Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, October 18, 2002

Letters to the Editor

Democrats were able to silence Capt. Soo

I am appalled at the audacity of the Honolulu Fire Department to censor Capt. Richard Soo and force him into a lesser position. This is another example of strong-armed tactics by the Democratic Party of Hawai'i to silence all opposition.

While we have Libertarians screaming about the unconstitutional treatment of prisoners in Cuba, here in Hawai'i we have a private citizen, exercising his right to campaign and endorse a political candidate, being censored and gagged by his employer.

Mr. Soo, I am sure you can find any number of lawyers out there willing to take your case; however, don't count on the ACLU. It is too busy defending girls who want to wear pants to graduations and trying to take our right to public religious expression away.

As for the voters, I leave you with this thought: Mazie Hirono commented that this action (against a private citizen exercising his freedom) is appropriate.

James Roller

Strings attached to Democratic politicians

In his Oct. 16 letter, Jonathan Starr failed to identify himself as chairman of the Maui Democratic Party. As a Democrat in Hawai'i, it must seem logical to believe that campaign donations come with strings attached since that is what they have seen from the current Democratic government.

The people of Hawai'i have been the victim of that method of government with kickbacks, no-bid contracts and blatant violations of campaign laws that have sent Democratic lawmakers to jail.

Democrats cannot understand that Republicans across the country are willing to "put their money where their mouth is" to improve the business climate in Hawai'i, to protect the 'aina, to hold government accountable for its spending, to repeal taxes on food and medical services, and to elect a woman who has the integrity and ability to effect real change, bringing a better quality of life to all of Hawai'i's residents — no strings attached.

Kay Ghean
Chair, Maui County Republican Party

Democrats stand for equal opportunity

The voters need to preserve Hawai'i's social values when electing the next governor. Mazie Hirono and Matt Matsunaga can lead our state for the next four years effectively. We must not sell our values to the valueless Republicans.

Democrats stand for equal opportunity for the people. That is what Hawai'i needs for the future, not the GOP. Please consider the Democratic Party on Election Day. It is Hawai'i's future at stake, not some special interests.

Solray Duncan

Maui voters can pick ethical candidates

Dear Maui voters:

Do you wonder today whom to vote for? Are you confused about all these 19 charter amendments coming up? Do you wonder just where our Islands are going, where our grandchildren will be able to work or play in 20 years?

Have you given up on voting? This year, there is a choice. We can elect independent leaders without ties to big money donors. Leaders who make sure there is affordable housing for our working families. Leaders who support Maui County's small businesses and small towns as the basis of a strong economy. Leaders who want to help Maui County grow toward self-sufficiency in food and energy production. Leaders who carefully manage our waters and protect cultural sites, coastal lands and reefs. Leaders who care for and listen to elders and youth and make ethical decisions. Leaders who address the "ice" epidemic that is threatening our families and communities.

'Ohana Coalition Maui has a platform based on community values. Those of us in OCM have spent many hours interviewing candidates, focused on the vision of working together for an ethical and balanced future for our island. We welcome you to our Web site at http://www.ohanacoalition.org/ or call 573-3676 for info on candidates and 573-3675 for charter amendment info.

'Ohana Coalition Maui supports and recommends candidates Jo Anne Johnson, Natalie Kama, Wayne Nishiki, Lance Holter, Charmaine Tavares, Georgina Kawamura, Mele Carroll, Danny Mateo, Sol Kaho'ohalahala, Jim Rouse, Kika Bukoski and Cindi "Mahina" Martin.

Please clip this out for the election. Thank you.

Diana Dahl
Ha'iku, Maui

Private schools aren't competing with state

I was very disturbed that the Hawai'i State Teachers Association is urging voters to cast a "no" vote on Ballot Question No. 2, which would allow private schools to use the state's special purpose revenue bonds to finance construction projects. The teachers should do their homework.

As is currently done, these tax-free bonds would be sold all over the United States and would have no effect on Hawai'i state revenues. They would not take any money from the public school system. In fact, they would have the opposite effect, as they would bring money into the tax system by the increased construction projects that would be stimulated by these bonds.

Karen Ginoza, HSTA president, claims the public schools are in desperate need of repair, and I agree. However, whether private investors buy these bonds or not would not change that situation one bit. It has nothing to do with it. She is mixing apples and oranges.

This state needs all the private schools to be strong and viable. If all the private schools closed their doors, this state could not provide for these students. There are simply not enough classrooms, teachers or financial resources to do so.

This state is fortunate that there is a strong private school system dedicated to promoting excellence in education. These schools are not in "competition" with the public schools. The fact is, if the public schools provided a better product, in both education and in the physical plant, parents would be delighted to send their children there. As it is today, families must suffer large financial burdens so their children receive the education and safety they deserve.

I urge everyone to vote "yes" on Constitutional Amendment No. 2.

Jean E. Rolles

Hiller's reporting on education is in-depth

It is refreshing to read Education Writer Jennifer Hiller's examination of the No Child Left Behind law and how it affects public schools. While previous education writers had repeated the term "failing schools," she takes the time to examine the standards that define failing schools. She interviews people in the field, reviews data and reports perspectives from those who actually work in the schools.

