Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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March 21, 2007 - MidWeek
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Paakaula defense

There is really nothing that should excuse or rectify the Waikele beating of what Rick Hamada describes as an “innocent” military couple. But how innocent was this couple? And really, was it as Rick Hamada claims “two cretins who were waiting for the chance to beat someone’s okole”?

According to a witness and close friends of the Paakaula family, the 16-year-old was provoked, pushed and then continuously punched by the military woman after he approached them about the fender bender accident. Keep in mind that when the military couple hit the Paakaulas’car, they laughed and didn’t even apologize. Soon after Dawn Dussell, the “innocent woman” as Rick Hamada claims she is, got out of her car and viciously attacks the 16-year-old, throwing punches, hitting him and cursing at him at the same time. The teenager’s mother tries to protect her son and attempts to pull this vicious woman away. The so-called “innocent military woman” punches the teenager’s mother in the face and blood pours out of the mother’s nose and mouth. Then the other man came out of the car and started taunting the 16-year-old boy. It was around this time that Gerald Paakaula walked out from the ice cream store to see his wife on the ground bleeding from the nose and mouth and his son trying to help her up.

It is easy for everyone to be so quick to judge the actions of Paakaulas. As inexcusable as their actions were, one should question what their own actions would have been had they been in Gerald’s or his son’s situation. What would have been your first reaction? Gerald’s first reaction as well as his son’s was to protect their family. Keep in mind the teenager had just been attacked by this so-called “innocent woman.” He also saw this same woman punch his mom in the face and cause her nose and mouth to bleed.

All the criticisms about these “violent powder kegs” that beat up these parents right in front of their 3-year-old child should also be reevaluated. If the military couple was so concerned with their 3-year-old daughter’s safety, then the wife shouldn’t have gotten out of the car, attacked the teenager in the first place and provoked the situation. Can’t we also reasonably assume that the Paakaulas were unaware of the child in the back seat?

The Paakaulas aren’t racist, haole-hating cretins who drive around hoping for someone to bang their car to start a fight. It is ironic that Dawn Dussell flipped out when the teenager mentioned the word “haole” and Dawn Dussell is not even haole, she is Portuguese. It is also ironic that the Paakaulas are being portrayed as racist and haole-hating cretins. But guest what?! The Paakaulas are not pure Hawaiians, they are half haole. Yes, I said they are half Hawaiian and half haole.

In this incident, there’s no question that everything has been blown out of proportion, but Mr. Hamada, before you so critically judge someone you have never met based solely on reports that could very well not be the entire story, let you be reminded that God is the only one who places judgment. And Mr. Hamada, I would hate to believe you think you’re God.

Before accusing this family of being terrible Hawaiians, you need to listen to both sides of the story and the truth will come out at the end. I can’t imagine how Dawn Dussell has not admitted to provoking and assaulting the teenager and the teenager’s mother. I don’t know how this military family can go on with their lives knowing what the truth is, and they have allowed the public and the media to damage this family’s reputation.

Puesta Wong


Represent all

In his column “Gay Marriage And Majority Opinion,” Jerry Coffee failed to mention the fact that the voters of District 33 had the good sense to reject his candidacy and elect Blake Oshiro during the 2004 elections.

This left Mr. Oshiro on the inside doing the hard work of representing all of the citizens in the district, and Mr. Coffee on the outside to eat his sour grapes and denigrating Mr. Oshiro’s public service.

One can only hope that the voters will remember Mr. Coffee’s disdain for their evaluation of his idealogue views in some future election. We can then be assured that he will be defeated once again by another better candidate.

David Jones

Ewa Beach

A civil union ‘bone’

Despite Jerry Coffee’s comments, civil unions and marriage are not the same. Check Webster’s online dictionary! Would he trade in his marriage for a civil union? Now the “bone” of civil union is tossed us, and he wants to deny us that also?! The religious right came out in hordes and voted against “same sex marriage” to protect their precious “marriage” institution. Respectfully, I can honor that.

