Letters to the Editor
Support for strike was overwhelming
As a student at UH-Manoa who walked the picket line in support of UHPA's struggle for a competitive wage, one thing struck me more than anything else: The support from passing cars and trucks was overwhelming.
Student newspaper had to be published
It is understandable that UH faculty discouraged students and part-time lecturers from crossing the picket line before the strike was settled. It is most distressing, however, to hear of faculty who criticized Ka Leo O Hawai'i staffers. These hard-working students had to cross the picket line daily in order to ensure the publication of the student newspaper.
In addition to publicizing the faculty's cause and educating the public on the issues, these students were exercising their First Amendment rights. If university instructors expect to be taken seriously, they must first stamp out ignorance among their fellow colleagues.
State offer wouldn't help teacher shortage
There has been much talk regarding the HSTA refusal of Gov. Cayetano's so-called "last offer" of a 14 percent raise to the hard-working teachers of our state. Perhaps to the untrained eye the 14 percent proposal looks adequate; however, this proposal would not cure (or even aid) the current teacher shortage.
The 14 percent proposal is wrought with inadequacies. To begin with, teachers would not receive a raise for their hard work until the second half of their four-year contract meaning they would not receive a penny from the state until two years have passed. Keep in mind that the teachers have already been working without a contract for two years. In addition, those entering the teaching profession for the first time would make more money than the "middle teachers."
But does Cayetano's 14 percent proposal adequately address the teacher shortage in Hawai'i? Do you see the best and brightest in our society lining up to become teachers because of Cayetano's four-year 14 percent (barely keeping up with inflationary levels) proposal?
If we have a teacher shortage now, and statistics show that half the teaching population will retire in the next 10 years, will Cayetano's 14 percent stop an even greater crisis from occurring in the near future? Think about it.
How to settle the strike
Get rid of HSTA leaders Karen Ginoza and Joan Husted. They are leading the sheep to the slaughterhouse.
'Special needs' are disrupting classrooms
Regarding the April 16 letter, "Special-ed program is hurting regular ed": My hat goes off to Aaron Mersberg for his views on the wasted dollars for special ed.
Many children we label as having "special needs" are limited mentally. They can often be disruptive because of their habits. This diminishes the educational system in the classroom. Add the need for individual aides for some of these children, and more dollars are spent.
IQ levels should be tested and norms set. Below a certain level, the ability to learn is diminished.
My brother was mentally retarded. He could read and write. However, for his own protection and for the well-being of other students, he did not belong in what I would call a "normal" environment in a classroom or, for that matter, in a residential situation.
All of this is just part of the dumbing down of America. A very costly expense in many ways.
Teachers should have a reality check
I have read every article I could find on the teachers' strike, but have yet to find a "clincher" that supports the increase they seek.
The strongest argument seems to be that the cost of living is higher here than on the Mainland, so that straight comparisons with Mainland teachers' salaries aren't valid.
Wait a minute. How about the people whose taxes are paying teachers' salaries? When was the last time their bosses called them in and said, "Since the cost of living is higher here, I'm going to have to pay you a premium over what your job pays on the Mainland?"
How many statewide unions have successfully used the teachers' main argument in job negotiations here? Looks to me like it's time for a reality check, teachers.
John M. Smith
We have only ourselves to blame for problems
So, who elected this governor, and those who voted in favor of his budget? Whom did each teacher vote for in the last election? Hmmm.
The records show Hawai'i voters have a history of poor voter turnout. Also, a history of voting Democratic. How would our lives, and the lives of our children, have been different this year if more people voted and candidates were elected who were not for big, "in your wallet" government?
Does it make you want to reconsider voting for the Democrats in the next election? Does it make you want to vote, period? It should.
Why should Hawai'i go back to monarchy?
Having been born in Hawai'i and taken courses in Hawaiian history most of my life, I have been following the Alani Apio commentaries with interest.
From what I gather, some Hawaiians feel they have been cheated out of a fortune and it is still owed them. Some also feel the Islands should be given back to some people who were part of the ruling class over 100 years ago.
What is never said is what kind of government would be reinstated. I'm sure there are few who would like to go back to the government that was here before the white people showed up. Constant warfare and 33 percent taxes aren't popular.
Losing the monarchy is much bemoaned, but let's look at what it did. First of all, the monarchs had mostly white advisers. That may reflect why they seem to have done such a poor job in leading. The monarchs liked European goods, so they increased the taxes and many Hawaiian men starved while hauling the sandalwood from the mountains. Most of the problems they had were trying to bring the people up to the English standard of citizenship.
The monarchy was lost because the queen wanted to go backward from a constitutional monarchy to a dictatorship. How often do people enjoy a better quality of life under a dictator? I would love to have someone explain how the majority of people in Hawai'i today would benefit from a Hawaiian monarchy.
As for being cheated out of land, most of it was given away. During the Great Mahele, a third of the land was claimed by the people, who then sold it to start businesses in town. There is a reason that urbanization has happened: The life of a farmer is hard and unpredictable, and that is why most people leave the business.
