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Superintendent should trust voting parents

It was encouraging to see the extent to which Schools Superintendent Pat Hamamoto's agenda includes so many of the innovative reforms advocated by Governor Lingle, including:

>> placing school principals on performance contracts,
>> giving principals more fiscal autonomy and accountability and downright control over their budgets, and
>> distributing monies not to the central office but directly down to schools and classrooms.

My main concerns with her speech was her unwillingness to simply let the people decide whether we should have local school districts. Why not put it on the ballot and trust the parents of these students to do what's in their keiki's best interests?

As a legislator, I'll respect whatever the outcome, but it's too bad that the superintendent does not trust this decision to the very parents who trust her with educating their kids.

Rep. David A. Pendleton
R, Kailua-Kaneohe

Give schools power to govern themselves

Thomas Swindell (Letters, Jan. 25) writes that the Legislature's position is that the schools have "always been this way and we don't need any change." I keep up with education reform issues because I am the mother of two children who will enter the public schools in a few years. I certainly don't remember any legislator who believes we should do nothing.

However, I completely agree when he says it is time to get local communities more engaged in our schools. I believe the Legislature's approach makes the most sense because it wants to do it at the school level where it makes the most difference. Give the principals the authority to do their jobs without another layer of bureaucracy. Politicians should just get out of the way.

Let's not waste time with this local school board nonsense. It wouldn't even take effect until after the 2006 elections at the earliest. We need to decentralize and empower the schools now, not years from now.

Aisha Arion
Pearl City

Local boards can serve community better

Locally elected school boards would be more effective in monitoring the individual schools than the current statewide Board of Education. Local school boards could lead to greater involvement by parents and other community members; they would be much more in touch with the needs of their schools and communities than the current BOE.

These boards would be able to provide access to the administrative decisions that could shape the direction for all schools in the district. I encourage voters to get in touch with their legislators and ask them to let us vote on whether we want to create seven or more locally elected school boards or keep the current single state-wide school board system.

Clifford K. Honjiyo

Traffic offenders come from all locations

Regarding Alicia Kaneshiro's Jan. 23 letter ("Impatient drivers seem to be colorblind"), it is interesting that she classifies all red-light runners as coming from the mainland. In reality, traffic violations such as red-light running, speeding, driving too slowly, illegal lane changes and blocking traffic are not exclusive to any group of Hawaii drivers, "local" or "mainlander."

Kaneshiro's stated "love" for the derogatory bumper stickers mentioned in her letter would seem to indicate a much larger issue than driver safety. I would think that a simple "Slow down!" sticker would be just as effective, without the offensive connotation.

The truth is that bad drivers come in all forms, regardless of race, culture or resident status. The endless negative commentary on cultural driving styles is a form of thinly veiled racism. Maybe we should redirect our attention and resources to the real problem on our streets and highways: horrible drivers with selfish driving habits on roads that are dangerous and poorly maintained. This would truly be a colorblind approach to accident reduction.

Frank W. Roberts

Police too often ignore red-light offenders

All too often drivers speed up to make it through the intersection before the light goes red. More often than not the light has turned red before the driver has cleared the mid- point of the crossing. This is true of city buses and other heavy trucks that, because of their weight, could not possibly stop in time if a pedestrian or vehicle were to enter the intersection or crosswalk at the beginning of the green light.

Honolulu police driving blue and white patrol cars consistently ignore these violators even when they are sitting at the intersection and the vehicle crosses their path. Police also ignore the cellular phone users who turn a corner without stopping for the red light and have not the slightest idea they almost wiped out a pedestrian.

Only in Hawaii do the police ignore the fact that crosswalks were created to provide a safety zone for pedestrians. Here the emphasis seems to be on providing the motorists an opportunity to ignore the laws that govern their operation of the vehicle and pedestrian safety. I witness this daily at the intersection of Kaheka Street and Kapiolani Boulevard.

Lawrence W. Jackson

Police need greater powers to combat 'ice'

When I read the outcome of the Legislature's "ice" task force plans, I immediately felt that those plans were lopsided. How could almost 100 percent of the funds get tied up with treatment and prevention?

The caucus members did not do justice to the seriousness of this epidemic. They failed to give law enforcement the needed tools to stop the spread of the ice problem. By bringing back "walk and talk" and loosening the wiretap laws, we might make a dent in the influx of this poison. We also should consider the possibility of first treatment within the prison setting as a deterrent. Pouring money into programs to treat this epidemic is what we have been doing all along, and it has gotten us nowhere.

