Back to basics still good idea for Mufi
I was reassured by Mayor Hannemann's State of the City address (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 25
). He remains committed to following through on his campaign promise to focus on the city's long-neglected core services and maintenance issues. He continues to work on fixing the sewers and roads, and set our financial house in order. Mayor Hannemann, keep up the good work and stick to your "nuts and bolts" approach to running our city. And as much as I would like a big refund on my property taxes, I would like the city set right more.
Too often our elected officials forget the things they said to get elected, but not Mufi. He has served for more than a year now as our mayor and is doing exactly what he said he'd do. It's about time we had a mayor who "gets the job done" again.
Should we Hawaiians rebury our history?
It seems there are several Hawaiian organizations that would like Judge David Ezra to consider them as claimants to 83 native Hawaiian artifacts. The articles in question were stolen in 1905 (101 years ago) and either sold or given to the Bishop Museum, which, to the best of my knowledge and research, not only did extensive research as to the gods and other items, but also built and showcased each item with a little history behind them so that all who viewed them got a little education about our culture and heritage.
As a student of our public school system I was able to enjoy all items at the museum; my daughter, and grandchildren also have had the same pleasure. But it seems that my first great grandson and others soon to come will not be afforded the same privilege as we had.
No so-called Hawaiian leader has pointed out that cultural knowledge not only benefits our children but all children of Hawaii. And what about all of the people who visit us from around the world? How can we as a people share not only what we have but what we had, especially at a time when we are asking Congress to consider us a sovereign nation? Do we rebury our culture?
Most of you leaders should spend more time at home since we are losing more of our land, culture and education about same, where its important to all of us. I say this not so much in criticism as I do out of concern for all of us who live here.
Whitney T. Anderson
Curriculum may seem irrelevant to teens
The public schools education standards and curriculum are aligned and relevant to each other (Star-Bulletin, March 3
). The HSA (Hawaii State Assessment) test should produce results that verify this.
I question if the coursework is actually relevant to many of the students our schools serve. Is it aligned with our students' needs and the needs of their communities? Does it take into consideration their unique gifts and strengths? Not all students are academicians. All do have inherent value.
Alternative diplomas, life skills/mentoring programs and strong vocational and technical schools need to be developed for the 12- to 18-year-olds in this state. These would provide the scaffolding that a good percentage of our youth need in order to bridge the gap between childhood and responsible adulthood.
Independent press is valuable
I think the exposure of the outrages
committed by the Bishop Estate trustees points to the need for a courageous independent press.
Congratulations to the Star-Bulletin for its part in remedying the matter and helping Hawaiian school children.
Mark A. Koppel
Unions' efforts hurt hotel workers
I have followed the recent ownership change at the Hawaii Naniloa Resort with great interest. The state has admirably worked out a deal to save an aging Hilo landmark by having a new owner come in with a $5 million dollar commitment to renovate the property.
This certainly will be good for Hilo in the long term, but in the short term it means the loss of almost 120 jobs. This is painful for those employees who have to look for work, but the union is not helping that process by claiming the new owner is a "union buster" rather than accepting that market factors drive many such transitions within the hospitality industry.
At Turtle Bay Resort, we went through a similar transition in 2001 with a $60 million renovation that rescued our resort from condemnation. At that time, a new management company came in and promised to do whatever it could to retain employees, despite the obvious financial benefits of reducing staff during the renovation process. All employees were retained and now more than four years later, Benchmark Hospitality International has made good on its promise, not only retaining staff through the renovations but creating about 280 additional jobs as the resort has grown and prospered. Throughout our remarkable transition, Benchmark has been labeled a "union buster" and Turtle Bay Resort has been the target of a protracted union boycott to drive business and jobs away form the resort.
Ironically, this subverts the very purpose of the union, which is to protect its members, not to erode business and, therefore, jobs. Yet through perseverance and a bit of good fortune, we have managed to turn a difficult transition into a success story for our employees and their families.
Change is the one constant in Hawaii's travel industry. My hope is that this change will yield positive benefits for the former Naniloa workers and the hotel's new owner.
Turtle Bay Resort, Kahuku
Money and influence might revive Hokulia
After a judge ruled that the Hokulia project on the Big Island could no longer continue because it did not comply with state law, a bill being considered by the Legislature would get it going again (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 19
Apparently, the monied interests behind Hokulia believe that if the law stops them from doing what they want, they will change the law.
Hokulia is no ordinary development. Covering more than 1,500 acres, it was designed as a gated community consisting of more than 700 luxury homes, with house lots priced at $1 million or more -- not including the house.
Those who want Hokulia to be built already have an ally in Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu, the chairman of the committee that recently held a public hearing on the bill. What finally happens to the bill will show to what degree Hawaii is controlled by moneyed interests.
Misuse of isle ag land is an old practice
Read your March 4 editorial
, "Allow housing on ag land unfit for farming," and thought how that would make so much sense on Department of Hawaiian Homes Lands. Fertile land was taken away to make way for pineapple and sugar cane. Hawaiians are given barren and rocky designated ag parcels and required to produce crops or lose their leases.
Ask a Hawaiian farmer how hard it is to till rock? It is no wonder that the majority of designated ag lands of DHHL are misused or unused today. Thus these lands need to be rezoned and more people on the waiting list placed in residential homes.