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Friday, June 25, 1999


Council dissidents must stop crying wolf

City Council members Donna Kim, Mufi Hannemann and John Henry Felix committed a disservice to the public by running their vindictive advertisement on real property taxes.

Could such behavior be the reason they were ousted from leadership in the first place?

The city administration has tried hard to inform the public over the loud "wolf" cries of these Council members. They are wasting time and public money on this nonsense.

Please tell them to stop and move on.

Maile Hunter

Maui is very close to being perfect

I just finished reading Diane Chang's June 18 ditty on her recent visit to Maui. I couldn't see the point of it aside from a needless trashing of the Valley Isle.

I'm sorry if Maui didn't live up to her Honolulu-esque expectations, but the people on Maui prefer the island and way of life there.

I was born and raised on Maui, but have since moved to Japan for work. A few weeks ago, I went back to Maui to visit my family there and was so moved by the beauty of the island and its people that I've quit my job and will be returning to Maui for good in September.

One of Chang's basic flaws was that she was making comparisons to Honolulu: "One minute you're in Wailuku/Kahului, which looks more like Waikele/Kapiolani..."

That makes me wonder why she ever leaves the safety blanket of her home?

Prices are high? Obviously, Chang has never set foot in Waikiki. Try doing a little shopping there before getting so upset about Maui's resort prices.

Anyway, there really is no comparison between Lahaina and the concrete jungle that is Waikiki.

Maui isn't perfect but, to me and plainly many visitors, it is as close as it gets.

Richard Walker
Kanagawa, Japan
Via the Internet


Battle over war memorial

Of course Natatorium is a swimming pool

It appears that these "blind" members of the City Council, along with the mayor, have yet to identify the "white elephant" they've been pondering so long, now further complicated by a selective deafness in their response to the thoughtful deliberations of Judge Gail Nakatani, who has declared the Natatorium to be, in fact, a swimming pool.

Open the makai end of the pool to the cleansing sea, restore both the sandy beach and the memorial arches to their pristine state, and let's put this impasse behind us!

Gil Sofio, M.D.

Restoration must proceed immediately

We applaud Mayor Jeremy Harris' decision to proceed with the full restoration of the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium, despite a judge's ruling to regulate this salt-water enclosure as if it were a pool filled with fresh water.

It is our nation's only "living memorial" for the 101 service members from Hawaii who died while serving in World War I. It is listed on the National Historic Register.

Once restored, the Natatorium will be a wonderful venue for aquatic training and competition, as well as a welcome new attraction for visitors. The 100-meter-by- 40-meter salt-water course is a unique treasure.

While we commend the city's decision to appeal the judge's unpopular, unwise ruling, it is unfortunate the selfish motives of a few boisterous individuals have cast aspersions on this very worthwhile community project.

John D. Nielsen
Member, Board of Directors
Friends of the Natatorium

Restored Natatorium would be a headache

I haven't heard anyone address the cost of maintenance should the pool be restored under present proposed guidelines. There will have to be full-time staff to monitor the pool and the public. There can be no days off.

Also, who is to determine whether someone who wants to swim in the Natatorium has a liver problem, a compromised immune system or is on chemotherapy? The filtering and cleaning system would require constant overseeing and possibly frequent repairs. This all sounds very expensive and is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

M.L. O'Brien

Natatorium's condition disgraces heroes

Judge Nakatani should admit her error so we can get on with fixing the Natatorium.

As a youth I learned to swim there and spent many hours there, basking under the summer sun with friends and family.

As a child, I wondered why this magnificent pool was there. I knew it had to do with war, death and honor. Fix it, for goodness sake. It is a disgrace. With such negligence, no wonder so many children today have lost respect.

Judge Nakatani and those three City Council people don't understand the seriousness of their misjudgment.

Paul K. Takamatsu
Honokaa, Hawaii

Kaimana's openness improves Waikiki

Kaimana Beach is away from the tour buses and most of the skyscrapers. It provides access to great snorkeling and kayaking, and has uncrowded benches that are great for watching the sunset. And there are no parking meters.

Although I admire the Natatorium's architecture, it's clear that restoration will further alienate local residents from Waikiki, as well as many visitors who are turned off by the concrete jungle Waikiki has become. More people, more construction, less parking -- just like the rest of Waikiki.

