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Monday, June 12, 2000


State should support disabilities act

Attorney General Anzai, with the full support of Governor Cayetano, has filed an amicus brief in support of Alabama's challenge to the constitutionality of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 in the U.S. Supreme Court. The ACLU submitted a letter of objection to the governor and urged that the state withdraw its challenge and instead support the constitutionality of the ADA. The ADA is essential to the ability of persons with disabilities to live and work in Hawaii on equal terms with persons without disabilities.

The ADA ensures that persons with disabilities have access to the many services and supports provided by the Hawaii state government. It also prohibits state agencies from discriminating on the basis of disability. The state programs subject to the ADA are fundamental to the citizens of Hawaii.

For example, the ADA protects the right of Hawaii citizens with disabilities to obtain an education from public schools, community colleges and state universities. The ADA ensures that Hawaii citizens with disabilities can benefit from state parks, museums and libraries. The act guarantees that persons with disabilities can access the state's transportation and housing programs. Similarly, the ADA provides access to such core programs as unemployment insurance, state disability insurance, Med-QUEST and job training centers.

In addition, the ADA prohibits state agencies from unfairly refusing to hire applicants with disabilities and from discriminating against employees with disabilities. If the Supreme Court declares that the ADA is unconstitutional, as applied to the states, many of the important gains that have been achieved during the past 10 years would be reversed. It would be lawful for state or local agencies to exclude persons with disabilities from their programs, or to provide unequal and discriminatory services. It would be lawful under federal law for state agencies to refuse to hire applicants with disabilities, and to deny reasonable accommodations to those employees.

The 10th anniversary of the act should be a time of celebration. Instead, the decision to challenge the constitutionality of the ADA creates doubt about the state's commitment to the civil rights of persons with disabilities. Attorney General Anzai and Governor Cayetano should reconsider and withdraw Hawaii's challenge to the ADA. They have until June 15 to do so.

Brent White
Legal Director
ACLU of Hawaii


Why rehire incompetent election contractor?

To quote Sen. Les Ihara, it would be "the ultimate insult to democracy" if the 2002 elections gave incumbents longer terms than challengers. When is Norman Mizuguchi calling a special session to correct this blatant injustice?

Chief election officer Dwayne Yoshina should be fired if he rehires Election Systems & Software with an eight-year contract. With all the problems in the 1998 elections, ES&S should have been banned from the bidding process. How many election service companies are there in the USA? Linda Lingle and Hawaii's voters want to know why did these companies not bid. Will Hawaii join Venezuela and have its next election suspended with technical problems that ES&S was not likely responsible for?

Something smells rotten in our electoral process. We hope Linda Lingle finds out what types of back door deals are going on and why the state is so hot to sign an eight-year deal with an incompetent company that ran the questionable election of 1998!

Anne White



"Who would have thought
that I had to learn how to walk
again at my age."

Mark Chun
On recovering from a mild stroke
he suffered in December at the age of 39


"Since January, we've been
stressing to our students that any kind
of behavior inside or outside of school
which endangers the St. Louis
reputation is unacceptable."

Edward Gomez
Informed that a criminal assault charge has been filed
against Leslie Wong, 18, an all-state high school
basketball player for St. Louis, for an alleged
unprovoked assault on another
youth last summer

Waikiki renovations don't include parking

Mayor Harris is spending my tax dollars to renovate the Natatorium. However, where's the parking? I have yet to see the newly renovated arch because parking in Waikiki is next to impossible on a weekend. I don't think even two stress balls would calm my nerves.

I guess one of the perks for being mayor is, you will always have parking. But where is the parking for local people?

After our beautiful aquarium was renovated, the city proceeded to cover up all the parking in the adjacent park.

I used to see local families enjoying a weekend picnic with games and volleyball. Now that they have eliminated all the parking and covered it with grass, I don't see the families anymore. Why? No parking for the local families.

Please, Mr. Mayor, spend my tax dollars to create parking in Waikiki. As you drive Diamond Head along Kalakaua from Kapahulu Avenue, there are numerous unmarked stalls. Give us locals a break and mark those stalls.

Gilbert Leong

Relocate bus parking at Hanauma Bay

The worst offense in the plans for Hanauma Bay is that nothing is to be done about the large area of noise, fumes and oily pavement where tour buses now congregate on the edge of the crater rim.

As a former coordinator of the Hanauma Bay Education Program, I attended the Hanauma Bay Task Force meetings and raised this issue several times. The city's architectural consultants seemed uninterested; this example of atrocious design will apparently remain.

As part of the renovation, it would seem to be a small matter to relocate the bus parking 75 to 100 meters back from the present site and create simple pathways, including wheelchair access, to an attractively re-landscaped crater rim, where the stunning vista of the bay could be enjoyed away from the roar and stink of buses.

Placing the snack bar on the rim is also problematical. Its planned site makes it likely that potentially truckloads per week of lightweight trash -- food wrappers and the like -- will blow in strong prevailing winds over the crater rim on the northeast side. Much of this litter will be unretrievable.

These problems may sound minor, but represent ugly and avoidable impacts in our small parkland at Hanauma Bay.

John L. Culliney

Information needed on $1 million study

I just read that the city is setting aside $1 million to study a second access road in Waianae. What kind of people do the studies? Does one have to be qualified?

Are political connections part of the qualification? How much money is alloted each year for studies? Is there any accountability?

Gerrit Pang

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