A lot of these same religious people have been enlightened since then, discovering their friends, family, care givers, business associates, entertainers, etc. and children are gay. Not to mention future children. No one is immune from having a gay child.

I agree with Mr. Coffee - voters need to constantly ask ourselves if our elected representatives are truly representing our values and priorities. And this includes even those voters who may be born differently from us. I am Christian, and I am local, and I am gay, and I have values and priorities! I pray that the Legislature use their conscience and courage, voting winwin according to the constitution, for equal rights to all (including minorities) rather than out of fear. I thank God that Coffee didn’t make it to the House.

It’s sad when religious, anti-gay, and (so-called) family groups like Hawaii Family Forum will pour so much time and money into stopping two people in love from tying the knot, while we have homeless people still on the beach, and there are starving and dying in the world who could use that time and money. Why can’t we work together to make this a better world, inclusive, rather than exclusive?

Steven Leong


License wait times

This is a rather belated response to Bob Jones’column on wait times at drivers licensing offices, because I wanted to check what the lines would be like at the end of January and February, and see if we had a continuing problem. I am happy to report that on my five visits, the average wait time was less then 30 minutes. Unfortunately, Bob’s wait was longer than normal because Jan. 5 was a Friday, and at the end of one of the center’s busiest weeks of the year, a four-day week at that.

I believe most people understand that it takes a bit of time to ensure that problem drivers are not able to renew their licenses and that a driver’s license is a de facto identification card, and care must be taken to ensure that it is issued to the correct person. On the vision test, where we test for a minimum 20/40 or better and for peripheral vision, it is not meant to be a complete eye examination.

The staff at the taxicab operator license window answers subpoena requests, correspondence, telephone calls and performs other essential clerical functions, in addition to servicing the taxicab operators license window.

Years ago, the City issued licenses by mail, which meant a wait of two to four weeks before your card arrived. We switched to an over-the-counter system in response to public demands, so they could obtain their licenses on the spot.

We are continually striving to improve our system.

We have also installed TVs in the waiting areas and improved signage to aid customers with their visit. The hard-working staff at the licensing centers and other branches of our Customer Services Department has earned many compliments in recent months.

Additionally we recently opened the new Koolau Drivers License Center, which is designed to serve Windward residents, and lessen the demands at City Square.

Jeff Coelho City Director of Customer

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Most Recent Comment(s):

Stop making excuses for violent behavior.

Hamada’s article, “Vicious attack, not road rage”, caught scrutiny from a local woman who tried, in vain, to make the two thugs out as the victims. Unbelievable.

Puesta Wong, in her first sentence of her letter titled Paakaula defense, says, “There is really nothing that should excuse or rectify the Waikele beating of what Rick Hamada describes as an ‘innocent’ military couple.” Of course the discerning reader will pick up right away that Wong intends to do just the opposite with her presumptuous use of quotations. What follows would rival the writers of Ferris Beuller:

“My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.”

Wong’s letter is filled with ‘he said/she said’ innuendos and dubious claims of knowing what the family of the thugs said about the event that happened in the parking lot. She also contends that it was the wife, who weighs a whopping 115 lbs, who threw the first punch at the 16 year old son and that it was just the father coming out to aid his son. I contend that her intellectually obtuse brain is running on low for her to align herself with a morally confused ‘cretin’.

Interestingly enough, none of the comments allegedly made by the family of Paakaula made it in the papers or the news. There are however, plenty of bystanders who corroborated Hamada’s story. Wait, there is one person who believes the wife threw the first punch besides Wong- Paakaula’s attorney.

It is a dastardly thing to beat someone weaker than you into a pulp, not to mention the issue of beating a woman unconscious. Paakaula’s arrest record speaks for itself: if this man doesn’t care enough about his family to beat them, then how much less does he care for people he doesn’t know? His cowardice has been passed onto his son who will, statistically speaking, have the same problem as his father and they will both end up at the bottom of the gene pool as human detritus.

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