LEARN, THINK BEFORE MALIGNING TEACHERS
With all due respect to David Shapiro ("HSTA can't expect to sacrifice nothing," Dec. 9) and Lee Cataluna ("Furloughs back in teachers' court," Dec. 10), I encourage them both to understand all the facts and review their logic prior to writing editorials that malign teachers.
Teachers would prefer to be working on the furlough Fridays and expect to be treated as fairly as other state employees. No other union is being told to take a pay cut and make up 15 days of work on their own time without pay. This is a horrible offer, and teachers are wise to refuse it. The other half of the governor's offer is just as bad for students. The money the governor is proposing to restore 12 instructional days does not fully staff schools on those days. The governor's offer does not include funding for counselors, health aides, office staff, aides for special needs students, custodians and cafeteria staff. A school without this staff is not in the best interest of students' safety and well-being.
It is about time for Hawai'i to fully fund education and not expect teachers to reach into their own pockets and weekends to make up the difference. The teachers continue to sacrifice and, while the governor spins facts, the furloughs remain in her court.
SCOT DROWN | Kapahulu
DEMOCRATS UP TO SAME OLD MANEUVERS
Here we go again — same old, same old from our state Democratic politicians. Not a one among them willing or able to tell the truth.
Rep. Abercrombie declaring he will resign to commit full-time to run for governor due to a lack of leadership.
Really? It has nothing to do with wanting to be the first to start campaigning full-time in hopes of achieving an advantage in the race? Nothing to do with being able to take cheap shots at both announced and unannounced candidates on a regular basis (demonstrated by the lack-of-leadership allegation)? And he's not alone.
Mayor Hannemann is proposing to rename Magic Island to President Barack Obama Beach Park to recognize the first Hawaii-born president.
Really? The renaming, at this early juncture of the president's term, has nothing to do with hoping to garner the president's endorsement for a campaign for governor that is all but announced? And announced just prior to the president's visit to the island — coincidental timing, I guess?
If our politicians spent as much time actually working to solve problems instead of inventing transparent shams to try to hoodwink the public, we'd all be better off today.
GARY STARK | Ewa Beach
COLUMN COULD COVER AKAKA BILL STORY
Appreciated David Shapiro's "manini ethics" column Dec. 14. Hope there is more to come. Based on my observations of Washington and local politics, "ethics" are rapidly disappearing and could fill a column daily.
I read in the paper recently that Inouye and Akaka were attempting to insert the Akaka bill into a spending bill to get it passed without question. The next day's paper had Sen. Inouye denying they were attempting that. Hope Volcanic Ash follows this story to its conclusion and is included in a future "manini ethics" column.
JOANNE FONG | Ewa Beach
HONOR ONES WHO DID SOMETHING FOR ISLES
Magic Island. If changing the name is a city priority, a more appropriate name might be Freedom or Liberty Island.
This would give credence and show appreciation for those who actually accomplished something for these islands.
Starting with the vets and those who passed at Pearl Harbor and including all the locals presently serving and sacrificing. So why not dedicate this park to them?
KEN TAYLOR | Honolulu
LESSONS LEARNED FROM GO! VS. ALOHA
We all know that health care reform, if done effectively and intelligently, is desirable. But many proposals are controversial, not the least being the "public option."
I ask those who support this proposal to think back to the "go! vs. Aloha" tragedy. Backed by its big-money Mainland parent, go! offered below-cost fares until it drove Aloha to bankruptcy. Then it raised fares back to reasonable levels.
Mr. Obama has on many occasions said he favors a one-pay government health care system, but he knows that would not fly right now.
So he apparently plans to accomplish this in two steps; first, the "public option," which can easily and logically be used to drive private insurers out of the market by offering below-cost rates, using taxpayers' funds; then, with no private insurers left, he has his favored one-pay government health care system, completely controlling the market, with rates and policies to be set by ill-informed bureaucrats.
Is that really what we want, or need?
CLINT BASLER | Honolulu
WITHOUT PREVENTIVE CARE, WE'LL PAY LATER
Given the latest effort to remove even the Medicare buy-out for people 55 to 64, it's now clear how the opponents of health care reform have evolved. First, they claimed that government health care would be inefficient, and government should stay out of Medicare which is, however, a government program.
Then they realized that if people actually had a choice, they might choose public health care (i.e., Medicare for all, as it should be). Now the insurance industry lobbyists claim that government health care would drive private companies out of business. Despite all that supposed inefficiency? Or because the private sector finds so many ways to deny their customers coverage? The health of about 30 million of our "uncovered" fellow citizens is at stake!
If we don't provide some preventative health care for them ahead of time, we will have to pay for their Medicare and Medicaid coverage anyway, when their late-in-life care costs are the most expensive. Whether we like it or not, that will eventually affect all our pockets.
DAVID CHAPPELL | Käneohe
LET'S PROCEED FOR A HEALTHIER HAWAII
Critics of our rail system project such as ex-governor Ben Cayetano and David T. Johnston of Kailua are going berserk in trying to wreck our hope for a better transportation in the future.
Oahu voters approved the project and there should not be moaning, whining and crying.
People of Oahu know what is good for their health and comfort, financial and safety securities. Add years of longevity because air we breathe will be free from carbon dioxide; bicycle lanes may also be built.
We might build an H-1 lane or any of our wider roads for bicycles alone. These "vehicles" are not $30,000, but less than $300, with no gas to expenses.
In short we would not spend tons of money for cars, gas, medical expenses, insurance, car repair bills, etc.
So let us proceed with our rail project with confidence and bring back paradise to our beautiful island of Oahu.
bernardo p. benigmo | Mililani