SHELTER AVAILABLE FOR THOSE WHO WANT IT
I beg to differ with David B. Cannell's opinion (Letters, Feb. 6) about the city "pushing homeless from one place to another." There is available shelter every night at the Institute for Human Services.
Furthermore, while offering hot meals and a safer place to sleep than a park or beach, we link people to employment support, substance abuse and mental health services, and offer hope for a different way of life. For those who are chronically homeless and mentally ill, outreach services are provided by other homeless service agencies who provide specialized support.
But many in the park do not want a different way of life. A recent outreach foray into two urban parks showed that 50 percent were not Hawai'i residents.
The city recently cleared out a makeshift "chop shop" set up in one of the parks and the Honolulu police frequently respond to pleas when people just decide to set up camp in front of their storefront. While most homeless persons need our community's compassion, clear limits and expectations to abide by the law are equally important.
When compassion is offered without expectation of responsibility, we enable people to remain dependent on "handouts" and unmotivated to reach for the extended "hand up."
Connie Mitchell | Director, Institute for Human Services
STATE JUST KEEPS TAKING MORE, MORE
Concerning delaying of Hawai'i tax refunds:
It seems to me that the state's reaction to a downward trend in the economy is not resulting in a tightening of the belt, but dipping more and more into the public's wallet.
We, of course, do not have the same luxury. The state raises tax rates and fees and will probably raise excise taxes and raid the hurricane fund to improve its fiscal condition. Even that is not enough. Now there's a delay in the tax refunds.
When does it stop, or are we to be just good little citizens and say "OK"?
State workers are among the highest in pay and benefits while others continue to scrape a living to pay taxes and expenses in one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S.
I say change your state W-4 to minimize the amount you give to the state each payday and forgo the money you would get at the end of the year, if indeed the state deems it appropriate for you to even get your refund at all.
Neil KRAMER | 'Ewa Beach
POLITICIANS HAVE POLICIES BACKWARD
Our Legislature won't ban fireworks but they will allow gambling. Who is going to protect the little people?
Mary Moore | Kailua
KAUA'I ACTIVISTS HAVE NEW CHALLENGE
Hoo-oo boy, a local version of "Avatar" is in the making.
After chasing away the Superferry, the corps of Kaua'i-born-again environmentalists (most born elsewhere) now have a new challenge:
The proposed U.S. Army ferry system.
Watch for pictures of their kids on boards in the ocean, seeking confrontation, listen for their yells at public meetings, see them flatten the tires of U.S. Army trucks, see their public relations capabilities in action.
Coming soon, a huge show.
j. arthur rath iii | 'Aiea
FOCUS ON FAMILY
PLANNED PARENTHOOD IS ONE OUT OF TOUCH
A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood said recently that the Focus on the Family organization is out of touch with mainstream society.
Really? Here is an organization that sponsored an ad on Super Bowl Sunday celebrating a woman's choice of life, which polls show that 50 percent of the population agrees with, and Focus is out of touch?
Planned Parenthood is out of touch and has forgotten the First Amendment. The Super Bowl is an event that should be celebrated by everyone in the country, and Planned Parenthood tries to get the network to not run the ad. When that failed, they countered with their own video on YouTube.
Tim Tebow's mother's choice should be celebrated not only because the result was a fine football player but a man with a mission and compassion for people who has accomplished more in his first 20 years than most do in their lifetimes.
This is exactly why the issue of abortion will forever divide this country. I wonder if the spokeswoman would have preferred her mother exercise her choice other than the way she did. But then again, I guess we would never know.
James ROLLER | Mililani
SCHOOL COMPARISON NOT VALID ARGUMENT
In response to John Kawamoto's letter (Feb. 7), he's comparing apples to oranges. Public schools must take all comers; we don't have the luxury of choosing our students.
We are a microcosm of our community, while private schools are the gated communities. When a private school decides a student does not possess the qualities they want, we take them.
Our special education budget is skyrocketing as more students are diagnosed with mental and emotional disabilities. We also welcome students who don't speak English.
We pay astronomical fees to education consultant companies, but it is never mentioned that Hawai'i's standardized test is a more challenging test than is given by most other states.
The good news? I love my job and my students. My job consumes me and I do it gladly. Reform is needed, No. 1 being a comprehensive vocational program. Then those who are preparing for college would be in classes with students who want to be there.
So I would disagree that we're engaging in fraud in the public schools. Most of us are doing everything we can with what we're given, and I wouldn't choose to be anywhere else.
Tina Shaffer | Kailua