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Friday, October 27, 2000


University needs autonomy to flourish

As a University of Hawaii graduate, I encourage voters to go to the polls on Nov. 7 and vote "yes" on constitutional autonomy for UH.

For our university to succeed, it must have the latitude to make its own decisions. Greater freedom from government will allow UH to respond more quickly to changing needs.

We all know the ability to react quickly has a great impact on a business' ability to survive; UH is no different. Just imagine what our research and teaching faculty, students and administrators could accomplish if given the chance to work within a more responsive, streamlined framework of direct responsibility and accountability.

Voting "yes" for this amendment is recognition that UH should have the authority to manage itself relative to its educational mission. As our state's only public university, with 10 campuses serving our communities statewide, this authority is imperative.

Karl Fujii

UH autonomy amendment is shibai

Richard Nixon once claimed to have a timetable to end the Vietnam War, except it was a secret timetable and it could change. Think about it: A secret, flexible "timetable" is really no timetable at all. The man was clever.

Philosophers call this subtle maneuver "qualifying a claim out of existence," while lawyers call this "the exception swallowing the rule." While good examples are hard to find, the Legislature has given us a gem.

UH autonomy is a great idea. So a constitutional amendment is on the ballot that, at last, frees the university from the legislative meddling that has damaged it and threatened its accreditation.

But here comes the fine-print qualification: The Legislature will now have the exclusive power to determine UH-related matters of statewide concern. Therefore, if it decides university activities are of statewide concern (and, arguably, all of them are), it can still enact laws targeting UH.

So, if the amendment passes, UH will be free from legislative meddling, except that the Legislature will still be free to meddle with the university. This subtle maneuver is also called "shibai." I will leave that part of my ballot blank.

Kenneth Kipnis

Hirono's concern for unions is belated

As a public worker, I certainly welcome Mazie Hirono's criticism of Ben Cayetano's brutally hardball position toward negotiations with the public worker unions. But one wonders: Where has the lieutenant governor been these past six years?

Cayetano has been carrying out his war against public workers (the University of Hawaii faculty, of course, being his special object of hatred), and social and educational services for a long time, with nary a peep from loyal subordinate Hirono.

She has also been heard enthusiastically supporting Cayetano's romance with big bankers such as Walter Dods Jr. and Larry Johnson. Now, with the countdown on for the next gubernatorial campaign, we are supposed to believe Hirono has suddenly discovered the error of the governor's ways.

To my jaded eyes, Hirono's "break" with Cayetano amounts to nothing more than political expediency and opportunism.

Noel Jacob Kent

Payroll lag hurts state employees

State workers like me have endured Governor Cayetano's payroll lag for quite some time. Since its institution, we've heard about a state budget surplus. Now Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono and the governor are at odds over the unions' right to strike. This all strains the administration's credibility.

Governor, when are we going to get back the money from the payroll lag? Remember how that saying goes about not borrowing from friends, as it tends to ruin a friendship.

Jonathan Boyne

Add this to your to-do list for Nov. 7

A few instructions for registered voters of our state:

First, point feet in direction of polling sites come Election Day, Nov. 7. Second, take first step. Take second step. Continue on. Lastly: Vote!

Roy E. Shigemura

Suicides of inmates are being ignored

How many suicides will it take before those in authority come to the realization that prison is no place for the mentally ill? Prison personnel are not trained to recognize, treat or properly medicate severely emotionally disturbed inmates.

I suppose unless you're a popular musician, an inmate found hanging at Halawa this week is simply not newsworthy enough for the two dailies. Who helps the families and babies left fatherless when tragedies like this happen?

If you think it's a crime the Department of Education can't account for taxpayer money, try getting a straight answer from the Department of Health on the millions it spends for the care and treatment of the mentally ill.

I have been asking for fiscal accountability for two years. The Adult Mental Health Division and the Hawaii State Hospital have yet to answer my persistent requests.

Why bother getting an audit by Marion Higa's office if there is no follow-up to ensure her recommendations are implemented?

Pauline Arellano

Miss America made an impact on lives

We called her "Coach Angie" but she was much more to us when we were students at Holy Family Catholic Academy. She was a friend, teacher, role model, mentor and big sister. She taught our classmates and us about sports, but also about relationships and life.

Angela Perez Baraquio also made us feel that education was important. She didn't enter the Miss America pageant for the glamour or fame; she wanted to get her master's degree.

Now, she is Miss America, a gigantic superstar! Yet under the makeup, glamour and cameras, she will always be "Coach Angie" to us. We all cherish our memories of her, and she wasn't even Miss America then.

Rachel Seda and Emerisa Sato
Class of 2004
Sacred Hearts Academy



"The hotel was expensive but they
allowed me to stay one more day so I could sing
for my church. Every time I talk about it,
I usually cry."

'Aunty' Genoa Keawe
On a trip to Washington, D.C., where she won a
National Heritage Fellowship from the
National Endowment for the Arts


"We have 13 days left in this election.
Fasten your seatbelts. You have no idea
what's going to be thrown at me."