For example, only 28 of 125 poverty schools were able to reach the 95 percent daily attendance standard. In a previous article, she highlighted how students who have English as a second language affect reading scores on standardized tests. Poverty is considered a major risk factor that appears to be correlated with lower test scores in many of our rural districts.

Getting parents involved is a challenge that every public school faces.

I contrast her excellent reporting with a Second Opinion column by Cliff Slater in the same issue of your paper. He starts out with, "Were our taxes to be reduced by 20 percent, our education spending percentage (and tax burden) would fall in line with other states."

Public sentiment for tax reduction is the political rhetoric being used to get elected. I hope Jennifer Hiller continues to report facts. Our public schools will still be operating long after all of the political promises are just video clips in archives.

Jim Wolfe

Education has been protected from cuts

Jim Shon's Oct. 3 Island Voices commentary is off the mark. Not only has the state administration protected education from the budget cuts endured by other departments, it has devoted significant additional resources toward education.

Over the past eight years, some 2,870 additional full-time positions have been added in the DOE. Lower and higher education now account for 52.8 percent of the state's budget. Lower education alone amounts to 40.4 percent of the state's budget, with general fund support for public schools now at a high of $1.43 billion.

Although student enrollment decreased by 3.4 percent between FY 1998 and FY 2003, total state funding for lower-education programs (including health-related school expenses and costs related to ongoing maintenance) has increased from $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion during these same years.

Mr. Shon also cited a 2001 state per-pupil-expenditure figure of $6,391. According to the DOE's 2001 financial report, the state spent $6,856 for each pupil, well on par with other states. This average would be even higher if not for the teacher strike, which closed schools for 20 days, substantially reducing total expenditures.

Since 1997, the average teacher salaries have risen about 34 percent, or nearly $10,000. And the current administration built 16 new schools — more than any other period in our history.

It's disappointing that Shon overlooked these facts. The budget figures clearly show our administration's commitment to education.

Stanley Shiraki
Director of finance, state of Hawai'i

Walk in police shoes before you judge them

I'm totally disgusted with those citizens who continue to bash the Honolulu Police Department, such as is the case in the shooting in Kane'ohe of a felon who first shot at the officers who were trying to stop him.

I hope those people who ask why were so many shots fired, why did they kill him and couldn't the police handle this another way are never put in a situation where someone is shooting at them or harming their loved ones.

I have a family member who is a police officer, and as a parent, I would like to see him go home safely to his wife and children after his workday ends.

These police officers are highly trained to protect the public (even those who constantly criticize the police). Maybe these complainers should call a criminal when they are being robbed or beaten.

Please, put yourself in the position that the police are in before you judge.

D. Lee

Hamamoto is wrong on decentralization

State DOE Superintendent Pat Hamamoto's commentary ("We're hearing 'solutions' that would cripple schools," Sept. 14) asserts that multiplying the number of independent school districts would raise costs. This is an empirical issue. She is wrong.

Hamamoto writes: "No one has presented evidence that such efforts would make administrative services more effective or, most importantly, that they would enhance student achievement."

Abundant evidence supports decentralization. I gave to former Superintendent Paul LeMahieu a small slice of this evidence. The editorial boards and education writers of The Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin and the members of the House and Senate Education committees have seen more.

From the U.S. Department of Education "Digest of Education Statistics" and "NAEP Data on Disk":

• States that maintain numerous small districts exhibit higher NAEP math and reading scores than states that compel attendance in a few large districts. Small districts score higher.

• Per-pupil costs rise as districts increase in size. Small districts cost less.

• The gap between the 90th percentile score and the 10th percentile score increases as districts increase in size. Small districts enhance equality.

Decentralization would enhance parent control, raise performance, lower costs and reduce inequality.

Malcolm Kirkpatrick

Killing of Marine should have gotten better play

Shame on The Honolulu Advertiser for the news stories on the front page of the Oct. 9 morning issue of the newspaper.

Is the death of a U.S. Marine and the wounding of another so routine that the story does not even make the front page of your newspaper? Is the death of a young man who was defending our freedoms on the front lines of the war against terrorism so insignificant that it pales in comparison to more newsworthy stories like "Little League to check for sex offenders" or "Ex-girlfriend testifies Rodriques paid off"?

It is amazing that the murder of a young Marine and the wounding of another gets pushed back to the third page to make room for sex and greed stories in your newspaper. Shame on you.

Robert W. Holub
Sergeant major
Marine Forces Pacific (Ret.)

Line-dancers unfairly given the heave-ho

About 45 line-dancers, mostly seniors, were left "homeless" via a telephone message in September at the Ala Wai Golf Course Palladium. Their dancing date on Mondays for a year was taken from them and given to someone else who has a Friday with only about five dancers.

Is this in the best interest of the community? Was it fair? Does this constitute breach of implied consent for the use of the facility?

The search for a suitable replacement dancing location is most difficult for our large group. We ask for your kokua — lawyers, politicians and citizens. Contact by e-mail: nkdance@hotmail.com.

Norman Kunishima