Wednesday, February 7, 2001
Many island students still need financial helpI understand and support efforts to increase revenues so the teaching staff in the University of Hawaii system can get a pay raise. However, the prospect of a tuition increase is cause for concern.
If the increase is approved --and even if all students holding tuition waivers retain that financial assistance -- a cohort of UH students not yet qualifying for waivers will fall further behind.
There still are students for whom home computers and Internet connections are a luxury. Not all of these students are awarded scholarships. With them in mind, I'd first like to see greater, successful development of tuition waivers, scholarships and grants for UH undergraduates.
Vincent Kelly Pollard
Abercrombie would be great as UH presidentHaving known, admired and respected Congressman Neil Abercrombie since his earliest days in the Legislature and despite an enormous divergence of political opinion -- we are about as far apart as two persons could be -- I would heartily support his appointment as president of the University of Hawaii. I think Abercrombie would be superb in that position.
Stanley B. Snodgrass
Governor should abandon Ala Wai planWhat is the state administration, which cannot sufficiently fund public schools and public employee pay raises, doing killing Honolulu's most prized and thriving public golf course, only to rebuild it into a park with "some" commercial development?
Everyone knows that a park at the Ala Wai will be costly to build and maintain, leading quickly to more and more commercial activity, and less and less green space. So much for the sincerity of the state preserving open space for the people.
Look at what is happening to the Kakaako waterfront. A museum and a world-class aquarium are among the designs for this piece of people space. The governor is so busy talking "Central Park" and expensive landmarks equal to the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower that he forgets he is standing in the shadow of one of the world's most recognizable natural landmarks, Diamond Head.
The governor would be better off fighting for public education, the foundation of democracy and our economy, rather than building artificial edifices on our open spaces as his legacy.
Richard Y. Will
Hawaiians don't shun mixed heritageArt Todd's Jan. 25 letter about Vicky Holt Takamine's comment shows he misunderstood what she said. This is not about keeping the Hawaiian blood pure.
We speak on behalf of native Hawaiians, the blood we've inherited from our ancestors. It does not mean that our other blood, whether it be of Asian or of European stock, is tainted or makes us our own enemy.
I am certainly not embarrassed by my Filipino, Portuguese and Chinese ancestry. I look at it as an asset in addition to my Hawaiian background.
Filipinos, Chinese and Portuguese have different histories than Hawaiians. But it is the Hawaiians who are on the verge of extinction.
"Please remember that there are
people who look at the mountain
not as science but as
part of their soul."
BIG ISLAND MAYOR
Explaining the cultural importance of Mauna Kea
to a group of astronomers from around
the world who are meeting
on the Big Island
"They're lucky. They cannot
be used in the lab again. They'll die
of old age or natural causes."
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII BIOGENESIS RESEARCHER
About seven cloned mice created at the UH Institute
for Biogenesis Research that will become part
of an "X-Treme" science exhibit
at Bishop Museum
Law on food stamps must be followedI am writing to clarify the policy on a noncitizen's eligibility for food-stamp benefits. Unfortunately, your Jan. 24 article, "Micronesians demand benefits, claim state behind on federal law," only adds to the confusion.
Public Law 106-504 does not affect the food-stamp program rules regarding a noncitizen's eligibility for food-stamp benefits, thus noncitizens remain ineligible.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 prohibited federal benefits for noncitizens. Only individuals admitted for permanent residence, granted asylum, admitted as a refugee or admitted as a parolee would remain eligible.
Later, food-stamp benefits were restored to qualified noncitizens living in the U.S. on Aug. 22, 1996, who are under 18 years of age, disabled or 65 years of age or older.
Unfortunately, individuals admitted to the U.S. under the Compact of Free Association (CFA) were not specifically identified as qualified noncitizens. These individuals, however, are free to enter the U.S., live and work here indefinitely without obtaining permanent residence status.
The complexity of the federal laws resulted in the department erroneously providing food stamp benefits to Micronesian families covered under the CFA. We believed they were a qualified non-citizen group and should be eligible.
In August 2000, the Food and Nutrition Service informed the department that we must stop covering these people. Subsequently, we sent notices informing these families of their ineligibility for food stamp benefits.
Due to this oversight, many of the Micronesian families believe that Public Law 106-504 applies to their situation, since they were receiving food stamp benefits on Oct. 1, 1999.
I am sympathetic to the plight of these families. But we are required to implement the federal laws, as the federal government funds the total cost of food stamp benefits.
Susan M. Chandler
State Department of Human Services
Charging tourists more fees will hurt economyI am writing in reference to the fee the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is contemplating charging all tourists entering and leaving Hawaii. We need to remember that while tourists may have taken some beauty with them, they have also left many dollars on the islands to help the economy. Without the visitor industry, Hawaii would have a difficult time making ends meet.
Hawaii is a part of the United States. No one group or entity owns the islands. What if the American Indians started charging a fee to enter or leave the U.S.? This is the same thing OHA is suggesting.
Having lived and worked in Hawaii, I do not feel another fee added to the already high cost of travel is warranted. There must be another way to accomplish the goal and not hurt the very people helping Hawaii's families.
Many of us who are former residents of Hawaii left because we couldn't afford to live there any longer. Please don't stop us from visiting, too!
Barbara A. Harness
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