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DECISION WILL HARM OUR KEIKI, FAMILIES
February 2009: The Senate acknowledges Healthy Start's 25 years of outstanding contribution to the children and families of Hawai'i.
July 13, 2009: The governor chooses to slash Healthy Start in spite of pleas of the families, the legislative support and a wealth of information describing the success of this nationally recognized program.
To put it into perspective, Wall Street, greed, mismanagement and political views fall as bricks upon the heads of our keiki. Their parents will not receive the supportive and educational services to deal with issues that inhibit them from becoming the nurturing parents necessary for babies to thrive and grow.
I have been working in this field since 1975. I remember what it was like before we had Healthy Start. I remember the excitement and joy when we began to understand and create an optimal program to promote healthy babies and healthy parents.
All decisions are based on values. All decisions have consequences.
How sad and how frightening to realize that today, Hawai'i has made a decision that will cause so much harm to our children and families.
Barbara Naki | Director of prevention and education, The Institute For Family Enrichment
ACCESS CRITICAL IN RURAL AREAS LIKE HANA
During tough economic times people are visiting our public libraries for access to materials, services and support more than ever. Our libraries provide early literacy training and foster lifelong learning, providing access to reference materials, databases and electronic resources.
Our librarians provide reference services and help with Internet access and technology. Our libraries operate to provide everyone free and equal access to information and promote intellectual freedom for a democratic society.
In remote areas such as Hana, this is very critical. We need and must find a permanent solution to stabilize funding for these rural libraries that are and must remain a priority.
With nearly three-quarters of the cost of library operations in personnel, the reduction of open hours and staffing and reaching out for community volunteers to supplement permanent staff should be exhausted before a library is closed.
William Anonsen | Honolulu
CERTAIN SCHOOLS COULD USE PUBLIC LIBRARIES
We need our public libraries more than ever when the economy is suffering. It's a place where we can go for entertainment (books, DVD's, magazines, computers) that doesn't cost any money and is good for our souls.
The BOE is in charge of both the public schools and the library system so my suggestion is that they survey all of the libraries located in our public schools and determine which ones can be closed because of their close proximity to a public library. That savings should help free up funds for other needs.
For example, both Kailua Intermediate School and Kailua Elementary School are within walking distance of the Kailua Public Library, yet both have fully staffed school libraries. That just doesn't make fiscal sense.
The argument by the school officials for keeping their school libraries may be that "it's convenient for the teachers and students to have the library in the school." But doesn't it make more sense for the students to be "forced" to go to our public libraries for their library needs, and thus encourage them to use it even after they have matriculated?
If we are serious about making our students lifetime learners, don't we need to get them into the habit of using our public libraries? This is not rocket science. If we have limited dollars, let's make sure that they are used for the greatest good.
Libby Tomar | Kailua
HARD WORK OF OFFICERS AND STAFF APPRECIATED
In celebration of Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week (July 19-25), I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our pre-trial, probation, court and parole officers as well as our support staff.
These are hard-working state employees who are committed to keeping our communities safe by working with offenders to get them to change their thinking and change their behavior so they do not continue to commit crimes. Despite the loss of staff positions due to legislative cuts, our officers continue to work hard to help offenders become productive and responsible citizens.
I would like to recognize them for their hard work and extend my appreciation for their dedication to the job.
Janice Yamada | Probation administrator, Adult Client Services
IN REALITY, CHANGES MAY HELP TECH SECTOR
Hawai'i's "effort to build a technology industry" does not "come to an end" with the scaling back of Act 221, specifically with the elimination of "2 for 1" credits to Hawaiian investors. In my experience, the 2-for-1 credits, which offered an investor $2 back for every $1 invested, were counterproductive because (1) they were so profitable in and of themselves that the potential of the company invested in didn't matter, and (2) they starved good Hawaiian technology companies, like Nanopoint, of funds if these worthy companies did not come up with an investor outside Hawai'i willing to swap their credits to the resident Hawaiian investor.
Maybe now, with no more 2-for-1 boondoggle, legitimate technology companies in Hawai'i will not go starving for funds and we can balance the state budget, whose deficit is commensurate with state taxes lost to this aberration in the Act 221 program.
Steven E. Connell | Honolulu
NEGOTIATION DETAILS SHOULD BE PUBLIC, TOO
Regarding the July 14 article "Unions offer 5% pay cut": "Details of the negotiations are confidential."
Why? After all, they are by public workers unions, for public workers, with publically elected officials, over public funds, in public chambers.
Openness promotes honesty; secrecy leads to evil.
Bob Reed | Kane'ohe