Posted on: Wednesday, August 4, 2004
Letters to the Editor
Hamamoto contract renewal is a letdown
Dear BOE members,
As a father of a co-valedictorian student (Kalaheo High, 2002) and a current No. 3-ranked Kalaheo senior, I am writing about my concern for our public education system in Hawai'i.
I am distressed to read of your endorsement and early renewal of Superintendent Pat Hamamoto's contract. Your "stay the course" mentality by issuing a four-year contract renewal for Pat Hamamoto in view of yearly poor "report cards" for our education system amazes me.
We could have a top-notch public education system, one not to be embarrassed by. Some people instead seek private education as a remedy. I can see why. Sorry, my personal confidence in what you folks do is at an all-time low because of this contract renewal.
Why on earth do you reward someone who brings bad news repeatedly to a broken system?
Maybe Hawai'i should have vote a day early
Now Hawai'i has the distinction of having the lowest percentage of voter registration in the country. Why do you think so many people are disaffected with the political system?
Sure, our votes make a bit of difference in local elections, but our politicians here are all the same. They won't even put their party affiliations on their posters because they want us to think they all have the same ideology and "values."
It's the "big one" that gets people enthused enough to take time out of their busy lives and head to the elementary school or rec center to vote. Here in Hawai'i, our presidential vote makes no difference. By the time our votes are tallied and our few electoral votes counted, the decision has already been made and the celebratory parties are winding down. We're a half a world away and time-wise out of the loop.
Has anyone ever suggested to the federal government that maybe Hawai'i should vote a day early? Then people might be willing to come out and be a beacon or weathervane for the rest of the country. How about it, U.S. senators and representatives?
Save Waikiki theater
Let's all not stand by idly as a another true Hawai'i landmark is destroyed. Let's save the Waikiki theater and bring it back to its original glory. Just think how great having a performing arts center in the middle of Waikiki could be for our residents and visitors alike. All venues, music, theater, lectures, etc., could be offered.
We would have a built-in paying audience from the multitude of people who pass by its front door. This landmark should be purchased by the city or a group of concerned citizens in committee form.
Let's get started.
Dae Sung Lee should be heard in court
It must have been a difficult decision for Dae Sung Lee to claim discrimination in his lawsuit after being removed as coach of the U.S. Olympic taekwondo team (Advertiser, July 29).
For someone to do so in this politically correct environment, Lee must feel terribly wronged. If the decision to dismiss him as coach was racially based, then he should be reinstated.
Those who have studied with Lee at his 'Aina Haina center say he is a great teacher and honorable man. He deserves his day in court before the start of competition Aug. 26.
Bainum, Hannemann commentaries helpful
Mahalo for giving space to Duke Bainum and Mufi Hannemann (Sunday Focus section) to lay out their plans for their first 100 days as mayor.
When I read Duke's article, I was impressed by the large number of projects he proposed. Almost all of them looked worthwhile, but I had two thoughts while reading his list. First, if he can do all that in his first 100 days, he will make Jeremy Harris look like a slacker. Second, how does he plan to pay for all this?
Mufi's article really proposed just one project: an operational audit so that we can know how much money we have, how much we're spending, and whether we are spending our money effectively.
As someone who is living through the behind-schedule, over-budget Kailua-Kalaheo sewer project, I am convinced that there are huge inefficiencies in our city government. It seems like a good idea to get a firm understanding of our current commitments before starting new ones.
Although I am still undecided, I found the articles very useful for highlighting their differences.
Makana Risser Chai
Perhaps it's regents who should be fired
On June 15, the Board of Regents fired Evan Dobelle "for cause" to avoid paying $2.2 million in severance pay.
On July 30, the KITV Web site quoted the regents' attorney, William McCorriston, as saying, "With Evan Dobelle's resignation and all the attendant expenses to him and his staff, we are actually saving money" by agreeing to this $1.8 million settlement.
On Aug. 1, Mr. McCorriston stated in The Advertiser that "For every dollar not paid to Evan Dobelle and his recruits, there is one more dollar available for student housing, parking and much-needed programs."
It must be either new math or my "fuzzy thinking" as I get older. But I do not understand how paying Mr. Dobelle $1.8 million in severance pay and lawyers' fees, and an unknown amount to Mr. McCorriston et al. (I don't think their fees were gratis, but let's estimate $300,000, nearly the same as Mr. Dobelle's lawyers) is a savings, when the total payment should be zero if Mr. Dobelle was fired "for cause," as originally stated by the Board of Regents.