Sophie Mataafa
Lahaina, Maui

President Bush is no Harry Truman

Corky's editorial page cartoon of Jan. 30 reminds me of the difference between this administration and that of another president. Harry Truman had a sign on his desk stating, "The buck stops here." This president's motto seems to be "Where can I shift the blame?"

Hank Kocol


Remembering Dave

Readers, friends and family recall
the late Star-Bulletin columnist

Since Honolulu Star-Bulletin columnist and theater lover Dave Donnelly's death last Saturday, people all over the world have been writing to express their grief and share their memories. Here are some of their thoughts.

Young Shakespeareans will miss his expertise

For the last 10 years, Dave Donnelly served as a judge for the annual Hawaii High School Shakespeare competition, sponsored by the Hawaii Branch of the English-Speaking Union. Each year 20 to 30 high schools -- public, private and parochial -- would send their school winners to the state competition where they would act out a monologue from one of Shakespeare's plays and then recite a sonnet. The winner would then be sent to New York to compete in the national competition. We are grateful for Dave's expertise and his understanding and appreciation for the task undertaken by these students, which added much to the success of the competition.

Those of us involved with the competition will miss the friendship and good humor he offered us, and join with so many others in mourning his passing.

Edward P. Moore Jr.
Past president
English-Speaking Union, Hawaii branch
Coordinator, E-SU High School Shakespeare Competition

Dave brought out the best work in others

Dave Donnelly was the only perfectionist I ever liked. He would not rest until the last detail of a project was completed to his satisfaction. To tell you the truth, I'm surprised he allowed the good Lord to take him. I would have expected him to argue God into making this or that modification first before he pronounced him finished. "Lord," he might have said, "You've almost got it. But let's work a little more on my screenplay and Tuesday's article, shall we?" He was so stubborn so much of the time that I simply cannot believe he let himself be taken from us.

Dave hated to see things slip. He saw chaos in compromise, and he insisted that everything he did and created had to be the best he and his associates were capable of producing.

If you did not know Dave well, this might all sound pretty awful.

But it wasn't. In fact, being Dave's friend, confidant, associate, personal computer whiz and working with him for more than 18 years was something very like a miracle, a kind of daily miracle. He made you work in ways you never thought of working before. He brought out your best. He brought out more than your best.

Who among us would dare to aspire to create a perfect article, five days a week for more than 35 years? Impossible, right? Crazy to try. Well, Dave dared -- and, more important, he got each of the people he touched to dare as well. He made the pursuit of perfection a routine procedure around him.

The result was -- and is -- articles, screenplays, directorial efforts and acting that were the envy of the industry.

I believe I speak for many of us, if we are really honest with ourselves. I graduated from a good university. I've got diplomas to prove it. But it was Dave who finally and fully taught me how to be a good copy writer -- in the fullest, most highly perfected traditions of the profession. If I owed him nothing else, I would owe him that much.

But I -- we, all of us -- owe him so much more. He was a great columnist, a great mentor, a great example, a very great friend. We are better human beings for having read his words, watched him act, enjoyed his directorial efforts and to have known and worked with him, to have seen him as an example of a happy, love-filled life to follow.

Dave, from one Irishman to another, an ancient Irish blessing for you: "May you be 40 years in heaven before the devil knows you're dead."

Paul Klink

Donnelly was an example for island journalists

I'll miss Dave Donnelly in many ways. He always reminded me of the "old guard" of journalism in Hawaii, yet he was never cynical about the new generation of anchors, reporters and writers.

He was always approachable, and he took great interest in reporting on the evolution of personalities in local television news.

Dave will be remembered for his warm personality, his sense of humor and for always being fair to the people he covered. And, unlike other newspaper columnists on Oahu, Dave never played favorites. If a story or a person was interesting, he made space in his column for the item.

Donnelly was a wonderful example for so many of us in the news business -- and he always will be. Honolulu has truly lost an icon.

