Letters to the Editor
Accountability first, then pay the raises
Does the public defend the teachers, not because it thinks the teachers actually deserve the raises, but because in this day and age usually both parents work and there is no one to watch the children?
Daycare is too expensive. So the educational system is run more as a babysitting service than as an educational tool. Is this good for our children?
Where do we rank among the 50 states for elementary and middle schools? Should not accountability be shown first before we give raises? What about all the years of poor education?
Why do the teachers continue to use our children as scapegoats by saying the raises are for our children, not for them? We have given them raises in earlier years, yet our education system has not improved. So why more money? Why continue to tell us it is for our children?
My children are now being home-schooled. My wife and I both work and still make the time to school our boys. They have exceeded their grade levels by two whole years in only nine months.
Our public school system is poor. Soon I hope to be able to put both my sons into private schools.
What was gained in teacher strike?
I am entering my 15th year of teaching. The purpose of the teacher strike was to gain a contract, which had been absent for two years. We were called off the picket lines to vote on a contract; we voted on a contract, and now we are right back where we began: no contract.
This is a real conundrum because neither the state nor HSTA can explain the meaning of the strike. Hmm ... it appears to me that the strike is not over. Now I am faced with a dilemma: continue the strike without support of the HSTA or return to the classroom without a contract.
If I continue the strike, then I will have to get another loan to feed my children and will risk losing my position.
If I return to the classroom without a contract, then I will need a lobotomy to measure up to the mentality that is expected of someone who went on strike for apparently no reason.
What will it be: a loan or a lobotomy?
Leonard J. Wilson
GOP hasn't fielded talented candidates
The people have repeatedly answered your somewhat rhetorical question as to what flavor of U.S. senator they want: We have re-elected Sens. Inouye and Akaka by large margins over the last decade. We do so perhaps because of our Democratic roots, or perchance it is the forgettable nature of their opponents.
While some may, regretfully, remember challenger Rick Reed's political antics, where are Maria Hustace, Crystal Young and John Carroll today? Are these the names people associate with political winners?
Given the results in the polling booths, apparently not. My own theory is that the Hawai'i GOP is paying for its historical association with right-wing candidates who just can't fly here in statewide elections.
The Republican Party, not the people of Hawai'i, has the responsibility for successfully challenging our Democratic incumbents. To do so, the GOP will have to do a much better job of fielding talented candidates who represent Hawai'i's people.
Unfortunately, the Hawai'i GOP has a history of eliminating honorable, talented, centrist candidates, such as Mike Liu, prior to the general elections.
I wish Linda Lingle the best of luck freeing her party from its sometimes "to the right of Atilla the Hun" past. A healthy two-party system will benefit us all, regardless of whose card we carry in our pocket.
Half-century of power equates to failure
Seventeen-year-old Kevin Grigsby, in his July 27 Island Voices piece, must have hit a nerve to hear John White of Young Democrats of Hawai'i tell it in his Aug. 8 response.
Personally, I believe Grigsby has the better of the argument. The facts speak loud and clear. Fact is, the Democratic Party has enjoyed almost half a century of undisputed political power at saturation levels. And the result?
Glad you asked. In that same period, the economy, public education and the environment of these Islands have all been trashed.
Guess if I were an officeholder of the Democratic Party, I'd try to slither out of the impact area, too. Even so, it must be rough sledding having to run against a party that hasn't been in power for almost half a century. Looks like that thin reed is the best the Democratic Party can come up with in its seemingly desperate attempt to skitter away from the multiple disasters it has arrogantly inflicted on this state.
One can't help but wonder how much thinner the ice is going to get before it buckles under the load.
Thomas E. Stuart
California team was lacking in aloha, too
"No aloha," the headline to the recent letter to the editor regarding the soccer referee at a summer AYSO tournament here, would hold true for the players on the California team.
Although the letter writer would suggest that the poor behavior was all on the part of the referee, what she doesn't mention is that their children exhibited the worst sportsmanship I'd ever seen on a field, long before the referee made any of his comments.
Their team was getting called on all their fouls, and believe me, there were many, including lots of swearing. Their families on the sidelines were very vocal about their displeasure that their players were being called on to play by the rules.
I agree that it's unfortunate that the referee let his emotions get the best of him. His job is to remain impartial no matter how poorly behaved the players and their parents are.
She also fails to mention that the only reason their team didn't progress in the tournament after that tie was that they had amassed too few sportsmanship points through the tournament. Here in Hawai'i, we call that bachi.
Ex-KSBE trustees villified for good work
When Attorney General Marjorie Bronster failed to get Senate confirmation for reappointment, Gov. Ben Cayetano said on television: "This is war ... and in every war, there are casualties."
Using the power of her office, the then-attorney general made all kinds of wild accusations. Mass hysteria followed, and the trustees were lynched in the media. Hundreds of subpoenas were issued, and the trustees were indicted and made out to be criminals.
