Hanabusa throws Young to the lions
It is disappointing that during her first term as Senate president
Colleen Hanabusa has allowed the confirmation process for department directors to turn into a circus. Acting like a ringmaster, Hanabusa has let loose her "lion," Sen. Russell Kokubun, into the center ring, in an effort to devour Peter Young of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. But Kokubun was unable to do it after five days of hearings.
We can only hope that Hanabusa realizes how disgusted the public is by the process and that she will not allow it in the future. Based on the lack of leadership she has shown in the state Senate, Hawaii is fortunate she was not elected to the U.S. Congress last fall. Let us hope that she does not hold higher office in the future.
Young listens to kupuna and fishermen
I would like to thank the Star-Bulletin for its coverage in recent days and your April 8 editorial, "Senate panel should reconfirm Young."
While I agree that Peter Young, chairman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, is facing some opposition at his Senate confirmation hearing, my experience with Young and his department has been positive.
As executive director for the Hanalei Watershed Hui, I know from personal experience that Young and his staff take the time to listen to kupuna and subsistence fishers, as has been the case in Haena. On Kauai our community is hard at work with DLNR, developing and enforcing our own community-managed fishing area. This program, known as Makai Watch, is a neighborhood watch for the ocean, and it has been working in communities across our state since 2005.
Young has plans to expand the Makai Watch program and has asked for a substantial budget increase for more enforcement staff. If we want our resources to be healthy for future generations, community-based management and increased enforcement are top priorities. Young has proven he will work to resolve these issues. We should give him another term as director of DLNR.
Hanalei Watershed Hui
Med school doesn't deserve tobacco funds
Star-Bulletin reporter B.J. Reyes raised good policy issues in "House to revive medical school bill"
(April 13) in covering the attempt by the University of Hawaii to capture additional tobacco settlement funds -- after the initial $150 million for construction -- to now pay for the medical school's operating costs.
Bad enough is the fact that the school agreed to the initial allotment with the assurance its operations would be self-sustaining.
Worse is the debt of millions. Pacific Business News reported on June 19, 2006, a $2.1 deficit after the first full year (and rising significantly even with renting office space).
Worse still is the forgotten promise made to the community that the dismantled School of Public Health, that the medical school orchestrated and also occupies, would be reaccredited after five years. The end of this year marks the passage of seven! Hence, the community should press the Board of Regents to set a policy that the UH president not request further tobacco settlement funds for the John A. Burns School of Medicine until a separate and nationally accredited School of Public Health is achieved.
By the way, the annual budget of the School of Public Health at the time of closure was approximately $1.2 million. When the "rescued" bill goes to conference committee, legislators should also be held accountable.
Anti-immigrant aspect has been overblown
There is no prejudice at all toward Asians or Koreans or any immigrants concerning the Virginia Tech incident.
Everyone at Virginia Tech and especially Cho Seung-Hui's roommates gave him the best possible care before the incident, and afterward there was only concern about how to help all Asians, Koreans and other immigrants so this won't happen again. There is no reason to constantly bring up the prejudice issue. By bringing up the prejudice issue over and over again, that alone will cause friction.
People must be willing to protect themselves
In response to recent letters, I think Mark Plischke got it right ("Do we blame vehicles for auto accidents?" Letters, April 19
). It is not the tool, but rather the person wielding it that commits evil. As for Arsenio Pelayo's comments about having "well-trained armed security guards" in our schools to prevent violence, do we honestly want armed personnel with such a presence of force not only in our schools but in our streets and neighborhoods to protect us?
We do live in a free country -- the last truly free country in the world. With that freedom comes a responsibility to protect yourself from those who abuse that freedom.
This brings to mind a quote from Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." The only person who can save you at the moment of tragedy is you.
Cho's photo should not have been published
I was horrified to walk past a news stand Thursday morning and note the picture on the front page. It was of the Virginia Tech shooter holding two guns pointed outward in front of him.
I watched as people purchased the paper. One of the comments I heard was "He looks just like a shooter from the the Old West." As we know, many of the Old West actions as portrayed in movies are imitated by children. I hope that young people both here in Hawaii and all over will not try to imitate the actions of such a sick individual as the shooter at Virginia Tech.
If I was horrified by seeing this picture of the shooter at Virginia Tech, I can just imagine what needless pain it can give to the students at VT and to all those who have been affected by this horrible act.
It is a time to heal, not inflame!
Faith A. Scheideman
Everyone wanted to know about Ho
What fond memories ... I was shocked to hear of Don Ho's passing.
My friends here in New York told me about it.
I was a performer in his show years back and many people would ask me what was it like working for him and what kind of person was he. I told them stories of the fun and crazy times working for him and how protective he was. If you had a problem, he would want to know about it and help if he could.
On my next trip home, I was planning to surprise him and visit the show. Now, only memories and they'll be with me always.
"I'll Remember You."
New York, N.Y