Thursday, February 8, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, February 8, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Hurricane Relief Fund should not be tapped

The funds sitting in the Hurricane Relief Fund should be used just for that, or rightfully returned to homeowners who have been forced to pay into this fund. It is wrong to use this fund in any other fashion.

I applaud Gov. Cayetano’s efforts in wanting to increase scholarship grants to our brightest students, but the Hurricane Relief Fund is an inappropriate source. This would be an additional tax on homeowners that would benefit only a few.

Given the number of scholarships and alternative supplemental funding available to students today, why look at the relief fund? Leave the fund alone, or return it to homeowners.

Julie Leialoha

Speed trap overkill misusing manpower

I was very displeased and frustrated recently driving up the Pali Highway at 9 p.m. and seeing five or six motorcycle police officers lined up trying to catch speeders driving into town. They all had their radar guns pointed at all the cars and seem to be nabbing cars left and right.

I am in full support of police officers and what they do for our community and in catching those who speed along the Pali. But, c’mon, I think I get the point. Are five or six police officers necessary? I think two would suffice.

I just read The Advertiser headline "Isles’ serious crime up 10 percent," and I wonder why? Oh. Forgot.

Is there a quota or something? Or rather, as they would like to say, a strong recommendation to issue a certain amount of traffic violations within a particular time frame? Please use our taxpayer monies more effectively.

Grace Hirata
Sandy Beach

Base master planning on sound principles

Your Feb. 4 editorial "Sandy Beach ruling should not be fought" (Feb. 4) in essence makes the point that Oahu residents should pay for enjoying the vistas protected by the down-zoning change to preservation.

Part of that pristine and scenic area was zoned "resort" in the general plan of 1964 and "residential" in the development plan of 1987. The state comprehensive recreation plan of 1971 indicated that the area was needed for recreation according to a public opinion survey. The 1975 coastal zone management study to identify and manage scenic resources also identified Sandy Beach as the prime case for scenic-view protection. Another point can then be made:

If government planners would make master plans based on sound planning principles and in the public interest at the outset, everything would be more affordable and the taxpayer would not be asked to pay later on.

Luciano Minerbi
Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawai
i at Manoa

Destruction of culture sold as conservation’

It seems that Sen. Norman Sakamoto needs only Army prompting to assert that future Army training "will not significantly affect the environment" (Letters, Feb. 3). He believes that the Army is taking a "proactive stance" when it suspended live-fire testing at the urging of concerned citizens. He believes in newspaper reporters’ interpretations of the Army’s proposed environmental precautions.

How may we interpret what is happening? Simply put, here is where destruction of a culture is sold as "conservation." The Army can no more conserve Makua Valley by shooting at it than the United States can simultaneously prepare for and prevent war.

Why not give the valley back to Hawaiians so they can begin to malama (care for) it? Since the alii landowners and the state won’t give the Hawaiians land of their own, perhaps the Army will.

James Albright

Hawaiian Kingdom didn’t discriminate on race

I have admired UH Center for Hawaiian Studies professor Jonathan Osorio as a reasoned and pragmatic voice within that institution. It is because of my deep respect for Osorio’s past actions that I am so deeply disappointed in his redredging of old racial animosities in his Jan. 20 letter.

The professor should know as well as anyone that among the most important new truths brought to light by Hawaiian Kingdom law historians is that the 20th-century U.S.-government-imposed and race-based definition of "Hawaiian" is contrary to both the laws and the spirit of the kingdom.

Our kingdom, of course, never followed the Western practice of separating and discriminating against any of its subjects based on ancestry. That all subjects received equal rights and treatment, be they kanaka Hawaii maoli (native) or kanaka Hawaii haole (non-native) works against Osorio’s claim that we should now be recipients of "native entitlements."

The only things that native (or non-native) subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom need and should desire is the full restitution of our national sovereignty and the end of Hawaii’s occupation by foreign powers.

Keola Kamaunu

Students entranced by opera performance

Approximately 1,700 students, along with their teachers, attended the "Opera for Everyone" event on Jan. 31. Following the excitement of "Tales of Hoffmann" will be Hawaii Opera Theatre’s "Marriage of Figaro" and the dual performances of "Cavalleria Rusticana" and "Pagliacci."

The students’ absorption in the music, dance and theater of the live performance — their spontaneous, positive and contagious response — is particularly gratifying in light of recent headlines focusing on students’ low test scores and delinquent behavior.

Thanks should go to Hawaii Opera Theatre staff and volunteers, and to the music teachers of Hawaii who facilitate and encourage the participation of these students in these wonderful events.

Norma Nichols

Moanalua Road is a driver’s nightmare

I would like to know why Moanalua Road between Kaamilo and Kaahumanu streets is always torn up by construction that never seems to end. Moanalua Road is very heavily used because of the nearby shopping center and numerous other business and residential areas.

