Wednesday, May 2, 2001
Making the world safe for agnosticsI see Mitch Kahle is back in the news again, saving us islanders from all the incessant bullying that our fellow Christian neighbors do to us. This time it's another cross -- surprise, surprise! -- that Mitch tells us is an unconstitutional blot upon the Kaneohe landscape.
As an agnostic, I know I certainly felt offended, oppressed and intimidated by all those threatening symbols. Thank God -- I mean Mitch -- that someone has the strength and integrity to do something about all of this. I think I can feel a little of my self-esteem returning right now because I know I can safely drive through Kaneohe once again.
Some say we all have a cross to bear, but I'm glad there are folks like Mitch Kahle who will continue to bear the biggest one for the rest of us.
Kids deserve A+ in good behaviorI want to applaud all those thousands of public school kids who showed their best behavior while many had nothing to do during the strike, but just waited for school to start again.
We have lots of kids in our neighborhood and I'm not aware of any mischief or troubles they caused. We have great teachers, but also great students in public schools: A+ to all of them.
Elisabeth V. Kitagawa
[Quotables]"This is the most exciting thing to happen to us in 100 years."
Hawaiian sovereignty activist on meetings today to present two draft constitutions re-establishing the Hawaiian nation.
"Everyone got a little something this session but the public."
House minority leader, lamenting the demise of a Republican proposal to eliminate the general excise tax on food which, he says, would have provided tax relief for Hawaii residents.
City and Zippy's joined forces to feed kidsMahalo to Mayor Harris, city officials, parks and recreation staff and Zippy's for remembering the children during the teacher's strike. I asked Mayor Harris on Tuesday, April 17 to help feed hundreds of children going hungry during the strike and the city was able to respond by that Friday.
I watched as students came to get a hot meal. Parents stood in relief and gratitude because of the added burden they dealt with during the long teachers' strike. Parents became stressed with daily childcare issues but also the extra cost of food. Students out of school played hard during the strike and with that became very hungry. Many students were brought by older siblings to enjoy a meal but also the afternoon at the park.
I want to especially thank the staff at Nanakuli Beach Park for their sincere concern for the children in the area. They gave each student that extra smile and assurance that they would soon be back at school learning.
I am so thankful to live in Hawaii and see the aloha spirit at work.
Governor isn't alone in favoring aquariumThe state of Hawaii will benefit from the Senate's version of the Kakaako Redevelopment District. This legislation reflects the community's desire for an aquarium, an ocean park and a multi-cultural village in Kakaako. This is contrary to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin's commentary in the "Winners and Losers" article of April 9, which implied that Governor Cayetano was the only one wanting an aquarium.
Community representatives embraced the theme of "The Gathering Place" for Kakaako by introducing the development of the ocean park and the multi-cultural village. The economy will be stimulated especially in the construction sector. On a much larger scale, the area of Aloha Tower to Ala Moana Beach can be developed within this theme to benefit Hawaii's future economy. I thank my Senate colleagues for their endorsement. While Governor Cayetano and I have differed on some legislation, we do agree on the aquarium project.
At the end of this legislative session, I will be holding public forums regarding additional projects affecting the Kakaako Community such as the Performing Arts Center, the Bishop Museum Science and Learning Center, the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine/Biomedical Science Facility and the Pohukaina Assisted Elderly Housing.
D,13th District (Nuuanu, Downtown, Sand Island)
Waddle shouldered blame admirablyWouldn't it be refreshing if our politicians had the moral integrity of Navy Cmdr. Scott Waddle? He made a mistake, a horrific mistake, but still a mistake. He immediately took responsibility for it, and didn't try to avoid the blame. He didn't try to "spin" the mistake and he didn't try to push the blame onto someone else.
In contrast to his actions, the Navy brass and some politicians ran up trial balloons trying to deflect responsibility on to the Ehime Maru skipper and crew. I suspect that some of those politicians are among the ones who have insisted on having the military squire civilians around on machines of war for photo ops and political favoritism. That is a practice which must stop immediately. Tanks and ships and aircraft and almost all other military hardware are inherently dangerous to operate. Any distraction for those who do operate the equipment is akin to playing with fire or explosives.
Strong military keeps the peaceIt's a shame Danny Li in his April 29 letter only sees the downside in the United States continuing to field a military.
It's a shame Li is apparently unaware that China, for example, is currently buying Russian-built submarines for its navy. If the United States doesn't need subs, despite its role as the world's policeman, why does China?
It's a shame that despite his call for a "saner" foreign policy, American firepower seems to be the only thing that can bring peace to a place like Kosovo. World peace is a nice thing to have, and the American military is the tool for keeping the peace.
Congratulations to competing schoolsThe Japan-American Society of Hawaii congratulates the students of Iolani School for coming in first place at the National Japan Bowl Japanese language competition.
The society also wishes to congratulate the students of McKinley High School and Punahou School. These three schools came up on top in the Japan-America Society's regional Japan Bowl competition and earned the all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C.
The Japan-America Society sponsors these students and their advisers for a week so they may compete in the National Japan Bowl and also learn and experience our nation's history.
The society and the society's donors view this program as an important investment in our youth and in Hawaii's future. Our students' outlook is broadened while their peers from across America learn about Hawaii's multicultural assets. Congratulations!
Earl K. Okawa
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