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Saturday, May 27, 2000

Columnist was wrong to give governor advice

In his May 20 "Volcanic Ash" column, Dave Shapiro ably demonstrates what's wrong with the Hawaii media and their responsibility as the independent "fourth estate" and government watchdog.

His thesis is that lame duck Gov. Ben Cayetano is so disrespected at the Legislature that he should punish those who do not give him the acknowledgement he craves and now wants to buy through a public relations campaign.

Shapiro's puff piece is part of that PR, complete with suggestions for the governor's triumph over his Democratic detractors. I guess we should be happy that Shapiro doesn't give Republicans a passing thought in the legislative landscape.

Shapiro praises Cayetano for his "willingness to take on the public employee unions that were so key to his election." Excuse me, but when did Cayetano "take them on?" After he had their support, manpower, money and votes in the '98 election. That's courage?

Furthermore, Shapiro wrote, the governor must:

Bullet Name names of lawmakers who have thwarted his reforms.

Bullet Encourage friendly Democratic challengers to take on unfriendly Democratic incumbents in carefully chosen races.

Bullet Withhold funding for the pet projects of legislators who have disrespected him to show them that insolence has a penalty.

If this had come from a Democratic political strategist, no surprise. But from the Star-Bulletin, it is a travesty. Shapiro is not urging a two-party level political field; instead, he savors the Democrat monopoly with different players.

Sen. Sam Slom
R-8th District


Still waiting for reason Bronster was ousted

Right on to M.E. Welte for the May 23 letter, "Dump 14 senators who dumped Bronster."

There are those of us who are still awaiting the report from state Sen. Marshall Ige regarding the "wrongdoings" of former Attorney General Margery Bronster.

After all, we do SO want the 14 senators who voted against her to be certain that the allegations are true. We, the citizens and voters of this state, demand this of our intrepid, faithful, honest senators.

F.A. McCafferty

There's no justification for vandalism

I was deeply disturbed by the May 24 letter by Karyn Herrmann, a parent of an Iolani student. She seemed to be giving an excuse for recent racist defacement and vandalism on the Iolani campus by a group of Punahou student athletes.

There's a healthy rivalry in athletics between Punahou and Iolani. However, both schools stress citizenship and community service. The number of alumni of both campuses who are active in our community is testimony to this teaching.

What happened at Iolani's campus was a deliberate, stupid act of vandalism. Punahou's administration dismissed those involved from its school, just as Iolani's administration would have should the situation have been reversed.

John D. Nielsen
Iolani School,
Class of 1973

How about busting drug, pot dealers?

The Liquor Commission, Health Department and Honolulu Police Department have apparently invested a great deal of time and manpower to carry out the recent booze sting. Meanwhile, the usual drug and pot dealers operate openly, every night, in the same locations in Waikiki.

These dealers are not restricted by minimum age requirements, fake IDs, fines or the possibility of losing a license. Also, quite obviously, they are not hindered by the authorities.

Unlike the logistics required for the booze sting, these easily detected "regulars" could be picked up in an hour on any evening, in case anyone is interested.

Roger Van Cleve

Hawaii County police need a watchdog

The blatant actions and inactions of the Hawaii County Police Commission at its May 19 meeting in Kona indicate clearly that Police Chief Wayne Carvalho controls the commissioners, not the other way around as mandated by county charter. Collectively, the commission displayed a shocking disregard for the will and welfare of the public.

Governmental corruption is one thing, but corruption in a police department has more sinister implications. This armed force has the authority and power to take life and liberty; it is not a power to be given or taken lightly.

Our basic constitutional rights are at risk on this island. The time has come for intervention by the U.S. Department of Justice. Ideally, this would come in the form of a federal investigation.

At the very least, the Justice Department should oversee the police department's administration until such time as competent authority and credibility can be restored.

Jack Brunton

Arbitration panel merits Hawaii's thanks

Since it awarded pay raises to HGEA's bargaining units on April 19, the three-member arbitration panel has been criticized for disregarding the state's fiscal situation. The opposite is true.

The panel, especially its impartial chairman with decades of experience in economics, developed a comprehensive picture of the state's fiscal health. It ruled impartially and strictly on the evidence.

The resulting award clearly and honestly answers the question everyone asks: Is Hawaii's economy improving and is there room for workers to share in this bounty?

The resounding answer of "yes" means Hawaii's workers, both unionized and nonunionized, now have hope that their quality of life will improve.

All Hawaii must applaud the panel's courage in the face of Governor Cayetano's threats. The complete text of the arbitration decision can be found at www/

Jeanette E. Matsumoto
Local 152, AFL-CIO

State has too many public employees

Know why Hawaii is in recession? Our taxes are too high and we have too many government employees for the number of people who live here.

So what's the answer? Cut the number of government employees and taxes, or bring in more people to work so their taxes can help pay for Hawaii's large number of government workers.

Don McDiarmid Jr.