Meantime, everyday commuters on this roadway must endure the terrible state the driving surface is left in. There are steel plates and potholes that make driving a near-circus stunt, not to mention the possible damage these things are doing to everyone’s automobile and other safety issues created for both drivers and pedestrians.

There should be someone in the highways department who should be doing something about all these temporary roadway irregularities. We need a better Moanalua Road and we need it now.

Fred Fukamizu

Does it pay to be in education?

Teachers overpaid; here’s the proof’

I, for one, am sick and tired of those high-paid teachers. Their hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 180 days per year. It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do: baby sit. We can get that for less than minimum wage. That’s right. I would give them $3 per hour and only pay for the hours they worked, not any of that silly planning time.

That would be $15 per day. Each parent should pay these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now, how many do they teach in a day? Maybe 25 or more. Then that’s $15 x 25 = $375 a day. But remember they only work 180 days a year. I’m not going to pay them for any vacations. Let’s see ... that’s $375 x 180 = $67,500. (Hold on, my calculator must need batteries.) What about those special-ed teachers or the ones with master’s degrees?

Well, we could pay them minimum wage, just to be fair. Let’s round it off to $6 per hour. That would be $6 x 5 hours x 25 children x 180 days = $135,000 per year.

Wait a minute, there is something wrong here.

There sure is, huh?

It is time Hawaii starts paying teachers for valuable services rendered and take the politics out of education.

Dallas C. Williams

What about salaries of everybody else?

"UH salaries below average." This is the headline I read Sunday morning when I flipped on my computer and went straight to The Honolulu Advertiser Web site, as I always do.

Duh! Guess what? Everybody else’s salaries are below average, too. If that headline was supposed to garner some form of sympathy for the academic elite up in Manoa, then it missed the mark.

One-fourth of the faculty earned less than $44,000 a year? Then that means three-fourths of the faculty earned more than $44,000, doesn’t it? More than most Honolulu police officers, more than most Honolulu firefighters, more than most Honolulu paramedics. Gimme a break.

Lee K. Muller

Teachers’ families need to survive, too

I teach five courses each semester, each of which requires approximately 11 hours of preparation and grading.

Each lecture must change each semester to take into account student learning styles, current events, new teaching methods and new discoveries in my field. That means that I also must read 500 to 1,000 pages per week to stay current.

When term papers come in, my grading time doubles. I read my students’ papers carefully, and take the time to write specific feedback to help them learn better writing and analysis.

I love this job, and I care for my students. I see their success as a direct measure of my effectiveness. But I have a family, and we need to survive. I work, on average, 66 hours a week year round. I make $11 per hour.

Every major corporation must regularly adjust its pay scales to reflect economic reality, if only to attract and keep quality employees. When I am worried about where the next dollar is going to come from, I cannot be an effective teacher, nor an effective husband and father. Governor, we have the same goal: to make Hawaii’s future bright. Let’s talk.

Patrick M. Patterson
Instructor of History, Honolulu Community College

Low pay has been a problem for years

I find it interesting that low salaries are still an issue for newspaper discussion after all these years. Not that they shouldn’t be discussed, but the issue of low-paying jobs goes way beyond this one particular professional field.

I remember when I first moved to the Islands in 1966, and my Dad called me up and said that census figures were showing higher incomes from the Islands. After a bit of research, I discovered that at that time, census data was looking at full household income, not counting how many people in the household were working to earn that particular income. We had then, and might still have now, more people working per household than any other Mainland state to make that income (don’t know about Alaska).

And after earning two degrees at the University of Hawaii, it became clear to me and other researchers that Hawaii had a major brain drain to the Mainland, often because of the very issue of terribly low salaries with awfully high cost-of-living realities.

Edwyna Fong

Teachers’ salaries don’t match duties

Did you know that public-school teachers haven’t gotten step increases since 1975? Most businesses give their employees at least 1 percent annually for inflation.

Most companies pay for their employees to learn more. I pay for every class I take, every workshop and conference I attend. Want to improve your knowledge or share your knowledge? Use your personal money.

What other job can you not go to the bathroom when you want, not have ready access to a phone, and have to monitor your clients during your "free" time with no air-conditioning? Hawaii teachers are the lowest-paid teachers in the nation with the cost-of-living factors.

Teachers don’t just teach students. They work on school budgets, school improvement plans, accreditation, department responsibilities (Spelling Bee, Science Fair, Math Bowl) and interdisciplinary units for teams. A teacher plans lessons, corrects papers, makes curriculum maps and aligns the standards to each lesson.

Every teacher has a four-year college degree or more. I have a master’s degree, have taught in the public-school system in Hawaii for more than 15 years, and a former student who recently graduated from high school makes more money than I.

I enjoy teaching. I treasure my students. There are many rewards for teaching, but the fact is, I have bills to pay.

Patti Laba

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