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Thursday, July 26, 2001

Olelo abandons its mission

Olelo, the country's best- funded nonprofit public access TV organization set up by the state and Oceanic Cable, is now producing programming of its choice with your money.

Though its mission is supposed to be to help citizens create their own programming and provide a "soapbox" for exercising First Amendment rights, Olelo is about to change the very purpose of the organization to one of "creating" programs of its choosing, just like the networks do.

Public access was supposed to be an alternative to network television to provide an avenue for the under-served and seldom-heard citizens to express points of views not shown by network affiliates. Are you aware that you are paying to hear Bob Rees' opinions now?

The greatest disease in Hawaii is apathy. Perhaps no one cares that Olelo's elite majority government-appointed board in the next year will change its mission, turning the public into "viewers" instead of "speakers." But if you do care, please show up for Olelo's board meeting from 3-5 p.m. tomorrow in the Olelo classroom at 1122 Mapunapuna St.

Jeff Garland
Hawaii Public Access Media

Don't hold teachers hostage for contract

The prospects of a continued teachers' strike are looming. Are we going to let the distractions of settling a contract disrupt the school year again? Are we going to allow the careless work by state negotiators, the Department of Education, the Board of Education and the Hawaii State Teachers Association leadership to interfere with delivering quality education?

Give the teachers the incentive bonuses (the $1,100 that was promised in July) that brought them back to salvage the last disastrous school year. Give the teachers the increment and the classification change that was agreed upon. Then work out the bonus issue.

Holding back the money further belittles the valuable work that many teachers do. They have spent a large portion of their vacation taking courses, working on curricula and new ideas for the new school year, purchasing and ordering textbooks and materials for their programs, and going into the classroom to prepare for the return of students. How long do we expect them to focus on the work at hand with the whole contract in limbo?

Teachers are human. No matter how much they care about the students, without immediate movement of money already agreed upon into their pockets they will find it difficult with no contract to focus completely on the business of educating our children.

June Asato
Mililani teacher


"The governor keeps talking about a proposal. We've not seen a proposal (and) his comments are really making teachers angry."

Joan Husted,
Chief negotiator for the teachers' union, about the dispute between the state and teachers over bonus payments.

"You see cities...where their minor league team has been the sparkplug for downtown renaissance and civic pride. Certainly, Honolulu should be on the radar screen because of the potential."

Mark Rivers,
Virginia-based developer who has been in Honolulu several times this month to scout possible sites for a stadium that could be home to a minor league baseball team.

Hawaii delegates belittle flag again

I am an American. I love my country and everything for which it stands. I love my family, my job and the principles of freedom. Probably more than anything, I love our flag.

Unfortunately, members of Congress from Hawaii feel differently about the wonderful symbol our great country has for freedom. Once again, our elected representatives, Neil Abercrombie and Patsy Mink, have voted against the flag-burning bill.

However, because wiser members of the House voted for the bill, it will now go to the Senate. It's a safe bet our senators will follow in the footsteps of the reps, because it's a "party thing." I find it hard to believe someone who just received a congressional medal of honor would vote against a bill to outlaw flag desecrated, but you just watch and see. Senator Inouye and his counterpart, Senator Akaka, have done it before, and you can bet they'll do it again.

Remember this vote the next time you go to the polls and see them up for re-election; vote for someone who truly loves their country and their flag.

James B. Taylor

Hanauma Bay is worth $3 fee

Last week, I swam with manini, ulua, uhu and weke in a tri-colored blue and green ocean. I gazed at the long stretch of white sand beach, a vista of towering cliffs formed by an ancient volcanic eruption, walked lava rock with scuttling, black Hawaiian crabs and imagined what it would have been like to live as a native, protected and fed by the abundance and beauty of this exquisite bay.

This natural and spiritual experience cost me the nominal fee of $3. No expensive boat trip to Molokini Island, complete with mini-luau, paper umbrellas and ill-fitting snorkel set. Rather, the complete package of a limited number of people, an educational kiosk, information booth, monitors with bullhorns reminding snorkelers to stay off the reef and keep away from the turtles, and the "over the top" experience of knowing that this piece of aina is being preserved for our children.

What better use would my $3 (the cost of a cup of coffee in an espresso bar in California) go to than preventing the destruction of one of Hawaii's most fragile ecosystems. No need for a class action suit on my behalf, for aren't we all visitors on this precious planet?

Libby Yee
Santa Rosa, Calif.
Formerly of Honolulu

Driving tests could reduce teen accidents

I think that the new requirements for teenagers taking driving tests are great. I will feel much safer driving on our roads now, just knowing that newly licensed teenagers have gone through the rigorous new test requirements.

As you know, there has been a substantial rise in teenage driving fatalities on our roads in the last 10 years. Maybe now, with this new law, the teen accident and death toll will decrease and the roads will be safer for all of us.

Jeffery Nakayama

Military needs Makua to train

I have been following the Makua Valley vs. Army training debate in the Star-Bulletin online edition from California.

I lived in Makaha until I graduated from Waianae High School in 1968 and joined the Air Force. I have fond memories of the Waianae Coast and still call Hawaii home.

I can understand the concern about preserving the valley, but how in the world can people expect our military to protect us and to preserve our freedoms if our military have no place to train? They must keep proficient in what they have to be able to do and to do well.

Once again the NIMBY (not in my back yard) voices rise. These are usually the same people who would be the first to cry out: "Where is the Army to protect us?"

Michael Lindo
Vacaville, Calif.

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