“Is Something Broken?” 05/08
UH professor Randall Roth’s feature identified the two biggest problems he sees in Hawaii’s government: lack of transparency and accountability.
We can’t make the clock go backwards, but we can do something about how we address the constant erosion of our expectations. We all have to take responsibility and be willing to look at life as it is, not as we want it to be. The truth at times can be ugly, and, at the same time, liberating, with transparency and accountability. Roth’s work and writing make us think deeply and look in the mirror at our moral compasses, life values and for that we owe him much. Thank you, Mr. Roth, for saying it like it is, but don’t give up. If people look into the mirror and don’t like what they see, change starts.
Thank you for helping us with some transparency and hopefully some accountability as well. Consider a famous saying from the past, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
—GREG SCHMIDT, HAWAII KAI
“Rogues, Rascals and Villains” 04/08
Our cover featured a mid-century photo of a Honolulu Police Department officer. The image is from the State Archives and attracted the interest of one family.
My brother told me about your April cover; we thought the photo of the HPD officer might be of my father. We found out that it’s not Dad, but Abe Aiona, who worked with my father. When you e-mailed me a larger version of the photo, which included the rest of the officers, I noticed the second police officer from the left, the one wearing the cool aviator sunglasses. That is my dad, John Naelau Pekelo Jr. He was known by the others at HPD as “Big John,” and was born in Hilo in 1922. His family moved to Honolulu when he was 5 years old and lived in Manoa Valley. Great photo; thank you.
My grandfather, Alfred Karratti, encouraged my dad to join the police force. He was a police officer in the 1930s and ’40s, and was among the first in the motorcycle squad. When he was a detective, he was primarily responsible for designing the beautiful HPD badge incorporating a portion of the original Royal Hawaiian Coat of Arms.
—LEHUA PEKELO-STEARNS, HILO
“Shoot the Messenger” 04/08
Hawaii receives $1.75 million a year from the federal government for abstinence-only sex education programs, notes Kathryn Drury Wagner in April’s “Afterthoughts.”
The failed abstinence efforts by church groups is but one example of what happens when blind ideology is allowed to trump science, rigorous professional analysis, full accountability and just plain reality. At best these “pray for abstinence” approaches are terribly naive. At worst, they are irresponsible and harmful to the health of our Island youth.
As a secular society whose ultimate law is the Constitution, we should always be wary of taxpayer funding of theology-based organizations. Under the current federal administration, these programs have flourished with little, if any, public oversight.
If we are to continue to fund theology-based organizations through taxpayer money, we need to initiate the following: accounting of all monies spent; analysis of the efficacy of the project by independent parties; and confirmation that the organization’s practices comply with all state/federal regulations related to discrimination and other applicable provisions.
—JEFF MERZ, WAIKIKI