Letters to the Editor, July 2004

Letters to the Editor may be sent to: Honolulu Magazine, P.O. Box 913, Honolulu, HI, 96808-0913,  faxed: 537-6455 or e-mailed: letters_honmag@pacificbasin.net




HONOLULU Magazine’s compilation of the best recorded local music.

 First, may I thank you on behalf of the Hawaiian music industry for the wonderful article in your “Special Collectors Issue.”

As I was the producer for albums ranked No. 2, 11, 20, 24, 28, 34 and 50 of your Top 50 Albums, and had produced or recorded the original albums by the artists of eight other albums in your Top 50, I can hardly complain about not rating a few others in our catalog higher than they should have been, or the panel missing albums like The Sons of Hawaii and others.

I can also assure you that the badly rated Kahauanu Lake albums have outsold four-fifths of the Top 50 you had listed and they were largely responsible for the renaissance of hula since the 1950s.

As Hawai‘i Calls, Inc./Hula Records has the largest and oldest catalog of Hawaiian music in the world, I am surprised that HONOLULU Magazine did not invite anyone from Hula Records to be part of the help. I’m sure, having been one of those who started the Hawaiian music industry, I would have been able to contribute something the others could not have.

As for the stories that you found interesting, I could have mentioned, for example, how Ku‘i Lee, never known to be without words, was stunned into silence when, as the publisher of his song “I’ll Remember You,” I told him we had just confirmed that Andy Williams was recording the song. Or how Mahi Beamer’s first album was recorded in the Punahou School Auditorium.

Now, with the announcement by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science that there will be a Hawaiian category [in the Grammy Awards] next year—something that I, as the oldest member of the academy in Hawai‘i have fought for for almost 30 years—I hope we will see a rebirth in live Hawaiian music being played in all the hotels in Waikiki. But with the music controlled by the hotel food and beverage managers, most of whom would not know Hawaiian music if it bit them, it might not happen.

Thanks again. Imua na mele Hawai‘i maoli (go forward with true Hawai‘i music).

Don McDiarmid Jr., chairman, Hawai‘i Calls, Inc./Hula Records, Kailua


A. Kam Napier’s feature ranking 256 public schools statewide on constituent satisfaction and student performance.

 As a parent of four public school children, I was happy to see the updated chart and article about our public schools. I immediately flipped to the end of the chart to view the ratings of my own children’s public schools—‘Ewa Elementary, ‘Ilima Intermediate and Campbell High School. I could have expressed unrealistic expectations and started at the top, but come on, let’s get real!

While I am certainly not satisfied with the overall standings of my children’s schools, I would like to stress to you that I am one parent who would strongly recommend each of these schools to any parent, as my children have fared extremely well.

I am so grateful that in such a “lower-than-average” school, the professional faculty and staff continue daily to offer a quality education to those students who desire it—my children have been educated, challenged and motivated to exceed beyond what the statistics in your chart reveal about the average student at these schools.

Thank God these teachers continue to do an exceptional job, regardless of the fact that there is likely to be no reward, only reprimand, for not doing more. I place the responsibility for change on the parents and students of each of these schools, as I know from experience that the teachers have exceeded my expectations.

How many of us could stay focused or motivated in our jobs if we daily faced the fact that we were working with clients (students and parents) who are uninterested at best, and confrontational at worst. Or which of us would thrive in a working environment in which our evaluators didn’t judge us on our personal productivity, just what the general numbers reveal. I know I would not be able to offer any type of consistent performance under these circumstances.

It is a parent’s responsibility to make sure that his or her child arrives each day, wanting to be educated and challenged by our state’s qualified teachers. I promise you, at every public school, there are highly motivated and well prepared teachers, eagerly awaiting our children.

Carmen Short, Honolulu


A. Kam Napier’s Afterthoughts questioning government ownership of Hawai‘i’s public schools.

 The “Afterthoughts” by Kam Napier in the May issue was a classic “blinding glimpse of the obvious.” The government cannot, and should not, run anything in which we want to accomplish constant improvement (your children better prepared for life than you were and their children better than they were).

Building on Napier’s platform, let us point ourselves toward the proper final destination, which is to build a wall to separate school from state: We do it for religion, let’s do it for the minds and futures of our precious children.

— Richard O. Rowland, president, Grassroot Institute of Hawai‘i, Honolulu

Ahana Koko Lele

In our June 2004 feature, “The 50 Greatest Hawai‘i Albums of All Time,” we neglected to credit Hula Records for the photo of The Kahauanu Lake Trio on page 63.