Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

to the Editor

Write a Letter to the Editor

Friday, May 26, 2000


Student says goodbye
to a beloved coach

On May 12 Mike Batungbacal, Iolani School's kayaking and canoeing coach, died suddenly of a heart attack. He was an expert kayaker and pioneer in developing the sport in Hawaii. His boys' team took the ILH championship last year. Batungbacal also taught at-risk students at Moanalua High School.

Because of his age (47), superior physical health and popularity among both students and parents, his death came as a great shock. In preparing for his funeral service, members of his teams were asked to write about their coach. The following poem was written by Kimi Fassler, a sophomore at Iolani School and a member of the kayaking team.

The Death of Coach Mike

Things happen for a reason, but reasons fail to mend

The stinging tears that trail behind the loss of a true friend.

And sleeves may wipe away those tears, but sadness lingers on,

As those who knew you strive to cope, now that our coach is gone.

Mug shotLife floats on a fleeting breath, and life is never fair,

And who will guide our every step, as we walk without you there?

We'll dry our eyes and solace friends, but we're not ready yet

To put away the memories and words we can't forget.

Instead, we'll carry with us, your hopes, your selfless dreams,

As you, in spirit, strengthen us, the Iolani team.

Through stormy waters, rough and deep, where danger stalks its prey

We'll lift our eyes and look ahead, with you to show the way.

And if by fate we chance to fall, we'll call upon you then,

And remember your immortal words: "Come on, get up again!"

And still the tears will wash our cheeks, and still we'll search in vain,

For light, for hope, for anything, that helps to ease the pain.

But Coach, the grief won't go away, it won't recede or die,

So we are left to mourn our loss? To pray with tear-filled eyes?

You always gave us good advice, so your advice we'll heed,

Because right now your counseling is just the thing we need.

The wind and waves have tossed us off, without you by our sides,

But always we will hear your voice, and you will be our guide.

Though things will never be the same, we'll climb back up again

And smile through tears for you, Coach Mike, our light, our coach, our friend.

Kimi Fassler

Editor's note: Funeral services will be held for Mike Batungbacal at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at Iolani School. Visitation will begin at 9 a.m.


Don't reward those who waste water

The Board of Water Supply is asking Oahu residents to voluntarily conserve water, in hopes that such efforts will help obviate the need for rationing.

I suggest that the BWS decide, if it hasn't already done so, what its rationing policy will be and make the policy known to everyone now. I further suggest that the policy not be a percentage reduction based on past usage, as is the case on part of Maui, since doing this has the unfortunate consequence of rewarding those with a history of wasting water and punishing those who do not waste.

When the BWS publicizes the possibility of rationing while leaving open the possibility that rationing could be based on historical usage, it may encourage people to increase their usage in case rationing comes to pass.

In the early 1990s in the San Francisco Bay area, a severe drought resulted in water rationing. Its authorities made the right choice then, by not rewarding previous wasters or punishing previous conservers but allowing something like 300 gallons per household per day, with the history of usage not figured into the allotment.

Adopting such a policy, and making it known to all water users on Oahu immediately, would help make voluntary conservation efforts more successful.

Nobu Nakamoto

Murakami will be missed as UH coach

I'd like to be among the first to wish University of Hawaii baseball Coach Les Murakami a happy retirement after next year. Although I never played for him, I am familiar with what he's done for baseball in the islands and particularly at UH.

Having played baseball while growing up in Hawaii through high school (Radford 1976-79), I was recruited to play for UH by Coach Murakami. Although I ended up playing college baseball at BYU, I've followed UH baseball very closely.

I was always amazed at the transformation of the UH program from sandlot baseball to a perennial NCAA powerhouse. I know the program hasn't been quite what it used to be, but players still want to play there. Most of that can be attributed to Coach Murakami.

Coach Murakami is to UH baseball as Bear Bryant is to Alabama football or John Wooden is to UCLA basketball.

