Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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May 02, 2007 - MidWeek
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Wrong on Akaka

We respect columnist Jerry Coffee’s commitment to the community, including his distinguished record defending our country. But in opposing the Akaka bill, we ask that he quit tossing out incorrect statistics and waving flags of divisiveness to induce fear.

In his April 18 column, for example, he claims that average incomes for Hawaiian families “has never been higher, and in some cases exceeds that of other races, even Caucasians.”

This is just plain wrong, and he has unfortunately chosen to lift some “talking points” from the right-wing lobbying efforts aimed at eliminating other programs Mr. Coffee purports in his column to support, such as Kamehameha Schools admissions policy, the Hawaiian Homes Program, and OHA income from ceded lands.

We suggest Mr. Coffee visit the homeless living on Hawaii’s beaches, and the equally disproportionate number of native Hawaiians locked up in our prisons. He should also look into the alarming medical problems facing all Hawaiians, whether they are living in poverty or economically well off. These are all well-documented.

Rather than engage in a statistical battle, Mr. Coffee may want to simply check the pulse of Hawaii’s residents as they will confirm that many of their native Hawaiian friends, colleagues and neighbors remain on average near the bottom of most socio-economic scales. This is the reality, not statistics twisted to meet a political agenda.

The Akaka bill is designed to help Hawaiians help themselves, but not at the expense of the non-Hawaiian community. It will not divide us, as Mr. Coffee alleges. Instead it will address the long ignored historical trauma, injustices and unmet needs facing native Hawaiians. This is not about race, but about preserving an indigenous culture, its people, and its values.

The ultimate goal of the bill is to allow native Hawaiians to protect their assets (now under attack in the courts) and better utilize those assets to ensure that the health and well-being of the Hawaiian people will be a priority in perpetuity.

Mr. Coffee fears the bill will kill aloha. Not the case. It will preserve the uniqueness of our 50th state - our native Hawaiian culture - for every resident and for the seven million people from all over the world who visit us yearly.

In opposing the bill, Mr. Coffee also suggests Hawaiians need to better assimilate to solve their problems. He concludes by saying he loves Hawaii and Hawaiians. That begs the question: What would Hawaii be without Hawaiians?

Clyde Namuo

OHA Administrator

Hawaiians decide

Jerry Coffee, just like so many haoles here, just doesn’t get the point regarding that (Akaka) bill. Being a haole, I am neither for nor against it. It is for the Hawaiian people to decide what is best for them. But based on so many letters to editors I read, haole attitudes have not changed in a long time. Haoles continually think that they always know what is best for others - other countries, other races, other cultures, other religions, etc.

Haoles mostly think that they should be in charge of everyone and everything. That they have a right to have access to everything, everywhere. That they cannot be excluded. Hence, the continual attempts to batter down the doors of the Kamehameha Schools.

Mr. Coffee, like so many others, is either in denial of, or ignorant of, the terrible injustices committed against the people of the Kingdom of Hawaii more than 100 years ago by our haole ancestors and government, injustices that have never been corrected or resolved. Injustice causes divisions and hard feelings. Justice brings resolution, closure and harmony.

Every time Mr. Coffee and Bob Jones write about Hawaiian issues, they end up ridiculing or insulting them. That must make Hawaiians love and respect us haoles even more.

Bert West


Djou vs. Mufi?

Bob Jones has finally revealed the reasons he is so bitter - Joe Moore, who beat him out as the premier broadcaster in our state, and Mufi Hannemann, who was victorious in the last mayoral race despite Mr. Jones’ erroneous predictions throughout.

Now Mr. Jones has ventured out on an even shakier limb and predicted that Charles Djou will best Mayor Mufi in 2008.

Does Mr. Jones really think that Charles has the courage to do what Mufi did in 2000 - resign his council seat and take on an incumbent?

Mr. Jones can hope all he wants, but Djou is way too self-serving to do something like that.

Roger Clemente


Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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