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Saying she will return $50,000 that a Muslim group
donated to her campaign and that she
may have been "set up"

Ugliness, stench mar Ala Moana Boulevard

It's a shame how, on the corner of Keawe Street and Ala Moana Boulevard, the old pumping station continues to serve as a junkyard. There is no end in sight for the continuous shuttle of construction trash.

It provides a dust bowl distribution in the neighborhood. The sewage smell adds to the blight. These kinds of situations always invite unwanted life to an area.

Also, a block down on the other side of Ala Moana, where it fronts Restaurant Row, there is an above-ground sewer pipe that always has little pools of leaked sewage. Please, do something.

Robert Zimmer

Cayetano's plans show he is a bold leader

A.A. Smyser's Oct. 17 column was right on. Governor Cayetano's push to convert the Ala Wai Golf Course into a park and build a world-class aquarium in Kakaako is visionary.

Why do so many in our state resist this kind of grand-scale thinking? They are willing to just drift along and leave well enough alone.

A few years ago, I must admit, I wasn't sure Ben Cayetano was any different. Now, I am quite impressed with him. Hopefully, Hawaii will take advantage of his decisive, bold leadership while we have it.

Johana Escala

Large park could bring crime problems

I agree that having a golf course, instead of a park, benefits only golfers. But a park can be a curse, too. Using it during the day is usually a pleasant affair, but what about at night?

Ala Moana Beach Park used to be notorious for rapes, murders, fights, alcohol drinking and drug use. The police had a bear of a time controlling this.

Are we ready for another large scale park at the Ala Wai? Can we afford it? It this what we want? By the way, I don't golf.

Richard Okita

Catholic Church has history of sexual crimes

A lawsuit naming Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo as a defendant for his "failure to take action" to stop child sex abuse in Hawaii should come as no surprise (Star-Bulletin, Oct. 18). It's not the first time Catholic clergy have attacked children.

Although the Catholic Church has been accused -- and found guilty -- in thousands of sex abuse cases, only the largest financial settlements make headlines:

Bullet In 1993, Father James Porter was convicted for molesting 28 children in Massachusetts. The church initially tried to protect Porter and demonized the victims, but ultimately paid $50 million to settle the case.

Bullet In 1997, a Dallas jury imposed a nearly $120 million fine, the largest penalty ever levied on the Catholic Church, for "grossly negligent handling" of the sexual abuses perpetrated by Father Rudy Koz.

Bullet In recent weeks, the church settled with victims in Oregon. The amount paid was reported to be $44 million.

Bullet The National Catholic Reporter estimates payouts related to clergy sex abuse will approach $1 billion.

Sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy is epidemic and the church's response is negligent and immoral. For its role, the church should be added to the State of Hawaii's list of convicted sex abusers.

Mitch Kahle

Bush's election will mean real tax cuts

Why is the Clinton/Gore administration vetoing all tax relief and characterizing these measures as being too drastic or fiscally irresponsible?

In 1992, Clinton and Gore promised to cut taxes for middle-income families, only to wind up raising them as part of the largest tax hike in American history. To date, the administration has done nothing to put some money back into my pocket where it belongs.

That sad record tells me that Gore's proposal for tax relief to the middle class is nothing more than empty election-year promises.

On the other hand, Gov. George W. Bush's plan will give us the needed relief because he promises to cut the marriage penalty and death taxes. If the tax rate for all taxpayers is lowered, then a typical family of four making $35,000 will get a 100 percent tax cut of about $1,500 a year.

I have waited eight years for tax relief. I don't want to wait another four years.

Donald B. Baron

Article was biased in favor of Gore

No wonder Al Gore is in favor of campaign finance reform. He has the media campaigning for him for free.

Saturday's front-page article comparing Gore and George W. Bush heavily favored the vice president. He was portrayed as smart, hard-working, studious and prepared. He loves taking input from others, and was the best student a Harvard professor ever had.

By contrast, Bush was portrayed as a schmoozer, unprepared ("underpreparation combined with a distaste for study") and lazy (he lets others study and do the work and takes a two-hour mid-day break for a nap, video games and exercise) like Ronald Reagan, but without the silver tongue.

The media aren't even trying to be fair and unbiased. Shameful. And to think I'm in favor of keeping the Star-Bulletin open so we have more competition.

Stan Koki

Determining what is a living wage

The premise of Neal Peirce's Oct. 18 syndicated column is that every worker is entitled to a living wage and business should pay it. That's a worthy goal. However, there are two elements to the concept of living wages: money and lifestyle.

In our economy, wages are set by a system of supply and demand, not by the lifestyle requirements of the worker. Whatever their abilities, workers in a capitalist democracy are free to seek the highest pay for their services. They are also free to educate themselves, learn a skill and move into better-paying positions.

Lifestyle choices are also determined by the individual. Should I marry? How many children should I have? Where shall I live? Should I buy a car? These determinants are a free exercise of the will.

If a person's lifestyle requirements exceed his or her living wage, whose fault is that? If you're going to hold business responsible for providing a living wage, who will hold the individual responsible to live within one's means?

In our society, individuals have the right to choose their own lifestyle. They also have the responsibility to either earn what they need to support that lifestyle or limit their lifestyle choices to match their earnings. Perhaps people should first earn a living wage then live within it.

Tom Howes

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