No matter how I look at it, UH should have had approximately $2.1 million more to spend on student housing, etc., if the original reason for firing him (oops, I forgot, it is now a resignation) were correct.
Maybe it really is the regents who should have been fired "for cause" for bringing public disrespect and contempt or ridicule on the university.
Drivers: This is Hawai'i, not Hollywood Freeway
All these L.A. aggressive driving recommendations are fully justified only by the supposition that there are angry, impatient drivers behind you and it is your duty to not get them angrier. Wow.
So-called professional driving experts say we must drive aggressively to keep traffic flowing. We are chastised for driving island-style and now are warned to keep up with the pace of a big bustling city and drive accordingly.
And to justify this stance, the journalist quotes people visiting from the Mainland. He tells us driving with aloha is "unusual" (of course to someone from L.A.!). He says it is not in everyone's best interest to drive Hawaiian-style. No, it's not in the best interest of those drivers from the Mainland. But that is not who we are interested in appeasing. The article misses the point altogether. It is not the responsibility for drivers to drive crazy on the road like some Los Angeles jerk just because there are impatient people behind you.
And to top it off, a police sergeant is the one admonishing us to not slow down when it rains. To not show courtesy to other drivers on the road. Yes, this is the message! Incredible, but true.
This island is split up into two groups basically: those who love Hawai'i as it once was and want to retain it, and others who feel development, rebuilding, overbuilding and redevelopment should take place on every square bit of raw or "underdeveloped" or "underused" land in Hawai'i. That we should overtax the infrastructure and sewage system, deplete the limited water supply, kill the ocean's coral with runoff, build more condo towers and monolithic big-box bad corporate citizen stores in the heart of our fragile city, overpopulate, and then take away the limited parking spaces we have, lessen the width of and take away our driving lanes, and on top of this, quote Mainlanders and local police telling us now we must drive as they do in Mainland cities.
I suppose it was only a matter of time, but I had hoped I would not see it in my life, and am very disappointed to see this day when it is headline news, justified by Honolulu policemen. "Lead, follow or get the hell outta the way on the road, cuz, buster, this is a growing bustling city and you must act accordingly!"
Alan St. James
Caught in middle, out of luck
I am so frustrated with the entire process of enrolling my children in preschool.
First, it took me many phone calls just to find space available for them. I ended up sending them to two different preschools for availability reasons. That worked out great just because the schools they got in were wonderful.
The entire process of finding space, getting the children on waiting lists and hoping that they get in somewhere that will be good for them is tiresome. It's preschool, not college, yet the chances of getting in the school of your choice are slim to none.
The reason I am writing this is the financial aid programs out there. I had applied for financial aid when I was a stay-at-home mom, way before school started. Because I wasn't working (my husband was), we qualified for 90 percent tuition assistance. The conditions were that I either be in school or working. I am doing both. I work full-time and attend school part-time. Now, we don't qualify for any of the six programs we applied for. I just can't believe it. We are playing catch-up because I hadn't worked for a while. I just can't believe that we are not able to get some kind of assistance.
When I talked with the programs we were denied financial aid from (because I was working), they told me that my first problem was that the schools my kids are attending are too expensive. I am sorry, but every single preschool is about the same. They told me that this is the way it is and I can't do anything to change it.
We are Native Hawaiian but can't qualify for specific programs because we are above the state's standards of poverty. We are struggling. We are 25 with two young children and trying to make it on our own. My daughter was diagnosed as having a speech delay, but now we no longer qualify for the program that was providing therapy and tuition assistance for her. I feel as though the entire system is oppressive.
One of the programs I spoke with told me that maybe I would be better off as a stay-at-home mom, because that way I could still get financial aid for preschool. I am trying to better myself for my children and my family, and the only thing they can tell me is that I doing too much? There has got to be a program out there that can help make the process of affording to send our keiki to school without financially breaking a family. Please help us find what kind of resources are out there.
When I asked that question, someone told me that I was part of the "working poor" and that I need to come to terms with it. I am not going to do nothing. There needs to be a way to send our keiki to school to be educated, to stay out of trouble, to lower the crime rate, to attend college and be productive individuals. It starts young. We need to be able to give our children a chance just like the rich and just like the poor. We are just in the middle and out of luck.
Keep new logo for UH simple
I am underwhelmed by the UH logo design finalists. None reads "UH" clearly and effectively. Why not keep it simple? For example:
Besides, torches have been done to death by universities.