to the Editor

Write a Letter to the Editor

Saturday, January 30, 1999

Cayetano's speech offered common sense and hope

The reforms in Governor Cayetano's State of the State speech are changes that most sensible people in Hawaii have been wishing for many years.

It's not a lack of money that's impairing quality in our public schools system and the delivery of all government services. It's a people- and organizational-effectiveness problem characterized by monopolistic practices that are tremendously costly and wasteful -- including: extravagant paid leaves upon hire (21 days a year for sick pay, 21 days vacation pay, 14 paid holidays), an unaffordable medical insurance benefit for retirees, an unbelievably short work year (33 weeks) for most school employees, and an antique retirement plan that most private employers have long abandoned.

Cayetano must push now for his major structural changes. If our Legislature doesn't kokua in the next two years or so, it'll be too late.

Let's all hope tomorrow's Hawaii will be one where society gets better and better because government's role becomes less and less, and people's ingenuity and hard work and caring for others flourish like it hasn't for many decades.

Alan T. Matsuda
Libertarian Party of Hawaii

Hawaii is too soft on violent offenders

Consider this: You are a troublemaker, young, involved with the law many times and yet have never served two days in jail. You hear that a 20-year-old named Rodney was involved in a brutal beating and robbery of a Chicago police sergeant, who now is permanently disabled.

Rodney got probation. He then got caught for violating all four terms of his probation. But all he got was more probation; he is still on the street. What message does this send?

How sad that Hawaii's judicial system is in need of a work over. I don't believe we're being hard enough on criminals. We're letting them "cruise."

Twenty-eight states require violent offenders to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentences. An additional 13 states require violent offenders to serve a substantial portion of their minimum sentences.

Hawaii isn't in either of these groups.

The facts speak for themselves. Hawaii has revolving prison doors -- that is, if violent offenders ever reach prison. This state has had an increase of prisoners in 1997 of 23.4 percent, the largest jump in the nation.

Rory Hennessy

Police were right to ticket scofflaws at surf meet

I must respond to Mike Hand, who complained in his Jan. 15 letter that police showed a "lack of aloha" when they ticketed and towed cars at Waimea Bay during the recent Eddie Aikau surf meet. The true lack of aloha was demonstrated by the thoughtless drivers who parked in an area clearly marked as a no-parking and tow-away zone.

As someone who lived at Waimea Bay for over 20 years, all I can say is it's about time. Every surf meet or big wave day, I would have to take off from work just to keep people from parking in my yard, urinating on my grass, standing on my brick wall, using my hose, sleeping under a tree in my yard, and generally being a nuisance. Some days, because there were so many cars parked in the no-parking zone, we did not get our mail delivered.

Maybe after a few people get the bill for being inconsiderate, they will think twice about parking in an area that is supposed to be off limits.

Starling Thomas Meahl
(Via the Internet)

More ways to improve University of Hawaii

I thoroughly enjoyed and agreed with Jim Dator's Jan. 23 Insight article on the University of Hawaii. His main thesis was that UH should decide what it can and should do, and then do those things well. His history seemed dead-on right and his plan was excellent.

A few more suggestions:

bullet Dator should modify slightly his distance-learning emphasis. Hawaii has a history of distance learning and can make a better case for it than any other state; the problem, however, is the underprepared, undermotivated student often benefits least from distance learning. Too many graduates in Hawaii fit this definition.

bullet Take advantage of the community colleges. Get more students (or maybe everyone?) to spend their first two years at a community college, then transfer to Manoa or Hilo as juniors. There should be more participation by UH faculty and a smooth transition program to ensure this.

bullet Establish more reciprocating out-of-state tuition waivers with mainland colleges and universities. Provide scholarships for local students that include some transportation -- perhaps three trips back to Hawaii per year.

bullet Philosophically, establish the system as a "students first" university. We must remind ourselves that we are in the learning business, not the teaching business.

Again, I applaud Dator's ideas. Although UH should be first class rather than just good at whatever it does, it must stop being mediocre at far too many things.

Tom Foster
Associate Dean, Learning Resources
Grossmont College
El Cajon, Calif.

Professor's essay on UH evokes mixed reactions

Jim Dator's suggestions in his Jan. 23 Insight commentary, "One possible future for UH," was on the money.

For example, June Jones has been hired to a five-year contract to fulfill a mission that is next to impossible. Exciting football, yes; winning seasons on the national level, questionable.

Dator's ten points for change are the right steps to start taking, especially implementation of point No. 10 in five years if the program is not a winner: Pull out of Division 1A athletics.

The fence must go up, however, on Dator's main essay, "First Class?" In his last paragraph, Dator wrote, "I deeply love the people of this state in whose service I and other faculty members have given our lives."

So, then, should we erect statues to the UH faculty and proclaim them martyrs?

Robert A. Hiatt

Futurist is wrong that UH should accept mediocrity

Thanks to Professor Jim Dator for his insightful analysis of the University of Hawaii's woes in last Saturday's paper. But no thanks for his conclusions, and humbug to his recommendations.

Having been at UH for 14 years, I can affirm Dator's sad tale of the piecewise dissolution of a fine institution. He errs, though, in concluding that mediocrity is all we can aspire to.

Dator may be a futurist, but he's missed some of the past and present. His idea of having professors sweep the halls was tried already by Mao and then by Pol Pot. Neither succeeded, despite the advantage of not having to deal with the UHPA.

You don't need a crystal ball to see how his other suggestions would play out, either. For a contemporary example of restricted infrastructure, lack of basic research, emphasis on applied rather than fundamental knowledge, absence of tenure and employment security, self-funding and the rest, just look at Hawaii Pacific University.

