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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Ending state tax cuts would be courageous

There's been a great deal of verbiage unleashed in the past few days about the supposed "promise" made to voters and taxpayers of continued tax cuts, like the one already effected, which the Cayetano administration labeled the biggest tax cut in Hawai'i history. And there was the much-ballyhooed attempt to eliminate the excise tax on food and nonprescription medical services.

When it comes to government promises, I'm fairly well convinced that gratuitous offers of tax cuts are mainly a response from legislators at election time, when what the public would really appreciate are some hope of higher living standards, stability in the economy and cost-of-living, and increased government efficiency.

I must therefore conclude that the state Senate leadership is acting courageously to stop or delay additional income tax reductions planned by a past Legislature, which labored under different circumstances than we face today.

After just one of the three programmed income tax cuts, Hawai'i's economy has shown its largest jump in the gross state product in a decade. While this may be positive, not many feel the direct effect of these numbers.

On the other hand, the newfound robust economy has caused a dramatic turnaround already from the stable housing costs of the 1990s to the point where inflation once again is the major factor in reducing affordability and "livability" in this "paradise."

Richard Weigel

Extra work takes away from teaching mission

Community college faculty are not asking for a reduction in our workload — just acknowledgement for all of the other tasks we are required to do that take away from the quality teaching we should be doing in four semester classes, instead of the five we now teach.

Due to our close connection with UH-Manoa, our nonteaching assignments have grown closer and closer to what is expected at Manoa. These nonteaching assignments, such as extensive committee work and producing massive tenure and promotion documents, are not the norm in community college systems outside Hawai'i.

In other words, we are held to two grueling standards — teaching five courses as is done in traditional community colleges and maintaining nonteaching assignments typical of four-year universities.

All we are asking for is the time to meet all of our obligations — both quality teaching and nonteaching responsibilities.

Sally Pestana
Kapi'olani Community College Faculty

Special-ed teachers deserve our support

As a parent of a special-ed student who is partly mainstreamed, I support a teachers' strike. My child is very fortunate to have had and presently has some great people working with her, and it is about time these people benefit from the fruits of their labor.

Parents need to support the people who are in the trenches day after day because in the end, when the Felix Consent Decree is no longer around to be used as a scapegoat, the ones who will still be here will be the parents and those dedicated individuals who work with our children.

Joyce M. Allen

If teachers strike, drop off kids with Ben

Should the teachers strike next month, the parents of elementary-school children will be faced with the problem of child care.

Some will be lucky to have grandparents to baby-sit, while others will take vacation time, if they have any or if their company permits. A third group will be searching for a paid provider, if they can afford it.

For those parents who do not have options, I suggest dropping kids off at Washington Place so that the governor can provide the child care.

Each year, the teachers are required to do more without just compensation. In providing the child care, the governor would be helping to fulfill his promise of providing an "education, second to none."

Arthur T. Choy

Governor is making my Mom go on strike

I am a first-grader and the son of a teacher who's angry with Gov. Cayetano. Why are you making the teachers go on strike?

Look at them. They teach. They help children learn. They are good teachers. Why don't you give them what they want? What will happen without teachers? Teachers are good people. Don't you have respect for teachers? They teach much stuff.

I have to go to A-Plus every day because my Mom tutors after school. Then she does her work for the students the next day. When we come home, she checks my homework and makes dinner. She doesn't have much time because she is always doing work for school.

Ryan Ishihara

Teachers will get this family's support

Two years ago, our family struggled with the decision of whether to send my oldest grandson to public school. We had heard all the horror stories that stereotype Hawai'i's public-school system.

But part of the wonder of growing up in Hawai'i are the rich and diverse cultural experiences that only a public-school setting can offer. His family (mother, grandparents and great-grandmother) wanted him to grow up being a part of these Islands — not a kid who simply grew up in them. And so we crossed our fingers and sent him off to Lincoln Elementary School.

I cannot tell you in this short note how happy we are with this decision. His kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Yamashita, and his first-grade teacher, Mrs. Uyeda, are living, practicing role models for any Teacher of the Year Award. They bring to their students love, patience, years of experience and the love of learning. Much of this is done on their own time and their own money.

The school has a well-defined sense of community, and every time I visit the campus, I find a happy and loving environment.

It is a disgrace to all the children of Hawai'i that our teachers are not fairly compensated. They struggle in far-from-perfect conditions to enrich our children's lives and to develop their potential to grow into happy and productive adult members of our community.

We need many things in our schools. But we need to start with what is the heart and spirit of any school: the teachers. Our family supports whatever decision the teachers make. If they strike, it will be hard on all of us — teachers, parents and, most important, students. But unfortunately, sometimes that is what it takes to correct a wrong and get a system back on track.

