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to the Editor

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Saturday, June 3, 2000

Car insurance rates are
dropping in Hawaii

Automobile insurance reforms, initiated by this administration and passed by the Legislature in 1997, have made Hawaii the model for car insurance in the new millennium.

Contrary to a May 27 headline, "Automobile insurance preiums increasing," which referred to rates on the mainland, and a May 30 "Corky's Hawaii" cartoon, Hawaii's automobile insurance rates will continue to decrease. Consumers should not be confused by reports of increases in other states.

Since 1992, Hawaii has gone from having the highest rates in the nation to 11th, based on independent data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The state's actuary, Martin Simons, said he expects Hawaii's ranking to continue to improve, since decreases I recently required are not included in the NAIC data.

Only three other states experienced rate decreases, with Hawaii enjoying the largest decreases (averaging 17 percent) through 1998. Rates in other mainland states, on the other hand, increased by an average of 8 percent during that same time.

Hawaii has given its consumers the biggest premium decreases while maintaining insurer profitability -- an achievement once thought impossible. Still, we are not content with these accomplishments. I am reviewing insurer profitability again this summer with an eye towards requiring further rate reductions.

Wayne Metcalf
Insurance Commissioner
State Department of Commerce
and Consumer Affairs


Don't ignore Green Party candidate Bonk

Having just moved from the Big Island, where the corporate-owned West Hawaii Today has long ignored Keiko Bonk and the Green Party, I had hoped that things in Honolulu would be more fair-handed. I was naive.

The big media players always align themselves with those in power, I suppose.

In your case, Richard Borreca's May 31 column characterized the mayoral race on the Big Island as a battle between Democrats and Republicans. This is misleading.

Bonk, running as a Green in the last Big Island mayor's election, crushed the Republican candidate and narrowly lost to a Democrat who spent five times more money in his campaign.

She is now leading in the polls, despite being ignored in the press. She has the old-boy Democrats scared to death. Therefore, why didn't Bonk get mentioned in Borreca's commentary? Is it simply lazy journalism on his part? Or something more pernicious?

Joshua Stanbro

Ignorance in foreign policy is dangerous

Molly Ivins demolishes George W. in her May 30 syndicated column, "Bush's proposal to revive 'Star Wars.' " Lacking knowledge or experience in foreign policy, the presidential candidate relies upon his father's Reaganite cold warriors for a trillion-dollar delusion.

Jerome G. Manis

Unions leaders should pay heed to ruling

From your March 30 story on the Felix consent decree: "The judge's ruling could give the superintendent of education and the state Health Department powers to override laws, rules, regulations and collective-bargaining contracts to meet its obligations."

Russell Okata, Karen Ginoza, are you reading this? If you do not support your own union members, forget about any collective-bargaining measures to help recruitment of special education teachers and related service providers.

Are union leaders and members even aware of how many certified special education teachers as well as former speech-language pathologists are in the field?

They are teaching "regular education" classes because the paperwork, caseload and time demands on special-ed teachers and related service providers have just gone through the roof.

It's time to fight for the employees of the Department of Education who work, day in and day out, for the betterment of this state's public schools.

Dolwin H. Keanu
Pearl City

Haven't we learned from Xerox shooting?

Like Lynn Maunakea (Letters, May 29), I'd like to comment on the plight of the homeless woman living on the sidewalks of Iwilei.

Haven't we learned yet that ignoring mental illness leads to tragedy? Are we going to wait for that homeless woman to pull a gun and kill seven people, or maybe run in front of one of those "space ships" passing her by every day?

Where does the $70 million of our taxpayer money -- allotted for the care of the mentally ill in Hawaii -- go if those in authority ignore those who are most in need? The true measure of our society is how we care for those who cannot care for themselves.

Pauline Arellano

Protection of beaches in islands has paid off

Your May 25 article, "Big Isle's Kaunaoa top beach in U.S.," celebrates the marriage between Hawaii's natural beauty and a healthy visitor industry.

This state is blessed with having five of America's top 10 beaches because we excel in the environmental criteria of "biological and wildlife factors, human use and impacts, views, traffic and noise."

I'll bet that developers have tried to pave each of those five paradises with parking lots, only to have their plans thwarted by what they call "unreasonable zoning restrictions" and "naysaying environmentalists."