While HPU is a successful and useful institution which this state can certainly be proud of, no academic who doesn't actually work there would agree that it's really a "university."

In the traditional sense, a university generates and preserves knowledge and the love of knowledge. UH is a true university that has been, is and will continue to be great in its own way.

That's because there have been, are and will always be (we hope) a few outstanding minds on our campus who define the very frontiers of knowledge. They attract top students and researchers and federal dollars and all those other things that make us "great."

John Sender
(Via the Internet)


Fixing the presidential problem

Feingold showed courage in defying party line

"Hats off" to Wisconsin Sen. Russell Feingold for being (possibly) the only Democratic senator with the unique courage to vote his true convictions with regards to the charges against Clinton.

Senator Feingold has my utmost respect, not necessarily because of the way he voted, but because he put his heart- felt principles above party politics.

The other 99 senators, including our two Hawai senators, hid behind their party banner, with such feeble excuses as: "I cast my votes the way I did because I was fearful that the Constitution of the United States was under attack." What a crock!

Ross M. Rolirad
(Via the Internet)

How much obstruction of justice is too much?

The impeachment of President Clinton is a politically polarized event, but most Americans seem to agree on two things: he did it, but he shouldn't be removed from office. Why not? Because he has not "committed crimes against the nation."

I guess that means that obstructing justice for all 250 million Americans is not OK, but obstructing justice for one American (Paula Jones) is OK.

Perhaps our Hawaii congressional delegation could tell us how many presidential justice obstructions are permissible? Two? Three? 2,499,999?

Bill Thomas
(Via the Internet)

We must convict Clinton even if we don't want to

To the people of Hawaii and the United States, I ask, which will it be -- the rule of personal peace and affluence, or the rule of law? The rule of law, which creates a society of free men, must be protected from all violations for it to remain intact. The rule of law, by necessity, means one law for all men, especially when it concerns the rich or powerful.

The most powerful person in the United States is the president. That office is most prone to the corrupting influences of power. We must as a society of free men under the law apply to our president the same laws that apply to us. We must speak to the contempt of laws displayed in Clinton lying under oath by impeaching him.

Any other decision is to undermine our society as equals under the law. This is a turning point in the history of the United States; a moment in time for corporate self discipline. The law must be applied even if it is not our desire.

Loren D. Anderson

Here's a Clinton idea that pays off for students

With the current emphasis on the White House scandal, our nation has become distracted from many important concerns. However, President Clinton is still proposing, reforming and persevering. His recent recommendation to funnel retired military members into the nation's classrooms is good common sense.

We all know that there is a need to improve education and at its core are teachers. Teaching, like the military, is a "service before self" occupation, requiring tremendous dedication.

Because my current history teacher, Joseph M. Gardewin, is a retired Air Force colonel, I live with the positive aspects of President Clinton's plan. It is obvious to me that military members know and value good order and discipline, thus bring this attribute to the classroom. They are also beyond being intimidated by teen-agers.

Mr. Gardewin is a perfect example of the president's proposal. After 27 years of military service, including duty in Vietnam, he has transferred his skills from the battlefield to the classroom -- another battlefield, some would say.

Kristen D. Fullenkamp
Grade 10
Sacred Hearts Academy

System hasn't failed, but president has

A slap on the wrist will not do because the president made a calculated decision to lie and then stick to his guns when he was found out. As difficult a decision as it would have been to come clean -- and it got tougher to tell the truth each time -- he played a game and lost. He is still lying!

We have wasted millions of dollars and months on this issue. Bill Clinton is the culprit, not the system!

Gil Riviere
(Via the Internet)

Clinton has stained his high office

House Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde said, "Among things we love (as Americans) are the rule of law, equal justice before the law and honor in public life. All of us are trying as hard as we can to do our duty, as we see it; no more and no less."

"Honor in public life" has been done by former President John F. Kennedy. "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what I can do for my country."

Patrick Henry said "...as for me; give me liberty or give me death..."

"Honor in public life" entails not only sacrifice but keeping to the rules. Congressman Graham said President Clinton was "out of bounds." He might have hit a home run but if he didn't touch second base the umpire will call him out no matter if the whole stadium is for him.

Kwock Young

It's clear, impeachment is here to stay...

I can hear it now, this conversation between Ken Starr and Henry Hyde, sometime late in 1999 or the year 2000, in a GOP news conference.

Starr: I didn't tell you that the taxpayers wouldn't mind paying $5,000 a night for Monica to stay in the Presidential Suite at the Mayflower. Right?

Hyde: (nods)

Starr: I never suggested that we had to use that room so she (Monica) would feel more at home. Right?

Hyde: (nods)

Starr: I never suggested she (Monica) might become excited at the sight of the presidential seal on the floor and fall to her knees in awe, or that it might refresh her memory. Right?

Hyde: (nods)

Starr: I never said the senators were a bunch of "(expletive deleted) dirty old men." Right?

Hyde: (nods)

Starr: I never suggested she (Monica) might offer to re-enact the Oval Office crime with House managers. Right? Henry?

Hyde: (waking) And I was never asked or told to lie about the purpose of your four-year investigation or anything relating to this or any of my own discretions ...or your alleged crimes.

Keith Haugen
(Via the Internet)

Write a
Letter to the Editor

Want to write a letter to the editor? Let all Star-Bulletin readers know what you think. Please keep your letter to about 200 words. You can send it by e-mail to letters@starbulletin.com or you can fill in the online form for a faster response. Or print it and mail it to: Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802. Or fax it to: 523-8509. Always be sure to include your daytime phone number.

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin