EDUCATION TEACHES THAT WE ARE ALL EQUAL
I have always been passionate about education. I believe that what we offer students through education is the chance to build the dreams they imagine, and live the lives they dream of. The formula is simple and straightforward: An equal opportunity to be educated gives all students an equal opportunity to live meaningful lives.
Yet, as someone who works with LGBTQ students at the university level, I find it hard to reconcile the idea that while we promise them an equal chance at building lives for themselves, we deny them the civil rights afforded heterosexual students.
In essence, we are saying to our students: get a good education, get a good job, and go live your life — but do so without the monetary benefits, health benefits, or legal benefits that other students will one day share with those they love.
It is now the end of April and the legislative session is coming to a close. As a state that offers students a diverse environment rich with aloha, how can we justify denying them the rights shared by so many of their classmates? Our representatives must recognize that HB 444 is a testimony to the life we've always promised our students.Sheela Jane Menon
WEST HAWAI'I HIT WITH NEW SCHOOL FEE
The Board of Education has designated West Hawai'i as a School Impact District and requires school impact fees on new residential construction.
These impact fees are not just for "developers," they are required on all residential permits — including existing individual vacant lot owners.
So, a West Hawai'i resident building on his lot will need to cough up a school impact fee to build his home, while folks in Hilo, Puna, Kahului, Kane'ohe, Líhue, etc, building on their lots won't.
To further insult the process, DOE has no plans to build new schools in West Hawaii — but the DOE is planning and building them on O'ahu and Maui.
The losers in this program are the unsuspecting West Hawai'i lot owners who, after saving their last quarter to build their dream home on an already high-priced lot, will stand dumbfounded in front of the county building permit processor who says, "You now have to write a check (to the tune of $5,000) to the DOE before you get your permit."
The DOE is a statewide school system; this ought to be a statewide program.
If we have a school impact fee, it should be applied equally across the state. Otherwise, it is simply not fair.Peter C. Young
SHIPPING LAW OFFERS QUALITY, RELIABILITY
I enjoyed the PBS congressional debate. One of the few areas where Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case disagree is the Jones Act. Hanabusa realizes what it's done to provide us with quality reliable transportation for generations.
So reliable in fact, that Hawai'i has virtually no warehouses. Committed to Hawai'i by investing hundreds of millions of dollars, Matson and Horizon provide retailers the "just in time" service needed to eliminate this expense. How much more would your goods cost if retailers had to buy warehouses and pay for inventory?
Please ask Case: "Why don't the ships stop now?" There is nothing in the Jones Act that prohibits ships from Asia dropping off in Honolulu and continuing on to the Mainland.
Those big ships coming from China are five times the size of the ships that service Hawai'i and don't even fit in the harbor. New Matson and Horizon ships have crews of only 21 people.Paul Dery
READER HOPES VOTERS WILL CHOOSE WISELY
In a few weeks, the people of Hawai'i will have a new face to represent them in Washington. I hope the voters will vote wisely and independently, and not to be swayed by false promises, eloquence and misleading data, facts or information.
I also hope that the prevalence of political boards or banners, television ads and endorsements by powerful political groups and others will not weigh much in this campaign.
I further hope that the voters will vote for a candidate who has displayed and will continue to display his/her independence and is willing to cross party lines for the benefit of the people he/she will represents. After all, if we look back to past political campaigns (the campaign of the late Mayor Akana on the Big Island is a case in point), outspending an opponent does not always work well.
It is the commitment, the dedication, and a sincere desire to serve the people that matters the most.Constante A. Domingo
WHAT KIND OF GROUP DOES THE CITY WANT?
The issues in the Honolulu Symphony bankruptcy are becoming more clear. Do we want a scaled-down orchestra, consisting of part-time musicians and student apprentices performing only occasionally for the public? Or do we still want a full-size professional orchestra capable of performing, in a regular season, the repertory composed for such an ensemble?
The latter choice will require a board of directors, executive director, and development staff not excessively compensated but nevertheless experienced in performing arts management. Such a team must be fully capable and committed to raise the necessary funds to support the symphony. The majority of those funds will no doubt continue to come from large donations, grants, and contracts for musical and educational services.
The symphony's recent organizational analysis, although it proposes a new "business model" based on drastic cuts in musicians' pay, does not meaningfully address the steps needed to rebuild donor and subscriber confidence in the symphony's management and outreach to the community.
But there are successful examples of local performing arts organizations, such as Hawai'i Opera Theatre and Chamber Music Hawai'i, that enjoy such confidence and support. The current Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding provides an opportunity for appointment of a trustee to act in the best interests of the Symphony's creditors, including its musicians and subscribers, until a reorganization plan can be confirmed by the court to rebuild the symphony with renewed community confidence in its management.Paul J. Schwind Andmollie Chang
HAITIAN GOVERNMENT MIGHT BE PERFECT
The perfect society model for the Tea Party and "Hell No" conservatives is Haiti — No taxes, no government, no services! Wake up, Americans!Fred Gamble
FURLOUGHS WEAKEN STATE SCHOOL SYSTEM
We have experienced many months of furloughs in our state's public schools, which further weaken a public educational system that already suffers from long-term neglect.
Many of our state's residents are involved in public education at some level. We should all be alarmed at the poor treatment of public education in this state.
People who truly love Hawai'i also support public schools. Gov. Lingle and her administration refuse to accept responsibility for the problems our public school system is currently experiencing, and instead blame the teachers and their union.
Gov. Lingle's refusal to take responsibility for the public school debacle demonstrates a profound lack of leadership. Her refusal also demonstrates a lack respect and a lack of love: for the 'aina, for its people and for public education.
We teach our children that love and responsibility go hand in hand. We ask that the governor and the Legislature make a conscious choice to truly love Hawai'i and its people, and work collectively to fix the problem.Miriam Stark
READER HAS OPPOSITE VIEW OF REASONING
The reasons you are endorsing Ed Case are identical to the reasons I would never vote for Ed Case. Unfortunately I don't live in District 1, so I will not have the opportunity to vote against him.
If health insurance companies are allowed to operate across state lines, we could not complain to our state insurance commissioner, as the authority would fall in the hands of the commissioner where the insurance company is located.
All insurance companies would then undoubtedly locate in states with the least regulations, leaving us with the worst of the worst insurance policies.
You also cited tort reform. I don't want government telling me how much my life or quality of life is worth. Some hospitals cut back on staff to make higher profits. If a tired, overworked nurse gave me the wrong drug leading to life-long pain, I don't want Ed Case to decide what the jury can force the hospital to pay me for my pain.
Finally, deficit spending is necessary to rebuild this country.
Our economy was spiraling downward before Obama was elected; we need to give his policies a chance. Electing Ed Case will not ensure that will happen.Elaine Hornal