For Tuesday, October 19, 2010
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 19, 2010
The voters in Hawaii are being given a choice
between two equally bad situations relative to the Board of Education: Keep the existing state-wide system of an elected board or change to a statewide board appointed by the governor.
The real solution to the problem is to move to a
locally elected board with each high school being the nexus of a separate school district.
Proponents of an appointed Board of Education claim that this will firmly settle responsibility on the governor. Given our system of government, where funding must come from a budget first approved by the Legislature with a long history of Democratic control, what makes anyone believe that the Legislature would change the policies it has been tolerating and championing over the past decades?
The only way to break out of this quagmire is to break the system down into many small districts, shifting the responsibility for funding the schools to local property taxes levied by each district. This is the way it has been done on the mainland for over a century. This will provide a wide variety of responses to the need to improve our education system. While some of these will fail, the ones that work will soon serve as examples for the other districts to follow.
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Richard Borreca ignores that an appointed state Board of Education under Gov. Linda Lingle would have likely furloughed students 60 days over the 2009-11 years ("Former state schools chief joins chorus for appointed BOE," Star-Advertiser, Oct. 12).
It was the elected, independent BOE - not one with political appointees meeting behind closed doors - that fought Lingle's furlough order. Parents seeking to hold Lingle accountable for furloughs were arrested in her office.
Borreca appears to criticize the amount of BOE meetings, yet fails to note many meetings are mandated by the Legislature. As the people's board, the BOE meets in public and across the state.
The elected BOE has a diversity of voices to represent the interests of all students and democratically decide what is best for all.
Former schools Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto clearly avoids saying appointed BOEs will improve schools. She is right. Studies show appointed BOEs are not better than elected boards.
Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona criticized establishing a state Department of Early Childhood, saying we don't have the money. But we have the money to ship our prisoners off to Arizona at $250,000 each. Perhaps if we spent the money on these at-risk men when they were at-risk babies, at-risk toddlers, at-risk preschoolers and at-risk students, they would be holding down jobs and contributing to society and their families.
Neil Abercrombie, on the other hand, will invest in our human capital. He will invest in our young children from the very beginning so that we will have fewer prisoners in the future, fewer people on the welfare and Medicaid rolls, and more success stories in school because our children will enter elementary school better prepared.
Gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie likes to make wild claims about how much federal money he can grab for Hawaii. Then, according to his "book of plans," Abercrombie will spend this money to make our bloated state government even bigger.
Even if Abercrombie could convince President Barack Obama and Congress to write Hawaii a hefty check, it would still be our tax money being spent.
To make matters worse, Congress is already borrowing heavily in a desperate move to maintain our current level of federal spending. If Congress increases the national deficit with another round of bailouts for state governments, America will owe even more money to China and other countries.
The interest alone on our national debt is staggering. And our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will surely pay the price.
I have known Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona for all my life, and, although not related, have had the privilege to call him "uncle."
Without being political, when people ask me about him, I talk about his character - he is a good man.
Others have shared their views as well. A friend who went through drug rehabilitation told me how Duke talked to them in rehab and helped inspire her to recovery. He still voluntarily mentors her today.
Another friend mentioned how he was mentored
by Duke through the court system, and how he was
inspired to turn his life around to now mentor others.
I think about the countless youth he has coached in soccer and basketball.
I think about Duke's four children - what could be greater than a father wanting to give his kids a better life? Eight years ago, he ran for lieutenant governor, in part to help create a better Hawaii for them. And it's also for me, my children and everyone else in Hawaii.
Regarding U.S. Rep. Charles Djou's support for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell:" Djou is such a typical politician, coming up with a scenario about gay soldiers "coming out" to defraud the government out of a re-enlistment bonus. Where does he get his information? Does Djou know something the U.S. military doesn't? Did all of his gay friends in the military disclose their fraud? This is clearly Djou's only "socially moderate card" and he can't even play this card honestly for fear of alienating his anti-gay supporters. Pathetic.
U.S. Rep. Charles Djou was the winner, hands down, in a recent debate with Democratic candidate for his seat, state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa. Djou is on the side for those who care about preserving family and traditional values. Djou said he believes unequivocally that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Hanabusa supports same-sex marriage.
Djou supports a balanced budget through fiscal responsibility. As for Hanabusa, you do remember when she and her Democratic Senate colleagues voted themselves a whopping 36 percent pay raise for part-time work at a time the state was going through a budget crisis.
When it comes to a politician, I don't care what's upstairs until I know what's inside the person. I want to know if he or she really cares about our people, aina and all of Hawaii nei. On the Waianae Coast in District 45 we're fortunate in having Maile Shimabukuro representing us because she's a very caring, compassionate, beautiful human being. She's proven time and again how much she cares about na keiki, na kupuna, the disabled, the veterans, the disadvantaged, the environment, education, etc. Maile was born and raised on the Waianae Coast, so she really understands our problems and needs.
As a longtime deaf advocate and community activist at our state Capitol, I've seen our representative in action first-hand in Hawaiian, education, transportation, human services, veterans and community issues. I'm glad she's there because she's doing a fantastic job for the Waianae Coast.
I believe that in a democracy, it is the duty of the people to vote for those that represent them. It is also a significant responsibility to actually cast ballots that count.
It is incumbent upon the people to make informed votes by knowing whom they're voting for.
"We don't know who the candidates are, so we voted for anyone or left our ballot blank" is horrifying to hear.
People should actually find out whom they're going to be voting for by watching/reading the news, listening to debates/forums, and/or doing research on the candidates.
Every vote must be cast with confidence and purpose. We shouldn't be tarnishing our votes by voting for strangers or names we consider famous. So, no vote smart, no grumble!
I, for one, haven't received a single mailer, met anyone knocking at my door or seen a single TV debate for any of the five candidates running for the U.S. Senate, and yet 2010 is a year in which this year's challenges and issues are so vastly different from any other time that we can't draw parallels to past experience.
The same applies for the four candidates running for U.S. representative, District 2 - without so much as a debate, how do we know whom to vote for?
Candidates may not always be able to pay for their message to reach everyone, but at the minimum local media watchdogs should prioritize coverage of races where little has been said or known about those seeking election.