Jerry Drelling
Former KGMB-TV news anchor/reporter

The family was proud of Uncle David

I want to thank you all for your touching tributes to my uncle, Dave Donnelly. My mom was his oldest sister, and is understandably upset at his death. Although the rest of the family didn't see him often, we've always been very proud of him. One of the nicest things he ever did was, during the last few years of his mom's life, bring her out to Hawaii every couple of years for a visit. Grandma Donnelly had worked hard to bring up her family during the Depression and never had much, but when she came to Hawaii, Uncle David made sure she was always treated like a queen. He took her to the loveliest places and made sure she knew just what a special lady she was.

It's good to know he's missed by so many people in Hawaii, too.

Laura Hemly
New Orleans

His friends are left with great memories

I was so sorry to read of the death of Dave Donnelly. During the time I was learning my craft on Oahu and participating in such wonderful artistic adventures, Dave was a respected writer and admired member of the community. It is sad to see the old friends pass, such as Dave, and the incredible Wright Esser and my mentor, Don Allton. But how sweet and lovely the memories. The aloha is spread around the world by such men.

Dave Eichmann
Former conductor, 25th Infantry Division Soldiers Chorus
Former assistant conductor, Honolulu Chorale
Former choir director, Parker Memorial United Methodist Church

Being downtown with Dave was unforgettable

As a onetime Poi Boy in 1965 doing the all-night House Party Show, it was my extreme delight to see Dave, "The Moose," come shambling in at 6 a.m. to do the news at the end of my shift and just before Tom Moffatt's.

It seemed to be a tonic for me as he was always grumpy-funny, and I was always zany-manic from being up all night playing da kine music.

Years later after I had moved to New York and then Hollywood to be in the movies, I would return to my beloved islands for a radio gig and inevitably try to fine "The Moose."

He had moved to a downtown venue and a newspaperman's life, but he was still the same dear heart. Had my best "downtown" times with Dave in a few of the great bars -- but mostly Murphy's.

Once we walked off an excess of alcohol together when I was over there doing an episode of "Jake and the Fat Man."

I had to hit the set the next morning and I'm sure he had a column to write, so we decided to just walk along the waterfront by the Aloha Tower toward Waikiki. It was the same place where we had both ridden donkeys in the middle of the crazy night for the Donkey Derby in 1965.

We thought we had been transported back there.

He lurched to his car in a fit of laughter, the sound of which I will never forget, and I aimed my dancing feet toward my hotel.

I almost forgot where it was.

He also reported on my own personal marathon experience in 1965 for KPOI, which was called "The Drumathon," when I broke the nonstop drumming record at 92 hours.

When I got back to work after almost a week of craziness, he asked me where I had been!

Goofy times. Great times.

Even though I am in New York now, I shall miss your big smile, man.

Aloha dear heart.

See ya next time.

Michael Gwynne
Mount Kisco, N.Y.

It's a cloudy day in Hawaii and California, too

I just learned of Dave Donnelly's passing. Dave and I have been friends for 30 years. What a sad day.

Roger Carroll
Long Beach, Calif.

Writer's kind words will be long remembered

I read about the passing of Dave Donnelly in your newspaper. I would like to thank Dave for writing about our musical trio back in the 1970s. We were called the Kamana'o Trio; we were the back-up group for Sterling Mossman when he opened up his nightclub on Kapiolani Boulevard. I still have that article.

I'm grateful for his remarks about our "soothing sounds." My heart goes out to his family and God bless him for his writing.

Ciao from Napoli ...

Kalani Kamanao
Naples, Italy

He had more columns to write and jokes to tell

I didn't know Dave Donnelly except to call him with a joke or two. He would laugh appreciatively, chuckle as he wrote the joke down and thank me very much.

His column was also filled with laughs and chuckles as he tried to put down despair and offer encouragement. It is difficult to accept that this man was taken away in the bloom of youth. Sixty-six is far too young to leave the Earth when you have not finished saying all your words.

He will be quoted for a while, then misquoted for a longer period of time and then he will be remembered fondly with a smile. But he will be remembered, and fondly.

Arnold Van Fossen

Competitive cousins and buddies to the end

Memories flood back of Dave Donnelly, who was my first cousin and my age. When we were quite small, his mother (my aunt Carrie Kirkpatrick Donnelly) came visiting. Dave and I must have been maybe 3 or 4 years old. I had just gotten a toy train for Christmas, a wind-up affair that emitted sparks from its smoke stack (that is, until I poured in a small amount of milk).

Even at that early age, Dave and I vied for "top dog" status. An exchange of words escalated into an argument, and I threatened that I would have my train "run over" him. Dave, suffering no indignity lightly, picked up a rock, hurled it at me and opened a cut in my eyebrow. The scar is with me still.

