Letters to the Editor
ROZMIAREK CONTRIBUTES TO VITALITY OF THE ARTS
Referring to Honolulu Advertiser drama critic Joseph T. Rozmiarek, one of your readers asked, "How long are you going to keep this charlatan on as your critic?"
I propose that your answer should be, "As long as he continues to provide the leadership and excellence in the arts that he has for the past few decades writing for your newspaper."
The vitality of journalism and the arts, including theater reviews, depends on lively and informed criticism. Joseph T. Rozmiarek's original and creative critical reviews keep this vitality alive and well in Hawai'i. In January, he was chosen, along with 25 other theater critics, editors, features writers, and arts and entertainment editors from 20 states, to participate as a fellow in USC Annenberg's 2006 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater. I know Joe Rozmiarek. Joe Rozmiarek is a 2006 NEA fellow. Joe Rozmiarek is no charlatan.Gary D. Bliss
WHY SPEND BILLIONS, WE LOVE TRAFFIC PILIKIA
Stop the bickering. Hawai'i doesn't need mass transit. We love driving our three cars every day and burning our relatively "cheap" gas (compared to other parts of the world).
Aren't we all so rich we can afford driving our SUVs 30 to 40 miles a day at 15 mph on our freeways, filling up our gas tanks sometimes twice a week? $400-a-month gas bill? No problem, pocket change! Parking? Easy! Only $200 a month, drop in the bucket!
Oh yeah, nobody will want to use the light-rail system on off-peak hours because we love to go shopping in town and waste our time looking for parking and get caught in the surface street congestion.
So why bother spending billions of dollars to make life better. We love it just the way it is!Steven S. Fukunaga
TEACHERS' CONTRACT NOT HINDRANCE TO LEARNING
It's obvious in his letter blaming public schools' problems on the teachers' contract (Aug. 1) that Gregory Sheindlin is misinformed about teachers and their role in public education.
When it comes to improving our public school children's academic performance, the single most effective thing to do is to put a highly qualified teacher in their classroom. There is nothing that will improve academic achievement more.
HSTA has worked hard to make it possible for Hawai'i to attract the best teachers with salaries that are competitive nationally. And we work to make sure that teachers' working conditions and employment culture are attractive enough that they remain in teaching.
Far from being a hindrance to improving public education, our contract is one of the most forward thinking in the nation. It was one of the first collective bargaining agreements nationally to offer bonuses to nationally board-certified teachers. It offers professional development days to give teachers time to advance their learning. Assignments and transfers are granted on qualifications, not seniority. The contract gives time in the calendar to allow school staffs to meet and make decisions about how best to educate their particular student body.
And, yes, it has provisions for underperforming teachers. In fact, Hawai'i has the fastest fair-dismissal policy in the nation. The contract contains one of the few performance-based salary schedules in the United States, and the parties are working hard to implement it.Joan Husted
HSTA executive director
TERRORIST GROUPS MUST BE DESTROYED
I read with interest Hakim Ouansafi's commentary (Aug. 1). His agenda is apparent in that he cannot seem to use the proper nouns of Hamas and Hezbollah in his short first-paragraph denunciation of the killing of Jews.
He neglects to detail the indiscriminate Katusha rocket attacks on cities in Israel. He, like some others, cannot get past his dislike for Israel because they take action against terrorists.
What the U.S. administration did was rush to the aid of another government that fights people who have sent children to become suicide bombers. These terrorist groups use residential neighborhoods and civilians as shields. And while totally regrettable, there will be unintended casualties when Israel acts to remove this unsavory group.
Terrorist groups must be destroyed and not be allowed to live to fight another day. I'd be interested in his commentary about Iran and its nuclear ambitions. Would he hold them harmless while working toward their political goals?Lou Faulkner
INTRIGUING DILEMMA IN THIS ELECTION CYCLE
The Akaka-Case Senate race is rife with irony. Two examples:
If you're a diehard plantation-era union Democrat — the kind who feels it's so shame, the worst kind of moral turpitude, to vote for any Republican under any circumstance — you feel it's your duty as a good citizen to vote Akaka. But you know Ed Case is plenty akamai about politics — if he loses this primary by a wide margin, he'll run as a Republican next time (assuming he doesn't just chuck it all), and so will every other Democratic-leaning politician who is moderate (or pretending to be so.) So, as an oh-so-liberal voter, it's in your long-term best interest to vote for Case — but you just can't bring yourself to sully your good name like that.
Meanwhile, if you're Linda Lingle, you're almost identical to Ed Case politically if you ignore the party labels and watch how the two of you actually vote. You want someone to represent your point of view, you should vote Case. But, the governor's office is two terms and out, and you're angling for one of those cushy U.S. Senate seats. So, it's in your long-term best interest to quietly work behind the scenes to end Case's career this election, while publicly maintaining plausible deniability about the whole sordid affair.
If only every election cycle was this much fun!Jim Henshaw