Thursday, February 1, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, February 1, 2001

Letters to the Editor

We shouldn’t have to justify pay raises

Regarding Raymond August’s Jan. 25 letter in which he says he is tired of teachers complaining and that if we are really so unhappy, we should "find another type of profession or go to the Mainland to see what teaching is really all about":

Why do the educators of "our future leaders" need to justify wanting a pay raise? What does that say about our community and our beliefs? What does that communicate to children about what is important?

We know there is a job to do. Just because we haven’t had a contract for two years doesn’t mean teachers are working any less. We still show up at 6 a.m. when students aren’t in until 8 a.m., and we still stay until 5 or 6 p.m. and then take work home or go to our second jobs — jobs we need just to make ends meet. We still plan and prepare lessons because we care about our students.

We do our job and then some. We aren’t just teachers; we are counselors, confidants, advisers, and cheerleaders to our students. It isn’t that we just want more money; it is that we aren’t getting enough to survive.

Lori-Ann Tsang

Legislature must find money for teachers

I am a public-school teacher. Money is the one remaining unresolved issue in contract negotiations. The fact-finders found a settlement closer to HSTA’s position than the state’s. The question of funding this necessary pay raise is inappropriately posed to teachers when state negotiators say, "Examine our books."

It is a function of the Legislature to raise and distribute revenues. Lawmakers must have the courage to make more cuts or raise revenues to support all worthwhile causes.

I will vote in favor of a strike if the state continues to be unfair (passing illegal legislation that undermines collective bargaining). I will only agree to return if seniority, continuity of service and back pay are in the settlement. I am wary of the state leaving us unemployed long enough to save money for a pay raise.

Dennis M. Hansen

Drivers, please share road with bicyclists

As an avid bicyclist, I have been an unwilling participant in a dangerous maneuver by cars on the road these days. It begins when a driver turns before actually entering the intersection and he or she accelerates toward me as I hurry to cross safely to the other side.

It’s downright scary when these cars or trucks pass a foot or two behind my back tire, barely missing a collision. It seems as if they expect me to get out of their way. This happens to me most days as I bicycle to and from work in Honolulu.

My greatest fear is that one day one of these drivers will miscalculate speed and distance and his car will strike my bike and I will be crushed in the process. I fear this almost every day as I bike around Oahu.

Drivers, please slow down and share the road with bicyclists. Just please try to make our island home a safer place for everyone to travel around.

Li Anne Waioli Taft

Automakers shouldn’t stress cars’ meanness’

With 600,000 vehicles, Oahu’s roads are very busy places. Mistakes, recklessness, impatience or carelessness can have life-or-death consequences for any of us.

Our need for safe, reliable transportation has therefore resulted in both government and private agencies working to help calm traffic on our busy roadways. But it is frustrating to see others inadvertently or intentionally promoting antisocial or overly aggressive driving. Two current advertisements are good examples: those for the Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Rav-4.

Jerry Hirschberg, design chief at Nissan America, tells us on TV that the Frontier is "muscular and powerful." "The Frontier sends a message ... Get out of my way.’ " In a print advertisement for the Rav-4, we learn it is "meaner, more muscular and more aggressive."

I wonder if motorists will transmit this "meaner ... more aggressive" look to pedestrians in crosswalks. Will "Get out of my way" be the message telegraphed by the guy tailgating you in his pickup truck?

Both Nissan and Toyota make fine vehicles well known to be fun, stylish, efficient and reliable. I don’t think they have to associate with meanness and aggression to sell cars. Thankfully, in response to public concerns, Nissan-Hawaii told me it pulled the Frontier ad, in line with its commitment to our community. Mahalo, Nissan.

Khalil J. Spencer

Roundabouts would be a godsend for Hawaii

I have driven more than 250,000 miles in Europe, and have no hesitation in saying roundabouts are a godsend, especially during rush hours.

There are many people in Hawaii who would rather have false teeth than fluoride in their water, so there are probably just as many who prefer inhaling diesel exhaust fumes from buses to actually driving down the road.

The easiest way for the Department of Transportation to convince those sitting on the fence is to construct a roundabout at the Kalakaua-Kapiolani intersection where there is ample land available and a very desperate need to improve the flow of traffic before diesel fumes from buses convert the Convention Center from a white elephant into a black hole.

Just imagine all the goodwill from tourists who would be able to go from the Convention Center to the Hard Rock Cafe without having to first cross three streets in directions they don’t want to go.

Rico Leffanta

Entitlement programs based on race wrong

The Jan. 28 Advertiser article about the Kalawahine housing was a real eye-opener. The Department of Hawaiian Homelands provided free land for well-to-do Hawaiians to buy three-bedroom houses with a great view high above Honolulu at prices up to $226,000, homes that would normally sell for about $385,000 fee simple.

The happy homeowners include two Honolulu Fire Department captains, a retired regional general manager for a major oil company and a senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter stock brokerage.

Some folks sold perfectly good homes elsewhere to buy these subsidized new ones. Some stayed on the DHHL waiting list for many years because they didn’t want to live out in Waianae or Nanakuli.

People of Hawaii, take note: This is what happens when government provides benefits based on race rather than need. Yes, some Hawaiians are truly needy, just like many non-Hawaiians. Help the needy, not the greedy. Abolish racial entitlement programs.