G. Reeves

Credit paramedics for Jones' survival

Regarding the March 15 article on the essential "components" of June Jones' survival as "superb trauma/medical management from Queens and Jones' top-notch conditioning": As a city paramedic, I would like to recognize my colleagues for the lifesaving pre-hospital treatment they provided Jones.

A paramedic sustains the vital body functions until the above components are available. The initial pre-hospital management of any critically injured patient is an emotionally and physically demanding aspect of a paramedic's duties.

In such a case, we must simultaneously stabilize an airway, breathing and circulation by using advanced life-support skills, while ensuring rapid appropriate transportation to a trauma center. 

I wholeheartedly believe that these pre-hospital professionals deserve some recognition as an essential component in Jones' remarkable recovery.

John DellaRipa

It's time for Frenchy to question herself

A letter from former Office of Hawaiian Affairs member Frenchy DeSoto chastised Sandra Puanani Burgess and called into question Sandra's "Hawaiianness" for taking views opposite to those of her own (Letters, March 16).

This latest business reminded of the infamous "Go home, haole boy!" incident in which DeSoto went after state Rep. Ed Case.

If DeSoto feels a compelling need to sit in judgment on the "racial" qualifications of others — and act them out — maybe she should look inward instead of outward and judge her own "Hawaiianness."

Kevin Gagan

Fluoridated water would be wasted

Proponents of fluoridation are spending thousands to convince us we need it to save our keiki's teeth. Maybe.

However, I'm not too enthused about paying for a system to fluoridate the water to flush toilets, bathe, do dishes and laundry and keep the lawn, parks and golf courses green. I surmise less than 10 percent is used for human consumption.

Is fluoridation a sound decision? I think not. There is a cheaper and better way: responsibility.

Tsune Kanetani

Japanese captain should be questioned

Is the Navy going to question the captain of the Japanese boat Ehime Maru? Since it was a training vessel, I would be surprised if it did not have some sort of radar on board such as a fish-finder.

The Navy did not follow proper procedures — not using the periscope for three minutes, to name one. To have a fishing vessel on top of the sub at the exact moment the sub was rising, the odds are staggering.

I am not making excuses for the Navy. But it would only be fair that the Navy question the Japanese captain and the students of the training vessel, to get both sides of the story. It is the career of the Navy captain on the line, and all stones should be turned over.

Donna Truhan

Waimea Valley isn't fulfilling its mission

Your March 5 article on Waimea Valley was troubling but hopeful.

I understand this tourist attraction can only legally exist as part of the conservation easement created for Waimea Arboretum. Are horse trails and "zipline" still being considered to blight this precious resource? What were "insurance and maintenance" costs for the garden before ATVs?

When I visited, I hoped for a place of learning and reflection, but was disappointed that much of what the sacred valley is known for is in disrepair, shrouded in tacky profit centers.

Prohibitive entry fees may "block public access" as effectively as a mythical "private owner." I hope the press will also reveal that treasures were destroyed by horse trails and mismanagement that brought ATVs into the gardens by the very proprietors whose legal existence depends on those treasures.

But I applaud your paper for printing information about Waimea Valley, especially community, cultural, historical, botanical and economic recommendations.

Ellen York

Hawaiian immersion should include others

As a professional educator, I've struggled with my own feelings about the noble experiment known as the Hawaiian Immersion Program.

Nothing could be nobler and more justified than a program for the preservation of the Hawaiian culture. Its pedagogy requires students to be taught exclusively through the Hawaiian language.

My chief concern is centered around the psychology of language learning. It has nothing to do with constitutional questions, and everything to do with the future opportunities for those precious and innocent children.

Young children learn language with ease because of an automatic language learning center in their brain that shuts off at age 12. Thereafter, it becomes increasingly more difficult to learn a new language. Therefore, what is the rationale for severely restricting their acquisition of early language skills to only the Hawaiian language in this Information Age?

Why not empower those children with English and Mandarin or Japanese, or Ilocano, or French, German, Spanish or Russian as well, for their own socioeconomic power in this new millennium?

Europeans have known this secret for centuries. Is there any wonder about their remarkable multilingual skills?

Hideo Yoshimoto
Wailuku, Maui

Many pedestrians oblivious to traffic

While I agree that there is a very large burden of responsibility on motorists to drive defensively, I also wish to note that there is another area of responsibility that has not been properly addressed: the pedestrians themselves.

I work on the corner of McCully Street and Kapi'olani Boulevard, and I watch daily the number of people who cross that busy intersection with no regard for the location of crosswalks or whether the signal lights are red or green.

These are people of all ages and persuasions, and all of them seem to be oblivious to the traffic around them.

James Lewis