"I'm not crazy,
leave me alone."

Byran Uyesugi

What he told his father and brother, who said
they tried to get him medical help after Uyesugi
described constant poking sensations he
attributed to unseen demons


"This was given as a memorial
to World War I veterans and they let it
go to pot. I thank Jeremy Harris
for giving me back my

Maleka Brown

Thanking the Honolulu mayor for the massive
renovation of the memorial, which
will be rededicated tomorrow

Protests against religion getting out of hand

Political lefties -- in their mania against religious presence like the Ten Commandments and prayer in the schools, and nativity scenes on public property -- will soon be going after state flags that have crosses in them, according to Lowell Ponte, a former editor for Reader's Digest and current radio talk show host and columnist for a Web magazine.

He points out that the cross of St. Andrew is not only in the flag of South Carolina, but in those of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Hawaii. While those mainland flags have only one religious symbol in them, Hawaii has outdone them all. We have three.

In the Hawaii state flag is Britain's Union Jack, with the heavy-duty crosses of St. George (patron saint of England), St. Andrew (Scotland) and St. Patrick (Ireland).

When the local lefties go after our flag, is it going to be a protest against the Irish, the Scots and the English? Or maybe it's a protest against all Hawaiians, of whatever blood and faith.

Frank H. Black

Marijuana is a threat to our children

I'm concerned about the direction our state is heading. Last session, legislators approved the growing of industrial hemp. This session we approved the concept of medical marijuana. Both bills were strongly opposed by law enforcement agencies.

The supplemental budget passed with a proviso that no funds should be spent on marijuana eradication; the Hawaii County Council seemed to agree by deferring a decision on whether to accept federal grant money to help conduct police raids on marijuana growers.

Are we poised to legalize marijuana? Who is pushing this agenda? Are political contributions involved? These questions must be answered.

Marijuana still poses a great threat to our children's safety and well-being:

Bullet The state Department of Education reports seeing an increase in the number of students who try marijuana before the age of 13.

Bullet In the 1998-99 school year, 665 cases of possession of marijuana by youngsters were reported to the police.

Bullet The Department of Health estimates that 16,701 minors are in need of treatment for all types of substance abuse.

Unfortunately, this new permissiveness is accompanied by an even greater reluctance by the Legislature to provide significant funds for substance abuse treatment for both children and adults.

Furthermore, lawmakers failed to create a proposed Governor's Substance Abuse Task Force and failed to require health insurers to provide a level of benefits for substance abuse comparable to those provided for other health problems.

We must get serious about the drug epidemic, and it starts with marijuana. Perhaps we need a referendum to determine how people feel about legalization.

Rep. Colleen Meyer
R-45th District

Legalize marijuana and bring it under regulation

If it's true that no more than 300 people in Hawaii would qualify for the use of medical marijuana in Hawaii, then the change in law is, at best, tokenism and, at worst, the usual authoritarian "up yours" to the will of the people.

Despite this insane oppression of marijuana users, the medicinal euphoria thrives. How many of us who are living in fear of being "busted" have been, would be or are currently midnight closet tokers?

Like alcohol and cigarettes, sensible regulation and control of the market is the answer to so much of what ails us here in Hawaii. Legalize!

Steve Reiff
Kalaheo, kauai

Bishop Museum director lacks ethnic concern, ethics

Donald Duckworth says he was selected as director of Bishop Museum because he "knows" museums. Yet he seems unaware of recent national and international movements toward indigenous empowerment within the museum setting.

The current Forbes Cave debate could have been avoided if these models had been implemented by the museum.

In New Zealand, for example, while museums have custodianship of Maori taonga (treasures), the Maori have retained spiritual ownership. Maori advisory panels decide what goes on exhibit, what is said about the piece, and proper protocol when dealing with taonga.

I realize that an advisory group was used for Bishop's Kahoolawe exhibit, but this should have been implemented permanently years before with respect to all exhibits of Hawaiian cultural materials.

The only danger is making sure that no single interest group muscles its way into having control, the way Hui Malama has in the Forbes case.

Momi Naughton
Museum Studies Professor
Western Washington University

Columnist shouldn't rap local language

In his April 26 column, Dave Donnelly asked, "Why can't KHNL weatherman Guy Hagi ever use the word 'of ' between 'couple days' or 'couple feet?' It makes him sound stupid, which he couldn't be and still date KGMB weather reporter Kim Gennaula, who's quite bright..."

I have a question of my own: Why hasn't Donnelly ever noticed that local speech norms are different from those on the mainland, especially if he's been here since 1968?

English speech norms are not set in stone but vary considerably with time, location and a host of other factors. Just because "couple days" and "couple feet" aren't Donnelly's own norms of language usage, it doesn't mean people who use that style are "stupid."

If Donnelly wants to write from an informed perspective, he should look at the following Web sites: and

Terri Menacker
Da Pidgin Coup


Legislature Directory
Hawaii Revised Statutes

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