Letters to the Editor

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Don't be fooled by 'smart growth'

A group of University of Hawaii faculty members recently descended on Kailua promoting "smart growth." The term "smart growth" seems to be a euphemism that camouflages actions that are actually dangerous to our quality of life. There is also a "big brother" factor involved since "smart growth" is endorsed by our federal Environmental Protection Agency.

"Smart growth" is an extreme concept that seems intent upon replacing the desirable living amenities found in suburbia with shanty-town characteristics of crowding, disorder and nuisance. "Smart growth" principles include population density increases, higher buildings, mixing land uses together (gas stations and McDonald's on residential streets), eliminating minimum lot sizes, and "floating zones" (big-box commercial and industrial uses could become your neighbors at any time). It wouldn't be long before "smart" inhabitants of a community subjected to these blighting influences would escape to seek sanity elsewhere.

It is difficult to understand why these UH faculty members want to subject Kailua to these radical experiments, but whatever the reason, their interest does not qualify as a welcome public service from our university.

Don Bremner

Servicewomen deserve justice for assaults

I have friends in the military, some who are at war right now, and I am deeply concerned for their welfare. In addition to the dangers of combat, servicewomen face an insidious enemy in their own ranks -- fellow members who sexually assault them.

A recent Pentagon report found that at least 88 cases of sexual misconduct have been reported by troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. At least 37 female service members have sought sexual-trauma counseling and other assistance from civilian rape crisis organizations after returning from duty in those countries. That number is likely to rise as more troops return from combat.

This year Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY, and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va, launched a bipartisan effort to persuade House leaders to hold full committee hearings to examine the military's justice system and root causes of crimes against servicewomen. They sent a letter to the House Armed Service Committee dated Jan. 27, citing the all-too-liberal use of nonjudicial punishment, which is at the commanding officer's discretion. Their decisions are rarely questioned, leaving victims little recourse while still in the military. The letter also cited insufficient advocacy as a problem. Most bases have not even one military advocate to connect victims to trauma resources. Furthermore, if a rape results in pregnancy the military will likely refuse to pay for an abortion.

There is no excuse for nonprosecution of sexual assault cases in the military since DNA is now collected from every member. As more and more women commit their lives to the armed services, we owe them a commitment to eliminating this injustice. If you have a loved one in the military, especially a wife, daughter or sister, ask your congressional delegates to call for committee hearings on sexual violence against U.S. servicewomen.

Ohana Foley
Amnesty International Hawaii
Student Area Coordinator
Pearl City

Well-intended ag bill seriously flawed

The 2002 bill designed to promote farming on land zoned for agriculture was intended to discourage "gentlemen farms." It required farmers to dedicate their land to agriculture for a minimum of one year; otherwise the land would be taxed at the higher rate. Unfortunately, this bill failed to consider the circumstances of some legitimate farmers.

Many farmers lease agricultural land on short-term leases, often month-to-month. The lease can be terminated by the property owner on 30 days' notice. If a farmer has this type of lease, it is impossible to dedicate the land to agriculture for the minimum one-year period.

Further, both the farmer tenant and the property owner must sign the petition for agricultural dedication. I have farm land in Waiahole Valley that is leased from the state of Hawaii. When the Real Property Tax Assessment Division sent an inspector to visit my farm, he told me I qualified for the dedication. Yet, after six months of making written and verbal requests to the state agency that manages the Waiahole Valley Agricultural Park, the state has not yet signed the agricultural dedication petition for my farm.

I strongly support the use of agricultural lands for farming. I oppose efforts by developers to use agricultural lands to create two-acre estates for the wealthy who have no intention of farming. But I am convinced that the 2002 bill is seriously flawed because it does not address the circumstances of farmers who lease their property.

There are other ways to ensure appropriate use of agricultural land. Ann Kobayashi and the City Council are rightfully taking steps to address the inequities in the current property tax system.

Chula R. Clark
Chocolate Coconut Farms

Moms should protect the lives they create

Tayshea Aiwohi selfishly chose to use crystal meth in the days before the birth of her son. After the birth she chose ice once again, before nursing her newborn son. It would be a shame not to hold her accountable for the life of her son Treyson.

I have had seven children and I will tell anyone that by the time a child in the womb is four months old, you can already feel the deliberate and independent motion of that life. Aiwohi and women today do have a choice early on, whether or not to stay pregnant. The selfish act of choosing a substance over her growing child is the reason she is being brought to trial.

Unfortunately for Aiwohi, her innocent son was alive for two days before he died from the ice she exposed him to. The judge has made the right decision to take this to trial. I hope we can all learn a great deal from this tragic death. As a community we need to stand up for children like Treyson.

Sophie Mataafa
Lahaina, Maui

Smarty Jones' dream foiled by long shot

The little red chestnut from Pennsylvania
Had won the Derby and Preakness too
But now he must pass the "Test of the Champion,"
The Belmont Stakes, a dream come true.
"Go, Smarty Jones," the huge crowd roared,
"Bring home the Triple Crown, Little Red!"
A sudden surge from long-shot Birdstone
And Smarty's chance to make history was dead.

Wanda Kulamanu Ellis Au




The ponds at the state Capitol are full of icky green stuff. What, besides holding an election, can we do to get rid of all that scum at the Big Square Building? Or should we just replace the ponds with something else?

Tell us what you think, whether you know of a way to clean the ponds or if you'd rather see a remodel of the Capitol grounds. Anything would be an improvement.

Send your ideas by June 16 to:

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

Or by fax:
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.

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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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