Letters To The Editor
September 20, 2006 - MidWeek
Akaka family ties
In response to Bob Jones’ column last week and my position with the Akaka campaign, yes, I am one of the few paid campaign staff members, an opportunity for which I am very grateful.
But more importantly, I’ve got a strong personal reason for my support of Senator Akaka. My parents, the late Elias Yadao and Josephine Regala, as she was known then, knew Dan Akaka when all of them were students together at the University of Hawaii. Our families have had a close and warm relationship since then and I’ve known the Akakas since I was a child growing up in Hilo.
Dan Akaka was then, as he is today, a man of honor, integrity, compassion, and aloha and I am extremely proud to be working for his re-election.
Akaka in 2006
Regarding Bob Jones’ column “Poor Akaka Advice, Say’s House,“which contends that Akaka’s handlers mishandled him during the debate with Ed Case. Mr. Jones says the senator should have said in his summation “You know I will be 82 this month and I’m not as sharp as I was at 42. But I am not a bumbling idiot in a wheelchair with a drool rag. I am a functioning senator with a lot of seniority.”
I was offended to say the least, as I am sure the entire disability and elderly community joins me in disbelief at how such a bigoted, prejudicial, ignorant statement could be published in any newspaper.
In this country there are 80-year-old seniors who are in fact as sharp as they were at 42. In addition, they have continued to contribute to their communities in whatever profession they are in - CEOs of multimillion-dollar corporations, doctors, accountants, etc.
As far as the disability community goes there are many people in wheelchairs (some may even drool from time to time) who are not, “bumbling idiots” as Mr. Jones refers to them.
I would like to educate Mr. Jones that right here in Hawaii we have several wheelchair citizens who contribute daily to our community. We have a professor at UH who teaches oceanography, who has been instrumental in a successful science program for kids with disabilities. I have seen video of him in the bottom of the ocean. I had the privilege to accompany him in a raft on this island. We have attorneys in wheelchairs who are as successful as their counterparts. There are executive directors of agencies and presidents of private corporations in wheelchairs. And in my case, the doctor who saved my dad’s life when he suffered sudden cardiac arrest was in a wheelchair.
Mr. Jones owes every senior and disabled person in this state an apology for the belittling, offensive statements he made. Disabled Americans are the fastest growing minorities in this country. He himself may someday find himself in this category through no fault of his own.
By the way, Sen. Akaka would never make these kinds of statements. He is too kind.
Turning off fans
Subject: UH Football seats not filled.
First, UH football changes its name without fan input or support. Then UH football changes its uniform colors and logo without fan input or support.
There was a time I felt as though I belonged to the program. If I missed a game, I could watch it the same evening without paying for it. UH has nickel and dimed the fan to the point of turning us off. When athletic director Herman Frazier closes every avenue to watch our team for free, he shuts us out. My passion is waning with every “passing” season. When you remove the opportunity to afford to view the game with the family, the interest for the team decreases. With this cycle do not expect future generations to be UH football fans. This is Hawaii, not the Mainland; it’s a different market.
And have you checked the price of tickets lately? I wanted to take my family to the opener, went online to order tickets, and for four of us the cost was $164. Throw in parking, food, etc., and we decided there were better ways to spend our money.
Then again, finally start producing a consistent championship-quality team and people will fill those empty seats.
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