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Combine phys ed with health and guidance

Why do we put so little emphasis on teaching students how to be healthy? There is so much that can be done in schools. Providing physical activity is part of it. Providing drug education is part of it. Providing nutrition education is part of it. Providing water safety education is part of it. It is providing education to help students develop a healthy lifelong lifestyle.

Phys ed, health and guidance are given just two credits out of 22. The Department of Education's plan would cut this to one credit by reducing physical education and eliminating guidance -- at a time when obesity, diabetes and other warning signals among our youth are increasing.

The ratio of academic education to physical education is far out of balance. After all, the mind lives in the body, and the mind requires a healthy body to function at its fullest capability.

Do not cut phys ed any further. Combine it with health and guidance. Develop an overall program to give our students the knowledge and training necessary for lifetime health. Stop thinking that physical education is just sports.

Robert S. Henninger

Say, Bunda properly declined golfing perks

Kudos to House Speaker Calvin Say and Senate President Robert Bunda for raising the bar in government ethics. Their decline of privileges at Waialae and Honolulu country clubs is a great step forward in assuring that our lawmakers are accountable.

Regardless of whether those golf-course perks actually affect anyone's decision-making, it's the fact that our legislative leaders want to eradicate even the perception of influence that is heartening. It means that Say and Bunda really do put a value on the people's trust. It means they believe that lawmakers must not only do their jobs, but they must set examples as well.

Too often, our citizenry assumes that politicians are trying to work the angles and get something for themselves. It's nice to see that the House speaker and the Senate president are working to reverse that image.

Helen Rauer

Kahoolawe photo worthy of archives

Thank you for fine reporting of the Kahoolawe turn-over in your Nov. 13 issue. It is an important part of our history and one with relevance for our posterity.

Your front-page photo of Leon Siu, Kekana Galioto and Kekuni Blaisdell captured a significant moment, one worthy of inclusion in our state archives.

Readers may be interested in knowing that Kekuni Blaisdell is also known as Dr. Richard Blaisdell. His grandmother was a full-blooded Hawaiian, adopted into Queen Liliuokalani's hanai family. He interned at Johns Hopkins and was a research fellow in Japan for the atomic bomb victims. He also was one of the founders of our Burns Medical School at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, where he is a clinical professor of medicine.

As a leader of the kanaka maoli, he is known for gentle persuasion, much like Gandhi was. Still, he was one of four protesting the Stryker brigade who were arrested for "criminal trespass."

Tom Okimoto

Admitting non-natives would inspire aloha

One can appreciate the thrill of victory felt by proponents of a segregated Kamehameha Schools whose wishes were upheld in the recent court decision. Their thrill, however, is in winning a battle that ultimately may result in losing the war.

As long as the Akaka Bill, calling for federal recognition of Hawaiians, does not pass, Hawaii is still considered by many countries to be a sovereign nation, seized and occupied illegally. We, as that nation, need to take control of our destiny. We see the United States increasingly conducting itself and its affairs in a manner that, if not arrested, will most certainly destroy it.

The responsibility is ours to stop this downward spiral. We have the tools to do so. The wisdom of old Hawaii cannot continue to be locked away in tradition or be shared only with a few. An institution like Kamehameha Schools must take a leadership role in lighting the future. Perhaps Kamehameha should accept all children of these islands and, maybe someday, all children everywhere.

The Polynesian culture was based upon knowledge and acceptance, and had the deepest sense of respect for truth and wisdom. We need to again reach that place. The best-equipped vehicle for getting there is Kamehameha Schools.

We are a sovereign nation. We have a sovereign role, and if we answer to our calling we will save the future for our children -- all our children.

Kelly Greenwell

Overpopulation causes problems for everyone

Makakilo residents are demonstrating concern about overdevelopment. They join others throughout the state who are voicing their concern about overbuilding, inadequate planning and excessive population.

It seems there are those in government who look to increased tax income for our governmental coffers without considering the damage to the people and environment.

We should remember the words of former Gov. George Ariyoshi, who said in his 1977 State of the State address: "The problem of excessive population seems to be central to nearly every problem in our state. Too many people means too few jobs and too much competition for them; too many people means too little land for agriculture, and parks, and scenic vistas; too many people means too much crime and too much erosion of possibly our single most important commodity, the Aloha Spirit."

