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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 11, 2010

Funding cut


President Obama's arts platform statement included support for arts education, stating that: "In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education."

In Hawai'i, on Lāna'i, the worldwide economy has lessened the creative opportunities for our children. The state and county funding has been cut in half or eliminated entirely for after-school art and youth center programs. This is the only creative teaching opportunity our students get because there are no funds in the school curriculum for art.

The proposed "blueprint" budget, which marries art-education programs with non-arts-specific programs funding on the federal level, causes concern that we may never be able to revive funding for art in the schools in Hawai'i, specifically Lāna'i.

Our Lāna'i Art Center provides as much as we can accommodate after school, but that funding is very tough to maintain through donations alone.

There is nothing quite like a child's vision through art and story, so please bring back art-specific programs to the school curriculum in all grades.

Sherri Williams
Lāna'i City, Lāna'i



A recent editorial was written about an anti-prostitution bill proposed by Councilmen Charles Djou ("Car-seizure bill an empty gesture," March 29). With regard to the writer's skepticism pertaining to the bill's effectiveness because most solicitors are believed to be tourists on foot or in rentals — why not consider a different angle?

What if the bill had a section that addressed the rental scenario — and stated if the car is proven to be a rental, that it would be impounded for 10 days, then returned to the rental company? Considering the unexpected expense, I wonder if that would put a damper on the itinerary of a vacationing tourist; much less on future rental transactions.

Imagine a spouse, parent, or family member who is unable to rent a vehicle in the future, only to find out a related cardholder had a previous rental impounded for 10 days for soliciting a prostitute. A bill like that would create a precedent that could spread like wildfire on the Mainland.

Of course, if you're a Hawai'i resident caught soliciting — your picture could be run on a weekly or monthly television news segment titled "Busted!"

Rudy Sanchez Jr.



Thank you for printing the enlightening essay by Jeff Mikulina about enacting a barrel tax on oil to help finance the bridge to energy independence for Hawai'i. ("Barrel tax crucial for cleaner Hawai'i," April 6).

Mikulina mentioned that the barrel tax will cost the equivalent of one large cup of coffee per month. What is wrong with this generation? Our forebears were willing to make hard sacrifices to build this great state. Today people seem reluctant to even give up a cup of coffee to finance energy independence for Hawai'i.

In spite of dire warnings from scientists and economists, we seem unwilling to do anything inconvenient. Someday everything will come to a grinding halt, with the sun beating down, the wind whistling through the trees, and the waves crashing on the shores.

All this natural and abundant energy will go to waste and we will have no electricity to make even a cup of coffee. Let's show the courage of our ancestors. Make the hard choices: give up a cup of coffee now so we can brew all we want in the future.

But our legislators need to be wise enough to not only pass the barrel tax, but to put all of the resulting funds into alternative renewable energy and none in the general fund.

Barbara Borgnino



Jerry Burris' column ("Layoffs can cost us more, long term,"March 31) only makes sense if you are a hardcore statist who thinks the government should be running virtually everything.

The reality is that unionized public workers in Hawai'i on average are paid much more than private sector workers after accounting for pensions and other benefits, and yet in many cases underperform those private- sector workers. Public schools cost more per student than all charter schools and most private schools, and yet those public schools are delivering lower test scores.

Another example: Burris claimed that "the services provided by folks such as social service providers do not just cost money; they save money. Anyone kept out of hospitals or the social service network ... is money in our pocket."

Well, not really. If we ended subsidies for failing hospitals, and turned the social service network over to charitable and religious organizations, they would provide free-market services supplemented by charitable donations.

The reality is that state government has only a few core functions, and most of those could be financed by fees paid for actual services received, rather than forcing people to pay for services they don't want and don't use.

Jim Henshaw



After polling the residents of Kalihi Valley Homes, the state decided to implement a curfew to stem the increasing violence at night. This curfew was overwhelmingly approved by the residents at a subsequent community meeting, and everything seemed to be turning for the better.

But then the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai'i steps in and says that all of the residents are being held under house arrest for the sake of a few and that's illegal.

What is it that the ACLU didn't understand at the meeting when no one objected to the curfew and even said they hoped it would be permanent?

Has it ever occurred to the ACLU that sometimes people just want uncomplicated, common-sense solutions to life's problems without having the ACLU shove its self-righteous, we-know-better-than-you attitude down everyone's throat?

Orson Moon