to the Editor

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Friday, April 23, 1999


Museum's losses are felt here
and around the globe

I was saddened to learn that the Bishop Museum had to lay off 20 staff and reduce time for another 12 people, six of whom were employed in natural sciences.

I am dismayed that this invaluable resource to our community is being dangerously undersupported by the state. For an economy that looks to ecotourism, diversified agriculture, plant-based pharmacological products, bio-technology and appropriate environmental preservation, it will be a great loss if the resources to support these activities are seriously hampered. The Bishop Museum staff and collections, specifically the herbarium, provide the essential scientific support for all of the above programs.

Although these are hard financial times for our state, our governor and legislators should not make the mistake of cutting off our future by reducing or eliminating the state's support of the Bishop Museum.

David H. Lorence

Public awareness of the importance of our biological heritage and the threat posed by invasive species has increased in recent years. Hawaii has been recognized as a treasure of biological diversity and one of our most threatened ecosystems. The Hawaii Biological Survey provides a vital role with research and collection support for addressing the state's endangered biodiversity. The Bishop Museum's education of the public is extremely important too.

The loss of the Bishop Museum's research and collections for a slight short-term financial gain would represent an irreplaceable loss to the citizens of Hawaii and the United States.

If someone were to propose a research and public educational institution that supports Hawaii's science, cultural history, educational and research infrastructure for only $1.6-$2 million, most people would think that the state's citizens had landed a real bargain.

Kirby C. Stafford III

I worked for many years in Papua New Guinea and recall the significance of the Bishop Museum's influence on biological sciences in that country. I know that equally important work has been carried out in many other islands in the region.

The Pacific is a remarkable region in all sorts of ways and is especially important for its biological and ecological heritage. The Bishop Museum has been at the forefront of our efforts to understand and protect this heritage. It would be an international tragedy if these efforts were to be curtailed in any way.

David Lamb

The Bishop Museum is an international resource of critical importance to scientists studying the plants and animals, peoples, oceans and geology of the Pacific basin. I hope that your state legislature will realize how important it is that it support the museum at a level that will enable it to continue its important service to a broad community within Hawaii and elsewhere in the world.

Robert Ornduff

The Bishop Museum is the premier research museum in this area of the world and it is vital that it continue to function. The rapidly increasing importance of the Pacific Rim economically, politically and environmentally means the museum's severe budget cuts are a major blow to continued stability in the Pacific.

Christopher C. Austin


"We are going to do whatever
it takes. For us, this is everything."

Rowena Akana
In Washington, D.C., lining up legal aid and support for the case
challenging OHA voting restrictions to be heard
by the U.S. Supreme Court

"I regret to inform you that the
University of Hawaii system is in
grave danger of failing to accomplish
its mission as a Division I research
institution and is similarly being
starved in its other parts as well."

Alexander Malahoff
In an April 5 letter to fellow members of the faculty union

Senator brushed off supporter of Bronster

Margery Bronster is the first state official to take a hard stand against the back-door deals that have been going on for too long in Hawaii (the Bishop Estate, gas price-gouging) and I applaud her efforts.

Yet, before she can get the job done, so-called dissidents in the Senate -- three of whom have financial ties to the Bishop Estate -- are set to sabotage her.

In my attempt to encourage my state senator, Cal Kawamoto, to reconsider his position against Bronster's reappointment, I was rudely brushed off. His reply all but told me that his mandate is to do what is politically expedient rather than sincerely listening to the voters who elected him to office.

Jane Pascua

Hawaii isn't immune to Littleton-type tragedy

With Hawaii's youth gang problems and tensions between ethnic groups, an incident such as the Colorado shooting could happen in Hawaii.

Can our schools protect students, teachers and staff members from potential shootings? Are security personnel on our campuses adequately trained to prevent and handle such incidents?

Although the DOE may have a crisis plan in place, more needs to be done to ensure safety in our schools. The state Legislature should pass stricter laws, more severe penal codes and tougher gun control measures to discourage this kind of behavior. We need to do what is necessary to protect Hawaii's schools and citizens.

Adrienne Kasaoka

No community is safe from terror of guns

No neighborhood is safe from gunfire. Read the past news reports: Ewa Beach, Kahala, Makiki, Waipahu. And now the heartbreak in Colorado. Guns.

Yes, we could live without them. And that old "it's not the object but the user" logic doesn't fly. Our children could run from a knife, but they'll never run faster than a bullet can kill. Senators, representatives, Congress, Mr. Clinton, Mr. Gore -- do something! When we kiss our children in the morning before school, how many of us will be kissing them farewell?

Jeanne Keuma

Lack of accountability breeds violent kids

Kids are great learners. If they see people people getting hijacked for lunch money without consequence, they learn to accept crime.

If they hijack people without consequence, they learn to be predators. If they are hijacked without consequence, they learn to be victims.

If they gain status by belittling others without objection, they learn intolerance. If they see someone gaining status by belittling others without objection, they learn to do the same. If they are belittled without objection, they learn alienation.

If they see their TV heroes win fulfillment with aggression and violence, they learn to be aggressive and violent.

Kids are great learners. What do we teach them?

Robin Uyeshiro

America's Cup is risky investment

You really missed the boat, pun intended, in your April 14 editorial on the America's Cup yacht from Hawaii. You believe that the state will get "millions of dollars worth of world television exposure" for only $3 million.

To get any publicity at all, you must assume the Hawaii entry will do well and perhaps even make it into the finals. But why should the taxpayer take such a gamble? Further, do you really think the people who are interested in the America's Cup really need to be told about Hawaii? They already know.

Better to spend the $3 million directly on advertising than to subsidize this elitist sport. No government money, whether from state coffers or the tourist bureau, should be wasted on this fiasco.

Ron Overman
Via the Internet

Community college students get no respect

As a longtime community college student, I have sadly observed the deterioration of the UH system. The low morale our faculty is experiencing is very real and well founded.

As former president of the Honolulu Community College student government, I have witnessed how cliques of administration and faculty work with one mind. They have effectively destroyed the joy of education for those who have dedicated their lives to teaching and those who enjoy learning for the sake of learning.

The university is no longer the service to the community it once was. It no longer views students as its reason for existence, but only as a source of revenues. Students have become merely assembly-line products.

(When I quipped in a campus faculty/student meeting with UH President Mortimer that I had 160 credits at HCC, he responded, "You're clogging the system.")

Distance education is becoming a university priority: education at a lower cost with escalating tuition and dissipated guilt when they don't have to look us in the eye any more.

Tana-Lee Rebhan-Kang
Student, UH Community Colleges
Via the Internet

Hate-crime legislation is needed in Hawaii

Wake up, Rep. Terry Yoshinaga. If you cannot justify a hate-crime bill because you THINK someone might look gay, and that it allows them to be murdered, you are too ignorant to represent decent citizens! Your thinking is the very reason such a bill should be passed.

Sadly, ignorance is not limited to uneducated people. If you have children, you should be fighting for a hate-crime bill. What if someone thinks that your child is gay? How would you like it if he or she were murdered?

Rep. Yoshinaga, if you must persist in such ignorance, do Hawaii a big favor and RESIGN!

Ronald Milazzo
Kapaa, Kauai
Via the Internet


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