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Saturday, May 20, 2000

University must foster public debate

Free speech means we are free to disagree and, if necessary, blast each other's ideas. However, there will be little to debate if public discourse is chilled by fear of economic retaliation.

Thus, the calls for the University of Hawaii to fire head basketball Coach Riley Wallace because of his comments regarding the NCAA's response to the South Carolina flag debate are unconscionable.

Freedom of thought is especially valued at a university because controversial ideas must be debated in an open atmosphere. This standard must be upheld in sports as well as academics.

In the final analysis, Wallace should be evaluated on the success of his coaching, his service to the university and community, the quality of his relationship with his players, and whether he imparts a love of both athletic and academic values to his teams.

He should not be judged on whether his public speech is politically correct. We are all entitled to our opinions, regardless of whether others agree with us.

Khalil J. Spencer

All moms don't agree with premise of march

I feel very sorry for anyone who has lost a child. But as a mother of three, I want to say that the Million Mom March does not speak for or represent me.

I'm sure those women felt they were doing the right thing by protesting, but they are misguided. I note their statistics about the number of children killed through the use of guns (not "by guns," as the prevalent rhetoric states), but children are also killed by beating, strangling, poisoning and other means. These incidents occur right here in the islands.

Something is indeed wrong in this country, and it's going to keep on happening as long as people continue to have children that they don't really want, and as long as entertainment persists in desensitizing our children and adults against violence.

I am pleased that our Legislature may finally realize that we have more than enough gun laws in Hawaii. Illegal drugs and illegal fireworks are everywhere, but illegal guns only affect my right to defend my family and myself.

D.J. Chang

OHA should fund Hawaiian convention

Your May 12 editorial on the Native Hawaiian Convention was right on the mark.

I was one of the proponents of the grant application submitted to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs by Ha Hawaii to partly fund a community outreach and education project on Hawaiian self-determination, to be run by the Native Hawaiian Convention.

Considering the questions asked by OHA Trustee Mililani Trask to those of us who are delegates to the convention, it appears that a new criterion has been established by the trustees who voted against the application (Rowena Akana, Clayton Hee, Hannah Springer and Trask).

Every grant applicant must now prove how many Hawaiians have elected the members of its governing body. I wonder whether Lunalilo Home, Alu Like, Papa Ola Lokahi, Punana Leo and others can pass the new test.

I always thought that a beneficial program seeking an OHA grant might have to show how many beneficiaries it will help. We hope to help 70,000 Hawaiian families better understand the complicated ramifications of Hawaiian self-determination.

Guess that number wasn't good enough.

H.K. Bruss Keppeler
Native Hawaiian Convention

Press shouldn't fan lottery fever

Your May 10 headline, "Two 'big' tickets win $363 million" and accompanying Associated Press story splashed across Page One did a great injustice.

They didn't tell the complete gambling story -- that millions of people lost millions of dollars so that everyone who can reliably position themselves in the path of this river of cash can continue to rake in the dough.

There are real people drowning in this "river." The story didn't say how many workers wasted tens or hundreds or thousands of dollars chasing this monumental money mirage. There are millions.

If any private persons attempted such a scheme, they would be maligned, defamed, rounded up and jailed by the very people who conduct this scam. The vilification of the Mafia for its "numbers racket" comes to mind.

Yet here in Hawaii, a "family newspaper" like the Star-Bulletin prominently regurgitates the lottery story for all to see.

How does this help Hawaii's families? Is it really news every time someone hits the jackpot? Or is your paper just another cog in the gambling interests' inexhaustible machine aimed at establishing their mendacious mint on our shores?

Michael G. Palcic

Stender should not be prosecuted

Oswald Stender, who resigned as a Bishop Estate trustee, is a nonpolitical person with impeccable character traits. His credibility is unquestioned, his understanding of fiduciary responsibility profound, and he has always been accountable to the beneficiaries of the Kamehameha Schools.

He was the only trustee on the past board who had an extensive background in business, finance and land management, having served for years as the chief executive officer of the rich and successful Campbell Estate.

He alone has stood fast in his commitment to carrying out the wishes of Bernice Pauahi Bishop. History will honor him!

As such, the state attorney general's office should reassess taking any further action against Stender, without whose courage the removal of the "Gang of Four" would have been impossible.

Rod Ferreira
Kamehameha Alumni Association
Waimea-Kohala Sub-region

Bishop Estate Archive

Self-determination must be put to vote

Senator Akaka has drafted a bill to recognize Hawaiians as a unique and distinct indigenous people, with the right of self-determination.

Neither Congress nor the president has the power to authorize particular people within a state the right of self-determination, without the majority consent of the electorate of that state. Self-determination within a state does not become a federal matter until there is a state consensus.

