to the Editor

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Tuesday, November 24, 1998


It's folly to restore decrepit Natatorium

Amid budgetary shortfalls, cuts in public services and the promise of increased property taxes, what is the city thinking by insisting on restoring a proven public works nightmare -- the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium -- for $11.5 million? (According to City Councilwoman Donna Kim, this project has no price cap; cost could easily exceed the $11.5 million allocated in the 1998 budget.)

This structure has been a proven loser for the past 70 years. If the Council allows the restoration, the Natatorium would be the only unfiltered, untreated, sand-bottomed, salt-water swimming pool in existence. Similar pools have been closed for years for health and safety reasons.

This summer, an E coli bacteria outbreak at a water park in Marietta, Ga., killed one child and hospitalized 26 others. Six major lawsuits are pending against the park. Lawyers contend that insufficient levels of chlorine existed in the pool to kill the bacteria. The Natatorium will have no chlorine, the first line of defense against bacterial pathogens.

As the pool will be a tourist destination, it must be assumed that visitors from around the world will come to the Natatorium to swim. In many countries, the ocean is considered a bathroom. Many cultures do not share our awareness of ocean and pool hygiene.

Further, there are plans to have children frequent the pool. It is dangerous to assume that there will not be fecal contamination in this body of water. Without filtration or chlorination, how will the public be protected against bacterial outbreaks?

A Nov. 17 opinion from the state attorney general maintains that the Natatorium does not qualify as a "public swimming pool" and is not subject to the health, safety rules and regulations of the Health Department. The city claims this as a great victory and one less hurdle on its march to madness, although many residents would prefer a new beach, restored memorial arch and public restrooms.

There will be a City Council hearing on Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. to decide this issue. You may offer written or verbal testimony. Call City Hall, after Nov. 27, to register to testify or to send/fax in testimony.

Rick Bernstein
Kaimana Beach Coalition

Abortions are just as bad as murders

Your Oct. 27 editorial quoted George Pataki's description of the killing of Dr. Slepian as terrorism and a cold-blooded assassination. Indeed, it is!

So is the assassination of the innocent through partial-birth killing.

The butchery of abortion was introduced into American culture in 1973 by a Supreme Court flouting all the rules of precedence in the law. They have become creators of law rather than interpreters. Thus, murder was legalized.

The unrelenting cruelty of a president who refuses to hear the cries of the American people to at least stop partial-birth abortion is astonishing. As long as these are sanctioned by him, he can hardly call himself a Christian.

Janice Judd

HMSA meeting wasn't at all like reported

I am appalled by your biased and misleading Nov. 3 article on the HMSA meeting ("HMSA accused of 'stacking the deck' at meeting"). Did your reporter attend the same meeting I did? What I saw was a gathering continually interrupted by a small group of doctors and lawyers, who seemed intent on forcing their agenda on the rest of us.

This group took every opportunity to hold up the voting and prolong the meeting. I can only guess that they were trying to force working people like me, who don't have the luxury of debating parliamentary procedure in the middle of the morning, to leave before the vote.

Among the things this group tried to do was oust the board of directors, shut down the meeting, force HMSA to release the names and addresses of its customers, and intimidate audience members by forcing them to identify themselves.

Over and over again, the doctors said that HMSA was trying to "disenfranchise" its members by changing the constitution. I, for one, am relieved that a small group of doctors won't have the power to take over a company responsible for paying their bills.

The protesters even admitted that they wanted physicians on HMSA's board to be able to call special meetings without the consent of the other board members. For what purpose? To increase the amount of money that HMSA gives them?

Theresa E. Bueno

Lingle victory would have been exciting

Had Lingle won the election, the collective soul of Hawaii would be filled with excitement and optimism for the future. What I sense today is a sigh of relief and acceptance of business as usual.

Isn't it interesting how a swing of 5,000 voters could have affected the personality of an entire society?