If we want to increase our visitor count, we need to make Waikiki a place where people like to come. Now, everyone feels ripped off -- tourists and locals alike.

Christel Varnum
Via the Internet


"We're doing a service
in the community that nobody else
wants to do...People mess up.
Birth control is not perfect."

Dianne Baker
About renamed Family Planning Centers of Hawaii,
formerly known as Planned
Parenthood of Hawaii

"It's all speculation.
We've canvassed the area, and
everybody is pointing fingers
at everybody else."

Russell Ikeda
On paraquat-poisoned meat, being blamed for the death
and sickness of pet dogs, that may have been thrown
into the yards of St. Louis Heights residents

Citizen panels are doing government's work

The Star-Bulletin's June 10 editorial calls for yet another citizen review panel, this one to oversee the state Department of Human Services. Why? Because of the failure of the state's Child Protective Services to prevent several such tragedies as the recent Reubyne Buentipo Jr. case.

Other recent cases of our government spending money and producing results not to citizens' liking include the recent proposed changes for Koko Head Regional Park, panned by the community and now up for major revisions, complete with "citizen oversight."

I am all in favor of citizen involvment in government, but it is pretty outrageous that hard-working citizens have to carry out, for free, the jobs that paid government officials or their hired professionals are doing poorly.

If state or city bureaucrats are doing such a substandard job, fire them and either hire competent help or lower taxes and give the money back to the people.

Khal Spencer
Via the Internet

Opinions change with the (election) season

Last fall, when Governor Cayetano was running for re-election, he proclaimed his support for the payment of Hawaiian Home Lands individual claims.

Now, in June 1999, with no election in sight, Cayetano vetoes the bill that would allow the Hawaiian claims panel to continue processing these claims. Draw your own conclusions.

Ruth Yong
Via the Internet

Money spent to fight drugs is wasted

Our U.S. congressional delegation, U.S. attorney, state narcotics enforcement chief, HPD and Star-Bulletin editorial writers seem elated over the announced federal award of $700,000 to escalate our isle drug fight, as described in your June 15 headline. Before celebrating the award, we should consider the following:

Bullet There is no evidence that increased law enforcement efforts will reduce drug availability or drug use. In fact, the DEA itself admits that interdiction of drug shipments catches only 5-10 percent of the drugs being transported.

Bullet An in-depth study by the RAND Corp. in 1994 concluded that treatment of drug addiction is seven times more cost effective in reducing drug abuse than interdiction, arrests and incarceration.

Bullet While the 700,000 federal dollars may look good in a depressed economy, Hawaii is more likely to come out a loser. The increased law enforcement efforts will result in more arrests, convictions and incarceration of people who use drugs. Taxpayers will end up paying for this at nearly $30,000 per year for each inmate, not to mention costs of arrests, detention and court proceedings.

Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey stated publicly last year, "We can't arrest our way out of the problem." Yet we blindly continue to follow that path rather than recognize substance abuse as a public health problem and deal with it as such. How much longer will we continue to go down this senseless path of self-destruction guided by a failed drug policy?

Donald M. Topping
President, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii
Via the Internet

Texas sports fans aren't obnoxious

In Bill Kwon's June 15 Sports Watch column, he warned that Texas sports fans, who are normally "insufferable," will only get worse if the Spurs and Stars win their respective championships in basketball and hockey.

I recently relocated to Dallas from Honolulu (via Los Angeles) and have actually found the Texas sports fans to be far more tolerant than back home in Hawaii or in L.A.

Sure, the Cowboys market themselves as "America's Team," which seems obnoxious. But the people here tend to be very open and friendly, even graciously tolerating fans cheering for the other side.

Lyle Lovett has a song that goes, "That's right, you're not from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway." That's just as true of its sports fans.

Kalani Perry
Dallas, Texas
Via the Internet

Higher office for Ventura is scary thought

Regarding Emil Guillermo's cliche-filled June 17 column, Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura is great if you're an anarchist or under 30 with an IQ to match. He is all ego and self-promotion, and is as "real" as a $99 bill.

Ventura's current campaign to run for higher office is truly terrifying. He is the lowest common denominator.

Nancy Bey Little


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