The AG attacked Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate and initiated the action. An integral part of the conspiracy to take over KSBE were the people who said the trust was broken as well as the people who repeatedly said "the Bishop Estate will be changed forever."
Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate and the Hawaiian people were the casualties. The will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop was "broken" by the state Supreme Court. The princess' legacy to her people was taken by the state. The good trustees never received due process in the judicial system and were forced to resign.
The public was never informed of the fact that KSBE was a very successful, well-managed institution. The former trustees were diligent in their duties and extremely loyal to the wishes of Pauahi as stated in her will. No other group of trustees has accomplished what these trustees did for the estate.
Ironically, in the '70s, when KSBE was struggling financially, it was forced to sell land to meet payroll. Did anyone care then about Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate?
Now, does anyone care about how the state is controlling and managing KSBE? The proof is in the taking. Does anyone really care about how the state stole 300 acres of Ka Iwi lands for only $12 million? We all need to be concerned. Your legacy and your lands may be next.
Hawai'i is missing out with lack of bike paths
I have done a lot of traveling, and the one consistent thing I find in each beautiful city is a bike path.
The bike path we have around the Ala Wai Golf Course (if you want to call it that) is root-bound and the asphalt is very poor. Not to mention bike riding or rollerblading is illegal along the Ala Wai Canal. At Ala Moana Beach Park, the path is more for walking than bike riding or rollerblading.
If we had a bike path for rollerblading (smooth concrete) and bike riding along the ocean, maybe heading into downtown, I bet we would have many people riding their bikes to work. This would relieve some congestion on H-1 and Ala Moana Boulevard. It would also promote a healthier way to get to work.
Many Mainland cities have beautiful bike paths that are just for bicyclists, rollerbladers and joggers. They are not along busy roads with just barely a shoulder to ride on and a quick fall to certain death by racing cars driving alongside you.
Many people who drive cars are more irritated by a bike rider taking up "valuable" right-lane space than feeling aloha for them and giving up room. This is truly dangerous on some of our streets. I would hate to know the statistics of bike fatalities here in Hawai'i.
I know space is a hard thing to find here in Hawai'i. However, it can be found. There is always a way to make something work if we want it badly enough.
Why can't Hawai'i, a state that is known for its outdoor way of life, have beautiful bike paths? We are really missing out here. If we had bike paths here, they would be well used.
Treat drug addicts, save on prison space
I am an inmate at the Women's Community Correctional Center and am quite concerned about our issue of the prisons in Hawai'i being overcrowded. The articles on this problem are many, but there only seems to be only one solution suggested build more prisons.
There have been many articles about making substance-abuse treatment an option for the criminals who are incarcerated with nonviolent crimes. This I feel is very logical considering that an extremely large percentage of inmates are in prison for drug-related crimes. Many of them are in for using drugs (possession of illegal drugs) so it is obvious that these are people with possible addiction problems.
My concern is that we keep crying about how overcrowded our prisons are but really should look at alternative solutions. There would be plenty of bed space in our prisons if the addicts were given treatment. And whatever happened to house arrest?
It's just so hard to believe that there are no options but to build more prisons. Treatment has been proven to be less expensive than prison.
Are we sure this has nothing to do with making sure state employees have jobs? We really need help for our statewide drug epidemic. So what are we waiting for?
Televised report on Visioning worth it
I have had the opportunity to participate in both of the islandwide Vision meetings this year. These meetings have been very productive because community members are given a direct voice for the future improvement of our communities on O'ahu.
The most difficult task in this process is sharing the collective information and reporting the progress of the meetings back to the people. I watched the half-hour Vision report on several television stations and was impressed by the regional visions and how they all fit together in a broad vision for the whole island.
The article written by your staff on the Vision meeting made the cost of airing the Vision report sound outrageous. I believe the cost was in line with two full pages of black and white advertising in your newspaper and far less than bulk mailing a color brochure to every household on O'ahu.
Most importantly, the final result in print, with either the newspaper ad or brochure, would have been far less effective because it wouldn't have included the music, voices, images and dynamic moving views of our island home. For many it may have been the first time to view our beautiful island through aerial footage.
I appreciate the accountability of the mayor and his team in reporting back on television to those of us who are participating in the Visioning process. Anyone could see what we are doing by this very open process.
This is a nonpartisan activity, and I would like to encourage everyone to participate in shaping our communities for the future of O'ahu. Let's all be a part of the solution to the challenges facing us today with a positive outlook for the future. Mahalo to the people who are involved and to the mayor and his team for their leadership.
Why no parking fees for disabled parking?
I also am concerned about the abuse of handicap parking, as recent letter writers Tom Aki, June Grantham and William Fong are. I am grateful that I am not handicapped (disabled) and am certainly in favor of those with verification of disability having the protection that they deserve to be the sole occupants of the designated parking space.
I am concerned, however, that these spaces do not require a parking fee when others around them do. Certainly disabled physically does not mean the same as disabled financially. I wonder if someone knows why the "no fee" practice came to exist.
Faith A. Scheideman