
I agree with your editorial that the recommendations of Governor Lingle's task force are worthy of serious consideration, and I urge Democratic legislators to do so. It's unfortunate, however, that Lingle and the GOP did not give that same kind of consideration to the recommendations of the 1997 ERTF. Instead, they mounted a furious and highly partisan attack against them. No matter, I suppose, as most of the recommendations were approved into law despite their highly partisan and often misleading opposition.
Former governor of Hawaii
Leaders came through in delicate situations
Congratulation to Governor Lingle ("Fox's conviction still making waves," Star-Bulletin, Nov. 3
) and to William Kaihe'ekai Mai'oho ("Hawaiian staffs are returned to crypt," Star-Bulletin, Nov. 3
They both performed with grace, dignity, patience and courage in the resolution of two sensitive cases. Mahalo and aloha.
Leaving Okinawa is right thing to do
The news that 7,000 Marines would be relocated from Okinawa to Guam within the next six years was a welcome one for those of us who wished for the eventual return of lands in Okinawa to the owners who have waited for more than a half-century to get back their lands. I hope this is a trend of the return of all the lands occupied by our military back to the owners.
The mounting problems of aircraft and helicopter crashes, rapes, traffic accidents and so on only added fuel to the discontent of many of the Okinawan people to our occupation of much of their prime land. By returning the land to its owners, I feel that it is the right thing to do as Americans.
Roy E. Shigemura
HHSAA tourney leaves out the best isle teams
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association must change the football tournament selection process. This year, three of the top 10 ranked football teams in the state will not be participating in the championship tournament simply because they belong to private schools; the Interscholastic League of Honolulu is allowed only one representative, and there have consistently been four ILH teams in the top 10 (Kamehameha, Punahou, St. Louis and Iolani).
This whole system is outdated; it was based on the Oahu Interscholastic Association's desire to beat St. Louis by throwing four OIA teams at it during the state tournament. This was made even more evident by then-Gov. Ben Cayetano's declaration of "Kahuku Red Raider Day" when Kahuku finally beat St. Louis.
To this day, the OIA is allowed four teams, and the OIA championship matches are a joke because both teams playing in each "division final" move on to the state tournament anyway. Too many times have I heard Bob Hogue's voice on TV state something like "well, they lost, but that's OK, they'll still be going to the state tournament anyway."
The tournament should be decided on the quality of the teams, not on whether they belong to a public or private school.
Senators' ANWR vote upheld native rights
Having worked many years for the only native people of the Arctic Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Kaktovik Inupiat, I was aghast at your story (Star-Bulletin, Nov. 7
) about the heroic stand Hawaii's Senators Inouye and Akaka have staunchly held on this simple native rights issue. The Star-Bulletin appears to have been deceived by and perhaps innocently given voice to well-orchestrated, cleverly concealed but still rank racist imperialism.
This land is not a wilderness, it is not uninhabited and it is not the property of a few white rafters from the south 48 (mainland, if you will). It is the ancestral homeland of a native Alaskan people. To call it wilderness is to say either these people do not exist or they are not people. It is the usual imperialistic ploy, that there are no real people there. There are, and they even have a Web page at kaktovik.com.
This is surely an issue Hawaiians would recognize and care about. Inouye and Akaka have been there, they have talked with the people whose homeland this is, they understand, respect and are highly regarded by the Kaktovikmiut, and they have done the right thing, courageously it now appears. When you cut through the smoke and mirrors so skillfully erected over this issue by people far removed from Alaska's Arctic Coast, this is about native rights, and your senators are standing firm for the only real native people of this place.
Pray not for your senators to fold in the face of this savage onslaught, but for their continued courage. Every Hawaiian stands proud because of them.
Karl E. Francis
Special assistant to the City Council
City of Kaktovik, Alaska
'Buck Stops Here'? Not in this White House
The current administration has transformed the science of passing the buck into a new art form. Mandating ethics lessons at the White House is too little, too late.
Just as history has difficulty portraying Harry S. Truman without his "The Buck Stops Here!" sign, history might have equal difficulty portraying George W. Bush without his hidden "The Buck Starts Here, Duh!" sign.
Richard Y. Will