Bud Ebel

Sovereignty struggle is all about property

Native Hawaiians and supporters looking for solutions to this attack on programs and rights defined in the state Constitution are using the wrong language, and thus their focus is blurred.

Justice is a nice sentiment, but this case is about property and the time-honored way that white people acquired it from friendly and trusting native people. What’s right doesn’t matter. Can you imagine President Bush agreeing to return Texas and California to the Mexican government because that was stolen, too?

Hawaiians may want to think in terms of corporations, assets and shareholders, rather than recognition. America was built on values that will protect your rights to property to the death. Property is sacred in America; people are expendable. Want to survive in America so you can live your culture, own your home, speak your language, i.e., pursue happiness? Incorporate your nation’s assets.

Mahea Davis

Hawaii can’t legislate against ship gambling

A vessel visiting our Hawaii ports, registered in a foreign country and flying the flag of that country, is by extension a small piece of that foreign country. Aside from our Coast Guard being able to inspect the ship’s safety equipment and to exercise the crew according to the International Treaty for the Safety of Life at Sea, no local person has any authority on board such a vessel.

The State of Hawaii cannot legislate the entertainment equipment on board such a vessel, nor can the state dictate the use of such equipment.

Our Coast Guard has by treaty drawn a line from Diamond Head Lighthouse to Barbers Point Lighthouse and has agreed that international rules of the road for the prevention of collision at sea shall apply outside such line. To dictate to the master of a foreign vessel that he cannot open his casino when he is in such waters is beyond the legal authority of this state. I am sure the recent regulation forbidding such will be tested in the appropriate courts.

The sovereign nation of the Republic of Kiribati, a member of the United Nations, will surely take umbrage at Sen. Dan Inouye for calling one of its islands a "nothing destination." We surely would if one of their legislators said the same of Oahu. Size and might do not make right, Senator.

Tabueran (Fanning Island) is a thousand miles from Honolulu. Bimini is 60 miles from Miami. Try to tack on a "no gambling" amendment in the Caribbean for ships sailing from Fort Lauderdale and they will start heating up the tar.

Robert A. Levy

Gambling ad shows money is doing talking

The full-page ad in The Honolulu Advertiser on Jan. 29 is a good indication of the money that will be spent trying to impose gambling on the people of Hawaii.

The ad is a contradiction in that it attempts to convince people that education will be the prime beneficiary, while at the same time it promotes a form of activity that threatens families and their economic status through addiction. It teaches children that there is a quick fix to problems and an easy way to wealth through gambling.

Alfred Bloom

Customer satisfaction should be only goal

What is the purpose of a business? If you answer any way except "to satisfy customers," you are in error.

Businesses come and go, on the basis of customer satisfaction. If a business fails to satisfy enough customers, it should and usually does close. Robbie Dingeman’s Jan. 5 article "Kunia Mall plan called threat’ " quoted several sources along that theme. But threat to whom?

Businesses in Waipahu, was the answer. Mind you, not a threat to customers or potential ones, but a threat to businesses. In other words, most of those quoted want to use the government to restrict potential customer choice and satisfaction. They want customers to serve selected businesses. Left unchallenged, they want monopolies, higher prices and less consumer satisfaction.

Every business should feel threatened and insecure every day as it tries to satisfy customer wants. But it should not also be faced with a government free to hurt it or its customers at will. Any artificial limits on the buyers’ freedom to choose are always destructive over the long run: to business, to the consumer, to the community. The customer should always be king.

Richard O. Rowland
Legislative Coalition Chair, Small Business Hawai

Civil union bill would apply to all couples

Too bad reporter Kevin Dayton didn’t get a copy of the civil union bill to read before he wrote his Jan. 27 report, "Bill adds rights for gay couples." He would have learned a few things that would have made his article a bit more accurate.

The bill is not limited to gay couples, but rather includes any two adults living in Hawaii over the age of 18 who are otherwise able to enter into a contractual agreement.

The bill does not require religious solemnization, but does allow for the various religious institutions to perform ceremonies, if they so choose.

The bill also is less fluid than the existing Reciprocal Beneficiaries Law in that it would require a dissolution through Family Court, thereby alleviating concerns in the business community over insurance premiums.

The bill would protect existing and future families who are otherwise lacking legal protection, as wills and trusts can be challenged in courts, and as such, must be defended, sometimes at considerable expense.

The bill acknowledges that all of Hawaii’s tax-paying, law-biding citizens deserve the same equality and protections that the state Constitution can afford. The Circuit Court upheld that premise, and the Hawaii Supreme Court noted that it would have upheld the lower court’s ruling, too.

Martin Rice
a, Kauai

Successful program should be continued

Mr. Governor, you are always talking about more money for education and schools. How could you embarrass yourself and be a hypocrite? You need to stop talking about making a change and start taking action.

The Peer Education Program is taking steps forward every day. Our program wants to continue its success, but how do you expect us to do so if you are cutting back on money for our schools? You should put money into something that is a win-win situation. Don’t you want Hawaii’s young people to have a healthy lifestyle instead of a life on drugs?

If you cut back on the Peer Education Program, you’ll be cutting back on our lives and education, and this will make you the "loser," for you’d make no changes.

Keala Hopkins
Senior, ’Aiea High School Peer Education

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