Nourishing our natural beauty is all the more important with the "new tourist" arriving to mountainbike, swim, run, snorkel, hike, bird-watch and whale watch.

Preserving lush forests and foliage blesses us with cooler temperatures, more rain and abundant clean water. Caring for our pristine beaches, forests and waters creates a lovelier paradise.

Howard C. Wiig



"We asked them to go and
find God and when you find him,
take his picture and
write about it."

Shelly Mecum

On how students from the little parish school are
getting a book, "God's Photo Album,"
published by HarperCollins


"There is an appearance
that if you give a fund-raiser during
the session, you are offering people
a chance to influence how
you will perform."

Galen Fox

On the dubious practice of legislative incumbents
holding political fund-raisers
during the session

Gays simply want rights they deserve

I take umbrage to Bruce Wong's May 25 letter in which he said supporters of various vices and illegal activities should make sweeping amendments to the Constitution, rather than counting on the courts to protect their rights.

I challenge his assertion that "gays and lesbians are trying to squeeze themselves into the 14th or 15th amendments."

We are not trying to "squeeze" ourselves into any part of the Constitution. As citizens, we are already included in every part of that wonderful document. We are simply trying to get small-minded people like Wong to get out of the way, and allow us to exercise the rights to which we are entitled.

Wong's inclusion of gays and lesbians in his list suggests that we and our lives are either illegal or a vice. That suggestion is undeserving of response.

Andrew Thomas

Wall Street Journal editorial was erroneous

On May 22, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial titled, "Hawaii's Gray Politics."

It stated that "the island paradise is dominated by a one-party machine that would do Tammany Hall proud," and that "the machine is...trying hard to intimidate those who cross it."

There are at least three major problems with the editorial:

Bullet Connecting the powerful Bishop Estate with a "one-party machine" ignores the fact that it was a Democratic governor and attorney general who initiated the proceedings that led, ultimately, to the removal of the five trustees of the estate and their replacement by court-appointed interim trustees.

Bullet Its statement that the only "feisty media outlets" in Hawaii are KHVH's Rick Hamada and Pacific Business News ignores, among others, the Star-Bulletin, which broke the "Broken Trust" story about the Bishop Estate; the fearless investigative reporting of Jim Dooley of KITV-4; as well as Bob Rees of the Honolulu Weekly.

Bullet Its comment regarding a complaint filed by the Governor's Office against Pacific Business News with the Media Council that "a series of mediation meetings did nothing to erase the impression that the governor's complaint is off-base," and its quoting of PBN editor Gina Mangieri that "this complaint looks like an attempt to discredit a reporter who accurately reported this and other stories," is one-sided reporting. The Media Council has yet to determine whether to proceed to a hearing on the complaint against PBN.

We realize that an editorial is supposed to contain opinion, but a newspaper with the stature of the Wall Street Journal should recognize that facts still need to be accurate and complete.

Speculation by one side to a controversy is hardly a valid basis for reaching conclusions about political conditions in any state.

Helen G. Chapin
Richard S. Miller
Vice President
Honolulu Community-Media Council

Private companies helped Maili Elementary

I find it interesting and almost entertaining how quickly public outcry and media publicity can change the priorities of our state Legislature. Take the fortunes of Maili Elementary School. While it was common knowledge that odors and heat were oppressing that school's students:

Bullet Maili Elementary was not even at the top of the list of public schools in Hawaii in need of repairs and maintenance work.

Bullet The aforementioned "priority list" contained many other schools and issues that needed to be addressed.

Could any of these other schools be one attended by your kids? Relatives? Friends and/or neighbors?

Bullet While Maili Elementary waited for help from the Legislature, private companies stepped in and got the job done.

For all those who claim the aloha spirit no longer exists, this eye opener was brought to you by those who made it happen while you were busy complaining.

Spike Nishi

Man who first fanned air-conditioning efforts

In my May 24 letter conveying thanks to the state Legislature, Campbell Foundation and "Baywatch Hawaii," we may have slighted Waianae resident Cal Domen. If so, we are truly sorry.

His efforts to support Maili Elementary began in July 1998, when he rallied the community to provide fans for classrooms.

The impetus for this effort was a teacher who was concerned about the heat in the area at the time the Waianae complex schools started the modified calendar.

He was able to raise some funds, and also made the community aware of the need for air conditioning in all of the Waianae schools.

Linda M. Victor
Maili Elementary


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