Letters for Sunday — March 05, 2006

• Comments reflect attitudes

• Another appeal

• Open letter to Sen. Hooser

• Was frailty really an issue?

Comments reflect attitudes

It was fascinating for me to read the letters from Janie Whitehead and Stan Godes in yesterday’s 2/28/06 Garden Island newspaper.

They were perfect examples about how people with disabilities should and should not be referred.

Mr. Gode’s letter states, “If there are five people waiting to use the toilet it makes little or no sense to leave one empty on the off-chance a wheel-chaired person might show up.”

Ms. Whitehead’s letter mentions: “We take great pride at Wal-Mart in our service to customers with disabilities.”

Ms. Whitehead “gets it” in my book. She indicates the person first and fore-most, and not the disability.

I’ve worked with people with disabilities for more than 30 years, and I’ve never met a wheel-chaired person. What is a wheel-chaired person, anyway?

I know from personal experience, that any person who uses a wheelchair is NOT bound to it.

People who use wheelchairs do so for mobility to get somewhere.

How we make comments about others really does reflect our attitudes.

If we would all remember to follow Ms. Whitehead’s lead by realizing that people with disabilities are people first, and not their disability, then we would be a much better society.

After I read the Sunday newspaper’s headline, “Wheelchair-bound man irked at Wal-Mart,” I took a brochure on language choices about people with disabilities titled, “Think Before You Speak,” to Lester Chang, the author of the article.

You can download a copy at www.communityinterfaceservices.org under the “Publications” section.

  • Larry Littleton

Another appeal

We ask that on April 11 all concerned residents show up to the Planning Commission hearing and say what you think! Each one of us can make a difference. No new building permits to be issued until infrastructures are in place FIRST. Environmental Impact studies should demonstrate that new buildings are sustainable and desirable FIRST. No more plans which would create even worse traffic problems on our roads than we already have! Keep the ancient Hawaiian burial grounds at Waipouli Beach development-free; perhaps designate the area a permanent park? Whatever your personal perspective is, Kaua’i needs all of us to take responsibility and SPEAK UP!

Despite pressure, protests and the palpable irritation of developers, the Planning Commission has voted not to end public hearings and to continue with another on April 11. We actually heard the Planning Commissioner say that he was prepared to vote against the development permit if certain key conditions are not met, and another councilman was interested in hearing ideas and suggestions about addressing planning and development issues on Kaua’i.

We have gained a brief reprieve, but concerned residents of our Garden Island need to show a united front.

KEEP The Garden Island GARDEN-LIKE!

  • Stephen Haray

Open letter to Sen. Hooser

Senator Hooser! The statement of your goals in The Garden Island (3.3.2006) deserves only commendation. You want to be a congressman and you want the agriculture flourish again on Kaua’i. This is one of the nicest goals anyone who loves this island could hear. Well, then you have a job cut out for yourself. First, please deliver a message to President Bush when you go to Washington next time. Would you please tell him that the mangoes that grow on OUR island and elsewhere in Hawai’i are superior to those that he has just bartered from India for nuclear technology. We also have land, and in abundance, where mango, papaya and banana thrive. Plus, this island is full of people who would prefer seeing mango orchards along the roadsides where now new developments are planned.

Yes, there are FDA regulations banning the shipment of Hawaiian mangoes to the mainland, but if the Costa Ricans, the Mexicans and the Indians can manage to satisfy the phytosanitary conditions, maybe our botanists and tropical agriculturists here are also smart enough to do the same. I have my serious doubts that our mangoes and papayas carry stubborn pests that would endanger the mango crop anywhere on the mainland. Concluding from the fact that you can buy not Hawaiian, but Mexican mangoes in Big Save, I have the feeling that this ban was rather meant to prevent us from competing with Mexico and other countries that are favored by our foreign trade policy.

Gary, you may even risk taking a few smiling Hayden mangoes to the President next time (use your influence or we’ll chip in the fine), just tell him not to plant their seeds in the Rose Garden, because the Kaua’i mangoes need love that only the people of Kaua’i can give them, not the White House residents. Please also tell him that Hawai’i — for the time being — is still part of the United States, inhabited by hard-working people who love their island and who don’t mind to grow what makes people happy. Be our good congressman Gary Hooser! Godspell!

  • J nos Samu

Was frailty really an issue?

This is my problem with Ms. Deborah Camara’s Feb. 24 letter: questioning the frailty and the occupation of the homicide detective, Sheryl Sunia, is totally related.

Ms. Sunia claims hearing a co-worker describe his physical exam or watching a video of naked skydivers constitutes “sexual harassment,” I don’t see it, but maybe it’s because I live in this century where everyone is exposed to way more provocative content in the media as well as everywhere else.

Officer Sunia, who claims such frailty, is a homicide detective who gladly accepts acclaim for being one of the brave few women on the police force, yet she’s quick to revert to the Victorian era (where her virginal innocence must be protected) when the opportunity suites her.

I believe that Sunia is using a vague law to embarrass the police department into an out-of-court settlement, but just for argument’s sake I’ll throw out all common sense and let’s say that Sunia was truly intimidated and offended, would the average person be? Should “any” incident be deemed “sexual harassment” by any woman who wants anything? If the answer is yes, then how far should we go? Should these frail women be restricted from working with others, including other women who like talking about sex?

Ms. Camara spoke of a long forgotten “feminist core theory” and ended her letter with an archaic quote from 1913 which seemed appropriate for someone so out-of-touch with the present-day real world. “Commitment to men and women being equals in all spheres of life” sounds great! Maybe someone should tell present-day feminists about this “theory.” It would be a better world if feminist and women’s coalitions cared anything about anyone male.

The police department must fight these allegations so real definitions of sexual harassment can be established to prevent future frivolous claims and abuse.

  • Ryan Anakalea

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