Letters to the Editor
SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS DESERVE THEIR BACK PAY
The Legislature has the opportunity to do the right thing and settle the lawsuit granting substitute teachers the back pay owed by the Department of Education.
This case was adjudicated in Circuit Judge Karen Ahn's court in December 2005, the substitute teachers won and yet the state has blocked restitution. Qualified professionals are leaving in droves.
The students of our great state deserve better, as do those who work so hard on their behalf. Please, let's get this settled now.
Ask your kids how often they've been sitting in study halls without a teacher because of the substitute teacher shortage.Jo Jennifer Goldsmith
DON HO'S MILITARY SERVICE REMEMBERED
In the wake of Don Ho's passing, much has been written about his life as Hawai'i's beloved entertainer.
I'd like to share Don's contribution to our nation as a member of the U.S. Air Force. Don was a member of the Transport Squadron, Military Airlift Command at Travis AFB, Calif.
In 1956, he was selected to the Pilot's Transition C-97 (Strato-Cruiser) Program with the 47th Heavy Transport Training Unit at West Palm Beach AFB, Fla. He successfully completed the extensive and exhaustive program, and later was upgraded to aircraft commander status at his home base.
During one of his missions, the crew consisted of Lt. Don Ho, aircraft commander, of Kane'ohe; Lt. Tsubaki, copilot, of Maui; Lt. George Shimabuku, navigator, of Kahuku; and Sgts. Rod Higashi and Tommy Lau, flight engineers, both of Pearl City. This was the first time in U.S. Air Force history that an flight crew who all were from Hawai'i completed an Air Force mission.
The U.S. Air Force lost an outstanding person when he left the service. During his active duty, Don accumulated thousands of flight hours throughout the Pacific basin, supporting the U.S. Air Force's mission.
As a fellow U.S. Air Force serviceman, my acquaintance with Don Ho went beyond friendship — it was of the utmost appreciation and trust.
Don's contribution in maintaining the peace and security during the post-World War II years was immeasurable. I hope his legacy as a dedicated member of our nation's military will be remembered alongside his life as Hawai'i's prolific entertainer and beloved son.
I salute you, my friend.Felix Duhaylongsod
Retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant, Pearl City
CITY TECHNOLOGY OFFICE WANTS VETO UPHELD
The city Department of Information Technology strongly opposes Senate Bill 1642 and backs the governor's veto.
The bill would seriously affect the life safety provided by our first responders. There is another, equally strong reason against this bill becoming law: its effect on other agencies such as the Department of Information Technology.
My department is not considered a "first-response" agency, but is responsible for much of the support provided to the first responders. We maintain the 800 MHz public safety radio system presently used by Honolulu's police and fire departments and 20 other agencies, and the microwave tower facilities that are key to its operation. We also provide support for many other vital systems, including but not limited to 911 dispatch, Enhanced 911, wire line and wireless communications networks, the city's motor vehicle licensing system, driver licensing system, dispatch and more. We support them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
This bill will severely limit my department's ability to provide not only daily support for these systems, but pivotal emergency support. Approval of this bill will have far-reaching negative impacts on the delivery of life safety services to the citizens of Hawai'i.
I strongly encourage any legislator who cares about life safety to sustain Gov. Linda Lingle's veto of SB 1642.Gordon J. Bruce
Director, city Department of Information Technology
ROY HALLMAN BROUGHT UNIQUE GIFT TO CHOIR
It's an end of another musical era in Hawai'i.
Honolulu Boy Choir founder Roy Hallman, who died April 19, will be remembered for being passionate about his music, about the welfare of our community boys, and the unique gift of music to the community and the world.
Many alumni will remember Mr. Hallman not just for the musical experience, but more importantly the discipline and character building which they learned while with the choir.
At times, Roy was very stern and strict with the boys for not knowing their music or lyrics, or the fidgeting on stage; but with the twinkle of his eyes and his trademark wonderful smile, he brought joy and self-confidence to so many boys.
He commanded a disciplined and meticulous concert performance known worldwide for its distinct one-voice sound, which was often referred to as the "Voices of Aloha".
He had a vision of what he wanted to accomplish, and relished its pursuit with energetic enthusiasm and a gregarious personality.
More than 2,500 boys participated during his tenure.
Over time, Roy and his wife and accompanist, Nyle, witnessed these many boys growing up to be successful adult men contributing to our community.
This was their simple joy. He leaves a legacy of character, integrity and musical quality that touched the lives of so many of Hawaii's youth.
Roy was one of a kind. Aloha 'oe, aloha 'oe, until we meet again.Blake M. Nuibe
Former executive director, (1989 to 2001), The Honolulu Boy Choir
NO EPIDEMIC OF SCHOOL TEACHERS USING DRUGS
In her current contract offer to the public school teachers of Hawai'i, Gov. Linda Lingle is requiring that all public school teachers submit to random drug testing in exchange for a pay increase.
First of all, there is no epidemic of public school teachers using or selling illegal drugs.
The thought of any state worker interacting with children while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is abhorrent to any sane person. The vast majority of public school teachers in Hawai'i do not use, or promote the sale of, illegal drugs.
If the public school teachers of Hawai'i ratify the contract as it stands, they will gain a temporary monetary reward and in return will give up a priceless commodity, their Fourth Amendment right as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.
Gov. Lingle's contract offer to the public school teachers of Hawai'i is typical of the Bush/Rove style of conservative Republican politics that she endorses. She forces teachers to give up a constitutional right in exchange for a pay increase, and then paints them as un-American protectors of drug addicts if they cry foul.
If she really cared about weeding out drug users from state jobs, she could easily do so with the processes currently in place. But since the media loves scandal, Gov. Lingle is using this teacher contract to force teachers to wear the scarlet "D."
Teachers, wake up. Don't ratify.Bob Underwood
DRUG TESTING DOESN'T INFRINGE ON CIVIL RIGHTS
I've been following the story regarding the Hawai'i State Teachers Association and the proposed contract, which would provide for substantial raises for our teachers, but would require submission to random or for-cause drug testing.
I've heard several people, through the media, express concerns that submitting to random drug testing would "infringe upon their civil rights."
As I understand it, the drug tests detect the use of illegal drugs — since when is using illegal drugs a civil right?
If our teachers are obeying the law with regard to drugs, then they have nothing to fear by submitting to random drug testing.
I fully support more of my tax money going to our teachers — they certainly deserve it — but I would remind them they are responsible for the safety and well-being of our children during the school day, and that demands that they be clean and sober.Chuck Little
TEACHERS BEING JUDGED BY ACTIONS OF JUST A FEW
As a high school teacher, I try to teach my students that they should not judge groups of people by the actions of a few.
We talk about the negative impacts of stereotyping. I have posters that remind them that bullying is not acceptable under any circumstances.
So how, then, can I explain to my students that it is OK for the governor to require all teachers be subjected to random drug testing because of the recent actions of a few?
How do I tell them that it's OK for the state to force it on teachers by tying it to pay raises?
How do I explain it's OK to target teachers and not all Department of Education employees?
I will not be bullied into accepting a salary offer in exchange for short-cutting negotiations or legislation.Colleen Pasco