Letters to the Editor

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Imagine an even greater Kamehameha Schools

When I went to Kamehameha there was a school for boys and a school for girls. ROTC khaki uniforms were worn by all of the boys and dress blues on special occasions. Teachers and the trustees were required to be Protestants and children of non-Hawaiian Kamehameha faculty were admitted as students when I was there.

As student body president 34 years ago, I remember stating that Kamehameha should always be for Hawaiians at the annual school's song contest at Blaisdell Arena. Obviously, much has changed.

And Kamehameha has new opportunities. Imagine a school where Hawaiian is spoken, where the medium of instruction is Hawaiian, where students learn math, science, even Japanese language through Hawaiian. Imagine a school where, in addition to meeting the standards prescribed by law, Hawaiian language competency is required, where a minimum of four years of Hawaiian language, culture, religion, literature and arts are prerequisites of graduation.

Imagine a learning institution where graduates continue to excel and contribute as learned Hawaiian scholars at the best universities throughout the United States and beyond.

Imagine islands where the native language is once again commonly spoken, at home, in the markets and banks.

Imagine a place where its native people and others truly understood and appreciated the subtleties of language, hula, chant and where nature is celebrated through genuine expressions of literature, dance, music, theater and film.

It happens everyday in New Zealand, Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Japan, China and places whose native peoples have not been wholly consumed by, as Hawaiian historian David Malo so eloquently warned against, "large fishes that come from the dark ocean."

Imagine a Kamehameha as the learning institution where critical thinking on recapturing what was, what is and what can be is led by everyday example -- in addition to the school's song contest and graduation.

Imagine Kamehameha's gift of sustainability and excellence not just to the world, as it will surely benefit, but to its very own indigenous Hawaiian people, the vast majority of whose identity has been lost longer than anyone can remember.

Imagine a Kamehameha as truly a Hawaiian institution for those who sincerely and genuinely want to be Hawaiian yesterday, today, tomorrow and for all time.

Sen. Clayton Hee
D, Kahuku-Kaneohe

Stop the school jam! Home-school for all!

More than 800 school-age children are killed annually in motor vehicle crashes during school travel hours, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The fatalities are more than double the rate of our servicemen and women in Iraq! Wouldn't our kids be safer over there?

Where are the activists and protesters? Let's demand that President Bush "bring our children home before another needless death occurs."

In the name of safety, let's insist on "home school for all," and stop the school jam!

John Corboy

Libraries deserve more funding

Librarian Sylvia C. Mitchell (Letters, Aug. 14) hasn't even touched upon the success of her Liliha Library due to the Friends of the Library book sales, or the scores of volunteers who help with refiling stacks and shelves. Other popular catalogue items include the CD, video, young adult classics, and Japanese comics.

It's difficult to fill a critical vacancy when so many of the chores are assisted by these volunteers. But this branch is an essential resource for not only the Chinese community, but the Korean, Filipino and more recent immigrants. Specialized linguistic training is required for such assignments.

The library system is part of the Department of Education. The 2004 Board of Education elections barely touched upon the subject of libraries. The only venue to address it was a League of Women Voters' Forum. Candidates seemed sorely unaware of the reduced operating hours or staggered scheduling that the staff have faced.

I hope that in the next legislative session, the DOE will step-up funding requests for the State Library System together with those for the schools.

Arvid Tadao Youngquist

Death penalty doesn't allow for mistakes

Regarding the letter supporting the death penalty (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 19): As much as we want to believe, and as much as some might "perceive that the death penalty is applied fairly in this country," we know that more than a few people have been convicted of murder and then been reprieved, some at the figurative last minute, because of new evidence, or "old" evidence that's been evaluated or tested with new means and methodology.

I would much rather see a person convicted of murder given a definite sentence, say of 99 years, by the court (not a parole agency) to be served without possibility of release until and unless the person is shown to be innocent. The convicted person could be housed in an "escapeless" cubicle with no TV or outside activities (though perhaps given a news magazine and books to read).

I hope the citizens of Hawaii continue to oppose the death penalty. We could do a lot better in coping with crime, and probably a lot better in our sentencing and probation/parole procedures, but imposing the death penalty would not necessarily change any of that.

Jao Ottinger
Makaha Valley

Many in Hawaii agree with death penalty

This refers to the Star-Bulletin's editorial Aug. 12, "Death penalty not welcome in Hawaii." Give me a break! Although the death penalty is illegal in Hawaii, you insult many residents of Hawaii by assuming that many residents would not welcome the death penalty where a conviction is found in a crime as heinous as the Williams' case in which a young child was tortured on a daily basis, brutally beaten and killed or, as in a North Dakota case in which a repeat sex offender kidnapped and killed a college student.

I bet that many, if not most of the residents of Hawaii, would agree that a decision of whether to seek the death penalty in the Williams' case by new Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who approved the death penalty in the North Dakota case, would be justified. I agree wholeheartedly with Gonzales' opinion regarding seeking the death penalty for a crime in a state that does not have the death penalty. Gonzales stated, "I believe the fact the state doesn't have the death penalty doesn't mean that the people of the state would not impose the ultimate sanction when the right circumstances dictate that that happen."

Although you call this "offensive double talk" from Gonzales, it makes perfectly good sense to me. Right on, Gonzales. Keep it real!

Jake Bradley

Explain how Oahu tax benefits other islands

I would like Mayor Hannemann to explain exactly how a tax on Oahu, for a transit system that benefits only Oahu, is going to benefit the Big Island.

This is like saying that an additional half-percent tax for police and fire services in a small, independent township on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas benefit the citizens of Austin, Texas.

I'd like to hear what Hannemann would say about the "ohana concept" if the circumstances were reversed (If a tax increase on the Big Island were affecting Honolulu residents.)

I'd also like to see exactly what benefits I'd reap as a resident of Kurtistown or Hilo or Waimea, from revenue generated at the transit stations. Those revenues are going to mostly pay for the upkeep and maintenance of that system. There will not be any additional revenues.

In fact, the transit system on Oahu, as transit systems all over the world, will run at a deficit.

Bill Martin
Kurtistown, Hawaii

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