Letters for Thursday, June 5, 2008

• Congratulations, adult school grads

• Landfill community compromised

• Building on sacred places

• Desecrating graves


Congratulations, adult school grads

Last night I witnessed an amazing event. Forty students were honored at the commencement exercise for the Kaua‘i Community School for Adults.

Although their ages varied from young adults to those in their 50s, they all shared the desire to complete their high school education.

Several years ago, I was asked to give a message at a Kaua‘i Community School for Adults graduation ceremony. It was such a moving experience to listen to the student’s stories of life’s travails and their quest for something better. I’ve attended every commencement ceremony since then to hear the students speak. Each year I am spellbound by the courageous words of the graduates.

This year was no different. The audience heard from students Sashalis Catley-Kanei, Richard Coon Jr., Tiana Carlos and Melissa Schneider. Schneider was especially poignant in summing up the students’ intentions when she said, “Our stories may be different, but we all have something in common. We took the first step toward a more promising future. We chose to come back to school.”

I want to congratulate the students and the Kaua‘i Community School for Adults, their principal Eugene Uegawa, vice-principal Terry Proctor, staff and instructors. The students all made references to the compassionate efforts of the school’s staff to encourage them to succeed.

These students have repeatedly shown me that like the Kaua‘i Community School for Adults, we need to support each other by encouraging those who need our help. The students all made mention of someone who provided a spark in their lives. I trust that we are that spark for someone, too. Their message is one of great hope and promise.

Tad Miura

Kapa‘a


Landfill community compromised

In response to the news article, “Waste plan revisited,” A1, May 30:

It was nearly a year ago that the lack of efficient communication between the county and the host community of the Kekaha landfill was realized and as a result the peoples’ intelligence and future were being compromised.

Since then, Kekaha has established an official organization and the county has two representatives on their landfill committee. The administration’s proposal to the supplemental budget for the Host Community Benefit is at $650,000, pending approval. The open process, review, organization, discussions, benefits and the future of waste management plans are now being offered to both sides.

A good thing about practicing “pono” is that all can come to the “table of plenty,” share their mana‘o, wisdom, knowledge, expertise, show their humanity, build character, express truths, carry out justice and go after the best plans for the people. All of this does not come without mistakes, difficulties and struggles.

There is a wound in the process that the proposal to expand the landfill Phase II was a done deal. The burden falls on the innocent Kekaha hosts who will have to shoulder the responsibility of the landfill for at least another five years. Unless this host community can come up with “higher” solutions, any improvement to an existing landfill includes plans for the future development of the landfill. Kaua‘i landfill users will have to seriously consider long-term solutions and take responsibility of the landfill. The people of Kekaha will have to re-evaluate and examine their own future survival, sustainability and integrity.

Knowing that the host community can be served in so many ways is a healing. The remedy to the landfill is, “Why would we want to be obligated to a landfill?”

The benefits fund appropriation has yet to be signed, its purpose and responsibilities clearly understood and its functions agreed upon by all who have a common interest in how to use the money for all the good that it can do for the landfill community.

Decisions about what to do with the island’s waste will take shape at different stages in time. All that matters is right now. The people will have to think like one, give it single-minded attention and service. Revisiting the waste plan, fixing what is broken, updating solid waste management practices, involving the public, educating the youth and integrating the host community in the plans is a good start.

Genara Campos

Kapolei, O‘ahu


Building on sacred places

As a long time visitor to your Garden Island, I have come to be educated about the importance of the culture and ways of the Hawaiian people.

I personally support those who want to stop the contractor from building a house at the burial site at Naue, which is a sacred Hawaiian place.

It is tragic how one sacred Hawaiian place after another is being eaten up by development, all for big bucks.

So much has been taken from the Hawaiian people and I understand that they are coming to a point where enough is enough already.

The Kaua‘i that I have come to experience is becoming more and more like the Mainland and this is tragic.

Gary Saylin

Davis, Calif.


Desecrating graves

I could imagine if I were home I would have been one of the protesters at Joseph Brescias’ property (“Home approved, bones remain,” A1, June 4).

I do not believe any civil person would desecrate another’s grave in such an openly hostile way. I know property in Ha‘ena is pricey, but how, with any moral integrity, one can build on 30 ancestors graves, who to this day have relatives watching in utter horror, is beyond the pale.

The next time they say Hawaiians are treated equally to whites, ask yourself, when was the last time you heard of a graveyard being uprooted for someone wealthy to build another house. Seems to be the natives’ rights are nonexistent. As for Darryl Perry and Lady Ipo, shame on you for not standing up for what is pono.

David Denson of Hanalei

Tajii, Iraq

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