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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Furlough fridays


I am grateful to see that reader Rovanna Kuhns, from my alma mater, is taking the initiative to write about fewer school days ("Student sees benefit of fewer school days," Letters, April 9).

For starters, I was a student during the teacher strike back in 2001 and as a result, it limited my potential to learn more in the classroom. I understand Rovanna's viewpoint, but I beg to differ. If the state of Hawai'i continues to have furloughs, it puts all students at a disadvantage for several reasons.

First, students who want to pursue higher education might have a difficult time getting into college because the student might lack important learning skills required for admission.

Second, Hawai'i has the nation's lowest number of instructional days.

Third, not all families have the privilege of paying for someone to watch their children or finding programs to keep their children occupied. Furthermore, the real cost is how much money are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of our public school students. The parties involved must come to an end to these furloughs. Education is the one thing that should never be taken away.

Brandon Elefante


I had to comment on Rovanna Kuhns' letter to The Advertiser ("Student sees benefit of fewer school days," April 9).

What a very insightful, different and responsible comment from one of our own students.

As a parent, I can't honestly say I'm "for" furloughs, and I can honestly say I get very angry that Gov. Lingle, the BOE and the DOE are acting like kids on the playground.

This very mature student wrote, quite honestly, that furloughs might be an effective solution to our deficit.

Kuhns points out a very important fact: We, as parents can't be so inept that we can't fulfill our children's Fridays to be a very fruitful one. We can't leave it ALL to the teachers. Learning begins at home.

She brings up many excellent points. I encourage everyone to read what this very mature young lady has to say.

While we have to wait for the playground antics to stop, let's just do what we've got to. Help educate your children while they are at home on furlough Fridays. We are, after all, the parents, aren't we?

Moana E. Higa



Sit-in people and taxpayers should consider the following:

Most public charter schools have no furlough days even though the public charter schools only get half the money per student that public schools get.

So, do public charter schoolteachers and administrators focus more on student education than their counterparts in public schools?

Could a key difference between public charter schools and public schools be unionized teachers?

Paul E. Smith



Has amnesia become an epidemic? In January, Rudy Giuliani claimed no domestic terrorist attack occurred during Bush's presidency. Does 9/11 ring any bells?

John McCain says he never considered himself a maverick, apparently forgetting he wrote "Worth the Fighting For: The Education of an American Maverick, and the Heroes Who Inspired Him." Tina Fey skewered Sarah Palin's self-proclaimed mavericky-ness.

As with Alice in Wonderland, things just get curiouser and curiouser. Palin denies that her exhortations to Tea Partiers to just "re-load" refer to violence. Hmmm. "Re-load" invokes visions of guns. What else could "re-load" mean? Re-load the dishwasher? Re-load the Pez dispenser? Palin is disingenuous.

Alice in Wonderland is instructive:

Alice: "There is no use trying; one can't believe impossible things."

Queen: "I dare say you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Which tea party is which?

Bambi Lin Litchman



For all traditional family member voters in Hawai'i, Republican Charles Djou is our best hope to topple the Democratic party's hold on our state's congressional seats since statehood, in a special election to replace former Rep. Neil Abercrombie who is running for governor.

With Djou, the pipeline to preserve family and traditional values will finally be opened in Congress, where we will not only have someone on our side who also shares the same family values — a pipeline to voice our concern about the funding abortion issue; the attempt to repeal the Defense Marriage Act that defines marriage as one man and one woman in America; and to voice our opposition to the health care reform. Charles Djou supports these common sense issues.

State Sen. Colleen Hana-busa not only is a same-sex marriage supporter but, with support from her Senate colleagues, attempted to pass HB 444 on civil unions (another name for same-sex marriage, which the people of Hawai'i voted to ban in 1998) in the 2010 Legislature session.

Melvin Partido
Pearl City



I think universal health care is not only a moral necessity, but is the right thing and the smart thing to do.

We are, as a society, all in the same boat and are paying anyway one way or another. The right to health care should be put into the bill of rights, if the U.S. wants to be a leader in a civilized world.

It is easier to bicker and to complain instead of knowing the issues and coming up with solutions, whether on the left or the right.

It is not a question of whether the government is the problem or the solution, but rather a realization that we are the government. Every citizen needs to have an interest in the actions of government whether at home or abroad.

Mike Iven



The Advertiser's recent article regarding the future of the Honolulu Symphony is dismaying ("Rival plans for symphony allowed," April 13). The simplistic reasoning of the Honolulu Symphony Society's plan seems to be designed to make management easier at the expense of the musical ensemble. I don't see where that fits in with the Honolulu Symphony's mission statement. Nor do I see how a 60 percent reduction in the season and performances satisfies the mission either.

Reducing the scope of the symphony will not only reduce the organization's contribution to our society but will reduce the quality of it as well. Serious professional musicians will leave to join groups with a higher commitment to excellence. On one hand, the society criticizes comparisons to groups in other cities; on the other hand, it suggests marketing the orchestra in Asia. Perhaps, with the reputation the symphony has built over the last 25 years, it has the status to play at top venues in major cities in Asia, but after this wholesale reduction they would be lucky to be invited to Disney World in Japan or China.

The symphony society seems completely out of its depth in shepherding a cultural institution to a healthy state. This isn't a solution, it's a surrender.

Steven Rosenthal



It's time to talk about the overpaid elephant in the room: unions.

Construction unions are picketing Walgreens and others because they dared to have their place built by non-union workers? How dare they save hundreds of thousands of dollars?

With all the out-of-work construction workers, there are hundreds who are happy to feed their families on half of what a union guy makes.

My friend is a painting contractor, who bid on painting the new H-Power boiler project at just over $1 million. They told him he had to pay union scale to his guys (around $50-plus an hour to paint). My friend had to raise his bid to $2 million.

That just cost the citizens a million bucks, and that's a tiny portion of that entire project.

Thanks to career Democratic politicians such as Abercrombie, Hanabusa and Hannemann, the unions are running this state into the ground at our expense. They are the sole reason for our state's current economic crisis. Are you tired of the way this state is run? Send them a message come election time, or enjoy higher taxes and bigger government forever.

Erich Wida