Gil Riviere

Forget the election; time to look to future

David Shapiro's Nov. 14 message, "Let's put the election bickering behind us," is a welcome voice of reason. The venom spewing from the loser's camp is unhealthy.

It's time to refocus our energy for positive change. Perhaps the first place to start would be a change in attitude.

Enough with the poison pen letters to the editor. Let's call a truce and make a pact to take Shapiro's sage advice "to try to make Hawaii a better place to live."

Rick Humphreys
Friends of Ben Cayetano
(Via the Internet)

Closing of neighborhood store brings wistfulness

I recently heard that Toyo's Superette in Manoa has intentions of closing. I was saddened to hear this news.

I have spent every summer in Manoa Valley with my grandparents, and our visits to Toyo's were fairly frequent. I have fond memories of walking with my sister to get Icees and popsicles, fish and vegetables with my grandma, and mochi with my grandpa.

My trip home for Christmas will not be the same. To the family and staff of Toyo's, you will always be a part of fond memories of my childhood.

Lauren Sodetani
Los Angeles
(Via the Internet)

Despite shortcomings, Gore is still no Quayle

So now we know that Al Gore has outraged the Malaysian government, stiffed the Buddhist monks, and confused Michael Jordan with Michael Jackson. It's a good thing he didn't do something REALLY offensive, like misspell potato.

Robert Engle
(Via the Internet)

Ruling on Bishop Estate could affect all trusts

Can the state be in the dark as much as the trustees about the situation involving Bishop Estate? A ruling against the trustees by the IRS is one thing, but if the tax exemption is revoked, it is a ruling against the state.

If, in the judgment of the IRS, the probate court cannot take care of the trusts under its jurisdiction, the other estates could probably be looked into as well. If that happens, it would suggest that the probate court lacks the qualities needed for effective action. Is the state ready for that?

Robert Taylor
(Via the Internet)

UH volleyball coaches deserve big raise in pay

At the University of Hawaii, volleyball is a major sport that has continually produced national attendance records and generated big-time revenues at the box office. With the downward spiral of football, volleyball has emerged as the financial savior of UH athletics.

Now that the basketball coaches have been blessed with fair five-year contracts, this would be an opportune time to consider compensating the volleyball coaches at the same level.

Dave Shoji, a coaching legend, is deserving of the same salary as the men's basketball coach, which is about $95,000 a year; Mike Wilton merits a salary similar to that of the women's basketball coach, which is about $80,000 annually. Yet Shoji now makes about $70,000 and Wilton $50,000.

Since the arena was fully opened for business three years ago, volleyball drew an incredible 874,198 fans and basketball drew 576,671. That's a difference of a whopping 297,527 fans. And it is estimated that volleyball generated a profit of about $2 million.

It seems that UH officials are following mainland college salary standards, where volleyball attendance and revenues are minor league compared to Hawaii. Pat Summit, women's basketball coach at Tennessee, draws a bigger salary than the men's basketball coach because of the big bucks that her team generates.

L.M. Higa

Coverage of St. Louis is much too slanted

From the tone and frequency of his articles regarding the St. Louis road trip, it's evident that Pat Bigold has a personal ax to grind with the Crusader program in general and with Cal Lee in particular.

The initial coverage of the Las Vegas incident was warranted and the punishments handed out by the school were justified. That Bigold wasn't satisfied with the outcome and his personal opinions, however, are reflected in his work.

Judging from his report on the St. Louis-Iolani game, you would have thought that Iolani had won instead of lost by 35 points. Under the headline "Bizarre win," the article was mostly about Joe Igber and the Iolani offense. Buried in the story was that Timmy Chang of St. Louis broke the ILH record for most touchdown passes in a game. Also glossed over was that St. Louis scored 77 points in the process.

Bigold's most recent article mentions a personal survey saying that other religious schools with football programs would have dealt with the Las Vegas incident more severely. That may be true but what is the point? Bigold has lost perspective and is trying to create the news rather than report it.

Lawrence Suan
(Via the Internet)

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