WHEN DONE RIGHT, SYSTEM IS GREATEST
One of the greatest things about our country is the right of the people to elect their leaders.
But to make our system work, candidates and their supporters have a duty to voters to campaign hard and focus on issues. Negative campaign really has no place in elections. It obscures the real issues and in the case of a primary, it's self-destructive (the supporters of a candidate who is smeared will hardly rally to the party's nominee in the general election.)
I look forward to seeing our system in action — when it works right, it's the greatest ever invented.Lawrence J. Balberde
Hilo, Big Island
ELECTED LEADERSHIPMUST ACT FOR KEIKI
As a Hawaiian and pediatrician in California, I read with interest Lee Cataluna's column "Political casting call" (April 16). It highlighted the need for politicians to uphold their promises to Hawai'i's youth.
Last week, I cared for a child having tremendous difficulty accessing services for a learning disability. I also cared for a child with morbid obesity and diabetes in an economic situation making improvement a challenge. While I work in California, these cases are not exceptions. I have many examples of youngsters marginalized by a system slow to address their unique needs because their voice in the political arena where funds and services are doled out is only as loud as those who will advocate for them.
Based on my experiences as a pediatrician, I feel that issues such as Hawai'i's youth accessing quality education, health care, and a safe environment to grow belong at the forefront of political discussion. The "rainbow children" representing hope and promise in these political ads deserve a leadership committed to speaking loudly and acting decisively on their behalf.Jasmine K. Waipa, M.d.
COMBINING SCHOOLS IS NOT BEST FOR KIDS
Currently a proposal is being prepared on the proposed closure/consolidation of Hale'iwa and Waialua Elementary Schools.
The facts in this case make it very clear that consolidating the two schools is not in the best interest of our children.
Combining the two schools would mean moving 100 sixth-graders to the Waialua Intermediate and High School. Eleven-year-olds would be placed on the same campus as 18-year-olds. No matter how diligent the staff at Waialua Intermediate and High School, the peer pressure will greatly impact their futures.
The K-5 students left at the elementary school will be placed in either overcrowded or portable classrooms to accommodate the consolidation. Both options negatively impact the learning environment.
Both elementary schools have "Met AYP in Good Standing.. This being the case, then shouldn't we apply that old adage, "If it's not broke, don't fix it."
These children are the future of our state and our country. Over the past year our elected officials have done nothing but fail these children. The students, parents and teachers are not responsible for the current financial crisis of our state, so why are we the ones who continue to pay the price?Teresa Suan
ORCHESTRA SHOULDN'T HAVE TO DOWNSIZE
Regarding the editorial about the Honolulu Symphony's reorganization ("An orchestra set to scale is reasonable," April 14), you are correct in stating that there needs to be some changes if there is to be a successful orchestra here.
However, changing the size and quality of the orchestra would be an unfortunate way to make changes. I have loved attending concerts by the symphony for more than 20 years and have enjoyed the high quality of the orchestra through good times and bad; fortunately, the musicians have played just as beautifully even if they have had to suffer a cut in salary.
Now it seems like the orchestra we have all loved over the years may become something much less than it was.
It would be a shame if we lost so many of our wonderful players because there wasn't the will to keep a professional orchestra here.
If smaller cities such as Grand Rapids, Mich., and Toledo, Ohio, can maintain fine orchestras, and sustain their concerts during these hard economic times, why can't we? It makes no sense.Kiku I. Kealoha
STATE DOESN'T NEEDA REPUBLICAN IN D.C.
As if not obvious by now, the last thing our nation needs is another Republican in Congress.
Another 'just-say-no' politician, slavish to party ideology, and only speaking in right-wing sound-bites, which is pretty much all that Charles Djou's essay ("Why you should vote for me," April 12) amounts to.
The principal problem with Republicans being their heinous political policy, first articulated by Rush Limbaugh, which is to oppose President Obama in everything he proposes; and remaining lockstep in their opposition, hope for the fairly incredible, but stated goal, of Obama's (and by consequence, the country's) "failure."
Republicans, rejecting the time-honored identity of the "loyal opposition" in favor of becoming the party of "no," do so because nothing is more important than winning back the White House.
This careless dismissal, however, of the will of Americans, expressed in their having resoundingly elected Obama President and given the Democrats majorities in Congress, is both blatant and despicable.
All of which is something we can certainly do without; something we must do without — another Republican obstructionist, and his name is Charles Djou.Bill Carroll
KOLLER'S SYSTEM DESERVES A CHANCE
Lillian Koller, director of the state Department of Human Services, has announced that she is instituting new efficiency procedures in her department that will save the Hawai'i taxpayers $8 million annually.
Seldom do we find such creative, innovated management skills coming from our state administrators. However, from what I have been reading, there has been quite a bit of negative reaction to her plan.
I admit that when I first learned of what she is proposing, I also was skeptical that she could actually accomplish these goals. I am still not sure that she can really pull this off — but I absolutely think she deserves to be allowed to try.
Furthermore, the chances for success will be much greater if we give her our support and stop the counter-productive naysaying.
Everything I have ever heard about Lillian Koller tells me that she will do everything possible to help those who are in need of public assistance and I think recipients have nothing to worry about from these changes.
So I send a big Hawai'i shaka of support to Lillian Koller — right on!Andy Mertz