Bernard Judson

Lying when flying is a weighty matter

My wife and I recently attended a timeshare presentation on the Big Island. At the conclusion, we overheard a representative who was booking a helicopter tour for a portly tourist couple.

With the tour company on the phone, the representative asked the couple for their weights. The man replied "270 pounds." With his hand over the phone, the representative told him, "You don't want to weigh that -- they can charge you extra if you weigh more than 250 pounds." The man then said, "OK, 250 pounds."

Twenty pounds is not trivial for helicopters operating at the altitudes and temperatures in Hawaii. In 1994, two passengers were injured when a helicopter crashed near Volcanoes National Park. Records that included the occupants' assumed weights showed that the helicopter's weight before takeoff was 21 pounds under the maximum allowable. In 1987, one person was injured when a helicopter "crash-landed" in rising terrain near Kailua-Kona. Its weight before takeoff was 28 pounds under the maximum.

As a certified airplane and helicopter pilot and former charter pilot, this type of activity really scares me. What if several passengers falsify their weight?

Thomas Sanders

Problems need fixing to attract Japanese

I'm not sure we should be fixing our tourism woes with flyers, television commercials or ukulele jam sessions. These are merely Band-Aid-type fixes that don't really address our real problems.

Has everyone in Japan forgotten about Hawaii, and do they need a reminder? I think not. When a tourist comes to Hawaii and gets stuck in downtown traffic, gets his wallet stolen off the beach or is unimpressed with Waikiki, that's the advertising we need to fix. We need to clean up Waikiki, crack down on petty crimes against tourists and fix our traffic problems.

These black marks are like cancer growing on our tourism industry and they can't be fixed with a Band-Aid.

Casey Kamikawa
Mill Creek, Wash.

Education can help fight drug crimes

Hawaii needs more community-based rehabilitation for our incarcerated women. Building prisons and limiting funds to our school system is nonsensical.

My generation will take the brunt for this monetary mismanagement. How is the next generation expected to survive? What is the expectation of people with limited skills and the imbalance of increasing costs for higher education?

Basic education is a preventive measure and should be accessible to all. Drug addiction is a result of poor expectations within the school system, a symptom of poverty, not the source of evil our media play it up to be.

Our money needs to be used in ways that make sense for the entire community. We need inclusive education and more comprehensive drug treatment programs such as community-based rehabilitation. This approach helps female offenders reintegrate by allowing them opportunities to make informed choices, and find jobs and affordable housing.

Our policy-makers need to implement long-term solutions to eradicate our ice epidemic. Make it easier for Hawaii's people to thrive rather than survive, before and after incarceration.

Gabriella Moreno

Marijuana laws are similar to Prohibition

Thank you for the article on medical marijuana ("Medical marijuana: Breathing uneasy," Star-Bulletin, Nov. 16). I still think the illegality of marijuana is like Prohibition, with the drug dealers making billions of dollars.

According to Time magazine, about 47 percent of Americans have experimented with marijuana. Is roughly half our population addicted to marijuana? Of course not.

This is nothing more than government propaganda in the war on drugs that has been going on for 150 years. Does the government ever win? No, it's their job, courtesy of the taxpayers.

Phil Robertson

Find better ways to use light-rail money

The $2.6 billion targeted for light rail could be better spent. What about:

>> building a road over the mouth of Pearl Harbor and inconveniencing few people or businesses? We can always stop traffic to let our great war ships go underneath.

>> helping, with dignity, the homeless people who may have great new places to live under the rail structures?

>> building a bypass at Waianae, which is being hijacked every time an accident closes the only access route?

>> setting up an "ice" hotline on Oahu (the Big Island ice hotline is working)?

>> starting a pilot project to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, which creates far fewer social ills than ice?

>> Remedying the government's failure to create proper infrastructure for Kapolei, making it finally a real second city?

But it is so much easier to create one big project and let the politicians and their cronies share the trough.

Douglas Scott




Dirty gutter talk

Those orange rolls that highway engineers have been shoving into storm drain openings -- there must be a more efficient or practical or attractive way to filter out road debris. These things are about as useful and pleasing to the eye as huge, discarded cigarette butts.

Send your ideas, drawings and solutions by Thursday, Dec. 17 to:

Or mail them to:
c/o Burl Burlingame
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

c/o Burl Burlingame


How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). 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 and include a daytime telephone number.

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