FEW WOMEN SERVE AS JUDGES, REGENTS
Under Gov. Linda Lingle's leadership, fewer women have been appointed as judges in Hawai'i. Also under her leadership, there is only one woman serving as a University of Hawai'i regent. We are concerned that while Hawai'i's women have made great strides in education and employment, we do not make the cut for this governor's appointments.
It's not that she hasn't had the opportunity. In February, the Regents Advisory Council sent her the names of seven candidates, including three women. She announced two appointments, both men. She still has the opportunity to choose one woman from the student candidate list, but we're not holding our breath. In a university system where the staff is 51.6 percent women and the students are 57 percent women, it is absurd that of 15 regents, only one is a woman.
Of 19 judicial appointments made by the governor, only five have been women. Even before seven female judges announced their retirement from the judiciary in 2009, women held only 35 percent of judgeships.
It is sad that Hawai'i's first woman governor would care so little for gender equity in the judiciary and in higher education. Is this really the legacy that she wants to leave?Allicyn Tasaka
Co-chair, Hawai'i State Democratic Women's Caucus
Ann S. Freed
Co-chair, legislative committee, Hawai'i State Democratic Women's Caucus
ELIMINATE ALL SIGNS — AND WAVING, TOO
I agree with John MacGregor that time restrictions should be imposed on campaign signs. (Letters, April 8). How about going one step further and eliminating the practice of candidates waving to traffic?
I understand that if one candidate does it the others feel they have to so let's eliminate the practice altogether. If I'm going to vote for a candidate because he waves to me when I'm driving, something's wrong.Jim Howard
MUSIC'S IMPORTANCE CAN'T BE MEASURED
I am writing in support of the Royal Hawaiian Band and the Honolulu Symphony, both invaluable organizations. As a music therapist for the past 20 years and a professional musician for 33 years, I can attest to the power of music.
Music touches mind, body, and spirit; it touches us in ways no other modality can. People of all ages and all levels of functioning from the profoundly mentally disabled to those in Mensa, from those in nursing homes to the healthy athlete — can enjoy and benefit from music — and the benefits are many.
Music listening or performing may increase endorphins, improve the immune response, and decrease stress hormone levels, blood pressure, pulse rate, muscle tension, perception of pain, depression, and anxiety.
Because music is processed in multiple areas of the brain, it may improve cognition, memory, and attention span. This "whole-brain" characteristic is important because music can still touch those who have brain damage, whether it be from accidents, illness, or drug abuse.
Lastly, music expresses and carries our cultural traits — our history, our values. Why would we consider doing away with organizations that provide multiple, immeasurable benefits to our society in these stressful times?Bonnie Chun
Board-certified music therapist
OBAMA, MEDVEDEV ARE ON RIGHT TRACK
To the legislators and people of Hawai'i:
I urge you to support the initiative of Presidents Obama and Medvedev in a treaty to reduce nuclear weapon stockpiling and proliferation.
Somehow or other the Earth might recover from a nuclear war, but I doubt that (m)any of our loved ones would. More effort needs to be made toward genuine peacemaking instead of war-mongering.
May we all learn to respect, listen to and even love one another instead of taking up arms in threat and reality. A better life and survival could be among the desired outcomes. Let's get solidly behind this initiative.The Rev. Louise Ulrich
OUTSOURCING PART OF SMART PLANNING
Even though health care reform legislation has become law, we still can't be sure that health insurance will be more affordable. Price reductions will occur only if everyday health care business practices improve and the costs of administering and delivering care decrease.
Medical providers know this. They regularly adjust their routine operations to control expenses. Most hospitals no longer have on-premises linen laundries, for example. They contract this work to laundry specialists like my company. They similarly "outsource" other support services such as housekeeping and cafeteria management to specialists in those fields.
This enables the hospitals to operate with less revenue. Other businesses in the health care supply chain, including insurers and manufacturers, should take note. To continue to prosper, these organizations will need to run smarter and leaner.
Every opportunity to control expenses while maintaining quality care needs to be pursued. This is easier said than done, I am sure. I am also sure we have not heard the end of discussion about health care in Washington. Outsourcing should be part of that dialogue.Tom Stewart
Assistant general manager, Alsco Inc.
DRIVERS MOST OFTEN TO BLAME FOR WRECKS
Mr. Prentiss, I wholeheartedly agree that all of the accidents are tragic ("Accidents could have been avoided," April 9). As for "who is to blame," it is the person behind the wheel, or in the latest case, on the motorcycle.
You are also correct in that there are simple and inexpensive ways to slow down the speeders, but as for your statement "if we only had elected officials with the interest and fortitude to do the right thing" — well, what exactly is the right thing?
Speed bumps would help tremendously, but you know the folks at Kailua neighborhood board meetings would be in an uproar should speed bumps be recommended on Wana'ao, Keolu, Loho, etc.
More signs wouldn't do anything except be an eyesore — if you're speeding, it's obvious you aren't reading the speed-limit signs anyway.
It's the ignorance of individuals who create situations that endanger the lives of themselves and others, with sometimes tragic results.Eugene Kon Jr.