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Thursday, April 26, 2001

Build-it-big mentality ruins Waikiki

Just when the Big Island has become the prime example of America's diversity with its beautiful mix of people, climate and vegetation, the Hawaiian Village resort is becoming the prime example of Waikiki's insatiable appetite for more, bigger, higher and closer buildings for tourists, with little regard for open space, view planes, congestion and strain placed on Oahu's resources and infrastructure.

If industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, known for his gigantic projects and concrete Liberty ships, could exercise restraint when he built the original Hawaiian Village in harmony with its setting and the music of the Tapa Room's Alfred Apaka and the Shell Bar's Arthur Lyman, why can't the current owners control their "bigger is better" and "hana hou, build one more" mentality?

Moreover, to replace R. Buckminster Fuller's imaginative geodesic dome and Pete Wimberly's cozy and charming Waikikian with more highrises impoverishes our community and diminishes Hawaii's quintessence and allure.

Isn't it about time that the Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau started selling the neighbor islands as prime tourist destinations rather than continue to force-feed more visitors into bloated, ready-to-burst Waikiki?

Richard Y. Will

'We, the people' are to blame for strike

The Star-Bulletin's story on the teachers' strike in Sunday's paper read, "The critical issue, of course, is who will get the blame." The blame should fall on neither the teachers nor the governor. This is why:

Three decades or so ago we, the people --the citizens of Hawaii -- elected a Legislature and a governor who created the system of public employee unions and granted them the power to close down some services that government provides. If this system had not been created by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor, we would not have teachers' going on strike. Now, if you are a public school teacher, you are automatically a member of the union. You have no choice.

What is the difference between federal employees and state and county employees? I see no difference. They all work for the good of the people. However, federal employees who are in unions cannot strike. If they do strike, they lose their jobs. And those federal employees who have unions are not required to join the union.

The teachers' strike came about because the voters elected a Legislature that created a law that gave them the right to strike. We should not complain. We did it. I recall what a British prime minister said years ago, "In a democracy you get the government you deserve and you deserve the government you get."

Duane W. Compton


"The bottom line is they lost three weeks already. Why compound it by killing spirit?"
Chico Furtado,
Kalaheo High School girls' basketball coach, about the affect on students of the possible cancellation of state athletic tournaments in the wake of the public school teachers' strike.

"This is no parking ticket."
Kurt Spohn,
Deputy attorney general, saying former state Sen. Marshall Ige continues to trivialize his violations of campaign spending regulations. Ige this week was sentenced to one year of probation and 400 hours of community service for multiple reporting irregularities.

Malahini surfer needs to cool it

Regarding Jason Seaborn's April 17 Scratchpad on how unfriendly surfers are to newcomers: The islands are primarily dependent on imported goods, but aloha is locally grown.

Seaborn fails to realize that when one is in the surf line-up, you shut-up.

Focusing on socializing rather than on the waves equates to a most unsuccessful surf session. All who surf know that. Let me ask, "Why is Seaborn even out in the water?" The majority of us just want to enjoy the elements: sun, water, wind, waves.

Surfing is a sport as well as a recreational activity. Most surfers surf due to the innate competitive nature of the sport.

Anywhere in the world you go to surf there are unwritten rules to abide by.

Here's a suggestion: Next time Seaborn paddles out, he should sit on the shoulder, observe carefully, then catch a wave. Once he paddles out to the same location, consistently, he will become familiar with those who surf in the same spot.

Local knowledge of the waves as well as other surfers will develop gradually. Acting like you own the waves will result in stink-eye or even worse -- wave-rage.

Ignorance of any local culture will result in dissatisfaction.

Katherine Kim

Waddle's punishment was ill-advised

I believe with confidence that the presence of civilians in the control room of the U.S.S. Greeneville was a distraction to the crew members on the job. Cmdr. Scott Waddle is a victim of the high Navy brass' "Distinguished Visitors" public relation program. The investigating admirals were blind and did not reach their conclusions about the accident fairly.

A combat submarine is not a part of Disneyland where civilians should be entertained. The essence of combat effectiveness is concentration and precision without distraction. That leads to success in any combat or non-combat mission.

Commander Waddle should not be punished. The divided attention of the Greeneville crew caused the Japanese vessel to seek the bottom of the sea.

Commander Waddle's experience with this mishap might have been the catalyst in the making of a fine leader of the sea. He would have been an excellent admiral one day.

Bernardo Pascua Benigno
Master Sergeant
U.S. Army (Retired)

Imagine if the U.S. didn't have spies

In reply to Rosemarie Tucker's letter ("How would we react to spying off our coast?", Letters, April 24), I'd first like to say, how do we "not" know that other countries are spying off our coasts? You can rest assured that it happens!

You can also rest assured that these other countries do their spying from international waters, the same as our reconnaissance plane was doing off the coast of China. Communications with our Navy aircraft and tracking of it proved that!

Rosemarie can go to bed safe and sound at night because the military makes sure of it. Do you suppose Pearl Harbor would have happened if we had had coastal surveillance back in December 1941?

Why do our own citizens so easily believe the misconceptions of foreign governments when an incident such as this happens? Does being an American mean "you're always at fault?" I support our country, the military and our president. Keep the flights going!

Tom W. Whitfield

GOP's education promises are empty

Linda Lingle says that building a strong two-party system is the only way to "cure...our educational problems." Does she really think that the baggage of the GOP's national policies will not touch her? The GOP is the party of school vouchers. Do the math; the Republican Party is not interested in teachers' income, benefits or class load.

George W. Bush ran on empty promises in education. Did anyone know that in Texas more than 25 percent of all school teachers had no medical coverage when they went to the polls last November? Or that the Texas constitution outlaws a teachers' union?

Linda Lingle's "sympathy" for Hawaii's teachers is nothing more than cynical posturing.

R. Harding Teves

Letter guidelines

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.

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