Peter Kendrick
Sumner, Wash.

Only six words were cut from Pearl Harbor film

This is to clarify the editing of the USS Arizona Memorial historical film that depicts Japan's Dec. 7, 1941, attack. We took issue with a statement in particular footage that the then-Hawaii military commander General Short feared saboteurs "hidden amid Hawaii's large Japanese population."

As head of the military, Short had to consider the possibility of saboteurs. The problem was that once the saboteur fear was stated in the film -- without qualifying that the general's fear was eventually proven to be unfounded -- it invited the viewer to question the loyalty of Japanese Americans.

Our original request to the Interior Department's National Park Service was to add a disloyalty disclaimer to the film, but that could not be edited in.

Instead, the last six words were cut from the film's narration: "General Short believed, however, that the great danger was not air attack, but saboteurs hidden amid Hawaii's large Japanese population."

A story in your April 24 issue, "Arizona Memorial film is trimmed," incorrectly indicated that the entire sentence was cut.

James T. and Yoshie (Ishiguro) Tanabe

Microsoft's fate is being decided by do-nothings

I mean, really. When you consider the vast sweep of the universe, I guess what happens to Microsoft is no big deal. But who gave a federal judge the right to make up the law, presume to usurp the rights of shareholders and dismember a private company?

Did this man or any of the army of pear-shaped bureaucrats of the political class ever have an original idea in their whole miserable lives? Has any one of them ever had a vision and taken the risk to fulfill it? This goes way beyond the absurd.

George W. Mason

Marijuana causes no health problems

Just what "health problems" are you referring to in your May 4 editorial on the legalization of medical marijuana?

No health problems have been documented in studies among long-term marijuana users in Jamaica and elsewhere. In fact, the only trend was increased longevity.

Many people I know on the Big Island have smoked marijuana daily for 50 years, and they have no apparent health problems. The latest lie is that legalizing marijuana will be a gateway to hard drugs.

Robert H. Faust
Honaunau, Hawaii

Get rid of drug dealers, not street performers

Street performers in Waikiki promote aloha, as tourists and their kids are quite amused by them. See for yourself, if you haven't already.

In contrast, there are creeps on the street who continue to sell fake marijuana and other fake drugs in Waikiki. They are promoting anti-aloha on the same sidewalks as the street performers. On top of that, these pseudo-dealers assault peaceful people like myself.

What kind of sick logic motivates the city to find time to remove creative people who promote aloha, while not restricting violent criminals promoting anti-aloha? Readers, please join me in contacting our city lawmakers to correct this horrible discrepancy.

F. Ideal



"I guess I won't be (wearing) my B.C. hat (anymore) but my Hawaii hat."

Carmyn James

Explaining how her scouting cap will no longer
sport the initials of her former employer,
the University of British Columbia


"Being on a wait list for
these kinds of services is not like
being on a wait list for a library
book. These are vital, life-
sustaining services."

Diana Tizard

On how more than 700 developmentally disabled
Hawaii residents are on a long wait list
for homes and programs

Get used to noise from Army training

Why are newcomers to Central Oahu, specifically those who've moved into Mililani Mauka, complaining about the noise from Schofield Barracks?

I was born in Wahiawa 77 years ago and have lived here all my life. For the last 29 years I've resided in an area where my backyard is separated from the East Range by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. According to news reports, those living in Mililani Mauka enjoy a buffer zone of 320 yards, with a ravine in between.

Almost daily, during all hours, we can hear the rat-a-tat-tat of machine guns and small arms, loud booms of bigger guns and grenades, the low-flying helicopters and whining of large jets that fly low to drop off paratroopers.

We can also hear the yelling of troops as they attack their designated "enemy" forces, and the rumbling of trucks and personnel carriers as they go up and down the dirt road.

But do the people of Wahiawa complain? No, because we are inured to the noise, and the residents of Mililani can get used to it, too.