It is unfortunate that a group of people who have so much to offer the world feel alienated in their own land, but they are not unique and it is sad that they don't do more in a land that people are willing to die to get into.
Legislature is nothing but a rubber stamp
Your lead article on April 11 ("Senate OKs draft budget") missed the point about the Senate's decision-making.
Out of hundreds of bills voted on, all passed. Were these all sensible, fiscally sound bills? How about the bills spending tens of millions on the governor's fish tank and art warehouse and "multicultural village"? How about Sen. Cal Kawamoto's ludicrous proposal that would lower the speed limit on parts of H-1 and other major roadways to 15 mph? How about the Hawai'i Hurricane Relief Fund bill that raided most of the interest from the fund and didn't refund any of the excess money?
These bills were not isolated incidents; dozens of bills had glaring flaws pointed out in speeches by Senate Republicans and a handful of dissident Democrats, and yet everything passed, usually by whopping margins. Shame on your reporters for not doing their job, for not asking the few dissenting senators afterward what were the most egregious abuses that passed.
We should replace Senate President Bobby Bunda's gavel with a rubber stamp.
Sex exploitation bill would do more harm
I have been criticized recently for not supporting Senate Bill 864, a measure that purports to address the use of minors in nude dancing establishments and massage parlors. However, in this instance, passion has clouded reason and led to a misconception of facts surrounding this emotionally volatile issue.
Under no condition do I support teen dancing at nude dancing establishments. Nor do I support the involvement of teens in nude massage parlors. Both activities are unlawful and particularly damaging to the young women in our community. I support the protection of young women from commercial exploitation.
However, based on my discussions with Honolulu prosecutors, state and local law enforcement, the liquor license commission and members of the community, I am convinced that the measure conflicts with current law and would actually hamper the prosecution of offenders.
The Honolulu Police Department, the Hawai'i County Police Department, the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney's Office and the Public Defender's Office are against this bill.
The bill is worded so broadly that law enforcement officials are concerned the measure would criminalize dating and run afoul of the courts for being unconstitutional.
Ironically, current state law is more severe than the proposed bill. Minors are also protected from sex exploitation under city ordinances.
I look forward to sitting down with interested parties to see whether we can proceed toward developing positive legislation.
Rep. Eric G. Hamakawa
D-3rd District (Hilo, Puna)
Waikiki has become a dysfunctional mess
When a "tourist destination" can't offer the most basic elements that make it an attractive place to visit, it has become dysfunctional. Welcome to Waikiki.
Why are street performers who dress up in metal foil and scare the daylights out of unsuspecting tourists by pounding on drums part of our Hawai'i experience?
A short walk down Kalakaua would convince even the most desperate tourist that he or she has come to the wrong place to relax and smell the ocean air, or walk barefoot through our sandy beaches (oops, watch out for the cigarette butt).
We have allowed the beautiful shores and walkways of Waikiki to become disgusting sideshows full of Mainland drop-outs and welfare leeches. Photos of birds for $10 to $15 each, with a demand for an additional tip, are not my idea of a visit with nature.
Our zoo is a mess, our hotels are losing their ratings and the tour buses sit in smog-filled streets full of disappointed tourists.
Gaming would provide economic stimulus
The gaming industry would work here, creating jobs, attracting tourists and providing revenue.
Licenses could be granted for shipboard or limited casinos in selected resort zones. The Neighbor Islands especially would benefit greatly with more job opportunities.
The state can collect tax revenues and fees to fund education, infrastructure maintenance, public services and social programs.
People from many countries do enjoy gambling as part of their vacation time. Hawai'i's main industry, tourism, must be competitive with other vacation destinations.
This year, opposition testimony was emotional and portrayed gaming as a big, bad wolf. Alcohol, drugs, smoking and credit card problems destroy more lives and give nothing back to Hawai'i's people. Gaming has provided jobs and economic stimulus for Native American tribes and economically depressed cities.
The economic numbers alone justify a serious and unbiased consideration of the gaming industry.
No insult intended by 'B.C.' comic strip
While I understand the insult felt by Jewish leaders regarding the "B.C." comic in the April 15 (Easter Sunday) newspaper, I also take exception to the reaction.
Most Jewish leaders seem to forget that Jesus Christ was born a Jew and was raised in the most holy of Jewish traditions.
As one who has studied in the ministry for four years and has focused heavily on how Judaism and Christianity are closely intertwined, I understand not only how the Jews feel, but also how Christians observe Easter. I see the symbolism in the comic strip as the resurrection of Christ representing the very basis of the Christian faith.
I am sure the cartoonist did not mean to insult the Jewish faith. I feel he meant to represent the fact that Jews and Christians are servants of the same God and have the same "heroes of the faith."
I certainly feel he did not mean to imply that Christianity "replaces" Judaism, as the Jewish leaders seem to say. One should read Romans 3:29-31 in the Bible to fully understand this. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "We who are Jews by nature ... "