Keep warehouses away from busy roads
Why are warehouses being allowed to be built on our main thoroughfares? I was upset to see two in Pearl City on Kamehameha Highway, one near Home Depot and the other near Kaahumanu Street. Now I see one being built on Kapiolani Boulevard across from McKinley High School.
These are ugly square boxes that have storage lockers. These are permanent structures that will be there for years and should be built in a warehouse area. What kind of beautification planning is this? Why were they given building permits? I want to be proud of the way our city presents itself, don't you?
Hawaii workers comp is hitting crisis point
What if you broke an arm at work and no doctor would fix it? Dr. Ron Kienitz's Dec. 6 "Gathering Place" column
about workers compensation correctly warns that we're nearing the tipping point for that dire reality.
As an orthopedic surgeon, I've been forced to virtually quit treating injured workers in my practice. Ten years ago, 40 percent of my practice was workers comp-- now it's 5 percent. Why? The Legislature slashed reimbursement until it's now less than our overhead costs. Perhaps the legislators who did this are business geniuses and know how to run a business at a loss and still stay in business, but I sure as heck don't.
Because of these drastic cuts, many physicians who see primarily workers compensation patients, especially orthopedic surgeons, have left Hawaii. Without adequate speciality care, there are delays in diagnosis and appropriate treatment. This results in more time off work.
The longer you keep an injured worker off work, the more difficult it is to get them back to work, increasing overall costs.
I find it tragic that our injured workers are suffering emotional and physical harm due to these counterproductive cutbacks in medical access. Funny how the worker unions who call the shots at the Legislature are sitting on their hands about this. Aren't they supposed to be helping workers?
Linda J. Rasmussen, MD
Past president, Hawaii Orthopedic Association
President-elect, Hawaii Medical Association
Let young ballplayer have his interpreter
The PONY League in Hawaii erred when denying accessibility rights to Justin "Pono" Tokioka by not permitting his father, James Tokioka, to act as an interpreter in the dugout (Editorial, Star-Bulletin, Dec. 12
Having been raised in Hawaii as a deaf individual, I too have been faced with numerous acts of oppression in many arenas of my life, including AYSO soccer. It breaks my heart to see it continuing long after I have passed my childhood. Now that I am an adult, I have the power to advocate for others who were just like me, for I understand their plight.
It will serve PONY's best interest to reverse the ruling made by committee members to allow Justin's father into the dugout. Failure to do so will result in further admonishment by advocates nationwide and will place an embarrassing light upon Hawaii's youth sports, especially after the Ewa Beach boys won the Little League World Series.
Oppression is everywhere in many forms -- sometimes obvious, sometimes very subtle.
Bentley Keolalani Fink
Former Hawaii resident
UH Wahine give us much to be proud of
The season is over for the University of Hawaii Wahine volleyball team
and though it didn't go as far as everyone wanted, all can be proud of this year's team.
The team took us through an exciting season of high-quality volleyball, keeping us glued to our TV sets or rushing to the Stan Sheriff every time it performed.
The consistent quality of coach Dave Shoji's teams year after year has made strong, loyal fans out of thousands. Interest in Wahine volleyball in our family alone spans three generations. I don't believe Dave has been given enough credit for his contribution to the volleyball program since he took over as coach at UH.
Some mention was made this year about his possible retirement in a couple of years. Perish the thought! He should stay on as coach as long as he can get on the golf course and swing that club.
A hearty congratulations and thanks to every member of this year's team for a job well done. We look forward to another great season next year.
Save arctic refuge for Inupiats' future
In response to "Senators' ANWR votes show respect for Inupiat" ("Our Side of the Story," Star-Bulletin, Nov. 20
), by Isaac Akootchook, president of the Native Village of Kaktovik, Alaska: There is not a consensus in Kaktovik on this issue.
When Sen. Daniel Akaka came to the north slope of Alaska, he met with members of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. This corporation has been portrayed as representing the Inupiat of the north slope, but it is a for-profit corporation with contractual agreements with British Petroleum and Chevron/Texaco within the boundaries of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It should be noted that Akaka did not meet with the other indigenous people who would be hurt by oil exploitation in the refuge, the Gwich'in. They have invited him to meet and speak to them but so far he has not. Akaka should consider saving the area for all the people of the United States rather than promoting the interests of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, British Petroleum and Chevron/ Texaco.
I am an Inupiat. I live in Kaktovik. I am opposed to development in the refuge. I wish to save this land for future generations of our people. I do not want them to live within an oilfield.
Share a bedtime story of Christmas joy
It was a night before Christmas
Never in my wildest dream, would I think, I will see a very beautiful Christmas Angel. This Christmas Angel is a very unique Angel,
As she was speaking with a very gentle voice.
As I look and see her gentle smile,
It filled my heart with warmth.
She shown love and friendship to all whose believes there's a Christmas Angel.
I see her with all the children,
So gently loving them.
I see her in the wilderness, helping the needy.
Seeing the beauty of God's creation, I see her heart,
It is gentle, sweet and kind.
This Christmas Angel was sent by God to spreads joy to everyone.
Never knowing what life brings. This Christmas Angel will surely brighten up all Christmases to come. There is no other Angel quite like her,
To me, she is God's special Angel. Sent by God,
To bring a little Joy to this hurting world.
God bless and Merry Christmas to you all.
Don't be fooled by isle building boom
From the window on my left, I see four 40-floor condominium towers under construction with more than 1,200 medium- to high-priced units. There are many more I cannot see.
Behind me, my apartment resembles a refugee camp strewn with construction materials and debris from a long-delayed bathroom renovation I can not complete, because I am too small to compete with those towers for the attention of craftsmen I need to complete it.
My point? The economic boom in Hawaii has far less to do with a cyclical upturn in tourism than with billions of dollars of debt-financed construction spending.
My fear? By attributing the upturn to the wrong source, the government might make foolish spending decisions, and businesses will plan poorly for the payback that the current debt-financed spending will demand from the economy.
Few realize that debt financing of large-scale residential towers is to the community what credit card spending is to a family. Contractors borrow tens of millions that they immediately spend into the economy as wages (that are much higher than in the tourist industry) and the purchase of other goods and services. That is the pleasant part.
However, like credit cards, once the projects are completed and the spending has been enjoyed, the massive construction loans must be repaid. That is done by transferring them to buyers as mortgage debt. From then on, the process is reversed. Mortgage payments now remove from the economy the money owners previously had to spend on the purchase of new goods and services.
My hope? The governor and Legislature don't use economic activity based on borrowed money to justify more spending or taxing.
George L. Berish
UH football program can't ignore problems
Even after leaving the islands 28 years ago, I have been following the University of Hawaii sports program via the Internet. Columnist Kalani Simpson's comments cannot be any clearer in identifying a "crisis" with the football program; he tells it like it is ("Sidelines," Star-Bulletin, Dec. 11
The athletic department's (coaches') efforts on making "cosmetic changes" cannot and will not change reality -- that there is a local mentality with tradition, culture and identity. New colors, new songs, new T-shirts, etc., are not what the fans a looking for; they just want a solid program.
I am in total concert with Kalani's assessment. I don't think that the power kluge is aware of the seriousness of the problem. To them, maybe taking the "ostrich" approach is the answer.
Former Hawaii resident