Sadao Honda

City needs to pick up abandoned car

As I look at the derelict car parked in front of our home for months, I can't help but wonder if the results would be the same if the car were parked in front of Mayor Harris' house.

This vehicle has been vandalized repeatedly. The windows have been smashed. Its seats and interior have been stripped and slashed. A rock sits where the windshield once was. Still, the car remains on the street.

When I asked Honolulu Police Department about this problem, I was told the car would have to sit there for some time. Apparently, the backlog is several weeks long.

As we all know, a backlog is merely an excuse for poor management. The resources exist today, if properly prioritized, to remove all hazardous vehicles from our streets within a very short time. Once the backlog is eliminated, there should be no problem dealing with abandoned vehicles.

I'm always amazed at how quickly bureaucracy can crank into action when the problem affects a high-ranking city official or some other influential person. It's time for Mayor Harris to start treating all of his constituents with equal concern.

Ken Armstrong

Elections should be for Hawaiians only

If you look at the name of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, you'll notice that only one race is included the name -- that of the kanaka maoli. Therefore, by allowing people of other nationalities to vote in the OHA elections, you are taking away the legitimacy of the office.

Hawaiians are a minority in our own homeland. If everyone gets to pick OHA trustees, our votes will be outweighed by the votes of the non-Hawaiian majority.

Thus, the board will better represent the interests of the majority as opposed to those of the minority that is supposed to benefit. This makes the whole office pointless.

I close with these words for non-Hawaiians who intend to vote in the upcoming OHA elections: The resiliency of the Hawaiian race will show through and overcome this latest form of oppression.

Clifford Wassman

Bullet U.S. Supreme Court strikes down OHA elections

Cayetano tries to influence OHA election

I take great umbrage at the most recent and blatant example of arrogance on the part of the Cayetano administration (Star-Bulletin, May 16).

As a party in the Rice vs. Cayetano case, the governor is now taking the opportunity to participate in the very election that his administration was supposed to be defending, and he is urging everyone to do the same.

He is trying to line up his proverbial "ducks in a row" by attempting to replace the current composition of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs board of trustees with his allies. If the make-up of the board is changed, the administration can circumvent its legal obligation to pay OHA revenues derived from airport landing fees and from the federal prison.

These are revenues owed to the Hawaiian people, not an arbitrary item up for negotiation. That is why the governor sees the trustees as a thorn in his side.

Rowena M.N. Akana
Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Bullet Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Stories on women warmed the heart

Amid so much news on crime, wars and tragedy, it was refreshing to read about human interest, hard work and family articles in your newspaper.

Betty Shimabukuro's May 8 and 10 coverage of the James Beard Award to Helena's Hawaiian Foods in Kalihi and its owner, Helen Chock, for her toil and dedication, her trip to New York to accept her award and her philosophy of life for 83 years, was touching.

Shimabukuro's May 12 article on Yuk Chun Sin Chun, a 97-year-old "popo" and matriarch of a family of five generations in Hawaii, was also heartwarming.

Both stories point to the importance of a close, loving family and a purpose in life. Your readers enjoyed them immensely!

How Tim Chang

Tourism limits are needed at sacred sites

I've been to Manoa Falls, so I believe the state's intervention on the number of people who can take daily hikes on the trail there is a good thing (Star-Bulletin, May 22).

Like Sacred Falls, Manoa holds spiritual mana. If there were no limits on the number of people entering the valley, there'd be no control over what they do along the trail or at the falls.

Older Hawaiians like me fully understand why the tragedy happened at Sacred Falls. The same will happen at Manoa Falls if these areas are misunderstood and negatively affected by tourism.

These grounds have been sacred for many generations, long before Captain Cook and the missionaries came to Hawaii. I hope the state will continue to intervene when it comes to the impact of people, especially large groups, on these historic grounds.

Doreen Kapea
Lemoore, Calif.

Legislature Directory
Hawaii Revised Statutes
Legislature Bills

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 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]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin