Letters for Friday — February 24, 2006

• Lack of knowledge troubling

• Lighten up, Saker

• Charter Commission must fulfill mission

• Olympics beautiful

Lack of knowledge troubling

I am astonished by the lack of knowledge exhibited in prior letters regarding sexual harassment and feminism.

Sexual harassment is any unwanted and unwelcome behavior of a sexual or gender-specific nature. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. A key part of the definition is the use of the word unwelcome. Unwelcome or uninvited conduct or communication of a sexual nature is not acceptable and is legally prohibited. Sexual harassment pertains to, and protects, both the male and female gender.

A male or female describing his/her genital medical exam or showing videos of naked skydivers in the presence of a co-worker who is not comfortable with nor welcomes the conversation and video definitely constitutes sexual harassment.

Questioning the frailty and the occupation of the homicide detective, Sheryl Sunia, is totally unrelated to her experiencing intimidating and offensive behavior. An individual can be strong, excellent in her/his profession — which may include investigations and dealing with sex crimes — and yet not want unwelcome and offensive sexually related behavior by co-workers.

Feminism involves a theory about, and a commitment to, men and women being equals in all spheres of life — equals in standing, possibility, freedom and range of choice.

The statement in a prior letter that “war has been declared against all that is male in this country” exemplifies the misogynist beliefs derived from gender roles and other sex-based prejudices.

Feminism’s core theory does not stipulate or presume differences between men and women or similarities between men and women. It does not require excluding men and it does not aspire to only further women’s causes.

At its core, feminism remains a theory that men and women should be politically, socially, and economically equal.

“I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” (Rebecca West, The Clarion, 1913)

  • Deborah Camara

Lighten up, Saker

Peter Saker is right!

Enough is enough!

Women are taking over and oppressing us poor men.

It’s time we fought back and turned this country around. We should emulate the many fine countries that put women in their proper place, like China, Burma, the Islamic-majority countries or many of the fine African dictatorships.

Now, it’ll be a huge struggle because the women have such a massive grip on the levers of power in the U.S. Politics, religion, business, science, the military, the courts, medicine … everyone can name all the powerful women that dominate these fields.

Our losses have been terrible, but I hope for a day when men are in charge again.

  • David Stewart

Charter Commission must fulfill mission

Under the Kauai County Charter, provision is made for a Charter Review Commission to be established every 10 years to “study and review the operation of the county government” and to offer for public vote any charter changes deemed necessary or desirable. The current Commission has now been active for about one year.

There is grave doubt whether the Commission intends to fulfill its mandated mission. Although no term of service for the Commission is stated, both history and logic support the view that the Commission would serve until its “study and review” is completed. But the Commissioners seem to be of the view that they will submit whatever recommendations they choose to make for voter consideration at the November 2006 general election and then resign. If the “study and review” has been completed, that termination of their function would be reasonable. If, however, unfinished work remains, such a resignation would be an abandonment of their duty.

To date the great majority of the Commission’s meetings have been devoted to seeking the statements of county officials as to whether they believe charter changes would be beneficial. Not surprisingly our elected and appointed county servants are offering few suggestions for change. A limited amount of Commission time has been given to members of the public. A very different story is emerging. A considerable dissatisfaction with the performance of the present county government exists including major problems with charter-related terms. Thoughtful proposals have been offered for charter amendments. Several of these are complex and require extensive review and informed decision making.

At the last commission meeting some commissioners expressed concern about the scope of work they feared might be needed on a county manager proposal and the limited time available. A commissioner made the extraordinary remark that the complexity of the proposal might be “terrorizing.”

The Commission should be reminded that it is their function to consider proposals given by members of the public and to present them for voter determination unless there are valid reasons why they are not suitable for citizen decisions. Having a time schedule convenient for the Commission members is not a valid reason. In this context the clear message set forth in the opening sentence of the State Sunshine Law resonates “In a democracy, the people are vested with the ultimate decision making power”. The commissioners should not arrogate to themselves this power.

The Commission is composed of sincere and intelligent people. They have an important mission. They must not fail the community by imposing a deadline that precludes completion of their work or by refusing to consider proposals because of the assumed complexity.

  • Glenn Mickens

Olympics beautiful

I’m dissappointed that Duane Shimogawa wrote that column (Feb. 15, The Garden Island, “Winter Olympics left out in the cold,”) that showed a lot of ignorance concerning the Olympics. What beautiful and exciting viewing he missed.

After such a display of ignorance I doubt if I’ll read many more of his columns, as they would only be as interesting as what socks he wears.

  • Doris H. Uyematsu

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