SITUATION REFLECTS CURRENT DYSFUNCTION
The mess regarding teacher furloughs illustrates that the current system is broken and dysfunctional. There is absolutely no accountability by any of the parties involved. This is a direct result of the collective bargaining system that has been strengthened over the years to produce this quagmire.
Former Gov. Ben Cayetano understood this perfectly and gave the unions the right to strike and eliminated arbitration to regain some semblance of control. The current Legislature, handmaiden to the unions, overturned this law as soon as Lingle was elected. The result has been no control over state workers, confusion, endless lawsuits and poor results.
It is time to overhaul the collective bargaining process, consider more privatization and as Jim Henshaw suggests in his recent letter to the editor (Nov. 15), convert each school to a charter school, competing for students.
michael barnette | Honolulu
DON'T FORGET TO SUPPORT CHARITIES
Thank you, Miche MacMahan, for your letter of Nov. 17. I am always inspired when our youth get involved in the community. There is no doubt that financial times are ever difficult, as your comment reviewed.
Let us not forget as we approach the holiday season what it really means. No matter how hard times may become, do not forget to offer your support to your local charity. Your contribution is often the only door for many to succeed and have a guide into the future.
MICHAEL NOMURA | Kailua
HAWAII SHOULD MAKE MOST OF OPPORTUNITY
The APEC 2011 meeting announcement is good news. Some say it is an opportunity to show we are more than just sun, sea and sand, which may be true but only if we do more than just say so. Hawaii has many historical and cultural (thus economic) assets that could become reasons to visit but only if raised to a significant level of importance.
One example is Hawaii's special claim to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, considered by the Republic of China and Chinese Taipei to be the father of modern China, thus of the same stature as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. His links to Hawaii are many: Iolani and Punahou and the first revolutionary party. Learn more about the role Hawaii played in Dr. Sun's life and China's history: www.sunyatsenhawaii.org.
There could and should be a significant physical memorial (shrine!) to learn about this, which would help in bringing visitors, especially Chinese.
Hawaii could become the place for Beijing and Washington, D.C., to resolve their many differences.
The APEC meeting is an opportunity, but only if!
LUCIEN WONG | Honolulu
11 YEARS AT HELM OF HHSAA AMAZING
I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Keith Amemiya for his 11 years at the helm of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association. He is an incredible administrator and as an attorney he showed his colors in the politics of sports. Bringing together five island leagues involving 95 high schools vying for 42 state championships, the most in the nation, is proof of the man's unique ability.
Raising $1.3 million to save many of the school programs — and he and his wife, Bonnie, donating at least $30,000 — is what this guy is made of.
While it is sad to see his moving on, I am thrilled that he may be going into politics, where he will be a welcome addition. There is mention of lieutenant governor possibility. Well, tell me where the nomination papers are, and I will be first in line to sign for this man — kind of reminds me of Clark Kent, he was super, too — just what we need.
JACK SULLIVAN | Kailua
RIGHTS THAT SHOULD BE ON PAR ARE NOT
The justifiable public outcry against teacher furloughs and school closings has a broader application.
Public education is widely seen as a right for all Americans. The government subsidizes it because the idea of providing education only to those who can afford it undermines the American principle of equal opportunity. As a result, public education is universal, it is mandatory, and it is paid for with our tax dollars.
Public education may have its flaws because of bureaucracy, inefficiency and inadequate services in places, but it nevertheless succeeds in generating hundreds of thousands of productive citizens and workers upon whom our capitalist democracy depends. If consumers want more than what the public education system has to offer, they pay extra for private education while still paying taxes to support public education. Public education and private education coexist simultaneously and in many ways work together and complement each other. As a result the greater good is served and individual preferences satisfied.
Now, if we substitute "health care" for the word "education" in the paragraph above, the same logic applies; yet we tolerate denying 47 million Americans health care coverage. We should be outraged at that injustice.
JOHN CHEEVER | Honolulu
STREET SURFACES IN A DEPLORABLE STATE
It is rather disturbing that the mayor et al find the rail funds so easy to access and yet allow our street surfaces to deteriorate to the point that would do a Third World city proud! They have been in that deplorable condition for years in some cases.
Witness upper Keeaumoku Street, Lunalilo Home Road, Keähole Street, Punchbowl Street mauka of Beretania and so on. The list is endless! I would suppose they, along with the airport, will be upgraded just in time for the November 2011 APEC meeting.
J. FORD MURRAY | Honolulu