According to Bud Smyser in his fine series of columns, "Hawaii's four members of Congress have long taken the position that they need a consensus of the population to be able to push for other special status."

To achieve a consensus of the population, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is requested to ask that self-determination be put on the ballot in November 2000, and offer to pay the necessary expenses. Please, OHA trustees, do this for your people.

E. Alvey Wright



"We didn't have good diving boards,
we didn't have a hot shower
between dives, the bathing suits
were made of wool, we suffered
from the cold, and the girls didn't
have a coach for diving."

Aileen Riggin Soule

Remembering the bad old days of the
international competition in the 1920s


"I'll take care of them.
I'll shoot all of them."

Byran Uyesugi

What Xerox employee Clyde Nitta testified Uyesugi said
after losing his temper about the members of his
workplace team. Uyesugi is on trial for murder in the
Nov. 2 shooting of seven co-workers at the Xerox
warehouse on Nimitz Highway.

Punahou science team displayed aloha spirit

Congratulations to Wendy Harman and the team from Punahou for winning the Civility Award at the National Science Bowl in Washington D.C. on May 8. As an official, I witnessed first-hand their good sportsmanship, which was often lacking in other participants.

Coach Harman should be recognized for encouraging not only an interest in learning, but also the aloha spirit. Credit is also due to the Hawaii team, whose camaraderie and friendliness made them stand out from the other 60 teams.

Scott Lew

Santa Clara, Calif.

Schools must not give up on slow learners

In Clarynne Ishikawa's May 6 letter regarding the public school system in Hawaii, she wrote about gifted and talented students getting more attention than average or below average students. From my experience, this was true 20 years ago at Liliuokalani Elementary School.

When I was a student there two decades ago, some teachers told my mother that I stuttered and that I didn't speak with standard American diction. Nevertheless, my mother didn't give up on me and continued to work with me.

Today I own my own business and I speak English well.

I'm not sure if the teachers at Liliuokalani are the same ones as 20 years ago. If so, perhaps they need to be re-educated on how it's easier to build up a child than to repair an adult.

Lana Robbins
New Port Richey, Fla.

There's no excuse for unresponsive lawmakers

In response to Rep. Marcus Oshiro's May 12 View Point column, "Civil service reform can't be rushed," I'd like to remind our elected officials that:

Bullet Since they are civil servants, they should represent the voice of the community.

Bullet Civil service reform must not be bogged down in the "paralysis of analysis." When we continue to accept excuses as opposed to demanding action, we perpetuate and encourage abuse within our system.

Bullet Politics must involve compromise without compromising one's principles. History is also full of examples of those who try to appease many but, in the end, satisfy no one.

Bullet The 2000 Legislature has come and gone with no real legislation passed to positively affect the savings accounts of Hawaii residents. The time has come for accountability, not only for our educators, but for our elected officials. No more excuses are acceptable as to why sensible legislation has been stalled or postponed.

Bullet Finally, the best thing about our representative democracy is that, if we don't feel our current crop of legislators are doing enough to represent our voices adequately, we have the power to elect new individuals who can and will do the job.

This upcoming election year, examine and investigate what your legislators have or have not done. If they aren't doing what they have been elected to do, make a change.

Allan Tomas

Oshiro's excuses should infuriate public

Marcus Oshiro's May 12 View Point column, "Civil service reform can't be rushed," should be required reading for all Hawaii voters.

His first point is that the Legislature is incapable of dealing with such a substantive issue as civil service reform in a measley four months.

Next, he tries to convince us that rather than respond to public concern, which he labels as "frequently fickle, unreliable public opinion," the measure passed on May 2 is "but a first step in a process."

Finally, he blames the media and the governor for being too partisan and wrecking chances for a good deal.

What nonsense! Once again, the public workers controlled the Democrat-dominated Legislature, which has shown that it's incapable of serving the public interest.

Since legislators heard the message the unions sent to Mayor Harris and the Democratic machine, the voters of Hawaii should send an even louder message: If incumbents can't do their jobs, we're throwing them out.

Alan Croneberger

Bobby Knight should be benched permanently

Indiana University's decision not to fire basketball Coach Bobby Knight is unpardonable. Can you imagine if, instead of the men's basketball coach, Knight were an English professor?

Who would send their teen-aged sons and daughters to a school where the professors curse at students, throw chairs across classrooms, or headbutt and choke students? There is absolutely no room for that kind of behavior in collegiate sports.

Knight is clearly guilty of verbally and emotionally abusing his players. The fact that many of them have voiced their support for Knight is deceiving. Anyone who's ever worked with abused children will tell you that the vast majority of them continue to love their parents notwithstanding the abuse.

Jonathan R. Peterson


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