Dave and I became good buddies. We had many good laughs together, and verbal jousts about whether his Brooklyn Dodgers or my St. Louis Cardinals would succeed in that year's pennant race. Those conversations are now recalled with fond pleasure.

Both Dave and I went on to college and majored in theater. I can only surmise that a Kirkpatrick gene might have been in play (no pun foreseen there). Dave found his niche acting in "Hawaii Five-O" and local theater. I managed also to achieve a few nationally viewed ventures.

Three or four years ago I had occasion to act the stage role of Johnnypateenmike in the Irish play "The Cripple of Inishmaan." I sent an e-mail to Dave mentioning that fact. His reply indicated that "his" theater was also looking to do that show, and he, too, hoped to win the "Johnny" role. Genetics?

As I think back about two young lads playing, imagining and "jousting" in Keokuk, Iowa, those many years ago, the joyful "scars" that persist even now in my recollection are ones I wouldn't trade for anything. Rest in peace, Dave. But laugh because, damn it, that's you.

Vincent W. Williams
Dubuque, Iowa

His writing and friendship encouraged others

I feel a personal loss with the death of Dave Donnelly. Throughout his newspaper career he was very helpful and informative in what he wrote about me when I was serving as "The Chaplain of Waikiki Beach" in the 1970s.

Even after I left Hawaii and moved back to the "Big Big Island," he continued his occasional mentions of the Waikiki Beach Chaplaincy ministry and its current director (and former Waikiki entertainer), Alex McAngus. He helped keep this vital tourist ministry alive for the people of Oahu.

Each time I returned to Honolulu, Dave made a kind mention in his column. Because of that, former University of Hawaii football players and police officers I had worked with often came to conferences or seminars where I was speaking.

Dave will be greatly missed. He was more than just a columnist -- he was a person who cared and encouraged others.

Bob Turnbull
Washington, D.C.
Founder, Waikiki Beach Chaplaincy

Donnelly's columns kept expatriates in the know

Since I left Hawaii almost 12 years ago, I have read Dave Donnelly's column on the Star-Bulletin's Web site almost every day. Although some of the names were unknown to me, many were familiar, and I felt as if I still had a precious connection to the islands.

When I read of his death, I was in shock. I thought "How will I keep connected to Hawaii?"

Who else but Dave has the knowledge and ability to write a column that appeals to everyone? A column that connected not only with the people of Hawaii, but with many ex-pats. He left big shoes to fill, and I, as one among many, will certainly miss him.

Judy Swierczek
Bergenfield, N.J.

Dave was a great booster of isle businesses

I was deeply saddened to read that Dave Donnelly passed away. I've known Dave to be a great newspaper columnist and a true friend to business in Hawaii. I'll miss him!

Jack Myers
San Francisco

He was a good friend who expanded many lives

Like the legions of Dave Donnelly's mourning family, friends, associates and the famous and not-so-famous celebrities and everyday people he wrote about, I too am saddened with the news of his passing.

As a photographer in Hawaii for many years, it wasn't unusual for me to meet Dave on professional and social levels.

On my visits to Hawaii I'd drop in on him to say "hi." He would always extend his aloha and "hele mai" me on in, even while in the midst of watching the Super Bowl.

However, whenever this former Palama/School Street "boy" saw a performance of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," I would remember how a young, gangly Dave Donnelly "trod the boards" as Willie Loman in a Hawaii production, fostering my continuing interest in the theater arts.

Dave touched so many of our lives in so many different ways and at so many different levels. I will miss his friendship and indomitable spirit.

Stanley Rivera
Van Nuys, Calif.

Irish wake for Dave

A wake for Dave Donnelly will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Murphy's Bar & Grill in downtown Honolulu. Tom Moffatt will MC the evening, which will include plenty of local entertainment. Donations will be accepted for a University of Hawaii theater scholarship in Donnelly's name.




Can you design a quarter that represents Hawaii??

Some states have issued collectible quarters that commemorate their entry into the union. The front of the coin looks the same but the eagle on the back has been replaced by something that represents that state. For example, Georgia's quarter has a peach on it. If you could design Hawaii's quarter, what would it look like?

Send your ideas and solutions by Feb. 17 to:

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

c/o Nancy Christenson


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.

Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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