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Friday, September 7, 2001

Knock down section of shopping center

There is only one thing that would make a real difference in Kamehameha Schools' plans for renovating the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and, more importantly, in its impact on Waikiki: Knock down a section of it, opening up once again the view of the Royal Hawaiian from Kalakaua Avenue.

Who among us who remembers the graceful roof lines and coral walls of the former emporiums fronting Kalakaua Avenue, with the palms and pink turrets of the Royal in the background, does not shudder at the sight of the current shopping center, foisted upon us by the then-Bishop Estate and our own mindless officials.

Want to revive Waikiki? Give it back the Royal. It'll be easy: At the signal we'll all be there with our sledgehammers.

Elisa Johnston

Bait attracts sharks in Florida and Fiji

Leilani Yap's Sept. 1 letter contains two significant errors. First, the sharks that are biting people in Florida are not being attracted by fisherman but by baitfish -- schools of fish that are sometimes used as bait by fishermen.

Second, regarding Fiji and sharks, there is a dispute on the island of Taveuni, where sharks have become dangerous close to shore. The owner of a slaughterhouse is discarding animal carcasses directly into the ocean, and this is attracting sharks that do not leave until fed. There is no law against this in Fiji, but some people are trying to enact such a law and others disagree.

Whatever the case may be regarding fishing, fish hooks, sharks and children on the beaches of Oahu, the examples of Florida and Fiji do not support Yap's argument.

Jamie Hunter

Build infrastructure first, then housing

In her Sept. 3 letter, "Access road will ease traffic on Ewa road," Tesha Malama underscored the desperate need for increased traffic carrying capacity on Fort Weaver Road in Ewa Beach.

Gentry and Haseko builders have permits to construct more than 6,000 new homes almost equal to the number they have built over the last seven years. Unfortunately, the plans for infrastructure to handle the vehicles, the schools needed to educate the new children and police and fire-fighting capability are insufficient to properly accommodate these new residents.

We have not had any help in solving our traffic problems from our state representative, Willie Espero. Instead, Tesha Malama has been the driving force behind traffic improvements, including the north-south road. The only solution is to call for a moratorium on new construction until the infrastructure is in place to handle the population.

Garry Smith
Ewa Beach


"I don't see how we justify letting children operate a video game that encourages hitting pedestrians and getting points for it. This does nothing good for the child or for society."

Leon James,

University of Hawaii psychologist who studies driving habits and road rage, on recent street-racing accidents and a permissive American culture that promotes speed and winning.

"We're trying our best and that's all we can do."

Claudia Chun,

Department of Education personnel specialist, on dealing with the heavy volume of teacher job applications and inquiries since Superintendent Paul LeMahieu announced the DOE is short about 400 teachers.

Agreement reached on antenna placement

Our sincerest mahalo to all those involved in bringing the Mililani Mauka antenna issue to a successful resolution. After nearly a year of difficult engagement, an agreement was finally struck to move the AT&T antenna to a new location.

Thanks to the recent inspiring efforts of AT&T, Mayor Harris, the city Planning and Permitting Department and the Planning Commission, AT&T will now move its antenna to the Mililani Mauka District Park site.

We are especially grateful to City Councilwoman Rene Mansho, who courageously faced angry Mililani Mauka residents and brought all parties together in averting a long legal entanglement. Thanks to her superlative and expeditious effort, the antenna move will be completed within 60 days.

We now urge Voicestream to also be a good neighbor by relocating its antenna at the same time. In the spirit of cooperation, AT&T went a step further by graciously inviting other wireless carriers to co-locate onto its new antenna pole. We ask Voicestream to promptly accept this offer to finally put an end to the community's long antenna ordeal.

Edward K. Uchida

Federal oversight needed for special ed

How does more money keep getting spent on special education even though it is not reaching the children who need it? Here is one tiny example out of thousands:

On Nov. 1, at an eligibility meeting, a speech therapist declared a cute first-grader eligible, because the therapist liked the child. The therapist said, "Let's not do a formal assessment, because I know it will show that the child no longer qualifies, but I want to keep working with her anyway." The school principal was in attendance. The mother seemed as if she did not quite understand, but went along with it because the professionals must know what they are doing.

On Aug. 20, a fifth-grader with serious speech problems had his speech therapy cut from 90 minutes to 30 minutes by the Department of Education team -- even though a nationally known expert had recommended 150 minutes. Wasn't he cute enough?

DOE personnel spend the money to suit themselves. The DOE does not police its personnel. A receiver is needed.

John Mussack
Special Education Teacher
Department of Education

Media unfairly slams Congressman Condit

In the United States, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, unless the media wish to profit from making a mountain out of a mole hill. The Gary Condit case is a disgusting example of almost every national media flagrantly beating a man solely to boost ratings.

The case should be summarized like his: A woman is missing. She has an adulterous affair with a congressman. The congressman initially denied the relationship and later admitted the relationship to the police.

The police have publicly stated that they are satisfied with Condit's answers and that Condit is not a suspect. Investigation of other explanations continues.

However, syndicated columnist Marianne Means doesn't understand anything about "innocent until proven guilt." In her Aug. 28 column ("Gary Condit: Dumbest of them all, and a jerk to boot"), she wrote that "he refused to come clean." A person who has not been proven guilty must not be slandered with the inference that he is "dirty."

Don't journalists have to be objective? When did journalists get permission to scream off any person-damning personal opinion, even though the opinion contradicts police statements? Means has elected herself judge, jury and chief vigilante, which actually goes to prove her columns are based on spite, not reason.

Dennis B. Miller

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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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